Fabric formwork for reinforced concrete school buildings

Shortlisted categories:
Sustainability, Small Project and Small Company

Structures Awards 2016 shortlisted

Having completed some research into using fabric for casting reinforced concrete, we are now able to use computer analysis software (Oasys GSA Suite) to predict the stretch of a particular fabric when concrete is poured inside.

When we mentioned this to Orkidstudio at a design workshop for the Bomnong L’Or project, they said local tailors would be able to make the formwork if we could provide a pattern for them to follow, which we knew we could.

In recent decades Cambodia has seen a rapid and shocking decline in rainforest cover and its forestry industry remains largely uncontrolled. The use of fabric-cast concrete enabled a significant reduction in timber use on site, only requiring lightweight timber falsework to hold the fabric in position.

StructureMode drew 3D sketches to clearly communicate a step-by-step construction sequence, to help the team construct the falsework, fabric, steel reinforcement and pour the concrete inside. This was a very useful exercise that avoided any delays to the workflow on site.

The system deskilled the whole formwork fabrication process which made it much easier for the local community and volunteers to build this complex building in only 8 weeks.

We are really proud to have helped Orkidstudio make this wonderful project come to life and to facilitate such a novel construction method that utilised local skills, speeded up construction and reduced its environmental impact.

  • Architect: Orkidstudio
  • Photography: Lindsay Perth