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KnitCrete: Stay-in-place knitted formwork for complex concrete structures

Mariana Popescu, ETH Zurich

Mariana Popescu
Networking | Public lectures | Seminars

We’re delighted to host this special public lecture with architect and researcher, Mariana Popescu.

With a strong interest in fabrication processes and use of materials, Mariana and a team of researchers from ETH Zurich’s Block Research Group have recently collaborated with Zaha Hadid Architects to create KnitCandela, a double-curved 3D-knitted concrete shelled pavilion currently on display in Mexico City.

  • From: Thursday 6 December 2018, 5 pm
  • To: Thursday 6 December 2018, 6.30 pm
  • Location: Lecture Theatre 5, Newton building, Main Entrance, Goldsmith Street, NG1 4BU
  • Booking deadline: Thursday 6 December 2018, 2.00 pm
  • Download this event to your calendar

Past event

Event details

The pavilion was created using a novel and cost-effective formwork system called KnitCrete. Developed by Mariana Popescu and Lex Reiter as part of Switzerland’s National Centre of Competence in Research in Digital Fabrication research project, KnitCrete enables the casting of double-curved geometries in concrete in a material-saving and labour-reducing way. The system uses a custom, 3D-knitted technical textile as a lightweight material, coated with a special cement paste to create a rigid mould.

Recently featured in Dezeen, the pavilion comprised of two miles of yarn knitted into four lengths on an industrial knitting machine in Switzerland, taking only 36 hours to produce. Using a wooden scaffold and tension cables, 1,000 modelling balloons were subsequently inserted between the fabric layers, before the exterior was coated in a cement paste to form the hard outer shell, leaving the colourful knitted structure exposed on the interior – read the full process over on ETH Zurich’s website.

Mariana received BSc and Msc in Architecture from Delft University of Technology, specialising in non-standard and interactive architecture, and has worked as parametric design specialist in the Netherlands.

Reserve your place

This lecture is open to students, staff and the general public.

To reserve your place please select 'reserve your place' at the top of the page and complete a brief online booking form.

Knitting the Gap: Textiles meets Architecture meets Textiles, 5 – 7 December 2018

This public lecture forms part of the keynote presentation for Knitting the Gap, a free three-day conference comprising of workshops and seminars focusing on the connections between textile, architecture and interaction design.


For all enquiries please contact the event organisers Tina Downes, Principal Lecturer in Textile Design or Marisela Mendoza, Course Leader for MArch Architecture, Nottingham Trent University.

Image: KnitCandela, photographed by Philippe Block

Location details


Lecture Theatre 5, Newton building, Main Entrance


Goldsmith Street


There is no parking available at the University itself, but there are many car parking facilities within a couple of minutes' walk. The nearest car park is Talbot Street Car Park. If using this car park, please exit onto Chaucer Street.

Travel Info:

To plan your journey to the NTU City Campus, please visit the Get Directions Page on the NTU website.

Past event

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