The entrance hall of the museum is a newly built dome with a height of 9.1m and a diameter of 12m. The construction scheme combined use of a local brick kiln with the latest masonry technology.
The Millet Vinegar Museum’s beautiful brick dome stands 147 brick courses high and punctured by three large arched openings.
While in some ways this may be seen as a traditional structure, the engineers’ approach to the design was evidently meticulous and bold.
The dome is in the highly seismic Shangdong Province area of China. The engineers were clearly resistant to the temptation to betray the pure brick form with steel or other ductile fixings. Instead, they relied on their confidence, borne of accurate and considered analysis and optimisation of the dome shape, to resist lateral forces.
Each layer of bricks was carefully planned and sequenced to avoid form work. Subtle rotation of the various courses of bricks achieved the decorative texture of the arched openings. The result is a splendid example of a project made both conceptually and aesthetical beautiful by an engineer’s skilled and sympathetic guiding hand.