Researchers at Princeton University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have discovered that hydroxyapatite, the primary compound found in human teeth and bones, can be used to help preserve the condition of marble, which is prone to cracking and deteriorating as a result of the effects of pollution and the weather.
Biomimicry with Steel Sheets: Designing "DNA" Into Materials Can Create Architecture that Shapes Itself
This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Haresh Lalvani on Biomimicry and Architecture That Designs Itself."
It’s the holy grail for any biomimicry design futurist: buildings and structures that use generative geometry to assemble and repair themselves, grow, and evolve all on their own. Buildings that grow like trees, assembling their matter through something like genomic instructions encoded in the material itself.
To get there, architecture alone won’t cut it. And as such, one designer, Haresh Lalvani, is among the most successful at researching this fundamental revision of architecture and fabrication. (Or is it “creation and evolution”?) He employs a wildly interdisciplinary range of tools to further this inquiry: biology; mathematics; computer science; and, most notably, art.
Superthin, flexible glass sounds like something out of a fantasy world – but in fact, it’s something many of us already use everyday as screens for our smartphones and watches. In this video from the Science Channel’s How It’s Made, the intricate process for creating this material, produced by glass manufacturer Schott, is revealed. Watch as the components of the glass are carefully measured out and blended before being melted and reformed into ultrathin sheets.
The first 3D printed pedestrian bridge in the world opened to the public on December 14 in Madrid. Led by the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) in a process that took a year and a half from its conception, the structure crosses a stream in Castilla-La Mancha Park in Alcobendas, Madrid.
Although similar initiatives have already been announced in the Netherlands, this is the first to have finished construction. The structure is printed in micro-reinforced concrete, and measures 12 meters in length and 1.75 meters wide.
Autodesk's Generative Design Pavilion Plays with Properties and Fabrication Processes in Stone and Fabric
At Autodesk's 2016 conference in Las Vegas, a team from Autodesk's BUILD Space led by principal research engineer Andrew Payne collaborated with manufacturer Quarra Stone, engineers Simpson Gumpertz and Heger, and University of Michigan assistant professor Sean Ahlquist to unveil its new Generative Design Pavilion. The project is an exploration of materiality, with stalagmite stone forms that rise up from geometric floor panels to meet fabric that stretches down from a canopy above. The junction of textile and stone aims to emphasize the distinct behaviors of the two materials.
Furniture and design retailer XTRA's new flagship store in Singapore's Marina Square includes a Herman Miller "Shop-in-Shop" that draws inspiration from the furniture it showcases. Encircling the space is a 20-meter arched structure that, from a distance, gives the appearance of tufted fabric pulled taught over a frame. But in fact, this structure is built from a plywood "skin" that designer Pan Yicheng of PRODUCE Workshop has dubbed "fabricwood."
A giant, smooth coral? A cloud-like barnacle? A woman's floral swimming cap?”
Such phrases are how art and architecture studio Marc Fornes / THEVERYMANY attempts to describe it’s latest curvilinear project, Under Magnitude.
Suspended within Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, the installation is a two-storey structure, formed from a network of branches that are synthesized by a single, smooth white surface. The form expresses the studio’s aim to “unite surface, structure, and space in order to create a new kind of experience.”
This article is part of our new series "Material in Focus", where we ask architects to share with us their creative process through the choice of materials that define important parts of the construction of their buildings.
This station and command post located in the Serra do Alvão, Portugal functions as a technical building supporting the wind farm. Surrounded by a unique landscape with beautiful views of the valley, the place is known for being isolated and home to a rather hostile climate, exposed to strong winds and extreme temperatures. We talked with architects Ricardo and Sofia Senos of the M2.SENOS studio to learn more about their material choices and the challenges of the project.
One of the hallmarks of architectural sensibility is a clean, clutter-free space – "a place for everything and everything in its place." Every project requires some element where things can be neatly stored away, whether it be books, kitchen appliances, or entire furniture pieces. Solutions for these storage needs can range from invisible and out of the way, to stunning, textural centerpieces – either way adding necessary functionality to our most-used spaces.
