Photo: Juan Pablo Allegre

Lightweight Flexible Formwork

Concrete is a commonly used material for building complex architectural shapes, as it can be moulded into any shape. This research aims at developing flexible textile formworks for expressive and efficient concrete structures that will eliminate traditional milled/cut formworks, and therefore save significant time, fabrication and material resources. Our ambition is to construct bespoke geometries more cheaply than standard systems and create efficient prefabrication solutions. We will develop deployable, lightweight textile formworks with integrated reinforcement that act together with the final (shell) structure. We aim to provide the methods and tools to design, analyse and build exciting and efficient geometries that can withstand loading sequences associated with concrete pours. This is only possible by solving complex form-finding problems, and integrating expertise from materials, structures, digital fabrication and robotic on-site manipulation. The research will stem from the state-of-the-art tensioned cable-net and fabric and spline-stiffened knitted formwork systems developed for the NEST HiLo shell and the KnitCandela demonstrator.