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Concrete design workshop - Betonhuis


When? Wednesday 29-03-2023

Where? Pulse Techology TU Delft

Time? 13:00 -18:00

Price? FREE, sandwhich and drinks afterwards provided!

Concrete design workshop  - PRESENCE

Every year Tektoniek organizes a Concrete Design workshop together with BOUT and U-BASE. In the workshop participants develop ideas that they then can elaborate onto a poster with which they can enter the Concrete Design Competition. Winners of the nationally held competition receive a cash prize and first and second place get to go to an International Concrete Design Masterclass for a whole week. The Concrete Design Competition is organized in a two-year cycle. The present cycle 11 is 2023-2024 and entries can be sent in at all times.


Concrete has like no other material the characteristic to pour it into almost every possible shape or texture that you can imagine. This gives the designer the freedom to give expression to the PRESENCE of the object. Both sharp corners and flowing curves can be expressed in concrete. Textures from mirrorlike smooth surfaces to very rough stonelike surfaces are possible next to any artificial pattern or texture that you can think of.

The architectural philosophy of ‘form follows function’ means the opposite of just embellishing to whatever you like, and to what ‘De Stijl’ dictates: very flat rectangular shapes and clean junctions. ‘Form follows function’ means to have a good look at the function of the object or part of the structure and envision the best shape for that task. So if the connection is a hinge, just design it visually as a hinge. If there is a range of columns in a structure, don’t make them all the same, but make visible what function they have: bearing the whole building, or just supporting the façade. So in fact de ornamentation of the building follows from the function of the parts of the building.

When you take ‘form follows function’ literally a step further, the shape of a column or beam could follow the direction of the forces – this is also called topologic design. Put the material there, where we need it – which also fits into the vision of sustainability: use fewer materials and use the materials that we need as efficiently as possible. In concrete, it is very easy to just make a rectangular shape and fix all the momentum and forces to incorporate steel rebars. In topologic design, you visualize those forces and let them shape the structure. Think of the upside-down models that Gaudi made with chains to visualize the flow of the forces. Very beautiful and organic structures can be the result.

Another, very topical, architectural philosophy is of the ‘pure materials’: try to use the materials in the purest form and utilize their properties to the max. This fits in the vision of a circular economy in the way that with pure materials it is much easier to reuse and recycle them. And although concrete and steel rebars are very easy to separate, it can be worth investigating the possibilities of concrete without rebars. The characteristic of concrete is that it can withstand a lot of pressure, but not so much traction. So what application can you think of uses mostly pressure force? In fact, by following topologic design, the structure can be modelled to mostly withstand pressure force.

With 3D printing of concrete, it is made possible to print a complex internal structure of an object, as to spare material. At the moment 3D printing is still in development, but this is one of the goals that can be achieved with this production method.

The idea of this workshop is to come up with ideas in a pressure cooker brainstorm that can be used to enter the Concrete Design Competition. There will be groups made of 4 students with a mixed background to stimulate the brainstorming process! An expert from Witteveen+Bos will give insight into concrete 3D printing technology! At the end of the workshop participants will pitch their ideas and participants and experts will give feedback to further develop the design idea.