Re-Imagining Concrete: A Material First Design Approach
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This thesis asks the question: “What if we began the creative process of design with material?” In an age where digital images dominate the design process, architecture’s main medium of expression remains through matter. In this thesis, I explore the creative process of design through material fabrication. A material first design process uncovers and draws out the inherent capacity of materials through direct encounters. For eight months, I trained as a craftsman in an Engineered Cementitious Composite (ECC) concrete workshop. This fiber-reinforced concrete has a bending strength many times greater than ordinary Portland cement concrete. It can be cast in thin sections. Yet like ordinary concrete, it transforms from a formless solution to a man-made stone. Working with my body and the senses I developed an intuitive knowledge of ECC’s capacity and the techniques of concrete fabrication. I then applied my design training to find expressions that revealed the nature of ECC. I cast ECC on fabric forms, draped them onto supports in their plastic state, and sculpted the formwork as this fluid material hardened into stone.
Cite this version of the work
Nathan Wang (2019). Re-Imagining Concrete: A Material First Design Approach. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/15200