Katena takes its name from the catenary curve - the shape of a chain suspended between 2 points - that has a natural visual sympathy with pneumatic forms. Gaudi exploited suspended chains when he designed the Sagrada Familia to create an organic architecture.

The catenary is also found in nature, one example being the curve of a filament of a spider’s web when laden with dew.

Entering the airlock provides the first encounter with the catenary as the airlock windows are in the form of the inverted catenary. Proceeding then to the first of the 3 dodecahedral domes the catenary makes its appearance as a motif generated by displaced seams. Catenary curves may be found elsewhere in the structure – altogether there are more than 100.

The Main Dome of Katena resembles a pineapple and has been likened to a Hindu temple from the inside. Its construction was particularly intricate with a fine mesh of riveted and sewn reinforcement defining the shape and over 200 colour highlights spiralling upward to a green finial.

Standard plan & dimensions

Katena photo gallery