Form and Forces: Designing Efficient, Expressive Structures [NOOK Book]



In Form and Forces, bestselling authors Edward Allen and Waclaw Zalewski offer a fresh, new approach to the study of structures for students and practitioners of architecture and structural engineering. Emphasizing graphics rather than mathematics and rote learning, Form and Forces teaches statics and strength of materials in the context of a set of projects that involve students in the entire process of designing elegant, ...

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Form and Forces: Designing Efficient, Expressive Structures

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In Form and Forces, bestselling authors Edward Allen and Waclaw Zalewski offer a fresh, new approach to the study of structures for students and practitioners of architecture and structural engineering. Emphasizing graphics rather than mathematics and rote learning, Form and Forces teaches statics and strength of materials in the context of a set of projects that involve students in the entire process of designing elegant, long-span structures, from concept generation to detailing and planning for construction.

Readers engage in such projects as a hanging roof for a transportation terminal, a concrete shell roof for a basketball arena, a wood truss roof for a summer camp activities building, cantilevered concrete shells to cover a stadium grandstand, and other fascinating, real-world designs. As they pursue these projects, students learn each fundamental structural design technique as it is needed, in the context in which it is useful, making it easy to remember and employ the principles discussed, including:

  • Statics

  • Bending and buckling behavior

  • Finding form and forces for long-span structures

  • Beam and column formulas

  • The choice and layout of framing systems

Supplemented by a companion Web site with step-by-step graphic statics tutorials, interactive learning tools, and a special-purpose graphic statics solver program, Form and Forces allows every architect and engineer to employ the almost magical power of graphical techniques for generating good form.

Form and Forces equips the reader with simple, powerful tools employed by the great structural designers of the past 150 years—from Eiffel, Gaudí, and Maillart, to Schlaich and Calatrava—so that even beginners can design entire structures that are elegant and exciting.

Companion Web site:

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118174258
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/9/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 640
  • File size: 44 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

EDWARD ALLEN has taught for more than thirty years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, and the University of Oregon. He is the bestselling author of Fundamentals of Building Construction, Fifth Edition.

WACŁAW ZALEWSKI  is Professor Emeritus of Structural Design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Table of Contents

Project Team and Contributors.



1 Designing a Series of Suspension Footbridges.

Basic definitions of statics: Loads, Forces, Tension, Compression, Stress.

Free-body diagrams; Vectors and scalars; Static equilibrium of concurrent forces.

The force polygon and funicular polygon for funicular structures; Bow’s notation.

Detailing steel rod elements in tension and anchoring to rock.

Lateral stability; stiffening a tensile structure.

Construction detailing and planning.

2 Designing a Suspended Roof.

Designing and detailing a suspended roof.

Designing funicular curves with specified properties.

Families of funicular curves.

Static equilibrium.

Components of forces.

Steel cable fastenings and details.

Lateral bracing.

Regulating forces on masts and backstays.

3 Designing a Concrete Cylindrical Shell Roof.

Shaping funicular arches and vaults in compression.

Form-finding: catenary, parabola, circle.

Stiffening compressive structures against buckling and unbalanced loadings.

Detailing and constructing a thin single-curvature shell.

4 Master Lesson: Designing a Trussed Roof.

Structural idea generation in three dimensions; The creative process.

Graphical truss analysis; Influence of truss form and depth on member forces.

Creative latitude in structural design and positive interactions between architects and engineers.

5 Designing a Building on a Vertical Site.

Moments of forces.

Equilibrium of nonconcurrent forces.

Graphical analysis of nonconcurrent forces.

Detailing and construction of a steel frame structure on a very difficult site.

6 Designing with Multipanel Trusses.

Various methods of analysis for multipanel trusses.

Common truss configurations and their uses.

Developing and refining the form of complex trusses based upon forces and connections.

Detailing and construction of a building with heavy timber trusses.

7 Designing a Fanlike Roof.

Extending graphical truss analysis to design fanlike structures both compressive and tensile (cable-stayed).

Finding good forms and member forces for cable-stayed, fanlike, and treelike structures.

Design and detailing issues using steel tube construction.

8 Designing Unreinforced Masonry (John A. Ochsendorf and Philippe Block).

Understanding, designing, and detailing traditional unreinforced masonry.

Stability of masonry vaults with ties, engaged and flying buttresses.

Load tracing and kerns.

Graphical analysis of arches of predetermined shape.

Design and formal vocabulary of funicular masonry arches and vaults.

9 Master Lesson: Designing a Concrete Shell Roof for a Grandstand.

Equilibrium in three dimensions of a composite structure; combining funicular vaults and trusses.

