Skip over navigation

Pre-cast Concrete Shell by Serguei Bagrianski Completed!

Serguei Bagrianski completed his large-scale prototype of a segmental concrete shell on November 23, 2012. This project, currently located in the EQuad courtyard, is the realization of a methodology he developed while completing his Masters degree under the supervision of Professor Sigrid Adriaenssens. Serguei’s Spring 2012 Masters’ thesis, A Segmental Approach to Thin Shell Concrete Structures, is an attempt to reinvent thin shell concrete construction. Despite the works of past structural artists Pier Luigi Nervi, Félix Candela, and Heinz Isler, concrete shells have declined in popularity over the last several decades. A significant factor in the demise of the concrete shell is the stereotypically large labor cost associated with the erection of falsework for the pouring of concrete. 

The concept for a segmental concrete shell constructed concentrically outward originated as Serguei's undergraduate thesis at the University of Toronto under Princeton CEE Alumni Professor Paul Gauvreau, an expert in segmental concrete bridges. Serguei chose to attend Princeton University as it was one of the very few remaining institutions to offer funding for thin shell research. He worked under Professor Adriaenssens’s supervision to produce a new triangular element for the accurate form-finding of concrete shells and then collaborated with PhD candidate Allison Halpern to develop a length prescription algorithm. Prescribing certain dimensions during the form-finding process permitted Serguei to cast all 256 elements of his 15 ft x 15 ft span and ½” thick UHPFRC shell using a set of 16 adjustable, standardized casting cells.

Serguei would also like to acknowledge Bob Kennedy and Joe Vocaturo for their help throughout the construction process; Allison Halpern for her support in all aspects of the project; Ted Zoli for his advice and his donation from his MacArthur Grant; Alex Jordan for his assistance in moving segments for curing; Professors Scherer, Prevost, and Glisic for their consultations and advice; BASF, Bekaert, US Silica, and Elkem for their material donations; and CEE colleagues and staff for their support and interest.\

Make sure you go and see it!