Title:
Modular shelter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular shelter designed to partially or totally cover a ground area comprises a plurality of nested modules assembled with telescopic fitting by rotation around one and the same vertical axis, so as to vary between an extended position where the whole of said area is covered and a retracted position wherein all of the modules are housed in the module having the largest dimensions. Each module has a roof and a substantially vertical side wall. Each module comprises a rigid structure supporting filling panels and composed: of a parallel and horizontal bottom arch and top arch, of a plurality of uprights that extend between said bottom and top arches, of radial cross-members converging towards said vertical axis from the top arch.



Inventors:
De Laporte, Renaud (Meylan, FR)
Application Number:
11/481030
Publication Date:
02/08/2007
Filing Date:
07/06/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B7/16; E04B1/346
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BUCKLE JR, JAMES J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLIFF PLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
1. Modular shelter designed to partially or totally cover a ground area, comprising a plurality of nested modules assembled with telescopic fitting by rotation around one and the same vertical axis, so as to vary between an extended position where the whole of said area is covered and a retracted position wherein all of the modules are housed in the module having the largest dimensions, each module having a roof and a substantially vertical side wall, wherein each module comprises a rigid structure supporting filling panels and composed: of a parallel and horizontal bottom arch and top arch, of a plurality of uprights that extend between said bottom and top arches, of radial cross-members converging towards said vertical axis from the top arch.

2. Shelter according to claim 1, wherein the cross-members of one of the modules support a vertical shaft, at their free end, said shaft being situated at a distance from the ground and coinciding with the axis of rotation of the modules, the free ends of the cross-members of the other modules being mounted rotating freely on said shaft.

3. Shelter according to claim 1, wherein each filling panel of the roof of the modules is a portion of surface of revolution the axis whereof coincides with the axis of rotation of the modules, and the generating line whereof is a substantially horizontal straight line.

4. Shelter according to claim 1, wherein each filling panel of the side wall of the modules is a portion of surface of revolution the axis whereof coincides with the axis of rotation of the modules, and the generating line whereof is a substantially vertical straight line.

5. Shelter according to claim 1, wherein the module having the largest dimensions is fixed with respect to the ground and defines an angular sector of more than 90° in a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the modules.

6. Shelter according to claim 1, wherein each movable module is mounted sliding along a respective slide arranged on the ground and centered on the axis of rotation of the modules.

7. Shelter according to claim 1, wherein the filling panels of the roof of at least one module are made from a thermally insulating material.

8. Shelter according to claim 1, wherein at least one filling panel of the side wall of at least one module is made from a transparent or translucent material.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a modular shelter designed to partially or totally cover a ground area, comprising a plurality of nested modules assembled with telescopic fitting by rotation around one and the same vertical axis, so as to vary between an extended position where the whole of said area is covered and a retracted position wherein all of the modules are housed in the module having the largest dimensions, each module having a roof and a substantially vertical side wall.

STATE OF THE ART

This type of shelter is designed to temporarily protect an area of activity, such as for example a reception or eating place, or a swimming pool.

Dismountable shelters are known made up of a dismountable and tubular metal support structure on which a roof cover and side covers are fitted. Such shelters give full satisfaction as far as their function of protecting an area is concerned. However, the mounting and dismounting operations of such a shelter make the latter particularly unsuitable for a use involving frequent setting-up and taking-down operations, depending on the climatic conditions in particular.

The prior art provided a solution to this problem by proposing modular shelters implementation whereof is particularly well-suited for protecting outdoor pools, without it having to be considered that this is their sole possible application. Thus, modular shelters have already been imagined comprising two nested modules, one whereof is fixed and the other whereof is movable by rotation around a vertical axis. When the movable module is housed in the fixed module, the area is partially covered. By rotating the movable module, the area to be protected can be totally covered forming a closed volume.

