Annie Locke Scherer is a researcher in the architectural technologies department at KTH School of Architecture. She has a Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan and a M.S. in Digital Fabrication from Uni Stuttgart’s ITECH Master programme. Her PhD research at KTH in Stockholm focuses on the intersection and integration of computational design with fabric formwork, parametric smocking, and concrete; a short summary can be found here:
Traditionally, in the realm of computational design and digital fabrication, the final form is envisioned, and then a material is chosen to best suit its construction needs. Concrete has been used for centuries in traditional construction projects, often with laborious and costly form work. Most conventional construction techniques aim at constraining the material’s inherent qualities, doing their best to minimize the hydrostatic forces and slumping of concrete.
This project investigates patterns and methods to formally manipulate flat sheets of fabric. Concrete Form[ing]work examines traditional smocking, an embroidery technique of gathering fabric that has been used since the Middle Ages, and questions how this technique can be applied in novel means. Smocking refers to the gathering and stitching together of fabric in a wide variety of patterns, a technique that has commonly been used in clothing for cuffs, necklines, and waistlines in the absence of elastic. Smocking reduces the size of the fabric to roughly one third of its original size, and can be applied to architectural elements to specify varying areas of elasticity as well as differentiate global geometry. The integration of such methods opens up a new possibility of design research and fabrication techniques in regards to what can be achieved with fabric form work. It also speculates on additional research that could introduce an industrial robot arm and sensors to explore issues of repeatability, scale, and economy.
Concrete Form[ing] work explores the integration of parametric patterning and cast concrete to investigate novel techniques for creating architectural elements. While traditional form work for custom or sinuous concrete structures is often costly or impossible to fabricate, this research looks at a myriad of techniques to custom-tailor fabric for casting. These include traditional hand smocking as well as more recent research into custom knit structures that can react and transform in response to heat, water, or electrical currents.