Flex-Shell Core Architecture

 


Flex-Shell Architecture, short for Flex Shell Core Monolith Architecture, is a low-cost and extremely long lasting construction method for sturdy, fireproof, waterproof, tornado-safe and earthquake-safe homes and buildings.

Flex-Shell emphasizes a high-strength shell and precision control contour framing system that allows the core sheltering elements of a building, the Insulating Structural-Sandwich Roof, the Flex-Shell Cantilevered Awning and Flex-Shell Funnel Columns, to be fluidly blended together, with curvilinear organic form, into a singular and sturdy, but flexible, Flex-ShellCore Monolith Pavilion.This Flex-Shell Core Monolith Pavilionis  prudently integrated into the natural drainage, geology, ecology and all relevant circumstances using curvilinear Flex-Shell Retaining Walls. These walls terrace level places into the landscape with minimal disruption and function to reverse erosion by building soil and supporting diverse soil-stabilizing  fauna while creating Sheltered Low-Maintenance Gardens that bank run-off water.   This sustains long term stability by protecting the entire building area from flood damage long into the future.

A Thin-Shell Flat Slab is placed inside the terraced flat area that includes the interior of the building but the slab extends further, to include the sheltered area under the Cantilevered Flex-Shell Awning.   The entry walls, that contain the doors, windows, electrical, plumbing  are then simply built on the flat slab without complex tie-in issues and keyed into and sealed into the rounded profile of the column so the walls cannot fall inward or outward during a strong quake or tornado. 

The entry walls are free to be made from other materials and express personal preference and individuality because they are easily built under shelter and are also easy because the construction is simple because it is isolated from complex structural, and structural tie-in, issues.  

The technology is customized for easy-access for first time home-owner builders and professional builders who are willing to bravely explore the innovations that will fly us far into future.

These buildings demonstrate the long-term stability advantages by:  

  1. Using a Shell Material that is extremely durable; a reactive powder mortar plaster shell, that is easy to hand apply because of a special closed-cell foam (foamed concrete) additive, and results in shell that is very tough, self-healing, impact damage resistant, water-proof and invulnerable to chemical expansion damage, such as ice and rust damage.
  2.  Using a fast, sturdy, light steel, Flex-Shell Framing that provides ideal surface shell reinforcing, no-slip triangular steel wire reinforcing, and allows precise control, exploration, and fluid blending of complex curvilinear shapes.  Funnel Columns, Cantilevered Curled-Edge Awnings, and Insulating Stress-Skin Roofs are only some of the flex-stable forms that are precisely expressed and smoothly blended.
  3.  Building a single-shape Flex-Shell Core Monolith Pavilion shelter that is a solid flex-stable core of the finished building that transfers bending strains during an earthquake or tornado to the larger whole. This prevents damage while sheltering the entry walls and anchoring them in place, so that they can also shift under strain but not fall or move out of position.
  4. Integrating leveled spaces into the natural drainage, geology, and ecology, while using the same high-strength shell material for thinner, lower-cost Flex-Shell Retaining Walls and for sheltered runoff gardens.

The initial form, the Flex-Shell core monolith pavilion, is integrated into the environment with minimal disruption using the same high-strength shells for flex-shell retaining walls. Click here to learn about permits and codes. 

The Flex-Shell core monolith pavilion shape is unique for each building environment but mainly consist of funnel-shaped columns that support a broad, double-shell structural-sandwich roof, which provides enough thickness for proper insulation requirements for each specific building climate, and a single-shell cantilevered awning that has a fluid curvilinear shape that shelters the entry walls below. This integral awning design provides an important stabilizing effect for the entire building while safely channeling roof runoff and creating protected roof garden areas.

The Flex-Shell Core is first formed with a light steel Flex-Shell framing designed for precision control of complex curves and optimum reinforcing.

A tough but thin shell mix is then applied that is made from an Ultra High Strength Reactive Powder Concrete (RPC) plaster mortar.

Finally, a light, insulating fill of cellular concrete is pumped in or, gravel, rubble and recycled/landfill diverted material, or any combo, is placed inside the roof, columns, and walls, around the light-steel truss framing, between the structural-sandwich surface shells, for insulation and thermal mass.

Between the entry walls and the Flex-Shell core monolith pavilion there is a tight weather seal along the edges in between but they are not mechanically bonded.  This allows the main structure and walls to shift and move independently without damage when enduring tremendous bending strains such as those encountered during earthquakes or tornadoes.  The two phases simplifies the construction by separating structural issues from entry wall issues.

Related Alternative Methods for heating, cooling, water, plumbing and electricity are encouraged with this building system. The pavilion can divert roof water into insulated cisterns, which can be used to store solar heat and heat the home with radiant floor heating. The walls are thick so battery banks for off-grid electrical is made easier. There are very clean dry compost systems and dry compost toilets, that will really help conserve water while being just as convenient and low maintenance as septic tanks or tie-ins to city infrastructure. Cultivating and being independent is important so be open to new technologies that provide independence from centralized systems that are vulnerable to complete failure, like the electric grid.

Although Flex-Shell Core Architecture might seem wild and exotic with its flowing curves, the finished look can express many styles and the fluid shaping has a soft natural and quiet feel that is less jarring than abstract rectilinear geometry. It establishes a connection with the natural circumstance in an authentic, yet subtle way that is neither ostentatious or hiding meaningful connection with an abstract modernistic style.   Through enduring form the buildings quietly tell a story of self reliance, enduring estate, inclusion, tolerance and respect for nature as a way to restore our place in harmony with each other and our world.

Building with response and awareness to the natural surrounding conditions is no longer cost prohibitive. Doing so naturally supports our independence, freedom, and well being.   

As we realize ourselves in context to the interconnected whole, we can discover a less obscured perspective of self that is no longer too preoccupied with rushing along chasing some elusive goal that may not satisfy or reveal how we can fit properly into the whole of the world with welcomed belonging. We can support a world that will support us in return, especially when considering the long term and the importance of effective micro-farming with sheltered gardens and solid enduring estate.  We can remember ourselves as ones capable of seeing, feeling, responding, being stewards of the land, the environment, our future, and our kids.