The Reciprocal Frame
The Reciprocal Frame demonstrates the strength of interdependence.
Each beam gives support to the next in the array,
and receives support from its predecessor.
Any load applied is immediately shared by all the beams.
The frame may be constructed with 3 or more beams.
It can span up to 60 meters using Glulam timber beams.
The geometry of the array is interconnected and complex,
number of beams,
thickness of beams,
all interact and collectively determine the form of the array.
Engineering, architecture, project management,
construction, are all well developed,
tried and tested, on small and large scale.
by Peter Murray Chartered Engineer
The Reciprocal Frame system is fundamentally one of interaction and interdependence, a system which produces a combined capacity which exceeds the sum of the parts.
When an individual member is subjected to a local loading, this burden is distributed amongst all of the elements such that the load is dissipated and satisfactorily carried to the ground
The structural layout provides a unique balance and symmetry, but also one which emphasises the importance of the contribution made by each individual element.
As such, the Reciprocal Frame can be viewed as a reflection of how our world should work.
The connections between individual elements can be minimal and yet the ability for the whole to withstand excessive loads is astonishing. The system will not function without an adequate contribution from all parts - similarly we must all make our own small contribution for society to function as a whole.
The Reciprocal Frame emerges from a matrix of universal geometry. The design process is one of subtle listening to place, people, purpose and environment out of which arises the geometry appropriate to the individual project.
It can be embodied in the full spectrum of construction methods. These images show 2 of a series of 5 buildings timber frame Reciprocal Frame buildings created for a Woodland Burial Park at Colney near Norwich UK. This £1.2 million project was runner up in the EDP architectural competition to Richard Rodgers with his £60 million Civic Centre in Norwich and won a special award from the Council for the Protection of Rural England and the Norfolk design award in the same year.
These multifaceted designs were precisely drawn in CAD with panel drawings passed to a 3rd party manufacturer who produced modular walls and roof elements for swift erection of site. Whilst geometry is complex, with appropriate dimensional and manufacturing quality controls, all remains straightforward on site enabling a cost effective innovative design and building process.