KALLA is the outcome of research at the intersection between composite materials and advanced design, and structural techniques such as topology optimization.

The form is the result of an iterative design process, focusing on the study of mathematical surfaces. The resultant triply periodic shell structure, was then subjected to topology optimization, referring to the minimal material distribution on given shells according to applied stresses. Applying this concept to the KALLA project, the shell was structurally analysed and optimized topologically in order to minimize the use of material, while maximizing the strength of its thin surface. The result of this process was the variable extrusion of the shell’s surface, which generated ‘ribs’ of material reinforcement on the back side of the mathematical surface.

KALLA was a collaboration with Westminster University and a full scale of the prototype, made by Affan Innovative structures LLC, was exhibited at the World Architects Congress in Seoul, Korea, in September 2017.


Alicia Nahmad (R_Ex)
Vishu Bhooshan (ZHCODE)
Eva Magnisali, David Scott (Westminster University)


Full credits


ZHCODE: Filippo Nassetti, David Reeves, Marko Margeta, Shajay Bhooshan, Patrik Schumacher
BRG: Mariana Popescu, Matthias Rippmann, Tom Van Mele, Philippe Block

KnitCrete technology

BRG: Mariana Popescu, Tom Van Mele, Philippe Block
Chair of Physical Chemistry of Building Materials, ETH Zurich: Lex Reiter, Robert Flatt

Fabrication and construction

BRG: Mariana Popescu, Matthias Rippmann, Alessandro Dell’Endice, Cristian Calvo Barentin, Nora Ravanidou
R-Ex: Alicia Nahmad Vazquez, Horacio Bibiano Vargas, Jose Manuel Diaz Sanchez, Asunción Zúñiga, Agustín Lozano Álvarez, Migue Juárez Antonio, Filiberto Juárez Antonio, Daniel Piña, Daniel Celin, Carlos Axel Pérez Cano, José Luis Naranjo Olivares, Everardo Hernández, Ramiro Tena.

Structural engineering

BRG: Andrew Liew, Tom Van Mele

Concrete development

Holcim Mexico: Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Carlos Eduardo Juarez, Delia Peregrina Rizo

Site construction coordination

R-Ex: Alicia Nahmad Vazquez


ETH Zurich
NCCR Digital Fabrication
Zaha Hadid Architects
Steiger Participations SA
Holcim Mexico
Imerys Aluminates
Boston Consulting Group

Special thanks

Grupo Altiva
UNAM Arquitectura