INHABITABLE SPACE FRAMES
The present invention relates generally to buildings; in particular, although not
exclusively, the invention relates to space frames that include inhabitable modules.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Space frames have been used for decades in various building applications, such as
large roof spans.  Space frames generally are lightweight, rigid, inexpensive, and strong
building components.  They generally require less building materials than alternative
technologies, as they are made from truss-like, interlocking struts.  Bending moments
can be resisted in space frames by using only tensile and compressive loads in each
strut.

Compared to space frames, traditional rectilinear structures are generally based on
hexahedral geometries, and the structural stability of such traditional structures requires
lateral supports such as buttresses, cross bracing, shear walls, and/or stiff,
moment-resisting joints.  These traditional structures have evolved from pre-historic
buildings that include post and beam supports to modern steel high-rise structures.  
However, as the height of such structures increases, costs can rise disproportionately
concerning general engineering, and concerning specific features such as seismically
resistant-cantilevered foundations and ductile frames that bend to absorb lateral forces.  
Thus financial, environmental, and space concerns can sometimes make such
structures inefficient and undesirable.

Modern space frame technologies also have some undesirable features. Generally, and
with few exceptions, they are based on equilateral geometry within which right triangular
faces are not possible.  For example, struts in conventional space frames present
sloping structural members within an equilateral tetrahedral geometry that present
significant headroom obstacles.  Such struts are often arranged in isotropic vector
matrices that are not amenable to supporting the hexahedral geometries (i.e., vertical
walls, horizontal floors and horizontal areas clear for human inhabitation beneath
ceilings) of conventional living spaces.  There is therefore a need for an improved space
frame geometry that overcomes the above-described problems of traditional rectilinear
structures and prior art space frame technology.  
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Some embodiments of the present invention define a space frame with non-equilateral
geometry so that there is at least one right triangular face within the tetrahedral modules
of its matrix, and or the space frame is designed and used for human inhabitation with
horizontal floors and vertical walls aligned with its members.  According to some
embodiments, when one edge of repeating right triangular faces within a space frame is
set horizontally level, the adjacent perpendicular edge of one or more right triangular
faces may be set vertically. This eliminates most interior headroom obstructions
resulting from sloping strut members within the space frame. The use of one or more
right triangular faces, or planes, within a repeating geometry of a vector matrix enables
the interior of a space frame to be inhabitable, with horizontal floors and vertical walls
aligned with its strut members.  Space frames according to some embodiments of the
present invention may also be described as “anisotropic”, “irregular”, “isosceles”, or
“scalene”, and such space frames are non-equilateral, including at least one right
triangular face, or plane, within their repeating tetrahedral modules.

In one form, although not necessarily the only or the broadest form, the invention resides
in an inhabitable space frame, comprising:

    a vector matrix of strut members that defines:
    a plurality of interconnected basic tetrahedral modules; and optionally
    a plurality of prime octahedral modules wherein at least a part of each prime
    octahedral module in the plurality of prime octahedral modules is adjacent to at
    least two of the basic tetrahedral modules.

Optionally, the vector matrix of strut members comprises strut members having only four
discrete, different lengths.

Optionally, the vector matrix of strut members comprises strut members having an
indefinite number of discrete, different lengths.

Optionally, the plurality of basic tetrahedral modules and the plurality of prime
octahedral modules define a plurality of floor areas, each at a different vertical level,
within, around and projecting from the exterior of a perimeter.

Optionally, the plurality of floor areas is suspended within an interior atrium of the space
frame.

Optionally, the inhabitable space frame supports an office or apartment building, a
retail/wholesale store, a hotel, an institutional building, an industrial building, an
agricultural building or a mega-structure supporting mixed-use projects.

Optionally, the inhabitable space frame is supported on footings having seismic
isolators.