Striatus is an arched, unreinforced masonry footbridge composed of 3D-printed concrete blocks assembled without mortar. The 16x12-metre footbridge is the first of its kind, combining traditional techniques of master builders with advanced computational design, engineering, and robotic manufacturing technologies.
“The name “Striatus” reflects its structural logic and fabrication process. Concrete is printed in layers orthogonal to the main structural forces to create a “striated” compression-only funicular structure that requires no reinforcement. Its digital and circular design uses concrete at its best, with minimal material use and blocks that can be repeatedly reassembled and infinitely recycled” explains Philippe Block, Co-Director of the Block Research Group at ETH Zurich, and member of the Academic Committee of the Holcim Foundation.
Striatus achieves strength through geometry, rather than an inefficient accumulation of materials as in conventional concrete beams and flat floor slabs. Concrete can be considered as an artificial stone that performs best in compression. In arched and vaulted structures, material is placed precisely so that forces can travel to the supports in pure compression, which can significantly reduce the amount of material needed to span space as well as the possibility to build with lower-strength, less-polluting alternatives.
Funicular, unreinforced, non-parallel 3D-concrete-printed, force-aligned, dry-assembled, reversible. A new language for concrete! Designed by Block Research Group and Zaha Hadid Architects, in collaboration with incremental3D and made possible by Holcim.
The Striatus bridge is on display as part of the 17th International Biennale of Architecture in the Giardini della Marinaressa in Venice until November 2021.