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New 3D Formwork Technology Unveiled

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

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A double-curved concrete-shelled pavilion is now on display at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City, showing off a new 3D-knitted formwork developed by Zaha Hadid Architects and ETH Zurich called KnitCrete.

The Pavilion

The structure, named KnitCandela, was made using the new technology that allows for the creation of curved concrete structures without the need for molds.

Images: Zaha Hadid Architects

A double-curved concrete-shelled pavilion is now on display at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City, showing off a new 3D-knitted formwork developed by Zaha Hadid Architects and ETH Zurich called KnitCrete.

The structure is named after Spanish-Mexican architect and engineer Félix Candela.

“While Candela relied on combining hyperbolic paraboloid surfaces to produce reusable formworks leading to a reduction of construction waste, KnitCrete allows for the realization of a much wider range of anticlastic geometries,” Zaha Hadid Architects says on its website.

“With this cable-net and fabric formwork system, expressive, freeform concrete surfaces can now be constructed efficiently, without the need for complex molds.”

First, more than two miles of yarn was knitted into four strips of seamless, double-layered fabric between 49 and 85 feet using the digital fabrication technique in Switzerland. Once flown to Mexico City, the strips were suspended from a wooden frame using a tension cable-net system.

The structure, named KnitCandela, was made using the new technology that allows for the creation of curved concrete structures without the need for molds.

Then, 1,000 modelling balloons were inserted into the pocket between the two fabric layers until the desired shape was achieved.

The exterior was then coated with a special cement paste, which was applied by hand.

In total, the knitted fabric weighs about 55 pounds and the concrete shell weighs five tons.

Zaha Hadid Architects’ computation and design research group collaborated with ETH Zurich's Block Research Group to design and manufacture the system. Architecture Extrapolated managed the project's execution at the MUAC.

   

Tagged categories: Color + Design; concrete; Technology; Zaha Hadid

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