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Reciprocal Shades is a structure designed and built by University of Michigan doctoral student Omid Oliyan Torghabehi. Omid installed the structure in June 2018.

It’s now on display on “Mt. Matthaei” in front of the Botanical Gardens main entrance. Reciprocal Shades is a research project whose design is based on the historical reciprocal frame structure construction method. The principal of structural reciprocity is based on the three-dimensional assembly of load-bearing members that mutually support each other along their span and create a self-supporting spatial configuration which can extend multiple times the length of members.

Rooted in Chinese Song dynasty (960-1276) wooden bridge building, this concept was introduced to the west through the sketches of Leonardo Da Vinci and the works of Italian Renaissance architect Sebatiano Serlio in the fifteenth century.

Through digital modelling and digital fabrication applications, this research studies the potential of adapting reciprocal frames to create new lightweight material configurations as multi-performance architectural systems.

It looks pretty cool too! Reciprocal Shades will be up at Matthaei for at least 6 months.