IaaC Student Elena Mitrofanova, working alongside biochemist Paolo Bombelli has created a proposal for a facade system that utilizes the natural electricity-generating power of plants. Consisting of a series of hollow, modular clay "bricks" containing moss, the system takes advantage of new scientific advances in the emerging field of biophotovoltaics (BPV) which Mitrofanova says "would be cheaper to produce, self-repairing, self-replicating, biodegradable and much more sustainable" than standard photovoltaics.
The Global Summer School (GSS) is a platform defined by ambitious, multi-scalar investigation on the implications of emergent techniques in our planned environments. Each year, international teams located in key cities around the globe explore a common agenda with projects that are deeply embedded in diverse local conditions.
IaaC GSS is a full-time two-week course open to creative and innovative people who are interested in fields such as architecture, urban planning, digital fabrication and design, searching for a multidisciplinary experience in an international environment.
"The debate linked to a more responsive architecture, connected to nature, has been growing since the 1960s," explains Irina Shaklova in her description of her IaaC research project Living Screen. "Notwithstanding this fact, to this day, architecture is somewhat conservative: following the same principles with the belief in rigidity, solidity, and longevity."
While Shaklova's argument does generally ring true, that's not to say that there haven't been important developments at the cutting edge of architecture that integrate building technologies and living systems, including The Living's mycelium-based installation for the 2014 MoMA Young Architect's Program and self-healing concrete made using bacteria. But while both of these remain at the level of research and small-scale experimentation, one of the most impressive exercises in living architecture recently was made with algae - specifically, the Solarleaf facade developed by Arup, Strategic Science Consult of Germany (SSC), and Colt International, which filters Carbon Dioxide from the air to grow algae which is later used as fuel in bioreactors.
With Living Screen, Shaklova presents a variation on this idea that is perhaps less intensively engineered than Solarleaf, offering an algae structure more in tune with her vision against that rigidity, solidity, and longevity.
Sofoklis Giannakopoulos, a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), has designed Pylos, a 3D printer that utilizes a natural, biodegradable, cheap, recyclable and local material that everyone is familiar with: the earth.
In an effort to make 3D printing a “large scale construction approach” even in years of economic and environmental turmoil, Pylos explores the structural potential of soil, a material that has been widely used in vernacular architecture around the world, and particularly in the Global South.
Learn more about the printer after the break.
Through a competition limited to some of the most prestigious universities, The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) and the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) have been chosen to work with the Harbin Institute of Technology of China (HIT) to create a new school of design, architecture and urbanism in Shenzhen. The new centre will be built on HIT's campus and house up to 1,200 post-graduate and doctoral students, with facilities for research, education and production. Read more about this collaboration after the break.
Students at the Digital Matter Intelligent Constructions studio at Barcelona's Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia have created a composite facade material of clay and hydrogel, which is capable of cooling building interiors by up to 6 degrees centigrade. Entitled Hydroceramic, the material utilizes the ability of hydrogel to absorb up to 500 times its own weight in water to create a building system that "becomes a living thing as part of nature and not outside of it."
Read on after the break for more on how Hydroceramic works.
One of the major challenges in translating 3D Printing technology into architecture has been the issue of scale. So far, this has generally resulted in ever larger printers, with one of the most successful examples being the KamerMaker, which has been used to 3D print a Dutch Canal House in 2x2x3.5 metre chunks. However, recognizing the limitations on the size of 3D printers, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) has developed a family of three small, mobile robots which together can print a structure of any size.
Read on after the break for more on the process.