Knitted Architectural Assemblies

by Dynamic Assemblies Lab

Dynamic Assemblies Lab (DAL) presents three projects made possible by computer numerical control (CNC) knitting. Knit Tensegrity Shell, Knit Patterned Flow Pavilion and Living Forms explore three strategies for employing bespoke knitted membranes for architectural assemblies.

Knit Tensegrity Shell uses a continuous elastic membrane that can be tensioned to form a shell-like structure; Knit Patterned Flow has discrete textile panels with different elasticities to interact with elastic rods; Living Forms adopts the knit as a volumetric permeable membrane to bind with cultivated mycelium as a bio-composite.

Knit Tensegrity Shell

Knit Tensegrity Shell is a novel structural type that taps on principles of tensegrity to create an ultra-lightweight, free-spanning structure that can be erected quickly with unskilled labor. It consists of two main elements: a continuous bespoke textile membrane and a series of linear compressive struts that work in tandem to create an elastic shell in equilibrium.

The exhibition showcases Knit Tensegrity Shell Pavilion, a 4.5-meter diameter by 3-meter tall, one-to-one scale prototype of this novel structure type. Leveraging on iterative physical prototyping and digital form-finding simulations, the pavilion’s 3-dimensional curved shell geometry is created by rationalizing linear strut members in a reciprocal configuration within a textile membrane. The struts are inserted into integrated pocket details within a bespoke tailored membrane that is machine-knitted out of elastic spandex yarns. The resultant tensioned elastic shell is weighted onto the ground using nine 3D printed bases that can be re-positioned to meet the diverse spatial needs and uncertain terrains of the urban and natural environments.

Knit Tensegrity Shell Pavilion will be showcased alongside graphical notations that marks the range of 3D printed base positions that have been tested and found to produce spatial differentiations in Knit Tensegrity Shell’s volume, profiles and openings. Knit Tensegrity Shell has been recognized for its innovation, winning the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) 2019 innovative lightweight structures international competition.

Knit Tensegrity Shell is funded and supported by the Digital Manufacturing and Design Centre (DmanD) in SUTD.


01 - Knit Tensegrity Shell Pavilion 02 - Assembly sequence of lightweight Knit Tensegrity Shell Pavilion 03 - Knit Tensegrity Shell Pavilion photographed in elevation 04 - Knit Tensegrity Shell Pavilion diagram drawing viewed in elevation, with three base positions 05 - Knit Tensegrity Shell Pavilion detail photograph

Knit Patterned Flow Pavilion

Knit Patterned Flow Pavilion is a spatial envelope formed by discrete knitted panels that seeks to amplify Singapore’s faint breezes to improve its interior and exterior thermal comfort. Its global and localized forms are informed by computational fluid dynamics (CFD): its parabolic hyperboloid global geometry funnels wind through its interior, while its localized scallop-shaped panels create textured undulations that deflect and hasten wind flows.

The pavilion’s skin capitalizes on the principles of computer numerical control (CNC) knitting to create differentiated patterned membranes out of glass fiber and spandex yarns to confer localized regions of varied elasticities within each piece of textile. These textiles interact with flexible Delrin rods inserted diagonally into its surface which bend and create the freeform interior. This assemblage of 35 uniquely shaped doubly curved panels is mounted on a bent aluminum pipe boundary frame using 3D printed joints and glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) rods. More information here.

Knit Patterned Flow Pavilion is funded and supported by a ZJU-SUTD Seed grant and the Digital Manufacturing and Design Centre (DmanD) in SUTD. It is also supported by the Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD) pillar of SUTD.

Photos by Lee Tat Lin

Living Forms

Living Forms explores digital design and manufacture of sustainable architectural scale building blocks using mycelium as a natural bio-composite. It taps on the cultivation of mycelium as a natural network of interwoven hyphae filaments that fuse with a permeable sacrificial knitted formwork. This increases the mechanical performance of the resultant bio-composite, making it viable as an alternative building material.

The exhibition showcases two architectural scale branching units that are designed to form a 3-meter tall mycelium composite column. The digital design to fabrication workflow for Living Forms was calibrated to accommodate the biological and growth procedures specific to the manufacturing of mycelium composites. Using a combination of pre-fabricated standard aluminum frames and 3D knitted permeable molds, the project developed a growth infrastructure that minimizes the customization of complex molds while allowing for geometrical freedom.

Living Forms is a collaboration between Dynamics Assemblies Lab in SUTD and Mycotech Lab.

It is funded and supported by the International Design Centre (IDC) in SUTD.


01 - Two types of branching units 02 - Growth infrastructure for the cultivation of mycelium composite 03 - 3 meter tall mycelium composite column drawing

Find out more about DAL here