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Building Technology: The Latest Architecture and News

Sigurd Larsen and Tech Start-up Raus are Launching New Eco-Friendly Cabins in the German Forests

Berlin-based hospitality tech start-up Raus has collaborated with Danish designer and architect Sigurd Larsen to create nature-inspired cabins in the middle of nature. The small retreats are designed with eco-friendly features, offering city dwellers the opportunity to escape the bustling city life, and stay in a chalet that combines art, culture, and nature. The cabin will be temporarily located on the grounds of Wehrmuehle in Biesenthal, Brandenburg, and will soon expand beyond Germany and its borders.

© Noel Richter© Noel Richter© Noel Richter© Noel Richter+ 13

Planners Must Now “Anticipate the Unanticipated”

“The planning practices of the past are inadequate for today’s challenges,” said David Rouse, ASLA, a landscape architect and planner, at the American Planning Association‘s National Planning Conference in San Diego. Rapid technological change, socio-economic inequities, natural resource depletion, and climate change are forcing planning and design professionals to adapt. “How can the practice of planning evolve to be more sustainable and equitable?”

Imagine Austin Growth Concept Map / City of Austin. Image Courtesy of The DirtASLA 2021 Professional Analysis and Planning Honor Award. Parsons Island Conservation and Regeneration Plan. Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, United States. Mahan Rykiel Associates. Image Courtesy of The DirtPlacetype plan / City of Aurora, Colorado. Image Courtesy of The DirtHarold Simmons Park, Dallas, Texas / Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.. Image Courtesy of The Dirt+ 4

"Form Freedom with Mass Customization": Technical Challenges in 3D Printing

When browsing the 3D printing tag on ArchDaily, it is clear that this technology has developed at an incredibly fast pace. If in the early years we observed the concept as a distant possibility for the future or with small-scale examples, in recent years we have observed entire printed buildings and increasingly complex volumes being produced. Developed by reading a computer file, the fabrication is carried out through additive manufacturing with concrete - or other construction materials - and presents numerous difficulties in providing an efficient process that enables the constructive technique to become widespread. The pavilion printed by the Huizenprinters consortium, for example, illustrates this process well.

"The Same Technology that Will Allow Us to Address Housing Challenges on Earth, Will Allow Us to Venture Off to Space": Interview with Jason Ballard of ICON

Founded in late 2017, named one of the "Most Innovative Companies in the World" in 2020, and selected as ArchDaily's Best New Practices of 2021, ICON is a construction company that pushed the boundaries of technology, developing tools to advance humanity including robotics, software, and building materials. Relatively young, the Texas-based start-up has been delivering 3D-printed homes across the US and Mexico, trying to address global housing challenges while also developing construction systems to support future exploration of the Moon, with partners BIG and NASA.

Featured on Times’ Next 100, as one of the 100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future, Jason Ballard, CEO and Co-Founder of ICON spoke to ArchDaily about the inception of the company, worldwide housing challenges, his ever-evolving 3D printing technology, and process, his partnership with BIG, and the future of the construction field on earth and in space.

ICON_Nex-Gen_Vulcan_Construction_System_Extrusion_May2021. Image Courtesy of ICONProject_Olympus_ConceptRender. Image Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels GroupNewStoryProject_ICON_Mexico. Image © Joshua PerezICON_3D-Printed_Welcome_Center_CommunityFirstVillage_AustinTX_2019. Image © Philip Cheung+ 13

New Access Technologies Will Change People's Movement Through Buildings

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The technology used in smartphone facial recognition or digital car keys has the potential to revolutionize the way people access and move through buildings. Many common aspects of building access systems today seem outdated in comparison to technological advances in other parts of our lives: PIN pads, security badges, key cards, even physical locks and keys. However, the technology already exists with the potential to make building access simultaneously more seamless and more secure.

Applying Material Innovation: Does Architecture Have What It Takes?

There is a slide I like to show at the beginning of the architecture courses I teach that provides an overview of the last hundred years or so in design and technology. In the left column, a car from the beginning of the 20th Century (a Ford Model T) is poised over a contemporary car (a Tesla). The middle column contains a similar juxtaposition, showing a WWI-era biplane and a modern-day stealth fighter (an F-117A). In the right column, Walter Gropius’s 1926 Bauhaus Dessau building is seen next to an up-to-date urban mixed-use building. The punch line, of course, is that the two buildings—separated by roughly 100 years—look basically the same, whereas the cars and planes separated by the same timespan seem worlds apart. What is the reason for this?

World's Largest 3D-Printed Concrete Pedestrian Bridge Completed in China

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.

© Professor Xu Weiguo© Professor Xu Weiguo© Professor Xu Weiguo© Professor Xu Weiguo+ 20

The University of British Columbia's Bacteria-Driven Solar Cell Can Produce Energy Under Cloudy Skies

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have unveiled details of their recently-designed “bacteria-powered solar cell” capable of converting light to energy, even in overcast conditions.

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.

Madison Square Garden Unveils Images of Spherical Events Venue in London

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.

Courtesy of The Madison Square Garden CompanyCourtesy of The Madison Square Garden CompanyCourtesy of The Madison Square Garden CompanyCourtesy of The Madison Square Garden Company+ 8

UNStudio Founder Launches Startup for Shaping Human-Focused Smart Cities

Courtesy of UNStudio
Courtesy of UNStudio

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.

Courtesy of UNStudioCourtesy of UNStudioCitySense. Image Courtesy of UNStudioSolar Brick. Image Courtesy of UNStudio+ 5

Building Skin Developed That Could Cool Our Cities

© Harunori Noda
© Harunori Noda

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.