Thanks to everyone for all of the feedback and suggestions after my post on fabric formed concrete a couple of weeks ago. A bunch of extremely interesting projects came my way, one in particular was the Casa La Moraleja by Miguel Fisac, a Spanish Architect who practiced for most of the 20th century.
Fisac is credited with being one of the first to implement hollow, post-tensioned concrete beams. In 1960, Fisac used his “bones” on the Centro de Estudios Hidrograficos, a facility for the Spanish Ministry of the Environment, spanning an area 88 meters by 22 meters… which is absolutely huge.
Fisac went on to experiment with concrete’s more formal qualities, using fabric forms on the Casa La Moraleja, creating parabolic board formed surfaces on Laboratorios Jorba, and textured reusable formwork on Teatro Municipal. His work is absolutely exquisite, check more out at the links below. Depending on your level of fluency with Spanish, you may be giving google translate a little bit of a workout…
I’ve been doing some research into fabric formed concrete recently, and I’m pretty amazed with the concept. In conventional concrete construction, the form work is usually at least 50% of the cost and the vast majority of the time. You end up with elaborate systems of plywood and wood studs that are completely temporary and discarded afterwards. While fabric forms do need some wooden forms, the concrete is poured into a fabric sleeve that is sandwiched between two pieces of plywood. The profile of the piece is cut out of the plywood, and the fabric bulges to create supple, organic shapes.
I’ve found two amazing resources for fabric formed concrete research: the University of Manitoba’s C.A.S.T. (The Centre for Architecture Structures and Technology) and the website of TU Delft’s Arno Pronk.
Stay tuned for fabric formed concrete experiments in the future…