Structural Textiles 2017

Project Description

I spent a August 2017 working at a knitting factory in Dongguan, China.

Im interested in exploring the structural possibilities of textiles at architecture scale. We understand textiles to be very soft, flexible, and textural. They afford to change shapes, yet they never retain them because of their lack of structure. But what if we can start to think about textiles as a malleable material where we can form the shape and change their state from soft to rigid? Could we begin to design objects and products from start to finish through a single process? Three weeks ago i began exploring the change in state by using different materials like plastics and copper during the knitting process. This is a video of a knit inlaid with copper for structural support and different thermo plastics that bind the knit and copper together to create a rigid structure. Heat is what activates the structural properties of the knit.

I started to experiment with patterns like the one you see here to explore how the folded knit could add more rigid characteristics to the overall structural integrity of the textile.

I then began to think about this shift from 2D to 3D by using origami-like patterns. This is a table Guillermo and I designed that uses knitting patterns as a form to suggest the direction of the fold by using different patterns and densities on each side of the knit.

I produced a few explorations about how this single process manufacturing could be applied to things like stationaries. These are some pouches i designed where the rides and shape are directed by the knit directionality and hardened by the plastics in the knit once heat is applied.

But how can knitting structures then scale? I began thinking of modular components to a building and made a direct connection with corrugated and tiled roof sheets.