The installation was commissioned and funded by Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCB) an internationally recognised architectural design consultancy. It is a site-specific installation, a seamless column form that is knitted in-situ, around the columns of the Southbank Undercroft.
The installation is an interdisciplinary collaboration across institutions, (between the Schools of Architecture and Arts (department of Design - Textiles), and the University of Manchester School of Engineering (MACE).
The installation studies the appropriation of knitting techniques to control material form and behavior at an architectural scale. A knitting loom was designed and fabricated to create the seamless form in-situ and to control geometry. The variation in geometry is purely through modulation of the stitch pattern.
The work is part of a larger research project by Ault, Shaw and Beecroft concerned with ‘performative patterning’- controlling pattern for architectural effect, at the material scale (in heat responsive fabrics and in the behaviours of 3D printed knit structures) and in large scale architectural installations.
The exploration of knit structures in a range of novel materials and fabrication techniques (e.g. 3D printed knit structures) and how they behave when they are not knitted with continuous yarns, but in a digital gravity-less environment is original to this work.
Supporting work has been presented at a range of conferences and invited presentations in UK and EU. It is also featured in the MSA ‘What we do here’ short film, discussing modelmaking and its role in architectural research and pedagogy. The film has won several awards, screening at the Venice Biennale 2018 and at a number of design and film festivals in the UK and internationally.
Further work is currently planned to be exhibited at Blue Dot festival Summer 2019 at Jodrell Bank as part of a teaching project. Small-scale material studies in 3D printing and heat responsive textiles will be underway in Summer 2019 with journal publications anticipated in science and engineering as well as architecture and design.