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  • Matter Space Structure Studio Workshop November 2009Chalmers University of Technology Department of Architecture

    CONCRETE FLESHEdited by M Lund, S Nordlander and K-G Olsson




    The Studio 2A Material Culture 5Concrete Flesh 7The Workshop 8Knowledge 12Plaster 17Drawing 24Concrete 32The Joy of Stuff 45Thanks To 63

  • The Matter Space Structure Studio is an experimental study environment for master students from a number of educational programs within the Depart-ment of Architecture at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg.

    We endorse interdisciplinary studies exploring the full advantage of the technical expertise of Chalmers within areas like material science from nanoscale to large span structures, life sciences in the search for new materials and urban sciences from citizen participation to spatial design.

    We encourage studies with close ties to the local community. We regard the city of Gothenburg as our partner along with the business community of the region. Worldwide, we seek strategic alliances with universities and organisations with ambitions similar to ours.

    We expect our fully committed students to push the limits of how to build, to design and to think architecture. Our faculty is a strong mix of young and estab l ished architects, of excellent practioners and leading scholars.






  • In the Matter Space Structure studio we celebrate a material culture as the core of our commitment to architecture and teaching.

    The material culture is about the energy and joy of stuff. We advance the understanding of the matter we build from, we encourage the investigation of the matter we design in and we challenge the matter of the notions we think by.

    The material space in architecture is sensual. We perceive it through its matter. We measure its extension by the steps of our feet, we feel its limits by the touch of our fingertips, we listen to its size, we smell its materials and we see how the sun enters a room to make it vibrate.

    The material structure reflects our understanding of the emerging forces behind a capable technological form. The pattern of the structure captures our attention and tells about the meaning and purpose of the form. In a well- conceived bridge we can read the pattern of forces and around a well-designed ship hull we can read the force field in the water.




  • Concrete is a marvellous material. In architecture the fluid stone can be manipulated into an array of new potential shapes, to be explored by architects and exploited by the building industry. Concrete is a tangible material with a strong sense of presence at hand. Concrete can be manipulated and compre-hended by hand. Concrete structures are corporal. Concrete is flesh.

    By convention concrete is often poured into square boxes. Imagine the alternative where concrete is cast in textile forms. The emerging idiom would lead to another architecture of soft shapes a yielding and organic structure, accommodating and adjustable, bizarre and bony.

    From the Matter Space Structure Studio we asked Mark West, the artist and scholar from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, to come to Chalmers to share his investigations in textile cast concrete. Globally, Mark Wests experimental research represents the leading edge of this particular discipline of concrete architecture.


  • The Matter Space Structure Studio initiated the workshop Concrete Flesh, a n intense, experimental, hands-on master class based on Mark Wests research, lasting from November 17 to November 27 in 2009.

    An interdisciplinary group from the Chalmers faculty, consisting of Peter Lindblom, Karl-Gunnar Olsson, Luping Tang and Morten Lund organized the workshop in corporation with their colleagues Bjrn Engstrm, Steve Svensson and Lars Wahlstrm and the students Vojtech Leke and Sanna Nordlander.

    The workshop took place in the hangar-sized concrete hall at Chalmers. Its generous space was originally built for testing specimens of structu-ral elements a kind of real material analysis that has over the years been marginalized by the use of cheaper computer simulations. During ten days in November the large hall was filled with concrete specimens once again.

    The students participating in the workshop came from the Matter Space Structure Studio and various departments at Chalmers, and from the Aarhus School of Architecture.








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  • Mark West artist, professor and director of CAST, Centre of Architectural Structures and Technology at the Department of Architecture, University of Manitoba lectured about his experiments with textile casts, originating from a series of architectural investigations in black and white pencil drawing. his unique research on textile cast concrete and his deep knowledge and vivid imagination was the driving force behind the workshop.

    Nat Chard architect, professor and head of the Department of Architecture, University of Manitoba is pursuing research on the construction of drawings. For the workshop he introduced spatial investigations in drawing on large-scale paper with charcoal and chalk as a supple ment to the conceptual models in plaster. he lectured on the bodily dimension of the construction of drawings in panoptic exhibitions, film sets and aircraft blueprints.

    Natalija Subotincic architect, associate professor and associate head of the Department of Architecture, University of Manitoba has made exceptional research on the mnemonics of space. She lectured on the arrangements of artefacts in the combined clinic and home of Sigmund Freud.

    Chris Williams engineer and professor at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, University of Bath has developed powerful tools and insights in the advanced geometrics of structural design. he programmed and designed the refined structural form of the roof of British Museum and is now cooperating with Mark West to qualify the textile casts into feasible structural design for the building industry.




  • Pascal Heinz architect and associate professor at ILEK, the Institute of Lightweight Structures and Structural Design at the University of Stuttgart lectured on his research on hybrid forms and materials of structural elements. he has developed efficient lightweight structures that mimic the internal structure of the bone tissue.

    Timo Schmidt architect and associate professor at the Department of Medicine, University of Tbingen and the Department of Architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology presented his research about cultivated structures that grow and cure like living organisms which is beeing applied in the field of medical technology.

    Chris Thurlbourne architect and associate professor from the Aarhus School of Architecture has done exceptional work in spatial manifestation and mate-rial expression both in his own architectural practice Stuff and in his studio.

    Anne-Mette Manelius, Kathrine Nss and Frederik Petersen architects and research fellows from the royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and the Aarhus School of Architecture are all pursuing research in the field of textile cast concrete structures. They have participated in several workshops with Mark West and all contributed to the successful outcome of this workshop.


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  • A fluid substance which can be poured, sprayed and moulded.

    A three-dimensional, attractive sketching material.

    Easy to handle, soft, asking for touch and caress.

