Eladio Dieste by Dieste, Eladio; Dieste, Eladio; Dieste, Eladio; Pedreschi,

By Dieste, Eladio; Dieste, Eladio; Dieste, Eladio; Pedreschi, Remo; Dieste, Eladio

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It is obvious from the competition drawings that to Rogers and Piano what was clearly important was that the front façade should be read as a transparent wall through which all of the main public circulation should both take place and be seen to take place. This was a cultural factory and should be seen to be so. Changing the structural system that had been proposed in the competition scheme was essential to achieve this. The outside face columns in Arups technical submission (Fig. 3) would read more strongly than they had been depicted and the idea of the transparent façade would be lost.

But even in the concrete elements there is much more than the shell roof structures to appreciate and inform. The beams over the entry staircase and concourse are reinforced concrete. But Utzon gave them care and attention as he did other parts of the project. 16 shows the ends of the beams as they project into the main space above the entry stairway. 7/6/01 13:20 Page 43 Photo: André Brown RIce Pages Fig. 16. The end section of Utzon’s ‘Moment Beam’. Like the compound beams that support the glazed walls these beams change along their length, responding to the different jobs that they have to do in different locations.

Cast steel was not completely new, but using this kind of analytical technique was. The consequence of using the gerberettes is not only that the outer face was lightened and the transparent outside layer thereby achieved. To Rice what was equally important was that the bearing, where the gerberette sits on the column, is relatively small. Because that joint occurs at what is such a visually powerful location it plays a major role in defining the scale at which the building is read. The result is that, despite the fact that the building is massive in overall size, it is legible at the human scale.

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