It’s ubiquitous. It’s durable. It’s versatile.
However, because it is all of these things, it has been relegated for the most part to the utilitarian. It is our roads, sidewalks, parking garages, culverts, bridges. The list goes on. It is also the material used for some of our most intriguing architecture. Simply put, we use concrete because it is beautiful and substantial. It is colorful, sculptural, complex and impossible to master. It continues to harden, absorbs CO2 and sunlight, stores energy when it is warm and releases it when it is cool.
It is earth, fired and re-formed with water. It is compatible.
It is both rough and smooth to the touch.
It is primitive. It is highly refined. It is a paradox.
It is “Heavy Light”
Sic: Mark West
Fabric Formed Concrete
It is rare in most professions, and most especially in construction, to be part of small group of professionals that are redefining and reinventing how we build. Currently, new techniques are being developed to cast concrete in fabric, mostly geotextiles, that are far more refined and sculptural than can be achieved in other materials. Consequently, new architectural aesthetics are forming that take advantage of the freedom allowed by thin, flexible membranes.
Arro came across fabric forming by necessity. We had been constructing curved forms for concrete on difficult sites and found it to be laborious and wasteful. There are many products available to form concrete, curved or otherwise, but we found them restrictive or lacking certain qualities. Using fabric, we have been able to construct sculptural projects on complex sites with simple equipment. The nature of fabric placed under tensile load creates more opportunities for innovative structural shapes using minimal materials.
Much of the work that Arro has focused on in the past few years is the composition of structures using fabric forming techniques. We are now at a point where we can assess the value relative to the complexity of the work. This allows us to understand the appropriate qualities of the materials and techniques that we use and to guide clients in selecting the proper structural solutions for their needs. We have focused principally of high performance, durable wall systems and are currently in the process of developing a simple, minimal waste form system for residential applications.
For more information about fabric formed concrete click here
Glass-Fiber Reinforced Concrete is a relatively new recipe for concrete. It replaces the heavy aggregates and reinforcing steel with glass fibers that are mixed with the cement. The resulting mix is much stronger, and requires less material. It can be sprayed and poured. It can be made with vibrant colors. We use it for our non structural work and are amazed at its properties. Combined with our fabric casting, it has created fabulous possibilities for our work.