Corps of Cadets

Research Centers


Student Services—
and Campus Life


Visit | Apply



Whatever you think you're capable of, you can achieve here—and more. Learn how a Norwich education prepares you to lead in a career you love.

Request Info

Nearly 200 Years—Learn More About Norwich

Photo: Exterior of fabric-concrete home design

The Norwich Record | Winter 2018

Architecture Professor Eleanor D’Aponte is on a mission to help revitalize the use of poured concrete in American building design. And, she’s doing so using fabric.

Just inside Architecture Professor Eleanor D’Aponte’s office in Chaplin Hall, a sculpture catches the eye. It is a table with bulging legs, like balloons filled with water, but made of solid concrete. “A group of students in a seminar created this table, which was formed with fabric,” she explained. The students sewed polyester fabric into the shape of the legs as they envisioned them. They built a supporting rig, hung the fabric, poured in the concrete, and let gravity do its job. “The weight causes the fabric to bulge,” she concluded. “For design students this technique is incredible because it requires them to build a negative of what they’re envisioning.”

The cover of the 2017 book, The Family Cabin, features a house with inner and outer solid-concrete walls that bulge in controlled, horizontal rows. The house, located in nearby Waitsfield, Vt., was “formed with fabric” using a more sophisticated version of the method D’Aponte’s students employed to create the table. D’Aponte co-designed the house with ArroDesign, a local architecture firm that also experiments with fabric.

A small but growing architecture paradigm is emerging around this principle. The technique found its U.S. origins with Mark West, who introduced the idea to D’Aponte when he spoke at Norwich University a decade ago. Since then, she has written several papers on the subject and recently received a Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation grant to study poured-concrete buildings in Europe.

cake Celebrating our Bicentennial!
academic calendar Academic Calendar
camps & Programs
CC & Commissioning 2019
events Calendar of Events
Give Your Impact