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Casting concrete is as old as the Roman Empire—the Romans poured concrete to create their aqueducts—and even now it remains among the strongest, cheapest ways to erect a structure. But it isn’t without limitations.
Creating complex concrete forms requires building an exact mold, complete with a non-stick mold medium and a cleaning agent. Reusable molds make constructing uniform buildings efficient enough, but if architect wants to pull off something more complicated and awe-inspiring—something no one’s done before—run-of-the-mill molds won’t be much help.
A group of graduate students at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London may have landed on a solution, stretching fabric over scaffolding, then pouring concrete into the twisted structures. For their masters-level research cluster, the students were tasked with concocting a project that considered “freehand self-production in the age of computational design.” ….