One of the most important advantages of a space structure is its lightweight. This is mainly due to the fact that material is distributed spatially in such a way that the load transfer mechanism is primarily axial—tension or compression. Consequently, all material in any given element is utilized to its full extent. Furthermore, most space frames are now constructed with steel or aluminum, which decreases considerably their self-weight. This is especially important in the case of long-span roofs, which led to a number of notable examples of applications.
The units of space frames are usually mass produced in the factory so that they can take full advantage of the industrialized system of construction. Space frames can be built from simple prefabricated units, which are often of standard size and shape. Such units can be easily transported and rapidly assembled on site by semi-skilled labor. Consequently, space frames can be built at a lower cost.
A space frame is usually sufficiently stiff in spite of its lightness. This is due to its three-dimensional character and to the full participation of its constituent elements. Engineers appreciate the inherent rigidity and great stiffness of space frames and their exceptional ability to resist unsymmetrical or heavy concentrated load. Possessing greater rigidity, the space frame sallow also greater flexibility in layout and positioning of columns.
Space frames possess a versatility of shape and form and can utilize a standard module to generate various ﬂat space grids, latticed shell, or even free-form shapes. Architects appreciate the visual beauty and the impressive simplicity of lines in space frames. A trend is very noticeable in which the structural members are left exposed as a part of the architectural expression. Desire for openness for both visual impact as well as the ability to accommodate variable space requirements always calls for space frames as the most favorable solution.
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