Thin-tile vault for the seventh World Urban Forum in Medellin

López López D., Domènech Rodríguez M., Brazo Ramí­rez J. and Block P.
Proceedings of the IASS-SLTE 2014 Symposium
Brasilia, Brazil

This paper presents a project designed and built for the Seventh World Urban Forum (WUF7) in Medellín, Colombia, commissioned by the Department of Habitat of the United Nations (UN-Habitat). The project is a “free-form” masonry shell, built using the technique of thin-tile vaulting (also known as Catalan or Guastavino vaulting). UN-Habitat intended this shell to be a demonstration for the technique’s efficiency, versatility, durability, sustainability and economy as an example to be exported to developing countries. The shell’s shape was designed using the form-finding software RhinoVAULT, which allows the design of compression-only surface structures. Special care was taken to integrate the vault in its surroundings, a park in an urban area of Medellín. It wanted to be visible, but at the same time also a natural part of its environs. The shell emerges from the earth to shape a new topography featuring a green roof that continues the park’s landscape, while showing a surprising brick-patterned interior, creating a warm, cozy space as a contrast to its exterior. The design process, structural analysis and production of an efficient falsework and the different processes related to the construction are also detailed in this paper.


    author    = "López López, D. and Domènech Rodríguez, M. and Brazo Ramí­rez, J. and Block P.",
    title     = "Thin-tile vault for the seventh World Urban Forum in Medellin ",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the IASS-SLTE 2014 Symposium",
    year      = "2014",
    editor    = "",
    volume    = "",
    number    = "",
    pages     = "",
    publisher = "",
    address   = "Brasilia, Brazil",
    month     = "",
    doi       = "",
    note      = "",

Related publications

There are no items.



ETH Zurich
Institute of Technology in Architecture
Block Research Group
Stefano-Franscini-Platz 1, HIB E 45
8093 Zurich, Switzerland

+41 44 633 38 35  phone
+41 44 633 10 53  fax

Copyright © 2009-2024 Block Research Group, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.