Serguei’s research goal is to produce a precast, segmental approach to thin shell concrete structures. This approach requires a design process that is considerate of both form and construction; a good shell must not only be structurally efficient, but must also be inexpensive to build. This balance allowed past masters – Nervi, Candela, Isler and the like – to produce incredibly elegant works of structural engineering. Today, thin shells are not built because this balance does not exist. With increases in labor costs in the 1970s, old methods ceased to be competitive, and little was done in terms of innovation. Since that time, new form-finding techniques and better precasting technology have been introduced. By working with proven ideals and modern technology, Serguei thinks it is possible to make thin shells concrete structures competitive once more.
This story features on the CEE website http://www.princeton.edu/cee/news/archive/?id=9047
photo courtesy Serguei Bagrianski.