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Structural design, digital fabrication and construction of the cable-net and knitted formwork of the KnitCandela concrete shell

Popescu M., Rippmann M., Liew A., Reiter L., Flatt R.J., Van Mele T. and Block P.
Structures
2020

This paper describes the structural design, digital fabrication and construction of KnitCandela, a free-form, concrete waffle shell with KnitCrete, a falsework-less formwork approach using a custom prefabricated knitted textile as a multi-functional, structural shuttering layer and a form-found cable net as the main load-bearing formwork. The digitally designed and fabricated textile provided integrated features for inserting and guiding elements such as cables and inflatables that helped shape the sophisticated mould.With a total weight of only 55kg, the 50m2 formwork was easy and compact to transport. On site, the formwork was tensioned into a timber and steel rig, the pockets were inflated and then coated with a thin layer of custom-developed, fast-setting cement paste. This paste served as a first stiffening layer for the textile, minimising the formwork’s deformations during further concrete application. Fibre-reinforced concrete was manually applied onto the formwork to realise a 3cm-thick shell with 4cm-deep rib stiffeners.The novel approach, for the first time applied at architectural scale in this project, enables the building of bespoke, doubly-curved geometries in concrete, with a fast construction time and minimal waste, while also reducing the cost and labour of manufacturing complex parts.

BibTeX

@article{Popescu2020,
    author  = "Popescu, M. and Rippmann, M. and Liew, A. and Reiter, L. and Flatt, R.J. and Van Mele, T. and Block, P.",
    title   = "Structural design, digital fabrication and construction of the cable-net and knitted formwork of the KnitCandela concrete shell",
    journal = "Structures",
    year    = "2020",
    volume  = "",
    number  = "",
    pages   = "",
    month   = "",
    doi     = "",
    note    = "accepted for publication",
}

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