Textile Concrete Formwork

Concrete between fabric; you’re probably familiar with it if you’ve done any tile work in the last 20 years. Similar to the way drywall is plaster made stable between 2 sheets of paper, concrete board is given shape and stabilized by fabric. Now take that concept and scale it up to make whole walls instead of boards or bend it to make furniture. Use the fabric to define the shape of the concrete.

Its an interesting tension that happens. The concrete pushes out with its weight, while the textile restrains and suggests a shape for the concrete. I say suggest because left on its own, fabric can’t help but to bulge where allowed and pinch where connected to the other side, but it can’t be exact unless given a rigid form for the concrete to cure against. Another line of attack is to impregnate the textile with concrete, much like a plaster bandage, and then through support or inflation or gravity, coerce the fabric into a shape until the concrete is cured. I’m reminded of Heinz Isler’s plaster models for his concrete roofs, where he let the natural curvature of the inverted textile form define the architecture.


This emerging field has a dedicated blog: Concretely, which is written by Anne-Mette Manelius, who is a Phd Student in Copenhagen and is doing great work with casting walls, furniture and patterned textiles in concrete. Its a well written, insightful and informative blog about a line of study I hadn’t really considered until last week.

I’m sure there will be more mentions at textilesmithing of fabric formed concrete in the future. For now, check out: concretely.blogspot.com

About these ads
This entry was posted in Architecture, concrete, design, engineering, structure, Textiles. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Textile Concrete Formwork

  1. Textiles in concrete change its physical properties, plain concrete is brittle , layers of textile to which the matrix can bond, change concrete in the same way as cotton skrim changes gypsum plaster, in a POP bandage.
    A textile confected for use in an inorganic matrix can lead to the term “1st crack” becoming meaningless. As the matrix >micro cracks< the cracks are criss-crossed by the layers of textile , into which the applied load is transferred. Ultimate failure will occur at 100x, the load at "1st crack", and the area under work done curve to failure is 500x greater.
    A weave or knit can be used to texturise the surface of the concrete, Girli Concrete being an example, the surface can be backed by layers of [techical] textiles to become decorative load bearing panels.
    Textiles work in the "cover" otherwise needed to protect steel reinforcing from oxidising, cover is not required for Textile Concrete…..Greener Concrete Products.

    • Seth Winner says:

      Thanks for commenting about the Textile Concrete Formwork. This kind of insight is definitely helpful and appreciated. I’m curious as to whether the content of the textile affects the strength/quality of the structure like a kevlar or fiberglass would with epoxy, or is it more of a carrier that helps create the shell. I’m thinking about whether there is a difference in quality between Polyester or Polyolefin, or even acrylics. Which would be more desirable: yarns with hydrophobic or yarns with hydryphilic qualities?

  2. Pingback: Milestones and Benchmarks | Department Of Textilesmithing

  3. Pingback: Week 10 « Researching and discovering Newtown

  4. Pingback: Richard Stride shares some thoughts and research about his upcoming show at Metro Arts « Singapore Brisbane Exchange

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s