SmartGeometry + Generative Components : Parametric CAD

May 5th, 2005 | Filed under: Architecture, Building Tech, Design, Fabrication Tech, Future, Products, Programming | 1 Comment »

The SmartGeometry group (sponsored by Bentley Systems), comprised of Lars Hesselgren (KPF), Hugh Whitehead (Foster and Partners), J Parrish (Arup Sport) and Robert Aish (Bentley), is working on Generative Components technology, a 3-D parametric CAD system similar to CATIA. Parametric systems are essentially real-time self-coordinating systems of information in every view of the model. Parametric systems automatically update entire drawing sets based on changes in the model as small as the placement of a screw or as large as the geometry of the building’s footprint. Generative Components’ uniqueness lies in it’s general geometric scripting core which allows designers to easily create their own tools based on relationships (think spreadsheet for 3-D modeling).

The computational CAD environment which is split into rendered viewports and a diagram of geometric relationships, forces the designer to understand the underlying geometries that generate and modify each surface. By doing so, the constructional logic of complex models is carried through the design and clearly understood in the manufacturing process.

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Engineered Cement Composites : Bendable concrete

May 5th, 2005 | Filed under: Architecture, Building Tech, Fabrication Tech, Materials, News, Products | 47 Comments »

Victor Li, at the University of Michigan has developed a new fiber-reinforced bendable concrete. Li claims his Engineered Cement Composites (pdf) are superior to other fiber-reinforced concretes because his composite not only uses microscale fiber reinforcements, but they have also designed the ingredients to the concrete itself to provide more flexibility. The 40% lighter ECC is also 500 times more resistant to cracking, 37% less expensive, consumes 40% less energy, and produces 39% less carbon dioxide than regular concrete.

via wmmna | Physorg

Papercrete : Recycling Paper into Concrete

April 26th, 2005 | Filed under: Architecture, Building Tech, Fabrication Tech, Materials, Products, Sustainability, Urbanism | No Comments »

Living in Paper offers an extensive introduction into “papercrete”, an innovative construction material currently going through testing. The construction material’s performance has several advantages over concrete and uses recycled paper from just about any source as the aggregate.

via Treehugger

Container City

March 29th, 2005 | Filed under: Architecture, Building Tech, Pre-Fab, Sustainability, Urbanism | 6 Comments »

Here’s another shipping container housing strategy. With 4 unique shipping container projects under their belt, Urban Space Management is proving the flexibility of recycled containers. Nicholas Lacey’s designs recycle 100% of the shipping containers, look great, build fast, and are affordable. What more could you want? One example on shows a small classroom addition assembled in a day!

Inflatable Concrete Shelter

March 16th, 2005 | Filed under: Architecture, Building Tech, Design, Fabrication Tech | 5 Comments »

William Crawford and Peter Brewin, inventors of Inflatable Concrete, an inflatable pouch of cement-impregnated cloth, have been picking up a considerable amount of press for their ‘building in a bag’ concept. The idea has enormous potential for disaster relief situations. Let’s just hope their patent doesn’t impede it’s widespread implementation.

via Wired

Corrugated Cardboard Mania

March 2nd, 2005 | Filed under: Building Tech, Fabrication Tech, Materials, Products, Sustainability | 1 Comment »

Recycling cardboard is so 90’s. Reuse it! Make some furniture, a boat, a robot or a house!

Cardboard Folders | Designboom’s cardboard folding chairs competition

Recycle Robot
| Dan Paluska’s 90% recycled cardboard robot.

Box Doodle | Cardboard art

[retur] Design Sweden | cardboard furniture

The Cardboard House | A $35,000 house by Stutchbury + Pape and Col James

Paper Loghouse |
Shigeru Ban’s cardboard emergency shelter (more on Shigeru Ban)

Everything Corrugated
| A collection of links to more cardboard projects.

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Breeding Spaces in Vitro

February 8th, 2005 | Filed under: Architecture, Building Tech, Materials, Nanotech | 1 Comment »

The Breeding Spaces project, by Zbigniew Oksiuta aims to create a system of biological appropriation of energy and material into a self-organizing space. Much like a growing organism, these spaces would grow in a neutrally buoyant sterile environment as stimulants are added in a controlled manner to sculpt the growth of the space. This project, like much of Oksiuta’s work, merges the boundaries of biology, art and architecture. The collaborators on Breeding Spaces include some major institutions such as, the Institute of Physical Chemistry at Koln University and the German Aerospace Agency.

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Grancrete : Spray-Form Building

February 7th, 2005 | Filed under: Architecture, Building Tech, Fabrication Tech, Materials | 229 Comments »

Grancrete (pdf) by Argonne offers a step up from the spray-forming concrete products like Shotcrete available today. The ceramic composite of locally available, biodegradable ingredients is stronger than concrete. Since the material is sprayed onto a simple frame made of Styrofoam or locally woven fibers, we know the process offers a wide architectural formal vocabulary, allowing multiple translations of the material into its specific local customs. The material is currently going through its final testing prior to worldwide distribution for cheap housing.

via World Science : World changing

Concrete Architecture

February 5th, 2005 | Filed under: Building Tech | 1 Comment »

Here‘s a slick website from the National Building Museum, showcasing some interesting projects that utilize unique concrete products such as translucent concrete and some of the latest concretes that have various superior consctuction and structural properties.

Earthquake-proof Foam House

January 27th, 2005 | Filed under: Building Tech, News | 38 Comments »


The Federation of American Scientists (FAS), recently tested the stability of structures built with the combination of expanded polystyrene (foam), and cement board. This method of building maintains the rigidity needed, yet remains lightweight, so it can withstand earthquakes of magnitude 10. Remarkably, the structure doesn’t require any wood members to create a rigid frame. FAS is in the process of using this method to build an ‘elegant home’ .

via Federation of Amercian Scientists | New Scientist