KnitNervi: Lightness and tailored materiality for flexible concrete construction

Popescu M., Bodea S., Christidi N., Scheder-Bieschin L., Van Mele T. and Block P.
UCL Press

The significant impact of the construction sector on the environment demands a rethinking of design and construction practices towards more sustainable solutions. While reinforced concrete is the most widely used construction material due to its affordability and durable characteristics, its excessive use is a major contributor to global CO2 emissions and resource depletion. This paper describes the design, development and construction of the KnitNervi prototype which was built for the “Technoscape: The Architecture of Engineering” exhibition, which ran from October 2022 to April 2023 at the MAXXI Museum in Rome, Italy. The 56.6m2 pavilion structure pays homage to the work of P.L Nervi and his pioneering of approaches to engineering design and construction. The demonstrator was installed in the museum’s entrance piazza and celebrated expressive and efficient structures and the interdisciplinary co-development in architecture, engineering, and construction. The KnitNervi demonstrator reimagines the compression-only dome structure of the Palazzetto dello Sport as a funnel-shaped (concrete) skeleton with a droplet-shaped central support. The circular plan of the structure has a 9m outer diameter, 3.5m inner diameter and stands 3.3m tall. The main skeleton of the structure is made up of a diagrid of compressive prismatic ribs connected to boundary rings.


    author    = "Popescu, M. and Bodea, S. and Christidi, N. and Scheder-Bieschin, L. and Van Mele, T. and Block, P.",
    title     = "KnitNervi: Lightness and tailored materiality for flexible concrete construction",
    booktitle = "FABRICATE 2024",
    year      = "2024",
    editor    = "M. Ramsgaard Thomsen and P. Ayres",
    volume    = "",
    number    = "",
    pages     = "230-239",
    publisher = "UCL Press",
    address   = "Copenhagen",
    month     = "",
    doi       = "",
    note      = "",

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