Featured in Deezen blogpost and publication ‘Dezeen: Book of Ideas,’ Fatty-Shell was completed with instructors Dave Pigram of Supermanoeuvre and Wes McGee of MatterDesign. while at the University of Michigan. 2010.

FattyShell is a project rooted in materials r+d, testing new methods of elastic formwork casting derived from minimal surface algorithmic geometries. The properties of the home-made concrete mix, elasticity of roofing rubber and the pour rate, and locations of the sewing allows the concrete thickness to expand or contract in programmable and unanticipated ways, redefining its structural composition and integrity in real time.

Above: 45 epdm rubber patterns cut from an unrolled geometry with a robotic arm, vacuum table and rotary tool attachment

Above: exterior membrane. patterned to match the exact profile of the interior membrane, with holes removed for sleeve seam locations.

Above: the two patterned membranes of rubber are sewn together on an industrial sewing machine

Above: formwork attached to plywood ribs is tensioned using steel cable at vector locations. a 1-ton crank holds the top plate and adds tension after the first lift.

Above: fiber reinforced high cement based concrete is prepared in 12 batches at 265 lbs (3,200 lbs at completion). lifts occur at 3 hour intervals. At each lift, concrete is sculpted, transferred, or blocked from its gravitational destination in order to reinforce weaker moments in the shell’s composition.


Above: pouring locations were accessed by opening seams and then restitched after lift levels reached the opening.

Above: additional plywood disks to control thickness and to reduce the thermal mass of the wall. (concrete began to heat at temperatures well above 120 degrees Fahrenheit)

Above: vector cables are un-tensioned and formwork is removed with utility knives

Above: the bubbling effect in this column indexes each lift, similar to that of rings in a tree trunk.

Hide Content