This workshop will explore the design of deployable knitted textile membranes as scaffolds for climbing plants. The knitted textile is designed to guide the growth of a plant into spans following principles of structure and placing material (in this case growth) where needed. The playful example is inspired by the living root bridges of Northern India, which are made by guiding the roots of a tree over a stream, allowing them to grow into spanning structures over time. These growing structures are used as an illustration for aspects related to the design and fabrication of knitted textile molds that can be used as efficient, lightweight, and deployable formwork for complex geometries. During the workshop participants will learn how to use form-finding methods to design tensile structures including non-manifold and non-orientable geometries. Structural and fabrication considerations will be highlighted through topology explorations and the deliberate choice of singularities and segmenting of the overall geometry. In considering how to best guide the growth paths through the textile, participants will zoom in on the design of specific textile features such as ribs, openings, channels, and textures. A spanning design will be fabricated after the completion of the workshop.
Mariana Popescu, Robin Oval