Concrete Choreography

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Program ETH MAS dfab 2018/19
Location Riom-Parsonz | CH
Date July 2019
Tools Robotic Concrete 3D-Printing| Python Processing
Tutors Ana Anton, Patrick Bedarf & Angela Yoo

Students Aya Shaker Ali, Chaoyu Du, Eleni Skevaki, Jesus Barney, Jonas Van den Bulcke, Keerthana Udaykumar, Nicolas Feihl, Nik Eftekhar Olivo, Noor Khader, Rahul Girish, Sofia Michopoulou, Ying-Shiuan Chen, Yoana Taseva, Yuta Akizuki, Wenqian Yang

From ancient civilisations to the present day, columns have served as elements of architecture particularly tied to the harmony, balance and proportion of architectural orders – so much so that they have come to be recognised as works of art in their own right. What could the contemporary design of a new column order enabled by emerging digital technologies be like?

In collaboration with the Origen Festival in Riom, Switzerland the installation Concrete Choreography consists of nine, individually designed, 2.7m tall columns. Each column is concrete 3D printed at full height in 2.5 hours with the process developed at ETH Zurich, with the support of NCCR DFAB.

Image: Keerthana Udaykumar

Concrete extrusion 3D printing process (Image: Keerthana Udaykumar)

Image: Patrick Bedarf

Screenshot of generative design software applet (Image: Patrick Bedarf)

Students of the Master of Advanced Studies in Digital Fabrication and Architecture explored the unique possibilities of layered extrusion printing, demonstrating the potential of computational design and digital fabrication for future concrete construction.

Image: Axel Crettenand

Concrete extrusion 3D printing setup (Image: Axel Crettenand)

This novel fabrication process allows the production of concrete elements without the need for any formwork. In addition, one-of-a-kind designs with complex geometries can be fabricated in a fully automated manner. Hollow concrete structures are printed in a way where the material can be strategically used only where needed, allowing a more sustainable approach to concrete architecture.

Installation of the columns on site (Image: Benjamin Hofer)

Dance performance in the forest of columns (Image: Benjamin Hofer)

Performance EX HORTO EDEN by Beate Vollack (Image: Bowie Verschuuren)

Surface textures as material ornament (Images: Sofia Michopoulou)

Evening impression of the column ensemble (Image: Benjamin Hofer)

Framing and informing the dance performances of the 2019 summer season in Riom, the project showcases how technological advancements can bring efficient and novel expressions to concrete architecture.

This project was made possible with thte generous support of Debrunner Acifer Bewehrungen AG, LafargeHolcim, Elotex, Emerys Aluminates & NCCR Digital Fabrication funding agreement #51NF40-141853.

Master of Advanced Studies ETH in Architecture and Digital Fabrication is a one-year full time educational program jointly organised by the Chair for Digital Building Technologies and Gramazio Kohler Research. This MAS is the educational program of the National Centre for Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication.

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