Knitting Architecture

The ancient textile practice of knitting occupies a curious and contradictory place in contemporary society.  It is understood simultaneously as outmoded domestic handcraft (the realm of old ladies declining towards senility) and advanced industrial technology (used to slingshot satellites into space, and implanted surgically to forestall cardiac failure).  Despite textiles’ long history as architectural materials[1], and the prevalence of knit fabrics in contemporary textile production[2], knits seldom feature in architecture.  As a discounted and overlooked mode of textile technology, knitting is a potentially fruitful means of subverting habitual or conventional modes of architectural production while fabricating new ways of thinking and making architecture.

[1] Gottfried Semper posits textiles as the archetypal origin of all built form (Gottfried Semper, The Four Elements of Architecture and Other Writings. Harry Francis Mallgrave and Wolfgang Herrmann, trans. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 108.
[2] Mary Schoeser, World Textiles: A Concise History (London: Thames & Hudson, 2003),132.  Schoeser estimates that twenty percent of contemporary garments are knitted.