Earlier, architects were constrained by the inability to produce curved surfaces, which reflected in their low-complexity, symmetric designs. But somewhere in the last two decades, this changed. It finally seems like we have been liberated from one-dimensional designs. There are various factors that influenced this change, but the primary aspect has been the introduction of technologies that allow the formation of curved shapes. With the advent of machines that allowed curved panels to be produced, more architects began introducing free-form into their designs. But the challenge does not end there. While single-curved surfaces are easy to produce, it is a different ball-game when it comes to double-curved surfaces. Not only do double-curves pose structural challenges, they are also extremely expensive to make. Curving techniques like CNC milling help produce the desired curvature, but they are neither operationally efficient, nor are they cost-effective.
Left: Villa La Rotonda in Vicenza (photo by Stefan Bauer)
Right: The Jubilee Church in Rome (photo by Scott Frances)
Innovations like 3D printing, knitted formwork, multipoint stretch forming and reconfigurable moulds on the other hand, have helped alleviate these concerns to a large extent. But none manage to offer the unique combination of high-velocity and zero-wastage production, like the Adaptive MouldTM does. These moulds in fact do away with the need for having moulds at all, and have been designed to work in a lean manufacturing environment. These machines are capable of producing double-curved panels, in a wide-range of material categories. They are made-to-order, depending on the size of the panels, which in-turn is decided by where the panels are going to be used.
Inspired by Heritage and Nature
There are several examples from vernacular architecture, where historically, curved shapes were used to achieve a functional need and offer aesthetic value at the same time. The designs of these structures were influenced by various factors such as local climate, culture and availability of raw materials. Today, architects are trying to revive the use of curved shapes in mainstream architecture. However, this trend is born out of the desire to give the world more structures that are inspired by naturally forming shapes and has less to do from a functional standpoint. These are certainly exciting times for the architectural world, and for us – we are excited to see what new iconic structures emerge using the adaptive mould technology.
Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center
Pictures Courtesy: Iwan Baan