How can cutting-edge digital technology effect a new materiality that has the potential to create a more sustainable built environment?
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How can cutting-edge digital technology effect a new materiality that has the potential to create a more sustainable built environment?

How can cutting-edge digital technology effect a new materiality that has the potential to create a more sustainable built environment?
By Editorial Staff -

The Plan Journal (TPJ), vol. 6 [2021], no. 2 [Fall]

In the call for the “The Good Material” issue of The Plan Journal Maurizio Sabini, Editor-in-Chief of TPJ states:

... the world [is] facing increasing environmental challenges amidst an unprecedented public health crisis and rising social inequalities and racial tensions, the call for a healthier and more sustainable physical environment is becoming an unavoidable imperative. The design fields have a responsibility and a unique opportunity to answer this call, and thus the need for a new materiality is emerging with urgency. We need more sustainable materials, more efficient and lasting construction systems, less waste, smarter recycling processes, community driven experimentation, research and innovation for a new tectonics capable to leverage our collective design intelligence across disciplines, communities and cultures

 

THE PLAN JOURNAL LOOKS AT DIGITAL EXPLORATIONS FOR A NEW MATERIALITY

We are presenting some of the ideas and visions regarding digital explorations in THE PLAN Journal Volume 6/2021 – Issue 2 that resonate with us. The author Vera Parlac of the article “Material Dynamics in Architecture,” asks: How can the capacities of active materials such as Shape Memory Alloy (SMA), electroactive polymers, bimetals, or even natural materials such as wood”…“change a length or shape [that] can be used to kinetically activate material systems”? The authors Genevieve Baudoin and Bruce A. Johnson of “Woven Blocks: A Tectonic/Typological Investigation into the Potential of FDM Printing,” explain that “a key asset of this technology is that it aligns the architect with the manufacturing process, integrating the design and fabrication.” In the article “Research Towards Shape-Changing Composites with Thermal Responsiveness: 4D Print Experiments in Small Scale,” the authors Michaela Gebetsroither and Oliver Schürer consider how “to make building elements adaptable to changing environmental conditions, reusable, and recyclable to stop the depletion of world resources and sustain a habitable environment.”

Finally, we fittingly reference the 2020 publication Jakob + MacFarlane which is a testament to the firm’s dedication to digital explorations, innovative materials and environmental conditions.

>>We encourage you to browse The Plan Journal and explore The Good Material for yourself.

 

SMA

 The author Vera Parlac of the article “Material Dynamics in Architecture,” explains that Shape Memory Alloys (SMA) can contribute new insights into material-based actuation of dynamic material systems” and “offers a comparative discussion of SMA actuation and attempts to categorize their possible use in architectural assemblies.”

 Vera Parlac, prototype of the Lattice structure. Courtesy of © the Author.Vera Parlac, prototype of the Lattice structure. Courtesy of © the Author.

Parlac continues to explain: 

The future of dynamic building skins will likely belong to low-energy systems that can harvest heat from the sun or kinetic energy of the wind. In the projects described in this paper, the “sensing” and “actuating” capacities are built into the material, eliminating the need for complex mechatronic assemblies. Such systems of dynamic activation that rely on innate, albeit designed, properties of materials are perhaps the most promising direction for developing adaptive building envelopes. 

>> The abstract is available in THE PLAN Journal Volume 6/2021 – Issue 2 (in English)

 

FDM

The authors Genevieve Baudoin and Bruce A. Johnson of “Woven Blocks: A Tectonic/Typological Investigation into the Potential of FDM Printing,” explain that additive manufacturing, particularly fused deposition modeling (FDM), can further weave construction typologies like Frank Lloyd Wright’s textile block system by controlling the deposition process to create lightweight stressed-skin blocks with the potential for multiple functions.”

 Genevieve Baudoin and Bruce Johnson, showing variability in both curvature and infill pattern. Courtesy of © the Authors.Genevieve Baudoin and Bruce Johnson, showing variability in both curvature and infill pattern. Courtesy of © the Authors. 

Baudoin and Johnson warn: 

…it is imperative to see 3D printing as a means to improve or rewrite the way we consider construction and its relationship to design. It offers a return to the kind of synthetic thinking that Semper observed in the Caribbean hut and which Furness, Sullivan, and Wright all strove to achieve. If 3D printing is not seen this way, its integration into building construction will be pushed toward optimization/replacement of human processes, or to the superficial and visually aesthetic. 

>> The abstract is available in THE PLAN Journal Volume 6/2021 – Issue 2 (in English)

 

SMP

In the article “Research Towards Shape-Changing Composites with Thermal Responsiveness: 4D Print Experiments in Small Scale,” the authors Michaela Gebetsroither and Oliver Schürer investigate “SMP (Shape Memory Polymers) as a means to potentially “produce future building elements that change their shape in various ways.”

 Michaela Gebetsroither and Oliver Schürer, first successful multi-material shape-changing prototype from SMP/PLA – programmed. Courtesy of © the Authors.Michaela Gebetsroither and Oliver Schürer, first successful multi-material shape-changing prototype from SMP/PLA – programmed. Courtesy of © the Authors. 

Gebetsroither and Schürer conclude:

to fully explore the applicability of transformable elements in the broader contexts of architecture and urbanism further, studies into the manufacturing of large-scale transformable prototypes and the limitations of the SMP composites are required.

>> The abstract is available in THE PLAN Journal Volume 6/2021 – Issue 2 (in English)

 

Jakob + MacFarlane 

Dominique Jakob and Brendan MacFarlane are design firm partners based in Paris, France who have been exploring digital technology since 1998. Their bold structures aptly respond to context and client needs in addition to environmental and societal challenges. The monograph Jakob +MacFarlane contains 350 drawings, photographs, plans, sections, and sketches that illustrate their projects’ connection between “technicality and materiality.”

 Jakob + MacFarlane by Philip Jodidio

To learn more, check out (in English and French): 

Jakob + MacFarlane by Philip Jodidio with the architects is distributed by Flammarion in Rizzoli, NY. [304 pages, $85]

 

Why support + read TPJ?

The Plan Journal is intended to disseminate and promote innovative, thought-provoking, and relevant research, studies, and criticism related to architecture and urbanism. The journal grew out of an awareness that academia is all too often engaged in research that’s disconnected from the real-world challenges that face different professions, and that research is only possible for a small number of professional organizations, and, even then, with limited platforms for its dissemination. The overarching aim of TPJ is therefore to enrich the dialogue between researchers and professionals so as to foster both pertinent new knowledge and intellectually driven modes of practice.

 

How does it work + why does it matter?

Prospective contributors are encouraged to submit proposals or complete manuscripts to the Editor-in-Chief. Subject to positive feedback, proposals can then be developed into complete manuscripts and submitted for review, using the dedicated portal on the TPJ website. 

After preliminary approval, manuscripts will be forwarded to suitably qualified people for commenting. TPJ is committed to following a rigorous double-blind peer review process using at least two reviewers. The Editor-in-Chief may also occasionally invite recognized academics, critics, or professionals (including members of the editorial board) to contribute to the journal without going through the peer review process, if warranted by the author’s reputation.

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