Design of a multi-use, demountable, timber arena

A research in re-usable timber structures

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The goal of this thesis is to research multi-purpose, re-usable timber structures as a step towards sustainable construction. To reach it, the work was divided into four parts.
The project starts with an introduction explaining the motivations behind this work. It continues by grounding the problem in the context of major sports events. Indeed, the temporary quality of such manifestations, as well as their promotion of innovative solutions made it ideal for this study. Moreover, reviewing Olympic legacies showed the need for a structure capable to be re-used in different contexts.
The second part of the research englobes a literature review on two subjects. Exploring sustainable construction highlighted the main principles in environmentally friendly structural design. Life cycles assessments are identified as the main tool for evaluating the ecological performances and their process is therefore described. Moreover, reviewing existing LCA on timber constructions showed hotspots in the manufacturing of timber such as the importance of local sourcing.
Additionally, the second part examines existing work on designing for re-use. Multiple factors should be incorporated to ensure the re-usability of a construction. The most essential one, demountability was explored in length and a table showing the related design criterion, such as minimizing the number of different connectors, was devised. A review of existing constructions designed for re-use concludes this second part.
The third part applies the findings of the second to the selection of timber solutions. To narrow the possible products, the roof structure of an indoor arena is preselected for the case study. Locally sourced glue-laminated timber is chosen for its dimensional stability, whereas assemblies using glued-in rods and steel connectors show great versatility and are therefore preferred. Considering the structural system adapted for multi-purpose re-use, a truss was selected for the origin structure because of its inherent standardization. The third part is concluded by the development of a structural solution for the case study.
The fourth part concerns the design of the roof and façade structures of a badminton arena. To maximize re-use options, the structural elements are designed to be applicable to different contexts such as the main structure of a high school. The designed solution was finally assessed using the developed guidelines and an LCA-based study.
The study shows that multi-purpose re-use is a structurally feasible alternative. Indeed, through careful planning, and by using the developed guidelines, it is possible to re-use the structural elements from a 60-meter span roof in a 6.3-meter span high school with relatively high efficiency. Moreover, the environmental study, although superficial, showed a reduction in global warming potential of 60-90% depending on the re-use scenario compared with a one-off design.