Structures of Warped Surfaces – Eduardo F. Catalano, 1960
Plans and views of two structures obtained by combining eighteen units within an hexagonal plan. Upper: Structure within a peripheric horizontal edge. Lower: Structure with inclined peripheric edges, resting on twelve supports and with its central vertex raised.
Section of a structure originated by the combination of sixteen units resting on four supports recessed from the horizontal edges.
Plan, view and elevation of a structure based upon a combination of four structural units. Lower: This structure rests on sixteen supports.
Plan, view and diagonal section of a structure obtained by combining eight units. It combines each set of units within a triangular plan.
Structure originated by combining eight units around a central support.
Upper: Photograph taken from engraving of a structure originated by the combination of twelve units with four supports recessed from the straight horizontal edge. It presents a high space at the center and a low one around the periphery. Lower: Elevation of a structure obtained by combining twelve units. It is developed within a square plan and with straight horizontal peripheric edges.
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Above you will find a sample of exquisite three dimensional renderings from the 1960 publication Structures of Warped Surfaces: Combinations of Units of Hyberbolic Paraboloids by notable Argentine architect Eduardo Catalano (1917–2010). The drawings are by Gloria Catalano. The book of text and black and white color plates is a student publication of the School of Design at North Carolina State University in Raleigh where Mr. Catalano served as a founding member of the design school and professor of architecture from 1951 to 1956. Prior to his teaching position at NCSU, he taught at the Architectural Association in London. Following his stint at North Carolina, Mr. Catalano taught at MIT in their graduate program until 1977.
The hyperbolic paraboloid roof forms in these renderings mirror his most well known structure, the 1954 Catalano House—a home hailed in the 1950s as the “House of the Decade” by House and Home Magazine—which grievously was destroyed in 2001.
The roof of the house, a curved structure that is built from straight elements (tongue and groove boarding) evolved from his studies on geometric and structural properties of hyperbolic paraboloids. These studies, which included testing of new materials like aluminum and thin-shell concrete, were published by NCSU School of Design in Structures of Warped Surfaces.
Other buildings designed by Catalano include the US embassies in Buenos Aires, Argentina and in Pretoria, South Africa; the Juilliard School of Music at New York City’s Lincoln Center; Guilford County Courthouse in Greensboro, North Carolina; and the Stratton Student Center at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
(Originally published on AQ-V in 2011)