Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019 - 9

Knitted formwork:
concrete advantages

A

striking, double-curved pavilion recently on exhibit at the Museo
Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City showcased an
experiment with the materials and processes used in construction.
The installation was framed using a knit textile that supports its thin
concrete structure.
Dubbed KnitCandela, the piece is a tribute to Spanish-Mexican
architect and engineer FĂ©lix Candela, who was known for creating
magnificent curved structures out of concrete. KnitCandela is the
brainchild of Zaha Hadid Architects' computational design research
group, which is known for innovation in design and construction
technology. It was developed in partnership with Block Research
Group of ETH Zurich and Architecture Extrapolated.
What makes KnitCandela unique is its support structure or
formwork. Block Research Group created it out of four strips of
seamless, double-layered fabric using a flatbed knitting machine.
The strips, measuring from 49.2 to 85.3 feet in length, have a colorful
pattern on the front, and the backside includes features for inserting,
guiding and controlling the position of additional formwork elements.
Ultralightweight, the entire formwork was delivered to Mexico from
Switzerland in two suitcases.
The 13-foot high by 19-foot square structure was built by
pouring concrete into a temporary mold. It was stretched between
KnitCandela's temporary boundary frame, then sprayed with a
thin layer of cement to create a rigid surface that was supported
by additional falsework elements such as a tensioned cable-net or
bending-active splines. Once the exterior layer hardened, it was
covered with fiber-reinforced concrete. Weighing just 122 pounds,
the knitted framework supports the 11,023-pound concrete structure.
For more information, visit www.zaha-hadid.com.

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Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019

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