New 3D Print Technology for the Construction of Houses

A new 3D printer technology has been developed lately to allow the construction of a house by printing part by part of the building and putting them together.

There is a specific video where illustrates and explains the new technology by the developers, as well as showing the very first canal house constructed using this technology in Amsterdam.

The printer can print parts with dimensions of 2m x 2m x 3.5m and the material of the parts printed is mixture of bio-plastic with 75% of vegetable oil. The technology has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions due to the eco-friendly material used for the printer as well as the reduction of the production of concrete and other materials. 

In the small clip explains that this technology reduces the construction cost as there is no need for material transfer as the printer will be functioning in-situ.

Furthermore, there is a software that the developers of the technology are developing to allow people in general to design their own houses to make it more personal.

Could this new technology really bring a big benefit to the construction industry due to the materials and cost-reduction that provides? Or could the last point made be the end of Architect's need in the industry as people will be able to design their own houses?

Limits Architects Set to the Range of Projects They Would Take On

I came accross an article calles 'Weapons, Bribes And Dctators: Where Architects Draw The Line' by Fast CoDesign. The article talks about Zaha Hadid's project for the World Cup of 2022, which hundreds of workers that where working on the project have lost their lives. Zaha Hadid defends herself by saying that these matters are out of her control and she cannot do anything for it.

The article continues with 5 Renowned Architects talking about their limits, what building they would refuse to design and what type of projects do they prefer taking.

In my personal opinion and observation, each firm should have a limit to what project they would take. Architects and Designers is a link to saving the planet. Sustainable Design is about designing buildings and projects that will positevily contribute to this planet, that includes to the human population and any other life that populates the earth. If limits are ignored and buildings are designed that will negatively affect the environment, then our chance of making this planet a better place will slowly fade away.


Architectural Technology vs Architecture

There are a lot of people that ask me what I am studying and when I tell them that I am an Architectural Technology student they keep staring at me like I am talking nonsense and asking me what is the difference with Architecture. The fact is that most people never heard about this profession, and of course it didn't pass from their mind that behind a great design always hides a great technology that made it real.

What is the difference between architecture and architectural technology? There is fine line between the two subjects, the difference is so simple yet at the same time very complicated.

According to the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT), Architectural Technology is the technical side of design, it can be about how things look but mainly it is about how buildings work. It's all about problem solving and turning conceptual drawings into reality. It's understanding design and the buildability of buildings.

The explanation provided by the CIAT is perfect to explain the job of an architectural technician in just few sentences. The thing is, not everyone is going to understand if you explain it in the exact same words. People are going to understand better with simpler words, after all not everyone is into technology or architecture.

An architect is the creator of the design, the head and the brain. Without him, there is no design, not a great one at least. Everyone who can use the AutoCAD software can design a building, an architect's job is not just to design a building but to design THE building that is going to stand out for the requirements of the concepts.

After the architect finishes with his design, it is the architectural technician's job to determine what foundation system is going to be used for the building, if the building is going to be a steel-framed building or a concrete building, what type of structural system is best to be used, and all the technical details.

An architect in his presentation is going to talk about the design he is going to use and the material he wants to use according to their appearance. While an architectural technician is going to present the details of the buildings that is best to be used, for example, structural plans and detail sections that describe the type of walls, floors or roofs that are going to be used, the type of concrete, insulation and rendering to establish the best possible strength required as well as a good design for the building.

Sometimes an architectural technician can go through a different type of challenge than that of an architect, depending on the buildings position or any limitations the site or design can give him, in that case it is his job to come up with a new technology if it needs to make the architects design possible.

And finally, a more general explanation of what differences the two subjects have is the categories they belong to. Architecture is more like art and the architect is the artist, somebody who is going to create a piece of art, something to stand out. Whereas architectural technology focuses more in the scientific view of the construction of a building and how to materialise that piece of art.

The Importance of Sustainable Development

When a construction project is on the go, the functionality of it and its design is not enough to be able to contribute to society. A building to be 100% sufficient and contribute to society and the world needs to me sustainable.

The scientific definition of sustainable development is as followed:

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

It is an approach to development that looks to balance different needs against an awareness of the environmental, social and economic limitations we face as a society. In other words, for a development to be sustainable it needs to be environmentally friendly, be economical and meet social justice.

It may not sound as important, or maybe you think 'why should I be bothered about it since it only affects the future?'

The fact is that sustainable is not just about the future, it's also about the present. Developing something in the present, that society can use in the present and the future society can use in the future too.

