Architects' general ignorance about the needs and requirements for people with special needs is worrisome. Beyond complying with mandatory regulations (different in each country), the quality of life for different-abled people depends on specific and daily factors that go beyond a railing or a ramp, and are often left in the hands of professionals who have never dealt with such issues.
This Ables, a project developed by IKEA and the non-profit organizations Milbat and Access Israel, provides an excellent resource for how to create an equitable design in the smallest and simplest of details. From door handles that are can be opened with a forearm to a couch lift that enables users to sit down and get up easily, these 13 products are available to the general public on ThisAbles.com. Some products can even be 3D-printed independently.
See the video below for more details of the project.
The façade element, measuring 60 centimeters wide and one meter high, strikes a snow-white, delicate aesthetic with light shining diffusely through the surface. Within the material, cells provide stability and air-filled cavities for optimum insulation, while thin tubes circulate air for ventilation. The wave-like form of the facade also generates bulges to provide shade, while a microstructured surface ensures optimal acoustics.
The renowned Centre Pompidou in Paris is to open its doors to two living sculptures, embodying the future forms of spatial intelligence. The exhibition, titled “La Fabrique du vivant” [The Fabric of the Living], will feature “H.O.R.T.U.S. XL Astaxanthin.g” by ecoLogicStudio in collaboration with Innsbruck University - Synthetic Landscape Lab, CREATE Group / WASP Hub Denmark - University of Southern Denmark, and "XenoDerma" by Urban Morphogenesis Lab directed by Claudia Pasquero at The Bartlett UCL.
Running from February 20th to April 15th, the exhibition will examine the notion of “living” in a digital era, where new interactions are emerging between the fields of life science, neuroscience, and synthetic biology. Permeating the entire urbanscape, this global, digital apparatus “encompasses miniaturization, distribution, and intelligence of manmade urban networks of in-human complexity, engendering evolving processes of synthetic life on Earth.”
A sturdy featherweight table? Sounds... contrary to reason. But this contradiction was the very impetus for the design. Created for a research center that’s pushing the boundaries of design and manufacturing using technology and science, the designers--AIRLab, in collaboration with DManD-- sought to dematerialise the typical structure of a table, creating a sense of instability with the visual counterpoint of a solid surface.
The New Raw has launched the Zero Waste Lab in Thessaloniki, a research initiative where Greek citizens can upcycle plastic waste into urban furniture. Part of the larger Print Your City project, the project utilizes a robotic arm and recycling facilitates to create custom furniture pieces that close the plastic waste loop. The initiative aims to use flakes from recycled products to redesign public spaces within the cities.
The world’s longest 3D-printed concrete pedestrian bridge has been completed in Shanghai. Designed by Professor Xu Weiguo from the Tsinghua University (School of Architecture) - Zoina Land Joint Research Center for Digital Architecture, the 26.3-meter-long bridge was inspired by the ancient Anji Bridge in Zhaoxian, China.
The single-arch structure was created using a 3D printing concrete system developed by Professor Xu Weiguo’s team, integrating digital design, cost efficiency, smart technology, and architectural dynamism. Enclosing the 3.6-meter width, the bridge’s handrails are shaped like flowing ribbons on the arch, creating a light, elegant movement across the Shanghai Wisdom Bay pond.
3D printing itself is no longer a new technology, but that hasn’t stopped researchers and innovators around the world from coming up with new applications and opportunities. Some experiments with new materials have been driven by sustainability concerns and others are simply the result of imagination and creativity. Others have chosen to invest their time utilizing more traditional materials in new ways. Materials, however, are just the beginning. Researchers have developed new processes that allow the creation of objects that were previously impossible to print and, on a larger scale, new building typologies are being tested - including a Mars habitat!
Researchers at New York’s Columbia University have unveiled a method of vibrantly replicating the external and internal structure of materials such as wood using a 3D printer and specialist scanning techniques. While conveying the external profile and patterns of natural objects is tried and tested, a major challenge in the 3D printing industry has been replicating an object’s internal texture.
In their recent study “Digital Wood: 3D Internal Color Texture Mapping” the research team describes how a system of “color and voxel mapping “led to the production of a 3D printed closely resembling the texture of olive wood, including a cut-through section.
