As a technique, the bringing together of lightweight, cheap tensile fabrics with massive, compressive materials such as concretes, earth and lime a dialogue of opposites is set up, resolved through the play of complex fluid dynamics and equalizing forces. The resolution of tensile and compressive forces induces behaviour that itself provides a fertile territory for technical workshop based investigation. Within the ‘Fabricformwork’ project, there is a twofold research programme in order to effectively deal with CO2 whilst simultaneously opening up new formal, structural and performance possibilities of casting.
Concrete as ‘equipment’ requires the careful definition of material, formal and constructional strategies to ensure that building with concrete achieves multiple objectives, enhancing the integrity of the architecture and justifying the minimized CO2 release. At UEL and EU, this is done through 1:1 research in order to understand concrete as a broader concept, as in integration of engineered materials and constructional technique which optimizes form in order to achieve multiple objectives – structural, thermal, acoustic, aesthetic – together. The technique also encompasses earth and lime hemp construction within its scope, allowing for the targeted use on cements where necessary, substituting low embodied or waste material where possible without complicating the processes on site.
Research which only solves one problem at a time fails to understand the integration of factors which constitutes architectural production. In researching through building, a more complete understanding of the purpose and potential of the research is possible.