What is it?

CAST Formwork Systems (CFS) is a one year research project in which safe housing construction in Indonesian slums is researched. The project concluded in January 2017. CAST Formwork System makes use of a concrete formwork-system based on CNC milling technology. The project researched if enabling self-construction in informal areas was possible, to build up safe, incremental housing up to four storeys high.
Please read about the conclusion of the project in this article written for Architectuur.nl.

The problem

We live in an urban era; the Global Health Organization estimates that in 2050 almost 75% of the world population will live in cities. The bigg­­­est urban growth will take place in ‘informally built parts of the city, often known as slums. These areas are formed when the government can no longer deal with the rapid growth of the urban population and city inhabitants start constructing their own living quarters. While densification in these ever growing mega-cities is sorely needed, the inhabitants often lack the building knowledge needed to construct safe housing over two stories high. Dangerous situations occur since these self-constructed houses are often not able to withstand the earthquakes and yearly flooding these poorly situated areas are exposed to.

The goal

The immediate objective of the project was to provide a safe building method in the informal areas of Indonesian cities. These informal areas are called ‘kampung’ and are an excellent example of self-build areas. 80% of Indonesian cities consist of these kampungs. They are more than just places to sleep, these kampung thrive on a very close knit community and are full of economic activities. A governmental top-bottom approach in handling these areas often consists of tearing down the whole kampung and build high rises in its place. This ‘block attack’ destroys not only the community but also denies the city inhabitants their economic opportunities. The CAST Formwork System proposes a bottom up approach where the inhabitants can independently build up safe housing in accordance with local practice.

Foto’s prototyping CAST

About me

  • Nadia Remmerswaal

    Initiator CAST Formwork System

    Nadia Remmerswaal earned her bachelor’s degree in small business management in 2010 before continuing her studies to become an architect at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands. She graduated cum laude in June 2015 from the studio Architectural Engineering of the faculty of Architecture and has been chosen as best Architectural graduate student of the year.


  • "Nadia was the kind of student who makes our job special. Her curiosity, professional work attitude and dedication to tackle the poor mans problems applying new, but appropriate building technologies to create safer houses and neighborhoods made her worthy of being the best Architectural graduate of our faculty."

  • "Where the potential of digital production techniques are often being employed to provide the high-end spectrum of architecture with aesthetic effects, this project shows a more pragmatic use of the low-end, practical side of the spectrum, what might lead to more captivating results."

  • "Nadia's hands-on approach made this specific graduation project very special. While keeping a focus on the bigger picture of the context she really pushed herself to develop a system that would be feasible on this location. She was eager to figure out if what seems possible on paper and theory, is also possible in practice. To this end she used models and prototypes in all scales and experimented on a daily base."


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