New Pavilion Made of Textile-Reinforced Concrete


RWTH Aachen inaugurates new pavilion at the Civil Engineering Building


RWTH Aachen can now demonstrate the impressive characteristics and capabilities of an innovative composite material, textile-reinforced concrete (TRC): four large-scale TRC shells form the roof of a glass pavilion, which has now been completed in close proximity to the Civil Engineering Building on Mies-van-der-Rohe-Straße. The pavilion will be primarily used as a student learning room.

The hyperbolically shaped shells of the pavilion have a size of seven by seven meters, with a thickness of just six centimeters. The reinforcing material consists of technological textiles made of high-strength carbon fibers.

“Textile-Reinforced Concrete: Basics for an Innovative Technology” – this is the title of a Collaborative Research Center funded by the German Research Foundation and headed by Professor Josef Hegger from the RWTH Institute of Structural Concrete. Over the last twelve years, eleven RWTH institutions in the fields of civil engineering, mechanical engineering, the natural sciences and architecture have conducted interdisciplinary research on the innovative material, focusing on fundamental aspects as well as possibilities of application.

New Opportunities Through Textile-Reinforced Concrete

The pavilion's architectural design by the Chair of Building Construction and Design takes its cue from the thin-shell structures designed by the Spanish architect Félix Candelas. Due to challenges posed by the corrosion of the reinforcing steel bars and the costly manufacturing process, shell structures are not commonly used anymore. Textile-reinforced however makes it possible to realize thin shell structures once again.

The 49 qm concrete shells were manufactured by the company GQ Quadflieg GmbH in a construction tent close to the building site. The flexible reinforcement components were integrated with the help of a concrete casting process. After the curing the large roof components were installed on the pre-mounted steel concrete columns. Finally, the glass façade that encloses the pavilion was added. Loads from wind and snow are directly carried by the TRC roof construction.