A case for gridshell structures in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts

  • Thomas Imhoff United States Naval Academy
  • Samar Malek United States Naval Academy
Keywords: Humanitarian assistance, Disaster relief, Shelter, Gridshells, Parametric studies, Bracing, Buckling


This article focuses on the core concerns of shelter and settlement, and more specifically will focus on large-span shelters in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) efforts. Furthermore, this article will introduce the audience to novel large-span structures called gridshells. This paper presents a parametric, computational study that quantifies the efficacy of bracing orientation and arrangement on the load carrying capacity of gridshells. The varied parameters include the grid density (“16 by 16” to “30 by 30”) and the bracing scheme (unbraced, continuous fully-braced, discontinuous fully-braced, continuous half-braced, and discontinuous half-braced). Four load cases were analyzed, namely a symmetric distributed load, an asymmetric distributed load, a centered point load, and an off-centered point load. The results of study provide designers with trends and basic design options upon which they can base further analysis depending on the requirements of the final structure.

Author Biography

Samar Malek, United States Naval Academy

Mechanical Engineering Department, Associate Professor