Zaha Hadid Architects in collaboration with the Block Research Group (BRG) and other partners from industry have designed Striatus – an arched, unreinforced masonry footbridge composed of 3D-printed concrete blocks assembled without mortar which is being exhibited at the Giardini Della Marinaressa during the Venice Architecture Biennale.
Striatus is an arched masonry footbridge composed of 3D-printed concrete blocks assembled without mortar or reinforcement. The 16 x 12-m 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.
Striatus is an unreinforced concrete structure that achieves strength through geometry. Concrete can be considered an artificial stone that performs best in compression. In arched and vaulted structures, material can be placed precisely so that forces can travel to the supports in pure compression. Strength is created through geometry, rather than an inefficient accumulation of materials as in conventional concrete beams and flat floor slabs. This presents opportunities to significantly reduce the amount of material needed to span space as well as the possibility to build with lower-strength, less-polluting alternatives.
Using a special concrete ink developed by Holcim, this method of 3D concrete printing combines the principles of traditional vaulted construction with digital concrete fabrication to use material only where it is structurally necessary to eliminate waste.
As the construction does not need mortar, the blocks can be dismantled, and the bridge reassembled at different location. If the construction is no longer needed, the materials can simply be separated and recycled.