Final Assignment: Catenary vault

For my final project, I wanted to work with textiles and gravity, inspired by Gaudi’s studies of self-supporting pillars and vaults. I would like to learn more about catenary – the physical term for the idealized curve, and how it can be used for making vaults. I believe that it now is possible to again use curved vaults in architecture, which have not been so popular for quite some time.

I wanted to make a self-supporting vault, casted upside down. The idea was that by hanging the fabric mould – the concrete would move into the most ideal curve for the vault, and as such be self-supporting. The process is described below:process.jpg

For my prototype I simple stapled two pieces of stretchy jersey fabric together and let them hang, filled with concrete. It seemed to work very well, but the casting had not fully dried in the right picture, so the fabric was not removed.

For the final product a template was made and the jersey fabric cut accordingly. The mould was hanged from each corner of the box and then filled with concrete. By now, I realized that the final product would not be rounded, rather more rectangular. The concrete mixture followed the give recipe for fabric casting, but extra water was added to make the mixture more fluid to fit into the mould.

After three days, the casting was removed from the box. When turned upside-down the casting could luckily support itself. However, it seems as if the casting has broken in the top – where the strain on the mould was the highest and the hole on top was the biggest. As such, the casting is probably in two pieces. Furthermore, it seems as if the concrete has not yet dried as a thin layer of concrete follows when pulling off the fabric. Perhaps in a few days the fabric can be more easily removed.

final product finished

The final product looks good (although with the fabric still on) and is self-supporting. The breaking is most likely due to the fabric mould that probably was too thin in the lowest-hanging parts. The size of the hole on top also plays a big part in the breakage. Had the hole been smaller the breakage might not have occurred. Also – the two pieces of fabric should probably not have been exactly the same size. Rather, the lowest hanging piece should have been larger and as such allow for more concrete further down – strengthening the casting. Perhaps the lower hanging textile could have been a stretchy jersey and the top fabric a more sturdy woven fabric.

Summary:
Prototype:
casting worked well – had not dried when casting finished product

Finished casting:
Fabric mould had too big of a hole – should be decreased
Mixture had extra water to increase fluidity

Finished casting has not dried – fabric cannot be removed yet
Finished casting has probably broken in two pieces
Structure is self-supporting (yay!)

Advertisements

final assignment: contrast bowl

finale

For my final assignment I wanted to do something which could have some function afterwards. So I decided to make an easy form which then can be used as a small bowl to store stuff.

My aim was to create an interesting form with a high contrast between inside and outside.

I also aimed to use as different techniques we learned during this seminar, which included fabric formwork and formless cast for this project.

On the first try I built a frame and attached fabric to it, to pour concrete inside.
This concave form I used as a negativ for the bowl. I covered it with palstic to keep water from it and attached fabric again, so the texture would be visible inside of the bowl.

For the outside I wanted – in contrast to the inside – have a texture as ruff as possible.
So I decided to take concrete with a high amount of sand. I then added more water to make it liquid enough to proceed over the form by itself. I tried to add the concrete step by step to create layers.

It was quite hard to strip the formwork as it was both concrete, that´s why part if it broke.

For the second attempt I decided to higher the contrast between inside and outside. Especially the inside I wanted to have finer and more detailed. I went for a volume of two geometrics, a circle and a square, joined by a plastic foil. From previos tests I knew that the foil would create a shiny flat surface, but as it is soft, it also acts similar to fabric in its form.

Impressions

P70331-105905P70331-110130P70331-110216

Our plan is to fix the plastic pillars on to the cardboard, using them to creat the impression, then pour the concrete over it and use the fabric to fix the shape. Probably because the plastic pillars are not strong enough, we found out that we cannot make the fabric tight enough and probably cannot get the result we want. So we choose to add the ropes on to our installation, to provide a downside impression as well as help fix the shape. Then it works much better and as a result, we get a piece of concrete showing the upside impression from the pillars and the downside impression from the ropes.

Jigging and Plugs

P70331-105944

P70331-110537P70331-110924P70331-110943

Our second test is about jigging and plugs. We use large-headed nails to plug two pieces of 5*5 cardboard on to the 10*10 concrete piece, hopefully we could get a piece of concrete with regular patterns on it. Probably because we squeezed it too hard, trying to make the patterns more obvious, otherwise because the plug-in nails have made the concrete structure weak, we found several cracks in our result. The good news is that the patterns are quite visible.