Practice Futures – Building Design for a new Material Age

01.09.2018 - 07.12.2018
11:00 - 18:00
The Exhibition Hall
Danneskiold-Samsøes Allé 53
1435 Copenhagen K

The Exhibition 'Practice Futures – Building Design for a new Material Age' showcases 15 projects by international PhD students from the European research collaboration Innochain, and focuses on technology in architecture and design.

Todays building culture stands before radical challenges as it struggles to respond to new requirements for energy efficiency, sustainability, economic and societal change. The potential of design within architecture and the building industry is to develop customised solutions that enable better material use, higher energy conservation and more resilient social and urban programmes. Until now, such creative inventiveness has been restricted by the standardised building practices of modern industrialised building culture.

However, with the increasing use of computational design strategies, architects and contemporary building practice can create cutting-edge information-based design methods that fundamentally change the way we think, design and build architecture.

In this exhibition KADK presents InnoChain, our European PhD network examining new potentials in digital design practice within architecture, engineering and fabrication. The network investigates the extended digital chain – the way that a shared digital platform can allow tools for analysis, fabrication and material design to interface. Within this chain the network creates new interdisciplinary methods to support design collaboration and invent digital workflows in the building industry.  

The network examines how digital tools can make a new use of traditional craft techniques ,  how resource aware optimisation can lead to new structural designs and how shared digital platforms can lead to a new understanding of collaboration.

InnoChain consists of 15 PhD projects and aims to create real solutions for future building practice. With a strong industry focus, InnoChain connects “research in practice” with “research in academia”, the project connects 6 leading academic research environments with 14 cutting edge industry partners from architecture, engineering, IT and fabrication.

This exhibition showcases the results of this research presenting a mix of physical prototypes, demonstrators and digital tools. 

'Mud Shell', 'Ice Formwork' and 'Speckle' are three of the projects that can be seen at the exhibition. 

The Mud Shell

The Mud Shell is the brainchild of Stephanie Chaltiel. The project examines the potential of clay as a sustainable material for construction. Clay is a natural material, which is both cheap and easily accessible. On the other hand, it is not particularly durable. Studying ancient, traditional building techniques, Stephanie examined how to use clay as cladding on a strong, underlying structure. Working with engineers, she developed a durable type of clay, which, with the assistance of drones, can be sprayed directly onto a building’s skeleton frame. This paves the way for the possibility of prefabricating structural models, and then cladding them with a coating of clay once the building’s skeleton frame has been erected. In the long term, it may mean we can even build extremely high buildings without the use of scaffolding and the otherwise ubiquitous concrete.

Stéphanie Chaltiel: The Mud Shell

Ice Formwork

Today clay is the most widely used building material, but the process of casting concrete is complicated, expensive and resource intensive. In his project, Ice Formwork, Vasily Sitnikov looked into the possibility of making a modular system, which uses digital production methods to make complex concrete formwork in ice. This adds greater flexibility and sustainability to the production of concrete elements, eliminating over-consumption of materials.


The process of building involves numerous operators, who one by one complete their part of the work and pass on information to the next link in the chain. The process is hampered by the fact that those involved frequently use different programmes in their work. The architect creates his or her drawings in one programme. The engineer then enters the picture and must first ‘translate’ the architect’s drawings for the programme, which she or he uses etc. In the project, Speckle, Dimitrie Stefanescu aimed at creating an open digital platform, which every stakeholder in the construction process can use, thereby making it easier to access and pass on information, and substantially reducing the risk of erroneous information.

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