TENTE DE CEMENT is project that explores tensile structures and fabric formwork. The students examined the structural properties of fabric in tension and developed a proposal for a plaza Commercial in Barcelona.

The material behaviour experiments were conducted within an apparatus developed during the term by the students. The objective was to understand the way tensile structures work, in order to later use the tensed fabric as a mold for casting the final structure’s modules. 

The final project is located in Plaza Commercial, one of the main plazas in El Born district in Barcelona. After a series of on-site and digital data collection processes, the participants were able to make data visualization maps for sun/shadow, circulation paths and use of land, overlap them, and locate the areas of opportunity. The proposal´s aim is to tackle the three main issues that the plaza faces, lack of seating areas, shadow and vegetation. The final design manages to cover a broad surface area, while not disrupting the circulation of pedestrians and bikers and providing shadow to the terraces of the restaurants of the plaza. It is composed by double- curved minimal surface modules that are joined together with 3D printed elements.

In parallel to the design, the team conducted a series of experiments on formwork, using various material in different scales, including silicone, clay, plaster ad elastic fabric. The final prototype is composed by modules fabricated with plaster cast inside fabric formwork, and 3D printed joinery.

TENTE DE CEMENT is a project by the Institute for advanced architecture of Catalonia, developed in the CIEE Global Architecture & Design Spring 2019 program by:

Students: Isabel Steinthal, Emily Garza
Future Cities Design Studio Faculty: Rodrigo Aguirre
Science, Engineering and Techonology Workshop Faculty: Ricardo Mayor
Faculty Assistant: Nikoleta Mougkasi