Historical Roundhouse created with Trimble’s help
Trimble’s Tekla Structural Designer has helped create an ambitious replica of a historical roundhouse, from approximately the mid 400s BC. The software was used in conjunction with Tekla Tedds to produce a modern interpretation of a 2,500-year-old template, which was 13m in diameter, nine metres high and constructed using various types of wood.
When archaeologists and volunteers from AOC Archaeology uncovered an Iron Age house, which included evidence of a hearth, flooring and structural timbers, the Whithorn Trust set about plans to build a full-scale reconstruction of their discoveries in Whithorn, Scotland. As such, the charity called upon a local structural engineer, Finite Engineering, to design the structure, which would be built on the chosen monument site.
Finite Engineering used Tekla Structural Designer to design and build the predominantly timber structure, thanks to its ability to pinpoint the ideal and exact location onsite where the structure should be built. Finite then utilised Tekla Tedds software in order to check and design the timber members of the model.
Andrew Morrow, Director at Finite Engineering Limited, designed the roundhouse and said: “The Whithorn Trust briefed us to create a replica of the original roundhouse, by using materials and structural forms based on the findings from a newly discovered woodland, which was just down the road from the chosen site for the roundhouse reconstruction. This project was a big task, as they wanted the roundhouse to look authentic by using the similar materials, but we also had to structurally engineer the new building in a way that it would obtain a building warrant approval.
“I used the Tekla Structural Designer software to create the 3D model of the roundhouse structure and calculate accurately the geometric intention from the details provided by the architect.”
Tekla Structural Designer gives engineers the power to analyse and design buildings efficiently and profitably, by creating physical, information-rich models. From scheme design all the way through to detailed design, one single model covers structural analysis and design requirements, encompassing both gravity and lateral systems.
Andrew continued: “One of the main factors we had to consider was the wind load of the structure. We used Tekla Structural Designer to work out the wind loading positioning on the site; it allowed me to complete a full wind analysis. The analysis tests the stability of the building and its ability to resist lateral wind loads. This was important as the client stipulated that they wanted no internal walls and also as few rafters as possible to extend to the ground, as such assessment of its lateral stability was paramount.
“The structure was complex and used a lot of timber, and as the charity wanted to build the roundhouse traditionally using as few nuts and bolts as possible, Tekla Structural Designer accommodated this as it allowed me to design the roundhouse in way that would be structurally stable without the many bolts usually required on a new build.” Largely created by local volunteers, with much of the materials having been donated by local landowners, the site is now a visitor attraction offering guided tours and is also being used as a prehistoric education resource and arts venue. The project also went on to win a Scottish Heritage Angel Award for Best Rescue, Recording or Interpretation of a Historic Place.