Check out this selection of ten brilliant storage spaces.
Employing the latest in aluminum and metals innovation, Ben van Berkel and UNStudio have erected the ALPOLIC fair stand at BAU 2017, the world’s leading trade fair for architecture, materials and systems. Emphasizing the inherent strength of the ultra-light material, the parametric design utilizes geometric principles to create a self-supporting semi-private stand for gathering and the display of products.
Known for its light weight and high strength properties, graphene has been promised to us as the material of the future for quite some time now. But difficulties in translating its 2D strength into 3-dimensional applications have so far held it back from common use. Now, thanks to new research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), that future may now be closer than ever before. In the school’s latest experiment, researchers have discovered how the material could be shaped into to sponge-like form to resist forces 10 times greater than steel.
This article is part of our new "Material Focus" series, which asks architects to elaborate on the thought process behind their material choices and sheds light on the steps required to get buildings actually built.
The CKK Jordanki (Jordanki Cultural and Convention Center) by Fernando Menis is located in the historical center of Torun. It respects the shorter height of the surrounding buildings to preserve the views of the river and better fit the natural environment that surrounds it. The building was designed to have a more natural look, like a 'rock' that marks the transition from the urban plot to the park that surrounds it. In this interview we spoke with Fernando Menis who explained in depth how the selection of project materials contributed to the design process, helped in the inclusion of universal accessibility, and the project’s construction.
A building’s materiality is what our bodies make direct contact with; the cold metal handle, the warm wooden wall, and the hard glass window would all create an entirely different atmosphere if they were, say, a hard glass handle, a cold metal wall and a warm wooden window (which with KTH’s new translucent wood, is not as absurd as it might sound). Materiality is of just as much importance as form, function and location—or rather, inseparable from all three.
Here we’ve compiled a selection of 16 materials that should be part of the design vocabulary of all architects, ranging from the very familiar (such as concrete and steel) to materials which may be unknown for some of our readers, as well as links to comprehensive resources to learn more about many of them.
The key to engineering wood strong enough to support skyscrapers may lie in the interaction between molecules 10,000 times narrower than the width of a human hair.
A new study by researchers at the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge has solved a long-held mystery of how key polymers in plant cells bind to form strong, indigestible materials such as wood and straw. By recreating this ‘glue’ in a lab, engineers may be able to produce new wood-based materials that surpass current strength capabilities.
BIG are known for unconventional buildings that often raise the question “how were they able to do that?” Such is the case for BIG’s Honeycomb, a luxury eight-story condominium currently under construction in the Bahamas. The project’s hallmark is its hexagonal façade made up of private balconies, each with its own glass-fronted outdoor pool. The façade was also the project’s greatest engineering challenge, with each balcony (including pool water) weighing between 108,000 and 269,000 pounds (48,000-122,000 kilograms) while cantilevering up to 17.5 feet (5.3 meters) from the structure. Tasked with this challenging brief were DeSimone Consulting Engineers, who previously worked with BIG on The Grove. Read on for more detail on the Honeycomb’s innovative engineering.
The Canvas consists of individual modules, each of which is a cube made from steel framework, back paneling, L-shaped jambs, secondary structure, waterproofing board, irrigation piping, Green Studios hydroponic skin, and plants. These layered components are assembled on four sides of the cube module, with a motor and water pipe attachment that circulates water throughout.
Following last year’s introduction of MultiFab, a multi-material 3D printer, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has pioneered a system for designing multi-material objects. The new interface, Foundry, is meant to be accessible to non-programmers, whereas multi-material 3D printing technology has historically been prohibitive both with respect to cost and user-friendliness.
Earlier this year, Chilean architects and professors Luis Pablo Barros and Gustavo Sarabia from the Federico Santa María University released a book (in Spanish) titled "Sistemas Constructivos Básicos" (Basic Construction Systems)." The book aims to be a tool to help architects translate their plan diagrams into tangible architectural works, as well as to help students learn the knowledge necessary to build what they plan.