Although this type of shelter enables protection of the area of activity to be adapted according to the climatic conditions without the shelter having to be dismantled, it does not give full satisfaction. In the known embodiments, each module is shaped as a revolution surface the axis whereof coincides with the axis of rotation of the movable module, and the generating line whereof is an arch. To achieve this, each module comprises a rigid structure composed of a plurality of arches joining at the top end thereof. The bottom ends of the arches are fixed and staggered along a base in the form of an arc of a circle, arranged parallel to the ground. The filling elements are panels generally made of polycarbonate shaped as a convex surface such that, at any point of said surface, it presents a curvature in all directions.

Manufacture of such a module is delicate and costly, as it requires the arches to be bent from straight sections. In addition, shaping of the panels often requires a prior step of pressing of said panels in a mold. If this is not the case, shaping of the panels is performed during assembly thereof in the arches, which is very delicate as the surface to be shaped is convex and complex.

As the panels are monoblock, transparent or at least translucent, the shelter presents a mediocre thermal insulation. In sunny weather, the greenhouse effect causes an uncomfortable temperature increase inside the shelter. In winter, the energy expenditure due to heat losses is considerable in order to maintain an acceptable temperature in the shelter.

Finally, on account of its shape, this type of shelter is not inhabitable over the whole area of activity. Near to the base, it is impossible for a person to stand up, and one is liable at any time to knock against an arch or a filling panel. Furthermore, the ratio between the inhabitable space and the total protected area is mediocre, and the shelter is moreover uncomfortable as it requires permanent attention for people.

To improve the thermal insulation and propose that the whole of the area of activity be inhabitable, the document GB1123791 proposes a shelter wherein each module comprises a roof and a substantially vertical side wall.

As each module is composed of a roof and a side wall, both of these elements can be manufactured with suitable materials. In particular, the roof can comprise a material guaranteeing a good thermal insulation, whereas the panels constituting the wall can incorporate a transparent or translucent material.

As the side wall is substantially vertical, it is possible to stand up near to the latter. The inhabitability is therefore improved as the whole of the area of activity is inhabitable.

Moreover, manufacture of such a module is simplified as shaping of the walls is made easier, the surface to be obtained being flat or corresponding to a portion of cylindrical or conical surface.

Nevertheless the shelter described in the document GB1123791 is not completely satisfactory. Each module is manufactured in a single part by molding a plastic material or a composite material, or by direct assembly of wooden or aluminum panels. In the case of manufacture by molding, as many molds as modules have to be provided, and manufacture of each module is long, costly and delicate. When the panels are assembled directly to one another, this assembly is very difficult to perform on site because the panels often have to be shaped simultaneously on site. If this is not the case, the panels are very bulky for transport and storage. Moreover the rigidity of the modules, and therefore of the shelter itself, is very limited.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

The object of the invention is to overcome these drawbacks by proposing a modular shelter that is simple and inexpensive to manufacture, that is easy to assemble, and that provides an enhanced rigidity.

This object is achieved by a shelter according to the appended claims.

It can easily be understood that manufacture of such a module is simplified as the filling panels are added-on to the sections forming the structure, which facilitates shaping thereof when assembly is performed. The panels can advantageously be flat during storage and transport. In addition the rigidity of the modules, and therefore of the shelter, is increased by the presence of the structure. The bottom and top arches are achieved by means of a bending operation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other advantages and features will become more clearly apparent from the following description of particular embodiments of the invention given as non-restrictive examples only and represented in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a modular shelter according to the invention, in the extended position,

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the modular shelter of FIG. 1, in the retracted position,

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the modular shelter of FIG. 1, in a partially extended position,

FIG. 4 is a schematic view of the pivoting link of the modules on one another.

