Fabric Cast Concrete is the brainchild of designers Ron Culver and Joseph Sarafian and is a revolutionary method of shaping concrete. The concrete is cast in lycra sleeves that are then stretched by robotic arms. The method opens the door for new shapes in terms of architecture and design. Ron Culver and Joseph Sarafian began the project as an independent study while at UCLA Suprastudio under Julia Koerner with early experiments aided by Peter Vikar, Shobitha Jacob, Oscar Li, and Qi Zhang.
How does it work?
During the process, a fibreglass mixture is poured into Y-shaped lycra sleeves. Thereafter, the sleeves are stretched into place by six-axis robot arms. When designing the stretching movements, the designers keep in mind that the pieces will be fitted together using a 3D-printed coupler. Once set, in about 45 minutes, the fabric is then stripped away from the concrete. This leaves minimal waste.
The Future of Fabric Cast Concrete
There have been experiments with fabric cast concrete in the past, but the lycra sleeves are a first. Due to the malleable nature of both the sleeves and concrete, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating shapes and designs. The current Y-shape may be only the beginning. An added benefit is the fact that through the use of fabric casting, the need for individual moulds may become a thing of the past – reducing a great chunk of the labour-intensive aspect of working with concrete.
And just how will Fabric Cast Concrete change the construction and design landscape? For one thing, we can now envisage buildings that are no longer confined by traditional building materials. Fabric Cast Concrete will allow architects to create imaginative buildings that shape new skylines.
But perhaps the future lies with you… Perhaps you could find a way to test the limits of Fabric Cast Concrete when designing an entry for the PPC Imaginarium Awards?
A very special thanks to Joseph Sarafian for providing the video and images.