A team formed of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), ETH Zurich and Architecture Extrapolated has designed a “knitted” concrete pavilion for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Mexico City.
The KnitCandela is named after Spanish–Mexican architect and engineer Félix Candela and is inspired by the traditional flowing dresses worn in Jalisco State.
KnitCandela is comprised of a five-tonne concrete shell and a 55kg, 3D-printed interior that was packed into two suitcases and carried on a plane to Mexico from Switzerland.
Some 350km of yarn were used to create the knitted formwork, which was printed over 36 hours.
The pavilion’s double-curved concrete shell has a 50 sq m area and was created by a two-step process. Firstly, a cement mixture was sprayed onto a temporary boundary frame, creating a coat a few millimetres thick, after which traditional fibre-reinforced concrete was added.
Mariana Popescu, an ETH Zurich doctoral student, said: “Knitting offers a key advantage that we no longer need to create 3D shapes by assembling various parts.
“With the right knitting pattern, we can produce a flexible formwork for any and all kinds of shell structures, pockets and channels just by pressing a button.”