DESCRIPTION OF PARTICULAR EMBODIMENTS

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the modular shelter 10 comprises a fixed module 11 and two movable modules 12 and 13. The shelter 10 is designed to cover an area of activity on the ground, such as for example a reception or eating place, or a swimming pool. The modules 11, 12, 13 are nested and assembled with telescopic fitting. To achieve this, the modules 12 and 13 are assembled rotating around one and the same vertical axis D, fixed in a reference frame linked to the ground. For example, the axis D can be supported by the fixed module 11. By rotation around the axis D, two adjoining modules 11, 12, 13 can slide with respect to one another. In the present case, the movable module 13 can slide in the movable module 12, which can slide in the fixed module 11. The modular shelter 10 can vary between an extended position (FIG. 2) where the whole of the area of activity to be protected is covered and a retracted position (FIG. 1) wherein the movable modules 12 and 13 are housed in the fixed module 11 which is here the module having the largest dimensions. Between these two positions, the modular shelter 10 can occupy all the intermediate opening positions to partially or totally cover the area of activity, in particular according to the climatic conditions. An example of a partially extended position is illustrated in FIG. 3. The total area that the modular shelter 10 can cover in the extended position is here partially covered. The ratio between the area actually covered and the potentially coverable area can vary by rotation of the movable modules 12 and 13.

Each module 11, 12, 13 comprises a roof, respectively referenced 111, 121, 131, and a side wall, respectively referenced 112, 122, 132. Each roof 111, 121, 131 is flat, i.e. a portion of surface of revolution the axis whereof coincides with the axis D and the generating line whereof is a horizontal straight line. Nevertheless, in other variants, the generating line can be a straight line substantially inclined with respect to the horizontal, i.e. it then extends upwards approaching the axis D so as to create a slope for rainwater to run off. Conventionally, the generating line is inclined at an angle of less than 10 degrees, for example 7 degrees, and the surface of revolution is then a portion of conical surface.

Furthermore, the side wall respectively 112, 122, 132 of each module 11, 12, 13 is a portion of cylindrical surface, i.e. a surface of revolution the axis whereof coincides with the axis D and the generating line whereof is a vertical straight line. Other variants can however be envisaged for aesthetic reasons, wherein the generating line is substantially inclined with respect to the vertical so that the side wall is a portion of truncated cone.

Each module 11, 12, 13 comprises a rigid structure composed of sections for example made of aluminum or plastic. The structure comprises two parallel horizontal arches, respectively referenced 113, 123, 133 for the modules 11, 12, 13, achieved by a bending operation of a straight section, an operation which is easy to perform and gives the structure a good rigidity by limiting the possibilities of deformation of the arches 113, 123, 133. For each module 11, 12, 13, the indexes “a” and “b” are used to distinguish and respectively indicate the bottom and top arches. Between the bottom arches 113a, 123a, 133a and the top arches 113b, 123b, 133b there extend a plurality of uprights respectively referenced 114, 124, 134 for the modules 11, 12, 13. The rigid structure in addition comprises a plurality of overhanging radial cross-members respectively referenced 115, 125, 135 for the modules 11, 12, 13. The cross-members 115, 125, 135 extend horizontally from the corresponding top arch 113b, 123b, 133b. Each cross-member 115, 125, 135 extends in the extension of an upright 114, 124, 134, so that all of the cross-members 115, 125, 135 of one and the same module 11, 12, 13 are convergent at a point belonging to the axis D. In the case where the roofs 111, 121, 131 are portions of conical surface, the cross-members 115, 125, 135 are inclined in the same way as the generating line of said conical surface.

To simplify manufacture, storage and assembly of the modular shelter 10, the cross-members 115, 125 and 135 of any one module 11, 12, 13 are arranged angularly with a predetermined angular offset. The filling panels, respectively referenced 116, 126, 136 for the roofs 111, 121, 131, are advantageously all identical for any one module 11, 12, 13. The same is the case for the filling panels respectively referenced 117, 127, 137 for the side walls 112, 122, 132. Each filling panel 116, 126, 136 of the roof 111, 121, 131 of the modules 11, 12, 13 is a portion of surface of revolution the axis whereof coincides with the axis of rotation D of the modules 11, 12, 13, and the generating line whereof is a substantially horizontal straight line. Likewise, each filling panel 117, 127, 137 of the side walls 112, 122, 132 of the modules 11, 12, 13 is a portion of surface of revolution the axis whereof coincides with the axis of rotation D of the modules, and the generating line whereof is a substantially vertical straight line.