By 2100, the population of earth will grow over 10 billion people, the future population will grow in a society that is depended by technology (more than our generation does), and the technology that we use and will be used comes from resources that needs to be protected. In few words, sustainable development needs to provide an easier way of living, hence Social Justice.

Economic crisis is currently going on around the world, and a big amount of the population find it hard to live from all the bills that people need to pay etc. Economic Prosperity is established, not by just building a cheap building, sometimes is not even that. An economic-friendly building can include techniques that save a lot of energy consumption, water waste, provides heat generation, or generally technologies that will be an economical advantage to the occupants.

Nonetheless, I believe the Environmental Quality of a building is the most important aspect a development could provide. The human race is basically like a weapon of mass destruction, everything we produce, from food products to electricity produce pollution to the earth, as well as the green house effect which led to Global Warming. Sustainable Construction is a chance for human society to contribute to the environment by developing environmental quality in buildings.

A lot of technologies can be used in a development that can make it sustainable, I previously discussed few of them, such as the Sewage Treatment and Green Roofing. And there are hundreds and hundreds of other technologies that are being discovered every day. It is a matter of using these technologies in our developments.

Ecobuild Exhibition 2014 in London

Between the 4th and 6th of March the tenth Ecobuild Exhibition for 2014 will be hosted in ExCel centre in London, According to the Ecobuild official website the exhibition is the 'world's leading event for sustainable design, construction, energy and the built environment'

In the Exhibition you will find tons of different ideas for sustainable construction, materials to use for your project and many more, including softwares for 3D modelling.

I will not describe the exhibition in full as it would be best to visit it. To register for the exhibition go on the Ecobuild official website to register for a free badge on https://registration.n200.com/survey/2bh8akmvg5386?check=1

Concrete Tent

A great technology has been recently discovered that is considered to be a cheap house that can be rapidly built and provide what a normal house does.

The concrete tent is made from concrete canvas, a flexible canvas with the exact same properties with concrete. A bendable material which hardens as concrete when water is applied to it and is dried out, having the ability to provide accommodation with insulation.

It is said that the concrete tents are discovered especially to provide a cheap house to either homeless or can be used during war.

The video below explains how the tent can be established:

Review: Encyclopedia of Detail in Contemporary Residential Architecture

This post will be another review about a book. Specifically it's about an Encyclopedia. This book goes with the title 'Encyclopedia of Detail in Contemporary Residential Architecture'.

The title says it all. It's a big book full of information about detail drawings in contemporary residential architecture, a book that a lot of architectural students, architects, architectural technicians need to get in their hands.

It is an Architectural Technicians job to draw detail drawings of a building that will be given to him, however, not everything is clear to us, and I am referring to the detail of the construction of a building. Almost every professional architect is using a book with detail drawings to reference for his own drawings as the information that there is to remember is too much that makes it impossible to draw a detail drawing from memory. This book is the perfect weapon for these situations.

The author of 'Encyclopedia of Detail in Contemporary Residential Architecture' is Virginia McLeod and it was published in 2010 by Laurence Kind Publishing Ltd.

This book contains scale drawings of ever type of detailing used in contemporary residential architecture. It is a great sourcebook for section drawings such as walls, floors, roofs, windows, doors, stairs and landscape providing at least 50 drawings for each element with keys explaining the construction and materials. 

In the first section of the book you will find images of the houses that details are included from with a small description of each house in the bottom of the pictures and the number of the detail of each element providing an easy system to find the detail drawings. The houses in this section are organized by main construction material (wood, concrete, glass etc). 

A page of images of the residential buildings that the details are extracted from.

A page with few detail drawings.
If you buy the book in a hard copy you will also get a CD-ROM included in the book with all the detail drawings in a digital format.

As described in the description of the book 'The book is an invaluable reference work for all architects showing the best examples of residential detailing from around the world'.

Review: Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture

As previously referred on a previous post (Building Information Modelling (BIM)), Autodesk Revit Architecture is a pretty easy software to learn how to use regarding Building Information Modelling, however, not everything you want to learn will be clear on this software.

You have two options when you get stuck figuring out a way to do something on Revit; 1st option is to keep staring on the screen until the way to do something will magically come in your mind or you will read about it somewhere, whether that is the internet, a video in youtube or a book.

This post will be a review of the book 'Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture', which is highly recommended if you want to learn to use Autodesk Revit and chose option 2 and read about how to use it rather than stare at the screen.

