Mathematical model of the laminated frame for a dome
On the basis of the little material available (an architecture plan and some photographs) a computer model is developed for a bullet shaped dome, part of the Belgian Congo pavilion, created by the architect Henry Lacoste for the International Colonial Exhibition of 1931 in Paris. The ingenious and elegant wooden skeleton of the dome is approximated in two stages. The first approximation focusses on the curves traced on the dome by the wooden laminae, which appear to be loxodromes, cutting the meridians by a constant angle. In a second approximation the very specific joints of the laminae are taken into consideration. The resulting computer image shows an astonishing resemblance with the photographs. Finally, the shapes and dimensions of all laminae are calculated, enabling a possible reconstruction of the dome.