Architectural and engineering interactions in designing forms and construction processes.

Working in SI (metric) units.

10 Designing Efficient Trusses.

Reversing the graphical process to synthesize shapes of constant-force trusses and arches.

Rapid assessment of truss efficiency by comparing force polygons.

Typical forms of constant-force trusses.

11 Designing Restraints for Funicular Structures.

Tensile and compressive strategies of restraint to resist change of shape.

Effects of unbalanced loads on structures.

12 Designing Shell and Membrane Structures (Michael H. Ramage).

Form-finding techniques applied to shell, tent, pneumatic, and membrane structures.

Material constraints and opportunities.

Detailing lightweight structures.

13 Structural Materials.

Granular materials.

Solid materials.

How materials break.

Transmission of forces in solid materials.

Characteristics of a good structural material.

Common structural materials.

Concepts of stress and strain.

Factors of safety.

14 Master Lesson: Designing with the Flow of Forces.

Trajectories of principal stresses.

Strut-and-tie modeling; truss modeling.

Three patterns of force flow; applications of basic patterns to any structural element.

Use of graphical truss solutions to find forces in truss models.

15 Designing a Bay of Framing.

Configuring building frames in three dimensions; laying out a framing plan.

Understanding bays, decking, joists, beams, girders, slabs, columns, and framing materials.

Load tracing for gravity and lateral loads.

Bracing to resist lateral loads.

Criteria influencing design of bays in very tall buildings where lateral loads predominate.

Integration with vertical transportation, life safety and egress planning, mechanical systems.

16 Bending Actions on Beams.

Analysis of external load patterns on structures; quantifying and simplifying external loadings.

Bending moments and vertical forces.

V and M diagrams; relationship to force polygons and funicular polygons.

Graphical and semigraphical constructions.

17 How Beams Resist Bending.

Resistance mechanisms of beams.

Lattice pattern of flow of forces.

Deflection calculations.

Development of mathematical expressions for bending stresses and web stresses in rectangular beams.

Designing bays of wood framing.

18 Bending Resistance in Beams of Any Shape.

Properties of complex cross-sectional shapes.

Moment of inertia.

Composite action.

Designing bays of steel framing.

19 Designing Columns, Frames, and Load-Bearing Walls.

Types of columns: short, intermediate, long; buckling and deflection.

Designing column restraints; designing optimum forms for columns.

Load-bearing walls.

Portal frames, hinges.

Architectural and historical expressions of columns.

20 Designing a Sitecast Concrete Building.

Composite action of steel and concrete in concrete beams, slabs, and columns.

Selection and design criteria for reinforced concrete framing.

Opportunities and constraints for slab openings.

Relationship of structural system to program.

Designing bays of reinforced concrete framing.

21 Master Lesson: Designing in Precast Concrete.

Multidisciplinary project design teams.

Medium-rise building planning and choice of framing systems.

Integration with life safety and egress planning.

Integration with mechanical and electrical services.

Designing with precast concrete framing elements.

22 Designing an Entrance Canopy.

Designing a constant force beam.

Deriving a beam profile from the bending moment diagram.

Assuring overall stability of an unusual structure.

Combined axial and bending stress in a beam.

Guidelines for shaping structures.

Afterword: Engineers and Architects.


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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2010

    A life-changing book! Get it and use it!

    This book is amazing and all structural engineers and architects, students included, should have this on their bookshelves. But more importantly than having it in your library is actually plunging into it and learning from it because if you learn these techniques they will completely transform the way you think about structural form and forces. I have been using this book in my classes, one class is taught to architecture students and the other to structural engineering students. The results have been astounding, the architecture students are empowered by the form finding tool of graphic statics and the engineers are thrilled by the beauty and logic of the force finding process. Both groups of students came up with dozens of elegant and efficient structures by linking the forces to the forms, and that is what I mean by "life changing". I find myself totally enthralled by this method and the power it unleashes. I have a PhD in structural engineering and I am a registered engineer in California and I have never been so excited about a technique as I am with this one. The book is clearly written, down to the level of having figures and text match up on the page so you don't have to flip pages to refer to a figure. Some exercises are straightforward, so much so that I taught them to 6th graders as an outreach exercise. Other sections are deeply connected to higher order theories and merit study from my graduate students. Many references are made to the giants of our profession who have used these techniques to design graceful and efficient structures. Yet the book manages to be all these things in a precise and clear manner. The authors really want you to understand each step thoroughly and they give you the tools needed to really understand important ideas about structural form.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2014

    highly recommend this book

    Great textbook for a studying architect.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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