Nathan Brown

I am a senior in the structures track of the combined Architecture and Engineering program at Princeton.  My thesis is an exploration of the hyperbolic  paraboloid form as employed by thin shell structures.  Shells have fallen out of style with  architects recently due to their perceived high cost and difficulty in  analytically determining their structural behavior.  However, with advances in materials science, construction techniques, and numerical modeling, these structures may once again become viable options to a variety of design solutions, especially within  the current context of sustainable design.  When a thin shell uses the form of a hypar, the geometric properties of  the shape allow for a seemingly limitless potential for innovative structures, which  for the most part can ultimately be analyzed using simple formulas.  This thesis will categorize and evaluate many  existing examples of the hypar form to better understand the many possibilities  available to a designer and how they perform structurally, spatially, and  environmentally.  The Miami Marine  Stadium, designed by architect Hilario Candela and engineer Jack Meyer, will  also be analyzed in detail as a case study for a complex, innovative employment  of the hyperbolic paraboloid.  Relying on  what I have learned through the course of this thesis research as well as other  outside resources, I intend apply the hypar form in my own shell design.


Adriaenssens S., Brown N., Lowinger R., Hernandez J. (2012). Structural Analysis of Reinforced Concrete Folded Hyperbolic Paraboloid Shells: a case study of the Modern Miami Marine Stadium’. In: International Journal of Architectural Heritage. DOI:10.1080/15583058.2012.694967

Adriaenssens S., Lowinger R., Hernandez J.,Brown N., Halpern A., Aye Z M, Prier M. (2012). ‘The Shells of the Miami Marine Stadium: Synergy between form, force and energy.’ IASS-IACM 2012: 7th International Conference on Computational Mechanics of Spatial Structures., Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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