In 2016, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech has established an advanced masters program with a focus on digital fabrication and robotics. Currently recruiting for its fourth installment, the Design by Data Advanced Masters Program appeals to architects, engineers, and tech-oriented designers. Since its launch in 2016, the program’s director Francesco Cingolani has sought to shape the relationship between architecture and technology by creating a cross-disciplinary culture between the two.
As previously mentioned on Archdaily, students study the main components of the program - computational design, digital culture and design, and additive manufacturing and robotic fabrication - throughout the 12-month program to fulfill Design by Data’s main objectives while working with peers in a dynamic learning environment. While providing each participant with both technical skills and an aesthetic eye, the program ensures students will also gain critical knowledge of current innovative trends and ongoing research. By exposing them to technology through hands-on use of tools of digital fabrication, the program will teach students to approach design through a process-oriented lens.
The “KnitCandela” prototype represents the first application of this technology at an architectural scale, a five-tonne concrete structure on display at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City.
Dutch robotics company MX3D have unveiled the world's first 3D printed stainless steel bridge at Dutch Design Week. Set to be installed across one of the oldest and most famous canals in the center of Amsterdam, the bridge was created with designer Joris Laarman. Now both the span and deck are complete. Equipping industrial robots with purpose-built tools, the project showcases the potential applications of multi-axis 3D printing technology.
Anna Liu and Mike Tonkin of London-based Tonkin Liu have developed an innovative medical device for use in patients’ windpipes. The prototype stent is based on the firm’s signature Shell Lace Structure, a “single-surface structural technology designed and developed through a decade of research for architectural and engineering applications.”
Dubai has launched 3D Printing Strategy, a global initiative to make the city the world's leader in 3D printing. The initiative is designed to promote the status of the UAE and Dubai as a leading hub of 3D printing technology. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has created the plan for one quarter of new buildings to be 3D printed by 2025. The strategy hopes to utilize 3D printing to cut costs in the medical and construction sector and restructure economies and labor markets.
When it comes to building a bridge, what prevents it from having the most enduring and sustainable life span? What is its worst enemy? The answer is, simply, the bridge itself—its own weight.
Built with today’s construction processes, bridges and buildings are so overly massed with energy and material that they’re inherently unsustainable. While concrete is quite literally one of the foundations of modern construction, it’s not the best building material. It’s sensitive to pollution. It cracks, stains, and collapses in reaction to rain and carbon dioxide. It’s a dead weight: Take San Francisco’s sinking, leaning Millennium Tower as an example.
Modern, smart construction can and will do better. A convergent set of technologies will soon radically change how the construction industry builds and what it builds with.
AI SpaceFactory has released details of their proposed cylindrical huts for the Planet Mars, designed as part of the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge organized by NASA. Project MARSHA (Mars HAbitat) was endorsed by NASA with a top prize of almost $21,000, one of five designs selected from a field of seventeen.
The competition asked participants to design an effective habitat for a crew of four astronauts to be located on the Red Planet, using construction techniques enabled by 3D printing. The submitted schemes were then ranked based on their innovation, architectural layout, and level of detail in BIM modeling.
At first glance, The Stealth Building looks like a pristinely-restored cast iron apartment building. That’s because technically, it is. But upon closer inspection, the Lower Manhattan building is rife with innovative restoration and renovation practices by WORKac.
London has a fascinating history of urbanization that stretches back to Roman settlement in 43 AD. During the Industrial Revolution and Victorian Era, the city’s population peaked, as did its problems related to population density. The air was filled with soot and smoke, crowded slums were the norm in the inner city, and cholera and other epidemics spread quickly due to inadequate sanitation.
These conditions gave rise to modern urban planning and public-health policy, which now must define what “good density” might look like in the future of urban housing. The UN predicts that by 2050, 66 percent of the world’s population will live in metropolitan areas, up from 54 percent today.
Late last year, we reported on the progress of world’s first 3D printed steel bridge designed by Netherlands-based MX3D. With the design now finalized, the start-up company has announced that the span of the bridge is now complete.
The final round of structural tests is expected to take place this summer, just three years after the project was first announced. After the structural integrity has been tested, the final design will be modified and the completion of the bridge will follow only a few months after. MX3D hopes to showcase the potential of their multi-axis 3D printer during the Dutch Design Week, and the first of its kind bridge is planned to be installed into its final location in a canal in Amsterdam sometime next year.