High-efficiency concrete formwork technology

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    Project update December 2013 – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    The authors aim to demonstrate their research in practice through the construction and placement of complex-shaped small structures. The architectural forms create highly aesthetic elements such as this shelter concept for the Science City Bus Link on the campus of ETH Zurich Hönggerberg. Photo© – courtesy: Gramazio & Kohler, ETH Zurich.

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    Global Holcim Awards Innovation 1st prize handover – Zurich, Switzerland

    Presentation of the Global Holcim Innovation 1st prize (l-r): Peter Wellauer, Holcim Switzerland; Roland Köhler, Holcim; Hans-Rudolf Schalcher, Member of the Global Holcim Innovation prize jury; and members of the winning team from Gramazio & Kohler, Architektur and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich – Matthias Kohler, Ammar Mirjan, Axel Vansteenkiste, Selen Ercan, and Petrus Lindström.

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    Global Holcim Awards Innovation 1st prize handover – Zurich, Switzerland

    Handover of the Global Holcim Innovation 1st prize for "High-efficiency concrete formwork technology", Zurich, Switzerland (l-r): Peter Wellauer, Holcim Switzerland; Roland Köhler, Holcim; and main author of the winning project, Matthias Kohler, Gramazio & Kohler, Architektur und Digitale Fabrikation, ETH Zurich.

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    Holcim Awards ceremony for Europe 2011 – Milan, Italy

    Gramazio & Kohler, Architektur und Digitale Fabrikation – ETH Zurich, Switzerland receiving the Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize 2011 Europe for High-efficiency concrete formwork technology: (l-r) Fabio Gramazio, Silvan Oesterle and Axel Vansteenkiste congratulated by Kaspar Wenger, Holcim Switzerland.

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    Global Holcim Awards finalist entry 2012 – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    Project entry "High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland": Final result: two-sided free-form (double curved) concrete cast with corresponding wax formwork.

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    Global Holcim Awards finalist entry 2012 – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    Project entry "High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland": Step 1: adjustable mold actuation.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    Waste less fabrication of formwork for free-form cast-on-site concrete.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    New digital design and planning tools.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    On site assembly: compatible with conventional methods.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    1x1m double curved free-form wax element, produced by a robotic process, and the concrete positive cast against it.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    A robotic forming method, wax formwork and free-form concrete characterize a sustainable, waste-less process: forming sand and wax re-used after each process cycle.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    Digital formwork planning.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    Re-usable forming sand.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    Robotically formed sand mold.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    Re-usable wax.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    Pouring wax formwork.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    Wax negative/concrete positive.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    Assembly on standard support.

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    Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland

    Project authors (l-r): Fabio Gramazio, Silvan Oesterle, Axel Vansteenkiste, Matthias Kohler.

  • Awards Innovation 1st prize 2011–2012 Global
  • Awards Acknowledgement prize 2011–2012 Europe

The Wasteless Free-Form Formwork construction technology combines existing processes and materials in a new way to fabricate non-repetitive free-form cast-on-site concrete structures using re-usable and digitally-fabricated wax formwork. 

By Matthias Kohler - Gramazio & Kohler, Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland and

Ideas: Embodied Carbon , Circular Design

The Wasteless Free-Form Formwork construction technology combines existing processes and materials in a new way to fabricate non-repetitive free-form cast-on-site concrete structures using re-usable and digitally-fabricated wax formwork. The approach enables highly accurate, complex and free-form geometries of contemporary architectural production to be fabricated at lower cost. 

High-efficiency concrete formwork technology

Project authors

  • Matthias Kohler

    Gramazio & Kohler, Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich

    Switzerland

  • Project entry 2011 Europe – High-efficiency concrete formwork technology, Zurich, Switzerland
    Axel Vansteenkiste

    Gramazio & Kohler, Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich

    Switzerland

  • Global Holcim Awards Innovation 1st prize handover – Zurich, Switzerland
    Petrus Lindström

    Gramazio & Kohler, Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich

    Switzerland

  • Global Holcim Awards Innovation 1st prize handover – Zurich, Switzerland
    Selen Ercan

    Gramazio & Kohler, Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich

    Switzerland

  • Fabio Gramazio

    Gramazio & Kohler, Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich

    Switzerland

  • Silvan Oesterle

    Gramazio & Kohler, Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich

    Switzerland

  • Global Holcim Awards Innovation 1st prize handover – Zurich, Switzerland
    Ammar Mirjan

    Gramazio & Kohler, Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich

    Switzerland

Project updates