Riyad Joucka + Jack Chandy Francis

Architectural Association School of Architecture

Emergent Technologies & Design



The fluidity of concrete as a material, coupled with the flexible workability of its forming process, has lead to innovations in architectural design throughout history. The aim of this dissertation is to go beyond current practices of using concrete in the built environment to enable the construction of complex geometries analogous to the coherence of structures found in nature. State of the art materials related to concrete construction, and cutting edge computer simulations are utilized in the research, creating a constant feedback loop between qualitative analogue prototypes and information-rich computer models.

Many attempts have been made by previous scholars to generate architectural forms that mimic structures found in biological systems. Only few works have portrayed that the form finding methods utilised at the beginning of the design process have been carried through with enough rigor to the construction phase. Experiments done in casting concrete have been mainly focused on producing modular units that, when aggregated, achieve an envisioned spatial quality. The development of these processes has been restricted to a formwork that is confined within the boundaries of an orthogonal frame, hence limiting the generation of inventive spatial qualities. The study at hand proposes a solution that offers a higher degree of flexibility within the design process. 

Our research is aimed towards the generation of novel spatial and architectural elements of an architectural enclosure using innovative fabrication systems pertaining to the structural domains of tensile membranes and concrete construction. The work is focused on experimenting with the notion of coupling digital and analogue form finding methods with construction-aware thinking to generate innovative processes of constructing novel tectonics and spatial qualities.