The First Knitted Concrete Structure

A team from ETH Zurich in Switzerland has developed technology that allows them to knit textiles to create architectural structures. 

The knitting pattern behind their structure, KnitCandela, was designed by a computer. During a 36-hour process, an industrial knitting machine followed this computer-generated pattern to create four strips of textile. When putting the structure together, the pieces of textile were raised and tensioned between temporary frames. Then, a cement mixture was sprayed on the structure to strengthen it.  

The implications of this knitting technology are essential in a time where we are seeking more sustainable forms of design. This is the first time knitting has been used to create a structure in architecture. The team's research has demonstrated that just like 3D printing, this new application of knitting can simplify construction and cut down on materials, labour, and waste. 

The flexibility of the textile will allow for complex shapes to take form, thus modernizing architecture and providing designers with a new application to consider in their creative works. The reliance on industrial knitting machines also makes the process more accessible for future applications, as the process still depends on conventional technology. 

 KnitCandela is currently on display in the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneoin Mexico City.

This article was prepared by Summer Lewis, Chief Communications Director at

Taking the Lead - Philip Beesley

The intersectionality of fashion, technology, and design is only now starting to be explored. Philip Beesley, however, has been active in this field for some time now.

Philip Beesley is a practicing visual artist, architect, and Professor in Architecture at the University of Waterloo and Professor of Digital Design and Architecture & Urbanism at the European Graduate School. Beesley's work is widely cited in contemporary art and architecture, focused in the rapidly expanding technology and culture of responsive and interactive systems.

Beesley was educated in visual art at Queen's University, in technology at Humber College, and in architecture at the University of Toronto. His Toronto-based practice, Philip Beesley Architect Inc., operates in partnership with Rolf Seifert and the Waterloo-based Adaptive Systems Group, and in numerous collaborations including longstanding exchanges with couture designer Iris van Herpen and futurist Rachel Armstrong. 

Beesley’s ground-breaking exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum, in collaboration with van Herpen explored how intelligence and technology are changing industries. This enabled these two visionaries to bring their worlds to one exhibit and demonstrate how their respective industries are transforming.

Through the use of 3D printing and responsive design, these two “kindred spirits” are taking the lead.

Take the tour.