Tripartite Fabric Formwork Column fabricated by Anne-Mette Manelius with MARS in Wolfson Prototyping Hall, Nottingham for the Prototyping Architecture Exhibition.
Fabric formwork is a new construction method for concrete structures that utilises sheets of fabric as flexible, lightweight moulds. Based on a recently completed PhD project about the architectural potentials of fabric formwork for concrete, the fabric-formed column is the investigation and material prototype of a lightweight, prefabricated fabric mould, which unfolds to be cast on site. The tripartite concrete column is form-optimised for stability and constructed with minimal means. The principles of tensioning the fabric, of restraining it, and placing concrete have a direct formal consequence as a material dialogue between relaxation and control; thus the technique encourages an architectural understanding of concrete as material and as process.
The formwork was assembled and the column cast by the students of MARS, under Anne-Mette Manelius guidance. The column was allowed to cure and the formwork removed by the students as Anne-Mette had leave for Canada to write a book on the technique with Mark West. The fabric formwork is exhibited, in Nottingham only, hung next to the concrete object and details of the sculptural concrete object can be compared with its two-dimensional textile origin.[i]