Authors: Olivier Ottevaere
A series of alternative structures for housing are proposed through a design-research prototyping process. Nine proto-structures are developed through the conception and realization of columns cast in concrete. The series explores specific structural principles at 1to1 scale, which are further architecturally tested as speculative towers for urban living at 1to100 scale. At 1 to 1 scale, concrete as process rather than just concrete as material sets the main methodology for the design-research. Trial and error experiments, closely related to the properties of the material (liquid to solid formation), seek to put forward new techniques of formwork design and construction procedures that are more flexible and more sustainable than past and current systems. Design analysis, informed by the work of the early ‘structural rationalists’ (F. Candela, P.L. Nervi, H. Isler, R. Maillard, E. Dieste, et al.), considers the transformation of structural languages in an attempt to revive an architecture for vertical living (point-block).
Keywords: Point-block towers, reinforced concrete, formwork design, structural system, Housing speculations