Center for Experimental Structures [CES]: Morphology | Part 002

Format: Research
Genre: Architecture
Country: US, New York
Year: 2017 - 2020

Studies of casting soft membrane inflatable structures

The exploration of material interrelations and morphological forms was a multifaceted endeavor that employed both computational and physical modeling techniques. Our team embarked on a pioneering investigation into the use of inflatable bladders as flexible formwork for casting cementitious structures. This innovative approach allowed us to achieve intricate and dynamic forms that were otherwise challenging to create through conventional means. The formwork was meticulously suspended from specific pouring points at strategic corners (pin-points), enabling the mesh to take on catenary shell configurations as the cementitous mix settled under the force of gravity. To streamline the process and ensure precise results, our team developed heat sealing patterns that not only facilitated the controlled flow of the cementitous mix throughout the form, but also directed the resulting structural forces throughout the grid shell. This integration was further reinforced by incorporating woven aircraft cables and networked zip-ties, which provided additional strength and stability to the entire structure.

Through a collaborative effort between architects, engineers, and material specialists, we pushed the boundaries of construction methodologies and material applications. This research not only expanded our understanding of material behaviour but also opened up exciting prospects for future architectural designs that leverage unconventional methodologies to achieve remarkable structural integrity in complex forms. Ultimately, our exploration demonstrated the immense potential of integrating cutting-edge tecgnology with traditional craftsmanship to push the boundaries of architectural innovation.
Pratt Institute School of Architecture
Undergraduate InProcess Issue 24

Pratt Institute School of Architecture
Undergraduate InProcess Issue 25