2019 Best of Design Award for Digital Fabrication: KnitCandela
Designer: Block Research Group, ETH Zurich, ZHCode, Zaha Hadid Architects
Collaborators: Architecture Extrapolated (R-Ex), National Centre for Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication
Location: Mexico City
KnitCandela is a thin, sinuous concrete shell built on a lightweight knit formwork. The project is based on the premise that employing knitted textiles in architecture can significantly cut down on material, labor, and waste while simplifying the construction process for complex geometries. KnitCandela also combines a traditional handicraft (knitting) with state-of-the-art advancements in digital fabrication. Following a computationally generated pattern, an industrial knitting machine produced the shuttering of the formwork for KnitCandela’s shell; in 36 hours, the machine knitted four double-layered textiles, which were brought from Switzerland to Mexico inside two suitcases. The knit formwork was then tensioned onto a temporary frame and sprayed with a cement mixture.