Zaha Hadid Architects and ETH Zurich debut concrete pavilion with 3D-knitted formwork

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A double-curved concrete shelled pavilion, created employing a 3D-knitted formwork made by Zaha Hadid Architects and ETH Zurich, has absent on Exhibit in Mexico Metropolis.

The pavilion named KnitCandela, was designed applying KnitCrete – a brand new 3D-knitted textile technologies for generating curving concrete constructions, with no will need for pricey and time-consuming moulds.

The colourful pavilion is called KnitCandela in homage to the work of Spanish-Mexican architect and engineer Félix Candela, who created dramatic curved concrete shells in his buildings such as the Los Manantiales Restaurant in 1958.

More than two miles of yarn was knitted into four strips of amongst fifteen and 26 metres in only 36 hrs employing a electronic fabrication method, then flown over from Switzerland to Mexico in suitcases.

Once in situ at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) in Mexico City, the four strips of seamless, double-layered fabric were suspended from a wooden frame using a tension cable-net system.

Next, 1,000 modelling balloons were inserted in the pocket between the two cloth levels to develop the desired form, before the exterior was coated in the Distinctive cement paste to make it rigid.

Extra elements in the exterior textile strips had been designed in to create openings for balloon insertion and control their shape once inflated, so only one size of balloon was required. These pockets of air create a waffle shell once the structure is cast in concrete.

The concrete itself was added by hand, generating the KnitCrete system a hybrid of electronic innovation and common development strategies.

The internal layer of fabric was left bare underneath the concrete shell, creating a vibrant surface covered in colourful stripes. The pattern accentuates its frilled shape, which was designed to be reminiscent of the billowing folds of a traditional Mexican Jalisco dress.

In whole the knitted fabric weighs just twenty five kilograms and also the cable net thirty kilograms, whilst the concrete shell weighs 5 tonnes.

This new KnitCrete systems  simplifies and streamlines the process of creating complex double-curved concrete shapes with an easily transportable system that keeps costs low, claims the architects.

KnitCandela is an element of ZHA’s first exhibition in Latin The usa.

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) computation and design research group (ZHCODE) collaborated with ETH Zurich’s Block Research Group (BRG) to design and manufacture the system. Architecture Extrapolated (R-EX), who are engaged in a process of digitising Mexico’s building trade, managed the project’s execution at the MUAC.


Other latest construction innovations from Swiss College ETH Zurich involve a concrete ceiling made using a 3D sand-printing system, and metallic facade constructed from a 3D-printed mould formed just like the folds of the brain. ZHA has made a stone and carbon fibre Model of Danish designer Hans J Wegner’s 1963 CH07 lounge chair.

Undertaking credits:


Job team: Block Study Group, ETH Zurich (BRG); Zaha Hadid Computation and Style and design Team (ZHCODE); Architecture Extrapolated (R-EX)
Zaha Hadid Architects: Patrik Schumacher, principal
ZHCODE: Filippo Nassetti, Marko Margeta, David Reeves, Shajay Bhooshan
BRG: Mariana Popescu, Matthias Rippmann, Tom Van Mele, Philippe Block
KnitCretee technological know-how:
Mariana Popescu, Tom Van Mele, Philippe Block
Chair of Physical Chemistry of Developing Components, ETH Zurich: Lex Reiter, Robert Flatt
Fabrication and construction:
BRG: Mariana Popescu, Matthias Rippmann, Alessandro Dell’Endice, Cristian Calvo Barentin, Nora Ravanidou
Horacio Bibiano Vargas, Jose Manuel Diaz Sanchez, Asunción Zúñiga, Agustín Lozano Álvarez, Miguel Juárez Antonio, Filiberto Juárez Antonio, Daniel Piña, Daniel Celin, Carlos Axel Pérez Cano, José Luis Naranjo Olivares, Everardo Hernández, Ramiro Tena, Alicia Nahmad Vazquez
Structural engineering:
BRG: Andrew Liew, Tom Van Mele
Concrete growth:
Holcim Mexico: Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Carlos Eduardo Juarez, Delia Peregrina Rizo
Web site construction coordination:
R-EX: Alicia Nahmad Vazquez
Exhibition information, coordination, and curation:
Zaha Hadid Exhibitions and Archives: Jillian Nishi, Margaratia Valova, Daria Zolotareva, Paz Bodelon, Elena Castaldi, Manon Janssens, Woody Yao
Leo Bieling, Federico Borello, Filippo Nassetti, Marko Margeta, Henry David Louth, Shajay Bhooshan
BRG: Mariana Popescu, Matthias Rippmann, Noelle Paulson, Philippe Block

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