Design team: Rodrigo Romero – Status: Completed –
A fun project was the Tridipanel Booth, built with Tridipanel, of course.
A Quick Intro to Tridipanel
Tridipanel is a building system that consists of modular panels that provide very high levels of insulation and structural integrity. The panels have a modified expanded polystyrene interior that is sandwiched between two layers of high gauge welded wire mesh. Panels are laid out and attached with high gauge wire, then plastered with shotcrete.
As you can see, the Tridipanel building system does not use very earth-friendly materials. They are toxic and are have a very high embodied energy. However, anything built with Tridipanel is built to last forever and can withstand earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, and fires. Also, the super insulating qualities of Tridipanel can be utilized to save a lot of energy throughout the building’s operating life. So, I believe that Tridipanel is a great building system if the building is properly designed (to save energy) and is meant to last forever (so no new waste is generated and no new materials are needed to replace a dilapidated building).
I have to point out that in order to save energy with Tridipanel, it is very important to have an appropriate design for the building to passively heat and cool. If designed right, with Tridipanel, a building can definitely be comfortable all year without the need for mechanical heating and cooling. However, if designed incorrectly, a Tridipanel building can end up wasting a lot more energy than a typical building.
Around the same time (2004) I designed the Tridipanel Booth, I was also working with Jim Elliott, a General Contractor specialized in Tridipanel in San Diego, and his crew, building a Tridipanel house in Alpine, CA. It was the middle of summer and temperatures were over 100F. However, once the walls and roof (all of Tridipanel) were placed, the interior of the house was cold! I did not design that house and I thought it was a shame that the house was not properly designed and oriented. You do NOT want to have to heat your building in the middle of the summer! Anyway, this is just a cautionary tale.
Jim Elliott, asked me to design a 10’x10′ booth to showcase Tridipanel’s versatility. The booth would be assembled at different trade shows for people to get introduced to the Tridipanel building system.
My tendency was to create an organic shape that would show how a rigid and straight panel can be used to create curved walls and roofs and not just square boxes. My concept was to try to create a rose-like feel out of Tridipanel.
From inside and near by, you can sense and feel the toughness of the system.
From far, you get a different sensation. Some (me 😛 ) may say it’s a bit rose-like.
Most importantly, my client loved the design. He literally danced of joy when I showed him the model (from the pictures above). He couldn’t wait to show it to everyone and to build the real thing. Then, at the trade shows, the booth attracted plenty of attention (and new leads), provided shade, space, and walls to display important information about the Tridipanel building system, which is what it was all about to begin with.