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29. April 2010

Modern living beneath a historic steel roof

The gasometer in Berlin's Fichtestrasse, also known as the "Fichte bunker", has witnessed a thing or two. Built in 1874, it is the only remaining intact gasometer in the city. The building is covered by a Schwedler dome – only supporting a small load due to its favorable geometric properties and thus a very fine supporting structure. Named for its inventor, Johann Wilhelm Schwedler, this cupola spans 56 m and is 12.5 m high. With its arches and joints comprising 32 radial steel girders, cross braces and diagonally interlaced tie rods this roof design was a technical masterpiece at the time. As part of the reconstruction work, the old riveted roof construction has been exposed, the rust removed and given a new coating of durable corrosion protection. Even after over a century of exposure to the pollutant atmosphere in the city, the dome is completely load bearing and lends the new residential complex "Circlehouse" its unique charm.

 

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Read more about the Schwedler dome in "The History of the Theory of Structures" Chapter 8 "Member analysis conquers the third dimension: the spatial framework"...