Posted on 10/4/2013 12:32 PM by Grace Jeffers

Any substance arranged in a thin, open structure could be described as a lamella structure, for example the lace-like marrow found in the center of bones. In architecture, the term refers to a specific type of timber construction; originally developed by Fritz Zollinger in 1908, it was patented as the Zollinger-Bauweise in 1910 and was most commonly used between the World Wars when metal beams were cost prohibitive. The technique may be over a hundred years old, but the look has been adopted by contemporary design. 

Originally, lamella was used for barrel-vaulted roofs. Today, designers are taking advantage of the open framework, sinuous lines and lightweight feel for all different types of designs.

Nature Boardwalk at the Lincoln Park Zoo, by Studio Gang architects

Interior screen, designed by Luis Eslava Studio for LZF 

3D2real" exhibition stand with an irregular honeycomb MDF structure, created by five architecture students of the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK) at the University of Stuttgart. 

In a recent rehabilitation of an early twentieth century building in Ventura, California, the removal of a dropped ceiling revealed a pristine lamella roof from the 1940s. The owners are making this architectural treasure one of the focal points of their new interior design. Discovery Ventura will open for business in January 2014; design geeks will fixate on the lamella roof structure, while everyone else will go for what is being billed as “a complete social experience with bowling, cocktails and farm-to-table cuisine.”

The lamella roof at Discovery Ventura