POREFORM: Hygroscopic Concrete material and its system

POREFORM: Hygroscopic Concrete material and its system


The project proposal, Poreform, has been recently awarded Gold Medal by the International Foundation of Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction; being recognized among others, for its innovative design and for being a provider of a future idea with environmental awareness. The competition, as described the Foundation itself, looks for:

“…projects that demonstrate an ability to stretch conventional notions about sustainable building and also balance environmental, social and economic performance – while also exemplifying architectural excellence and a high degree of transferability.”


The team of authors for Poreform, being awarded by Holcim

Poreform, designed by Amy Mielke and Caitlin Gucker-Kanter from Water Pore Partnership, along with Keller Easterling from Yale University, achieves exactly what the Foundation was seeking in terms of resiliency, innovation and urban cohesion. The project is located in Las Vegas and the main focus of environmental solution, is to absorb as much water as possible, in order to create a reservoir for drought times.

The material (poured-in concrete), is applied with an old technique produced by Fabriform since the 1960’s, a company dedicated to the design of site specific, cost-effective surfaces using fabric-formed concrete. The team, taking this as a basis of design, found inspiration on the dessert lizard named Thorny Devil, in order to provide the spiky surface that will relieve hydrostatic pressure of moving water, preventing the site from flooding.

The Thorny Devil or thorny dragon, is one interesting creature which skin absorbs condensed water through his spiky skin while sitting on dessert sand. In this case, the designed skin is practically replicated with concrete fabrics making a hygroscopic surface and retaining water on a dual space which undoubtedly captures water in a tank.

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Mabelle Plasencia

Founder and Editor at INmatteria©
• Architect | LEED AP BD+C, with an intense passion for materiality, innovation, technology and science. • Arquitecta | LEED AP BD+C apasionada por la materialidad, innovación, tecnología y ciencia.