Advertisement‘Knitted Architecture’ offers a blueprint for greener cities

‘Knitted Architecture’ offers a blueprint for greener cities

“The long-term stuff may seem quite conceptual,” he says, but it allows people to think about the impacts in a thousand years of all the materials and waste we produce now.

corners woven architecture Made using wool, cotton, acrylic, steel, and wood, exploring the use of 3D knitting techniques in architecture.

Jenny Underwood and Lianne Zylka at work with some 3D knitted materials.
Julian Kingma

“The important thing is that textile technologies are more advanced than any architectural materials,” Zylka says, citing the fibers used in bulletproof vests and blocking electromagnetic waves. “The hardest thing about architecture is the complex geometry.”

Zylka and Underwood see Sampling from the future The exhibition serves as a “fantastic testing ground” for the realization of their research while showing the public the possibilities in combining the fields of architecture and textiles.

Zilka and Underwood put what they’ve learned so far into a real-world research project they call Reskinning the City.

Zilka, a lecturer in the RMIT School of Architecture and Design, and Underwood, associate dean of its School of Fashion and Textiles, have collaborated on projects over the past decade, but it hasn’t always been an easy journey.

Playful cheerful appearance woven architecture The complexity involved in creating what Zilka describes as “a set of torsos tied together with a set of shoulders” belies.

Essentially, the couple had to devise a way of communicating between the technical languages ​​of architecture and textile technology. “In architecture, we use scales and millimeters and speak broadly [whereas] In textiles and fashion it’s 1:1 and they deal with pixels,” Zylka says. “It’s a whole different language.”

Technicians build Zilka and Underwood’s Knitted Architecture installation at RMIT.
Julian Kingma

The two designers eventually overcame this hurdle by combining RMIT’s Shima Seiki 3D knitting machine with the digital design and modeling tools used by architects.

“The whole clothing industry isn’t new,” Zylka says. “What’s new is to expand its ability to handle infinite lengths and complex shapes…to translate a computer-developed architectural format into the language of textile technology.”

Also new is how this next-generation industrial manufacturing technology can be harnessed to bond a complex shape without waste, using high-performance, lightweight threads such as carbon and Dyneema, a fiber 15 times stronger than steel of the same weight.

Soon, Zilka and Underwood put what they’ve learned so far into a real-world research project they are calling for Reskinning the city, which explores the sustainable potential of woven architecture in the face of climate change.

In the longer term, the plan is to enclose the buildings in 3D woven leather that harvests solar energy, reflects heat, provides passive urban lighting, collects data and integrates microclimate pockets for plants and insects.

“Parts of our cities are operating to 100-year-old standards while dealing with climate change and other issues,” Zylka says. “A retrofit solution that can be rolled out to the facades is the only solution. This is the direction we are going.”

Textiles also provide a decorative element, Underwood says. “That’s what fashion allows – more colour. That’s the fun of installing.”

It is also recyclable. when Sampling from the future Finishes, the fabric used in them woven architecture It can be disassembled and reused.

need to know
Sampling from the future Working in Melbourne at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia until February 6.

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