Research Output
Structural Design with Reclaimed Materials: an Elastic Gridshell out of Skis
  This paper presents the design and construction of a 36m² gridshell, the rigidity of which is achieved through the bending of an initially flat grid of 210 reclaimed skis. The generated waste for its production is near zero as it is mostly built from discarded material. Its construction process is such that it can be disassembled and reassembled multiple times without scaffolding and by means of traditional tools only. After a brief introduction on the need for reducing embodied carbon and waste in structures through reuse, the paper sets up the constraints that have driven the definition of the pavilion, the main one being the extension of the lifetime of high-performance sport equipment by reclaiming their intrinsic mechanical properties. The paper then details the encountered unusual aspects in the design process and how they have been overcome – i.e. sporadic material supply, categorization of mechanical properties, physical alteration of these properties, and uncertainties in the numerical modelling of both the structural analysis and the construction process. Eventually, we conclude that reclaimed skis as a material have the potential to be as good as conventional timber when designing elastic gridshells. A series of future directions for this emerging field of research are also laid out.

  • Date:

    31 December 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    HafenCity University Hamburg, International Association of Shell & Spatial Structures (IASS)

  • Library of Congress:

    TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    624 Civil engineering

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Colabella, S., D'Amico, B., Hoxha, E., & Fivet, C. (2017). Structural Design with Reclaimed Materials: an Elastic Gridshell out of Skis. In Proceedings of the IASS Annual Symposium 2017 “Interfaces:”



conceptual design, form finding, gridshell, active-bending structures, material reuse, design for disassembly, skis

Monthly Views:

Available Documents