Computational modelling of fabric formwork

This research explores the integral analysis and design of fabric formwork and the resulting concrete geometries. Fabric formwork is characterized by the use of coated fabrics or geotextiles as the main material for a concrete mold. This method allows concrete's inherent fluidity to create new forms of concrete architecture and aesthetics.

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The design considerations for these formworks are similar to those in the design and engineering of tensioned membrane structures, involving the interaction of prestress, non-linear material behavior and the support conditions. Additionally, fabric formwork has concrete pressures, contact analysis and fabric wrinkling as complicating factors. Through combinations of form finding and analysis, this research aims to develop new tools for the structurally informed design of fabric formed structural systems. Inspiration and feedback are drawn from both academia and practice. This research project has contributed to the development of a canopy structure for the Women and Newborn Hospital, Winnipeg, Canada in support of the Centre for Architectural Structures and Technology (C.A.S.T.) at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.


For the paper “Computational form finding of fabric formworks: An overview and discussion”, presented at the 2nd International Conference on Flexible Formworks (icff2012) at the University of Bath, UK, Diederik Veenendaal and Prof. Block were awarded with the prize for Best Paper as judged by the Scientific Committee.


Veenendaal D. and Block P.Computational form finding for fabric formworks: an overview and discussion,Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on flexible formwork,Ohr, J. et al. (editors),: 368-378,Bath, UK,2012 (June).
Veenendaal D., West M. and Block P.History and overview of fabric formwork: using fabrics for concrete casting,Structural Concrete - Journal of the fib,12(3): 164-177,2011.


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