While roaming around the culturally rich street of Mexico City, you will surely stumble upon a colourful and visually appealing concrete structure with perfectly knitted curves and an attractive interior.
Developed by the joint collaboration of ETH Zurich and Zaha Hadid Architects, this 3D knitted concrete structure is called KnitCandela which is created with a 3D-knitted textile technology known as KnitCrete. The KnitCandela is named to pay tribute to famous Spanish-Mexican architect Félix Candela, who is famous for putting together curved concrete shells into his buildings.
KnitCrete Eases the Process of Creating Captivating Concrete Structure
KnitCrete technology is used to give proper curves to any concrete structures without wasting time on costly moulds. Moreover, the architects assure that the system simplifies the development process of complex double-curved concrete shapes and also can be transported easily.
To create this structure, more than 2 miles of yarn was knitted into four strips of between 15 and 26 meters in less than 36 hours using a digital fabrication technique. It was then carried from Switzerland to Mexico in luggage. Once they reached Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) in Mexico City, the four strips double-layered fabric was suspended from a wooden frame with the help of a tension cable-net system.
Subsequently, around 1,000 modelling balloons were inserted in between the two fabric layers until the desired shape was formed. The exterior of the structure was coated with a special cement paste in order to change it into a rigid structure.
The exterior textile stripes were designed in a way that it becomes easy to control the shape of the inflated balloon. Once the structure is cast in concrete, the air pockets create a shape of a waffle shell. While KnitCrete method is used to weave the fabric, the concrete is manually added by hand to the structure.
This magnificent structure is not the only but one of the other astonishing works by Zaha Hadid Architects, including IL Makiage pavilion by Zaha Hadid in New York, Zaha Hadids's Last Project, Crystalline KAPSARC by Zaha Hadid in Saudi Arabia, and many more. ZHA has also created Bow & RISE Chairs, which have been showcased at Nagami’s pop-up showroom in Milan’s Brera Design District during Milan Design Week
Project Team: Block Research Group, ETH Zurich (BRG); Zaha Hadid Computation and Design Group (ZHCODE); Architecture Extrapolated (R-EX)
Design: Zaha Hadid Architects: Patrik Schumacher, principal
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