TailorCrete seeks to revolutionise concrete fabrication

20 March 2015

Superpool’s Full Scale Demonstrator is a sculptural form built from concrete plates folded via robotics before fully setting.

Concrete construction has been an important part of architectural practice since the Roman Empire. Extremely malleable, fluid concrete is capable of being poured into almost any conceivable form.

In theory, this makes it an ideal building material. In practice, however, creating complex forms out of concrete is extremely inefficient.

Pouring on site requires formwork that is painstakingly made by hand, and precast concrete is usually limited by orthogonal moulds.

Concrete has become restricted to a few simple forms that are easy and cheap to produce when, in many cases, a building would benefit from concrete casting that is optimised for its structural and economical needs.

How do we make such optimisation feasible? This is the question that the EU-sponsored TailorCrete has attempted to answer.

A research consortium lasting for four years, TailorCrete explored new technologies that could make non-standard concrete structures commonplace.

TailorCrete was led by the Danish Technological Institute, and involves 14 partners: Bekaert, Chalmers University of Technology, Czech Technical University, DesignToProduction, Dragados, ETH Zürich, Gibotech, Grace, MT Højgaard, Paschal, Superpool, Unicon, Syddansk Universitet.

The project explored a variety of construction technologies, such as alternative formwork, and robotics. The goal, according to the TailorCrete website, was to “replace the use of traditional formwork and thus enable greater flexibility in producing singular concrete structures with different geometric designs.

Through the development and use of self-compacting concrete with robots, a link was created between digital design and the fabrication of materials and components and ultimately to the on-site construction processes.”

Partner Superpool, an international architecture practice based in Istanbul, Turkey has already demonstrated the fruits of this research. Their Full Scale Demonstrator (FSD) is a sculptural form built from concrete plates that have been folded via robotics before fully setting.

This optimised structure spans 23 metres in length and 6.5 metres in height while its thickness is, at most, only 25 centimetres.

The TailorCrete project concluded in 2014. For more information on its findings and research developments, visit their website


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