Academic: Harvard Graduate School of Design
Collaborators: Alex Shelly, Hal Weurtz, Laura Haak
We had a hunch: with the right approach, we could use fabric (which is affordable, readily available, and easily transportable) as a flexible formwork for concrete. Theoretically, this would allow complicated yet structurally sound structures to be made without the added waste and expense of traditional formwork.
We first created a reusable mold, fashioned out of plywood and stretched string. Using this mold, we then added two layers of fabric with a pocket into which we would pour the liquid concrete.
From there, we experimented with different fabric manipulations. We tested whether adding pleats, puckers, and quilting to the fabric could translate to a more rigid, thin, and beautiful concrete shell.
In the end, we discovered that quilting the fabric created inherent tie backs and offered the thinnest shell, the most economical use of materials, and the most beautiful form.