I am aware of the fact that watching youtube videos is an efficient and fast enough way to learn how to use any software and I agree with that way, but I personally have been trying to learn off youtube how to use Revit but not everything you want to find out will be there, as there are a lot of things you need to cover to the point that you will be creating, not only models, but also all kinds of drawings.

I firstly loaned the book from my library to finish off a design I was doing on Revit and I found it t be very useful.
Cover of Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture 2014
The book is written by James Vandezande, Phil Read and Eddy Krygiel. It is written in a such a way that it is easy to understand and learn rapidly. And even though the book is really thick, the appendix on the back provides a massive help to find what you need.

After my loan has expired and had to return the book I found myself in immediate need of that specific book and I ended up buying it, and I don't usually buy books if I am not sure I will need them, but this book you won't just need it, it's not just a must-have for Architectural Technician, it's a goldmine.

Sewage Treatment: Contain, Use & Reuse

It's been a long time since there was a post about sustainable development technologies and this is going to be one of those posts.

The sustainable technology that this post will be discussing is the sewage treatment. This type of technology is based on the principle 'Contain, Use and Reuse'. It's all about using the water again and again avoiding any pollution of the environment and the waste of precious water.

How this system works is that the water used from the tap, which is drinkable, is filtered and stored in a tank after it is being used for the dishes etc. Then, the water from the tank goes through pipes that pass from the shower, tap in the bathroom and the washing machine to be used there for a second time (not a drinkable water but clean enough for cleaning and bathing) and after that the same water again is being used for flashing the toilet, being used for watering the plants.

A sketch which shows the same principle of the sewage treatment
The method described above, is one of the many possible orders that the water can be used (and the most logical, the water for flashing the toilet always being the last would be ideal in all circumstances). 

This method, however, is not the same every time as it is a principle. What I mean by this is that from this idea, many other where born which are basically about reusing water in an efficient way to avoid the waste of water and the pollution of the environment. One example of the principle used is in the picture below which shows the sink connected to the toilet, the water that will be used from the tap will go through the sink and be stored in the tank of the toilet to be used for flashing it. (Designed from ROCA)


Normally there is only one post every week, but there is going to be a small exception to this rule that we have and make another post. The reason why I am doing this exception is because if i post this next week it is going to be already too late.

Yesterday I received an announcement on me e-mail about a lecture that will be taking place in London South Bank University regarding Building Information Modelling.

You would think that this is not as important as it sounds or that you are fed up attending to evening lectures that are not directly connected to your course etc., but that might change your mind when you learn that this lecture is actually committed by RIBA.

The fact that the lecture is sponsored by RIBA doesn't mean that it's the only reason for somebody to attend. Building Information Modelling is the new technology that professionals in the construction industry will be using for collaborating in a project with a lot of people. It is very important for students to get to know about BIM and learn to use it in their projects as it is going to be a highly required skill in the future.

The event will take place in Keyworth Centre Building at London South Bank University on the 5th of December at 19:30.

To register for attendance you need to send an e-mail at ribasouthlondonbranch@gmail.com
There is going to be an entrance fee of £5. Even though everyone would prefer to go for free, five pounds is not that much to spend.

Spacemaker VR

Scrolling down my FaceBook news feed, I came across a blog post by ArchDaily about a new way to present your BIM models to your clients.

The Spacemaker VR is a new way to present your projects and designs to your clients making them feel the exact space of your design as well as feel like they are in it. It can view any of your 3D files such as .3ds, .ac, .bsp, .dae, .dwg, .dxf, .fbx, .flt, .gem, .geo, .iv, .ive, .lw, .lwo, .lws, .logo, .md2, .obj, .ogr, .osg, .shp, .sta, .stl, .wrl, .x.

The software comes with oculus goggles where you can view the model. By moving your head up and down, and any direction the model also moves. That way the new technology will give the viewer the sense of space. The software together with the oculus goggles costs approximately £300 ($500).

View the video below to get a better idea on how the new technology works.

The Details of Modern Architecture Volume 1 & 2

Two books that are great to add in your collection is definitely The Details of Modern Architecture. It comes in two volumes, the first volume covers the period 1890-1932 and the second volume covers the period between 1928-1988. Both of the books were published in 2003.

The author, Edward R. Ford, provides comprehensive analysis of both the technical and the aesthetic importance of details in the development of architecture as well as explaining the detailing and construction techniques that distort, camouflage, or enhance a building. He discusses critical details from a technical and contextual standpoint, considering how they perform how they add to or detract from the building as a whole, and how some have persisted and been adapted through time.