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Cardboard Structures

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Architect Shigeru Ban is known around the world for his cardboard structures. Octatube have collaborated with him several times on the creation of his cardboard tube buildings, in projects involving the building of a theatre, a sculpture and a bridge.

Despite the temporary nature of these projects, they continue to be rebuilt and reused at different locations. Octatube’s main contribution to the technology of the cardboard tube structures is the pre-tensioning of the tubes using an internal 10 mm tensioning rod. This dispenses with the requirement for bolted connections to the tube ends. Octatube have made great steps in the development of cardboard tube construction in recent years, and we now see a bright future for standardised space frame structures as well as free forms using this material. In both cases it is clear that cardboard must be both more environmentally friendly as well as more economical than steel.

Sustainable cardboard space frame
The Ring Pass Hockey & Tennis Club in Delft completed construction of a multifunctional extension during 2010. As well as being used by the sports club the extension is also used for conferences and houses a school homework club and a childcare facility. The extension makes use of a space frame constructed from cardboard tubes and recycled steel spheres (Tuballs). Steel columns carry the cardboard latticework. With the building of the new extension Octatube have completed the first example of a permanent cardboard tube structure. The structure meets all current requirements for permanent buildings.

Continuous improvement
It is important for the lifespan of the cardboard components that the ingress of moisture is prevented. Octatube therefore incorporated a layer of polyethylene just below the outermost layer of cardboard. A rubber sealing gasket was also installed between the tube and its flange. Octatube applied a variety of surface protection treatments to different parts of the Ring Pass building. The building will now be monitored to determine which alternative gives the best results. Octatube are looking for methods that would do away with the requirement for the layer of polyethylene. That would make the tubes simpler to recycle, a major step towards sustainability.
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