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KnitCandela wins People’s Choice at AZ Awards 2019

KnitCandela wins People’s Choice at the AZ Awards 2019, in the In Temporary and Experiential Installations category.

Launched in 2011 by AZURE magazine, the AZ Awards recognise excellence and innovation in design, and showcases the world’s best projects, products and ideas. Selected by the public for this year’s award, KnitCandela is a thin, sinuous concrete shell built on ultra-lightweight knitted formwork.

Installed at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) in Mexico City, KnitCandela is an experimental structure designed by Zaha Hadid Architects’ computation and design research group (ZHCODE) that pays homage to the architect & engineer Félix Candela—reimagining his inventive concrete shell structures through the introduction of new computational design methods and innovative KnitCrete knitted formwork technology.

KnitCrete is a material-saving, labour-reducing & cost-effective knitted formwork system to cast double-curved geometries in concrete. Developed at ETH Zurich by the Block Research Group in collaboration with the Chair for Physical Chemistry of Building Materials, as part of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Digital Fabrication, KnitCrete enables the realisation of a wide range of anticlastic geometries. With this cable-net and fabric formwork system, expressive concrete surfaces can now be constructed efficiently, without the need for complex moulds. KnitCandela’s thin, double-curved concrete shell with a surface area of almost 50 sq.m and weighing more than 5 tonnes, was applied on a KnitCrete formwork of only 55 kg. The knitted fabric of the formwork system was carried to Mexico from Switzerland in just two suitcases.

Designed to be constructed within a tight schedule, restricted space and minimal budget, KnitCandela demonstrates the rapid evolution of digital design & fabrication to the challenges faced by the construction industry, integrating digital fabrication with the skills of traditional craftsmanship and construction methods.

Architecture Extrapolated R-Ex managed KnitCandela’s construction as part of its work integrating digital technologies in building trades in Mexico.

AZ Award 2019 winners

Photo by Juan Pablo Allegre