This paper presents two recent projects from the design practice of ZJA: an entry for the ARC Wildlife Crossing Design Competition and a preliminary design for the Extended Waal Bridge in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. In both cases, the design has been informed by the construction method of using a large cable-net formwork with a secondary system of geotextiles. This new concept builds upon existing architectural vocabulary, ideas and advantages found in fabric formwork technology,

This new concept builds upon existing architectural vocabulary, ideas and advantages found in fabric formwork technology, cable-nets and tensioned membrane roofs, to allow for large-scale, long-span structures. The resulting designs demonstrate how both thin shell and volumetric concrete structures can be made with this system. Both physical and digital, parametric design models were used during development of these designs. However, doubts surrounding the constructability of these designs have surfaced.

The jury for the ARC competition has praised the use of well established construction techniques in its winning entry. Similarly, the contractor of the Extended Waal Bridge will likely use conventional methods in favor of the flexible formwork that originally informed the geometry of the design. Insights into the feasibility and viability of this method are discussed based on these and other experiences during the design process.


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