A team of scientists have made graphene—the strongest material in the world—into a building material
The space elevator—a theoretical mode of transportation where transport modules move up and down a long cable that connects Earth to space—has long been the stuff of futuristic fantasy...Now, a team of MIT scientists has designed one of the strongest lightweight materials in existence, taking us one step closer to realizing that sci-fi dream—and creating a formula for a material that could revolutionize architecture and infrastructure right here on Earth, too.
— FastCo. Design
The material in question is called graphene, a two-dimensional form of carbon. At just one atom thick, graphene has so far proven to be inoperable as a building material, even though it's the strongest material we know about. But the team of MIT invented a process that could change that. Using... View full entry
AIA study reveals architects want material manufacturers to step up their digital game
As any architect who has spent precious time trying to identify a chrome versus silver nickel plated kitchen faucet for a client can attest, outdated websites and their corresponding vague specifications from building products and materials manufacturers makes life unnecessarily tedious. This... View full entry
Finnish University receives grant to explore industrial applications for hemp
Turku University of Applied Sciences has received a grant of 70,417 euros to see if hemp could be used more in construction projects.
The research will involve investigating the soundproofing and fireproof properties of the substance.
Researchers will also look at how hemp decomposes and to see how it could be used as fertilizer - in order to determine how eco-friendly hemp's waste materials are.
— YLE News
The article is careful to note that hemp has far less THC than marijuana and is therefore not a psychoactive substance (obviously) – but the news still feels topical. Hemp has been used for centuries for ropes, oils and textiles. But marijuana criminalization efforts in the 20th centuries... View full entry
Washington University in St. Louis to phase out styrene next fall, students express mixed reactions
Many current architecture students are excited about the removal of styrene mainly because of the various health hazards...[However,] others are worried that it will negatively impact their work and productivity. Sophomore Sam Landay explained that it’s not uncommon for architecture students to put their projects before their health.
Even outspoken opponents of styrene admit the necessity of utilizing the material.
— Student Life, Washington University in St. Louis
More on Archinect:When the pressure is on, dedicated architecture students show how to power nap like a proOne night's bad sleep equivalent to six months on a high-fat diet, new study findsAnother study warns that 3D-printers pose potential health risks for users View full entry
Greg Lynn: The future of glue in architecture is bright
Glue is the future of architecture. At least that’s how architect Greg Lynn sees it. And he’s not alone. “Mechanical assembly is already waning in many industries,” Lynn says. “An airplane now is glued together. A car now is glued together. Even a lot of appliances are being glued together.” So why not skyscrapers?
— New Scientist
Related stories in the Archinect news:Love Letter to Plywood. By Tom SachsMIT researchers have created a new material that stores and releases solar energyUCL researchers present a new kind of self-cleaning nano-engineered window View full entry
Full Metal Jacket
Although aluminum siding is available that resembles wooden clapboards, the recently built or renovated homes with metal facades of Kings County, N.Y., tend to have a funky, artistic sensibility. The idea is not to mimic traditional construction, but to be proudly metallic.
Kaya Laterman talks with architects, architectural designers, homeowners and neighbors on the cutting edge of a new Brooklyn trend. View full entry
How to turn Martian soil into concrete
Thanks to the work of Lin Wan and pals at Northwestern University...these guys have worked out how to make Martian concrete using materials that are widely available on Mars. And, crucially, this concrete can be formed without using water, which will be a precious resource on the red planet.
— Technology Review
For more of Archinect's coverage of extra-terrestrial architectural news, check out:• NASA launches competition for structures built in situ using Martian resources• The Mars Ice House envisions the day Earthlings can live with ease atop the Martian surface• ESA proposes a village on the moon View full entry
Editor's Picks #435
Robert Urquhart’s first piece for Archinect, was a report from the front lines of the London Design Festival.Plus, Julia Ingalls talked with Guggenheim Fellow and Los Angeles Times book critic David Ulin about his book ‘Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles’. NewsOver at The Wall... View full entry
Michigan State University researchers develop completely transparent solar panels
... transparent photovoltaic cells are fundamentally inconceivable, considering that solar panels can develop energy power through a transformation of absorbed protons into electrons [...] light would have to flow unrestrained to the eye, meaning that those protons would have to go wholly through the substance. Therefore what the Michigan State team developed [...] a device that utilize organic salts to take in wavelengths of light that are imperceptible to the human eye.
— Next Nature
Brutalism: the great architectural polarizer
Goldfinger’s [brutalist] buildings were decreed “soulless.” Inhabitants claimed to suffer health problems and depression from spending time inside of them. Some of Goldfinger’s buildings were vacated because occupants found them so ugly. Yet, architects praised Goldfinger’s buildings. [...]
This divide—this hatred from the public and love from designers and architects—tends to be the narrative around buildings like Goldfinger’s. Which is to say, gigantic, imposing buildings made of concrete.
Roman Mars, host of the design-centric podcast "99% Invisible", blogs for Slate on the polarizing quality of brutalist architecture – beloved by architects and hated by pretty much everyone else. Discussing the history of concrete in building architecture, Mars also puts brutalism in perspective... View full entry
How "smart" tintable glass will reduce our needs for air conditioning
The downside of giant banks of windows or glass walls, though, becomes obvious when the relentless afternoon sun makes the heat and stuffiness inside intolerable [...].
The makers of “smart glass” say they can address this problem. Smart-glass windows transform from transparent to opaque, and every shade in between, in seconds. They often rely on electrochromic thin films embedded in the glass.
The upshot: Less energy is needed to heat or cool a building. Shades and blinds become optional.
Bigger than a Breadbox winner "The Pulp Canopy" will be showcased at Boston Society of Architects in June
Khôra exhibition curators Robert Trumbour and Aaron Willette organized the Bigger than a Breadbox, Smaller than a Building competition as a means to explore the medium of installation in the architectural realm, specifically the medium's increasing appeal among emerging architects and designers... View full entry
Love Letter to Plywood. By Tom Sachs
Already a couple years old, but a great piece by Tom Sachs on the beauty and nature of plywood. h/t kottke.org View full entry
Canadian Wood Council pushes for more wood architecture excellence in the latest Wood Design Awards
As the Canadian Wood Council's annual North American Wood Design Awards demonstrate, building with wood easily fuses aesthetics, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability for various projects. Aiming to push for more demand in wooden design and construction, the prestigious awards program scopes out... View full entry
Mosa to release new Solids tile collection in the U.S. market this December
This post is brought to you by Mosa. Leading Dutch surface specialist Mosa knows that the choice of materials can be what transforms a good design into an outstanding one — especially when it comes to picking out a material as versatile as the ceramic tile. For over 130 years, Mosa continues... View full entry