This 30-foot lightweight tower proves that the strongest architectural structures don’t have to be made from hard materials like concrete and steel. In fact, the Hybrid Tower is completely made from soft materials and textiles. A group of researchers, specialists and engineers at CITA – Centre for Information Technology and Architecture– an innovative research program at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (KADK)– developed the project as a proof of concept and exhibited it at the Contextile festival in Guimaraes, Portugal.



Hybrid Tower, CITA - Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, textile green tower, lightweight structure, Contextile, knitting, CNC machine, digital fabrication, green architecture

Hybrid Tower, CITA - Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, textile green tower, lightweight structure, Contextile, knitting, CNC machine, digital fabrication, green architecture

The innovative manufacturing process allowed the team to knit materials as structural elements in a novel way. The tower comprises two main components–bent GFRP (glass fiber reinforced polymer) rods and a custom-made CNC knit. These two materials are extremely lightweight but are capable to form stiff structures that can withstand significant external forces through compression and tension.

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Several simulations, analysis and material design phases preceded the final fabrication process. The team created a new simulation and testing techniques for elastic materials, with the final shapes knitted directly on the CNC knitting machine. The structural skin is a single component produced as a large pre-stressed panel and then rolled into shape, tensioned, transported and erected on site.

Hybrid Tower, CITA - Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, textile green tower, lightweight structure, Contextile, knitting, CNC machine, digital fabrication, green architecture

Related: Solar Building Skin Turns Sydney’s Ugliest Tower into an Eco-marvel

It takes only six people to carry the tower and assemble it quickly thanks to a set of puzzle-like joints integrated into the form of the structure. Although lightweight and flexible, the round beams of the Hybrid Tower can withstand up to 110 pounds (50 kilos) each.

+ CITA – Centre for Information Technology and Architecture

Via Materia

Photos by Anders Ingvartsen

Hybrid Tower, CITA - Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, textile green tower, lightweight structure, Contextile, knitting, CNC machine, digital fabrication, green architecture

Hybrid Tower, CITA - Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, textile green tower, lightweight structure, Contextile, knitting, CNC machine, digital fabrication, green architecture

Hybrid Tower, CITA - Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, textile green tower, lightweight structure, Contextile, knitting, CNC machine, digital fabrication, green architecture

Hybrid Tower, CITA - Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, textile green tower, lightweight structure, Contextile, knitting, CNC machine, digital fabrication, green architecture

Hybrid Tower, CITA - Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, textile green tower, lightweight structure, Contextile, knitting, CNC machine, digital fabrication, green architecture