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Cold Works

A Research into Advanced Concrete Design and Production in the Subarctic Climate Conditions.

The aim of the project is to conduct a collaborative experimental research in the design and production of artistic objects of concrete in the subarctic climate. The conceptual core of the project comes from the doctoral research in the advanced fabrication of precast concrete elements by Vasily Sitnikov (KTH) and the artistic practice of Simon Anund (Konstfack), which has been developed around the traditional craftsmanship of concrete casting.

Overall the intention of the research is to address the problem of the material waste that is found in the industrial construction processes. Today, the production of non-standard geometry in concrete is facilitated through the use of moulds made of expanded polystyrene or similar petrochemical products. While these materials are disposed after a single use, this form of production generates excessive amounts of waste, and thus does not support the elaboration of design geometry in concrete.

An alternative production principle has been studied at KTH by Vasily Sitnikov. The study has led to the development of the Ice Formwork system which utilizes ordinary ice as the moulding material, eliminating any petrochemical products from the production process. Highly detailed and irregular moulds are carved out of ice blocks by the means of robotic milling. Therefore, the method has enabled a materialization process for the most intricate design geometry in concrete in absence of wasted formwork material. The scientific basis of the system has been published in several peer-reviewed publications, addressing a number of disciplinary questions of the material science, structural engineering and life-cycle assessment (the list of publications: https://iceformwork.com/publications/) Through an active collaboration between the principal investigators, the anticipated project will amplify the inherent aesthetic qualities of the Ice Formwork system. By sharing the knowledge and experiences of the traditional concrete craftsmanship and the innovative technological systems, the project is expected to produce a synergetic effect, strongly advancing the prior research work in the aesthetic domains.


Vasily Sitnikov, PhD candidate at KTH School of Architecture, vasily.sitnikov@arch.kth.se
Simon Anund, Teacher at Konstfack