The planes, cylinders or cones are developable surfaces. These simple geometric elements can therefore be obtained by folding a flat pattern. Shaping of the filling panels 116, 126, 136 of the roofs 111, 121, 131 and those 117, 127, 137 of the side walls 112, 122, 132 is simple.

In advantageous manner, the filling panels 116, 126, 136 of the roof 111, 121, 131 of at least one module 11, 12, 13 is made from a thermally insulating material. In other variants, the ideal material comes in the form of a layer added onto the top face of the filling panels 116, 126, 136. Other materials can be used such as transparent or translucent materials like glass or polycarbonate. The latter type of material is also particularly well-suited for manufacturing the filling panels 117, 127, 137 of the side walls 112, 122, 132.

To facilitate rotation thereof, each movable module 12, 13 can be mounted sliding along a respective slide (not illustrated) arranged on the ground and centered on the axis D. The slides can nevertheless be incorporated in the fixed module 11 without departing from the scope of the invention. In certain alternative embodiments, all the modules 11, 12, 13 are movable with respect to the ground, being mounted sliding along concentric slides arranged on the ground.

The modular shelter 10 covers an area of activity in the shape of a disk and delimits a closed volume in the extended position. Other non-represented alternative embodiments can however delimit an open volume in the extended position, i.e. they then cover a ground area corresponding to an angular sector of less than 360 degrees of the total disk. For example, this arrangement is applied when the modular shelter 10 is located against a wall. Finally, the number of movable modules 12, 13 can be variable without departing from the scope of the invention. In a preferred alternative embodiment, the module 11 with the largest dimensions defines a total angular sector of more than 90° in a plane perpendicular to the axis D of rotation of the modules 11, 12, 13. This configuration gives the shelter 10 a very great stability and strength. The angular sector defined by each module 11, 12, 13 corresponds to the sum of the angular offsets between the cross-members 115, 125, 135 of this module.

The link between the elements of the rigid structure is advantageously removable. The same is the case for the link between the filling panels 116, 126, 136, 117, 127, 137 and said structure. This results in the modular shelter 10 being dismountable. The above-mentioned links can be of any suitable type. In addition, the gap separating two adjoining modules 11, 12, 13 can be partially filled by sealing and insulating means, the friction surface whereof is radially fixed so as to guarantee efficient tightness, such as for example brushes extending in the direction of the inside of said gap.

With reference to the figures, the modular shelter 10 comprises a protective housing 14 containing the pivoting link enabling the modules 11, 12, 13 to pivot on one another. For this purpose, the cross-members 115 of the module 11 support a vertical shaft 15, at their free end, said shaft 15 being situated at a distance from the ground and coinciding with the axis D of rotation of the modules 11, 12, 13. The shaft 15 extends downwards, i.e. in the direction of the ground. The cross-members 125, 135 of the modules 12, 13 are mounted rotating freely on said vertical shaft 15 which itself supports two bearings 16 and 17 the outside rings whereof are respectively linked to the free ends of the cross-members 125 of the module 12 and of the cross-members 135 of the module 13. The vertical shaft 15 materializes the axis D. A stop 18 is inserted at the distal end of the shaft 15 to ensure that the bearings 16 and 17 are fitted correctly, which bearings can be separated by a spacer, not represented. The stop 18 can be removable to enable the assembly to be easily fitted. However, the pivoting link between the modules 11, 12, 13 can naturally be achieved by any equivalent means. This configuration means that all the space inside the shelter 10 is made available, there being no central support post in the center of the covered area or the area to be covered.

Finally, the foregoing description is merely an illustration of a particular example of an embodiment of a modular shelter according to the invention, in no way restrictive as to the scope of the invention. For example, the roofs 111, 121, 131 and side walls 112, 122, 132 can present complex shapes composed of an arrangement of planes, cylinders and cones without these alternative embodiments departing from the scope of the invention. The cross-members 115, 125, 135 and uprights 114, 124, 134 are composed of a plurality of straight sections presenting an angle between them.





 
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