The construction industry moves a huge amount of resources, employs millions of people, and is a fairly accurate gauge for the economic situation of different countries. If the economy goes down, construction shrinks, and vice versa. Members of the construction industry include mining companies, contractors, material manufacturers, architects, engineers, governments, real estate, and more. In other words, many agents participate either directly and indirectly in the industry. But construction is also considered to be one of the most backward and resistant industries to embrace new technologies, instead opting to replicate traditional ways of doing less efficient work with high rates of waste. A study by McKinsey & Company showed that, unlike other industries, industry productivity has remained stable in construction in recent years, despite all the technological progress that has occurred.
Building Technology: The Latest Architecture and News
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.
The University of British Columbia's Bacteria-Driven Solar Cell Can Produce Energy Under Cloudy Skies
Hailed as a “cheap, sustainable” method of renewable energy extraction, the cell can generate a current stronger than any previously recorded from similar devices. Development of the cell opens new possibilities for typically-overcast regions such as British Columbia and Northern Europe, where the world's first solar panel road debuted in France.
The Madison Square Garden Company has unveiled images of its proposed MSG Sphere in London, a next-generation venue seeking to “redefine live entertainment” through an array of technology geared towards transformative, immersive connections between artists and audiences.
To accompany the London scheme, an MSG Sphere will also be located in Las Vegas. Both are to be designed by Populous, a global firm responsible for a large number of stadia and arenas across the globe.
A bounty of technological innovations in the 21st century have led to the theorization and implementation of so-called "Smart Cities," urban environments driven by data, and designed for efficiency. Although most smart technology focuses on infrastructure, a new tech startup named UNSense has been launched with adopts a human-centric approach, focusing on health and wellbeing.
Founded by Ben van Berkel, Principal Architect of Dutch firm UNStudio, and based in an Amsterdam innovation hub, UNSense aims to use technical interventions in the urban realm to improve people’s physical, mental and social health. As an independent, sister company of UNStudio, UNSense will specialize in sensor-driven technology for user-focused architecture – a "software" approach offering a counterpoint to the "hardware" of UNStudio.
The urban heat island effect - the hot, overwhelming temperatures that a city's concrete produces - has a huge impact on livability and comfort within the city. Now, an elegant cooling system has been designed that not only reduces energy usage, but - should it be installed on multiple buildings - could even lower the overall temperature of a city itself. Learn more, after the break.