Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Cupolas by Martin Rajniš
February 11th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Martin Rajniš
Cupolas are an experimental project to verify the structural possibilities of the cupola and methods of enveloping it. The saga began in the summer of 2011, when we built the first cupola in the meadows at Maxov. It is a variation on the tried-and-tested hollow stack system, only the components are joined with screws. It is beautiful. Cross-country skiers ran through it in winter. We decided to give it a dress of ice. Frozen water created beautiful shapes on the thin latticework, and so the first envelope version saw the light of day.
In the spring of 2012, we built a 1:2 clone of the Maxov cupola with American students in the middle of the campus of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The cupola worked excellently as a teaching aid. So well, in fact, that the Brno Cupola was built a few months later, in the summer of 2012. It was erected by students of the Brno University of Technology Faculty of Architecture, and we began to experiment with the construction again. We modified the shape: made it taller, like a wild bees’ nest. Inside, we stretched the first experimental roof made of transparent plastic sheet drained into a wooden gutter at the centre. We thus connected the cupola experiment with the sheet experiment, which has been in progress for several years. It works superbly and costs next to nothing.
The autumn of 2012. We returned to the 1:1 scale and exposed our cupolas to live operational testing. We built 3 big cupolas in the wild, by the ski lifts at Králičák, below Moravský Sněžník. Two are used as a bar, the third by a skiing school. Moreover, we continued our workshop concept, and were assisted in the building process by architecture students from Liberec and Prague. A solid plank floor, a transparent plastic sheet roof inside, and an umbrella over the cupola. Batches of snow, crowds of people. Cold, wind, water in all their forms outside. People, beer, tea, grog and skis inside. David Kubík extended one of them with an oblong plastic greenhouse with seating alongside the skating rink. Live testing means live indeed. The snow melted and skiers were replaced by cyclists and hikers. The experiment is still running and more cupolas are being prepared slowly.
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