Advanced casting – Experiment R

Opticut - Advanced casting 01
Visualization of the Experiment R sculpture at the intended location in Aarhus – Rendering by courtesy of Aarhus School of Architecture.


Part of being innovative and open to challenges is that sometimes we are – well – challenged. One such case is the Experiment R project conceived by Aarhus School of Architecture.


More than 5 years ago Hi-Con was contacted and asked if we would participate in an experiment to use topology optimized structural design, with the aim of creating a large piece of artwork. We agreed, and I spent 1½ year and many hours together with the project team at Aarhus School of Architecture to develop the original prototype design into a project that both met the design intentions, and could be realised.


In late 2013, we made a formal agreement to assist in the design, production and installation of the artwork, together with the advisory engineer Søren Jensen A/S, and are now working hard to complete the project within the frame of Aarhus, European Capital of Culture 2017.


The large 19-ton sculpture in light-coloured CRC i2® will be more than 21 meters long, 8 meters wide and 3,5 meters high once installed, and consists of 6 unique CRC i2® elements bolted and glued together, erected on two cast-in-place line foundations.


Opticut - Advanced casting 02


The complex formwork is made in a cooperation between Aarhus School of Architecture and Odico ApS and consists of an intricate 3D puzzle of interlocking robot manufactured EPS and MDF pieces, all supported within a frame of conventional steel scaffolding.


The formwork assembly and casting is extremely complex, and it has required all the ingenuity and persistence of the formwork team and Hi-Cons production team to realize the first of the 6 elements – just 5 more to go!


Below a few images from the preparations in the production, from initial assembly of the many individual 3D formwork parts, over completed form sides, through reinforcement work in progress to the completed form enclosed in steel scaffolding.


Opticut - Advanced casting 03


The casting itself had to be executed thoroughly to ensure that the entire mold was filled, and consequently the CRC i2® was poured deliberately into one corner so that the flow could ensure that the mold was filled from the bottom up:

Watch the first casting here

This first casting was a partial success – the element was fully cast – however more than fully cast, as the images below demonstrates:


Opticut - Advanced casting 04


The images show the inner formwork exposed after removal of steel scaffolding and EPS wedges, the element during initial removal of the EPS parts, and the element after it was discovered that some of the holes were filled unintentionally due to formwork movement during casting – and finally an image of the surfaces prior to making good of the element.


I will report more from this complex project as we continue, and off course when it is erected. Feel free to share you your comments or ask questions!



Tommy Bæk Hansen
Group Product Development Manager
Hi-Con A/S


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