    A teacher, guiding your fingers into the stuff.

    Linking together idea, form, force, and shape.


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  • Bodily, large scale experience.

    Three-dimensional action on two-dimensional surfaces.

    A multi-tool which translates, transforms and develops.

    A helping hand, a guide on the paths between concept and cast.

    Spontaneous, direct investigation.


  • Bodily, large scale experience.

    Three-dimensional action on two-dimensional surfaces.

    A multi-tool which translates, transforms and develops.

    A helping hand, a guide on the paths between concept and cast.

    Spontaneous, direct investigation.



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  • Convoluted matter, demanding good planning.

    Self-compacting fluid in complex casts.

    Sensual stuff, adapting to the hand.

    A tough teacher, tolerating no flaws.

    Three-dimensional gestures of permanence.


  • CONCRETEConvoluted matter, demanding good planning.Self-compacting fluid in complex casts.

    Sensual stuff, adapting to the hand.

    A tough teacher, tolerating no flaws.

    Three-dimensional gestures of permanence.


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  • The world of the architect is the built reality we all live.

    Building is ultimately what architecture is about.

    Our world changes all the time, yet the architecture we use is remarkably resilient. Concrete and stone are durable materials. In rome and in Istanbul we meet the ancient constructions of concrete and stone in hadrians Pantheon and Isidores hagia Sofia, two buildings that early on spurred my interest in architecture.

    The plasticity in concrete gives us a high freedom of shaping new architecture.

    Louis Kahns Salk Institute at the Pacific coast outside San Diego is a constant inspiration for my work as an architect. It was built as the research lab for jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine. The buildings frame the mag-nificent landscape with their precise form. Simultaneously their supporting structure offers maximum freedom within the laboratories.

    zaha hadids Phno Science Center in Wolfsburg shows how freely we can shape modern concrete with the new, environmentally harmless plasticizers added. The building is an extraordinary molded structure of soft forms and crisp details.

    Concrete shapes our reality and gives permanence to our world.

    Gert Wingrdh


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  • The Concrete Flesh Workshop received substantial and generous support from the Thomas Concrete Group AB and from Betongforum a collaboration between the Swedish Precast Concrete Federation, Cementa and the Swedish Concrete Association.




    Participating students2M2C: Fan zhiqian, Wen zi Ching, Lan Lan, Caroline Werner, Caroline jokiniemi, Magdalena Kmiecik, Magdalena Martyniuk. Creatures Beneath: ricco Andersen, Alexandre Carpentier, Sizar Failli, Erik hallberg, Maria Poll, Pether Svedberg. F01D 5CH001: Vedad Alic, Mika Friis, Ann Dahlberg, Eidhlin Ni Chathasaigh, Nikolaj Bogensee johansen, Mikkel horsdl Lauridsen, Thomas Lillevang, Edouard Boisse. Flexipop: Yvonne Buer, Filip Strebeyko, ruben Stuijk, Elena Caglierotti, Adela Skrok, Tobias Plsson, zhang Ben Qingyuan, Oskar Strand. River: jon Tibell, Simon johansson, Nini Kjeldner, Salie Yo Yu, Mathias rntoft, hans rasmus Nyvang, Vojtech Leke, Lars Olsson. Layer: Anna Westman, Che Wen Tseng, hugo Franklin, Peter Sahlin, Tobias hattendorff, Torunn Melander. Monster: Lea Vakili, Lei-Ya Wong, Anders Krusegaard, Anders Lundqvist, Marcus Chiu, Karl-johan Trngren, Ola Klvus, Mateusz Prejs. Pocket Cut: Matthias Vukovich, Tobias Theil Konishi, Trine Lykke, Sini Valvisto, Stefan Svedberg, Kamil Szczesny, justyna zubala, joanna rzysko, Liang rui. Reinforced member: Elin Ahl, Neshat Alizadeh Ebadi, Dzejna Dedic, Fredrik Dierks, Emelie Fjeld, Anna Glenndal, Frida Gren, johanna hammarfjord, Anna hedin, Lisa jerrhagen, Greta jodal, Andreas johansson, Kristin johansson, jonas julin, Nicklas Karlsson, My Klint, jonas Krok, Matilda Landn, Simon Levn, Anela Mahmutovic, Dehayda Moayedza, Sepideh Moosavi Shalheh, Peter Nystedt, Gustav reiman, Caroline ropel, jens Sandberg, Madeleine Strby, johan Sundberg, Gzde Derya Tumayer, Sofie Widarsson. Tarp: Kveta honzalkova, Ahmed Belkhodja, jens zackrisson, Anna-Karin Strhle, Sara Thor, Vivian Gabrail, Axel robach.

    Editors: Morten Lund, Sanna Nordlander, Karl-Gunnar OlssonGraphic design: Sanna NordlanderPaper: Munken Lynx 130 gPrint: Bulls Graphics AB, halmstadCover photo: Students from the group F01D 5Ch001 adding fibre reinforcement to concrete casted in an adjustable form made out of plastic sheets and wooden beams.

    Publication - Chalmers University of TechnologyDepartment of ArchitectureISSN 1650-6340,

    Photograps Ricco Andersen: p.34-35Wen Zi Ching: p.56-57Erik Hallberg: p.22-23, 59 top right,60-61 Tobias Theil Konishi: p.54-55Sanna Nordlander: Cover, p.2-3, 8-9,16-17, 24-25, 30-31, 30-31, 32-33, 38-39Frederik Petersen: p.10-11, 42-43Che Wen Tseng: p.20 bottom left, p.49 bottom right Jens Zackrisson: p.48

    Thanks are due to all who contributed with photograps and support.Special thanks to Eva Kvarnstrm, OFORM.