MSSM Associate, Michel Moukarzel has published his Masters thesis project titled, Tensegrity for Temporary Structures, in China based magazine, Urban Flux. His research examines the use of tensegrity structures as a fast deployment modular solution to address the various needs of displaced populations.
"When a catastrophe occurs, natural or manmade, the priority is to accommodate distressed people quietly and efficiently. Such situations could occur in areas of impaired accessibility where logistics are limited to man, mule power, and sometimes to helicopters. This raises the need to provide lightweight, flexible structures that are easy to transport, that can be adapted to the required conditions, and configured to sustain different functions.
The successive sequences of this thesis develop a construction system that provides optimal possibilities, allowing the higher ratio of space to weight of materials, easily workable fast mounting techniques, and variable forms and structures ranging from shelters, to community spaces, to bridges…
The need to organize a refugee camp is open to unpredictable configurations, as far as form and scale are concerned. The basic constructive unit should be a simple module that can be developed into various forms while retaining its stability and original characteristics. Two opposite poles determine the limits of such a concept: Simplicity on one side, and complexity on the other.
The aim of this thesis is to conceive an integral constructive procedure founded on a single unit and a development method. The development is assimilated to a geometric equation where changing a parameter is in itself morphogenetic while the system maintains its coherence in the relationship between form and structure. Comparatively, forms as found in nature bear such characteristics, the living cell as part of an organic system is an example. Other examples can be found in crystalline formations where the multiplication of a basic unit leads to different complex configurations. From the unit to the whole, structural continuity should be maintained; its systemic qualities should be applied along with the basic requirements for lightweight, efficient assemblies."