ReciPlyDome and ReciPlySkin bending: active transformable lightweight shelters

Olga Popovic Larsen, Stijn Brancart, Veronika Ignatavicute, Lars De Laet, Niels De Temmerman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Reciprocal Frame (RF) Structures are three-dimensional grid structures consisting of mutually supporting beams, where no more than two beams are connected at a time adding to simplicity of assembly and construction. The ReciPlyDome is a novel structural system based on utilizing bending-active principles and combining them with RF polyhedral morphologies and simple connections. The result is a lightweight plywood kit-of-parts dome, fabricated from flat plywood panels, cut and pre-bent to form the active-bent dome structure designed for disasembly. ReciPlySkin is a step further in the development and is a partially enclosed shelter structure clad with a membrane attached internally to the plywood beams of the ReciPlyDome.

Building on the work already done on RF emergency shelters, this paper describes the ReciPlyDome and ReciPlySkin governing principles in the context of transformability. It presents the challenges and opportunities of these structures outlining the methods and process needed for their development. More specifically the investigation, design, optimization, fabrication and construction process of a full-scale dome demonstrator exhibited at the recent Circular Economy exhibition in Denmark, are shown. A reflection on how to develop the principles further is offered with some further research and design directions identified. Lastly, possible applications are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIASS 208 Boston Symposium: Transformables
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventIASS 2018: Annual Symposium of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures : Creativity in Structural Design - Boston, United States
Duration: 16 Jul 201820 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of IASS Annual Symposia
ISSN (Electronic)2518-6582


ConferenceIASS 2018: Annual Symposium of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • ReciPlyDome
  • ReciPlySkin
  • Reciprocal frames
  • bending active structures
  • design for disassembly
  • kit of parts
  • polyhedral morphologies
  • shelters
  • transformable structures


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