Monday, August 19, 2013

Yo_cy's formwork tectonics

[Light and space inside the Cast Thicket by yo_cy, via]
Cast Thicket or filigree concrete
I have forgotten to repost this award winning project by yo_cy from Tex-Fab’s APPLIED: Research through Fabrication competition at the University of Texas at Arlington, which is posted on blog of the Architects' Newspaper A/N Blog. The project is familiar to some fabric-formed filigree-like projects with a major difference that it is facetted structure. Yet, despite being inspired by textile-like mats used for casting walls (which you can see way below), the formwork material is actually thin, lasercut plastic sheets. I enjoy the combination of digital fabrication and of combining the lasercut plastic sheets with the hydrostatic pressure from casting. 
“[With this project] we are reacting to the singular material tendency of digital fabrication and [we have shown that] we can use the computer to coordinate different methods of making a material, and simulate that on a smaller scale.” says Tracy, via
[Cast Thicket principle Via]
Cast Thicket is both a form of construction and a finished design product. To produce finished forms of reinforced concrete, construction begins with the design of prefabricated steel struts, which are positioned using a system of interlocking laser-cut plates. Formwork is also prefabricated and attached to the joints. Plastic formwork is then detached and reattached as the structure grows upwards. The final product has the possibility for infinite variation. via the competition site 
[Cast Thicket by yo_cy]
The structure is awesome and perhaps also thicket like (the title contains a new English word for me) - it rather reminds me of columns in Gaudi's Sagrada Familia as well as art pieces by the wonderful Ernesto Neto who fills spatial fabric structures with everything but concrete and plaster. Instead he uses eps, sand, and even spices.
[Ernesto Neto's fabric-formed soft world]

[Each piece of the plastic casing is connecting by a series of tabs. Photo:Kenneth Tracy]
[The plastic mold is held together with plastic zip ties. Photo:Kenneth Tracy]

While I find the work of yo_cy wonderful, I still have to let out a big sigh because of the overly time consuming construction. The idea of the 'tailor-made' as something related to flexible formwork is still so heavily labor intensive as you can tell on the image above, and thus far from being scaleable. I guess the work now can be compared to crocheting and not sewing.

Woven formwork for Kopo House
I am not sure if this house has been built but I'd love to see it if it does - the project is in Indonesia and contains the literal exploration of manufacturing a formwork textile, I mean the textile is in itself a structure with its own principles and the larger the fibers, the is it a building component and material in itself. yo_cy's Christine Yogiaman and Kenneth Tracy state as their profile that combining labor intensive acts in craft culture with rule-based, digital frameworks their projects in Indonesia multiply the everyday to intensify space. The images on the project show initial weaving samples inspired by Ketupat a sort of rise casting formwork... (!) that are manipulated and given form before it is used as formwork for plaster, I think. Other images show larger scale casts of modules and some rebar, so something is definitely being built. Fingers crossed.

The formwork principle is inspired by Indonesian cast rice dumplings known as Ketupat - wow, see below how great they are!
[Ketupat - --- I love these throwaway sturdy lunch boxes]

[woven mats used as formwork and a plaster cast for the  Kopo House project. I'd love to see the full scale version of this! via - Wait - below are bigger prototypes investigating some formwork types]
[Images of the Kopo House investigations, by Yo_cy]

Credits of the Cast Thicket:  Fabricators TOPOCAST
Competition Tex-Fab’s APPLIED: Research through Fabrication competition at the University of Texas at Arlington 
Designers Kenneth Tracy, Christine Yogiaman
Location Arlington, Texas
Date of Completion February 2013
Material limestone powder, white fiber reinforcement, Poraver glass beads, metakaolin, superplasticizer, .03-inch plastic
Process Rhino, Kangaroo, Grasshopper

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