Thursday, September 29, 2011

Robots - The Future of Building?

The Fabricate 2011 Conference, hosted by the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture, showcased the installation 'Stratifications' by Gramazio & Kohler, Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich. 'Stratifications' uses a multiple-axis robot on a caterpillar base to perform real-time construction, combining digital design and methods in fabrication that are not possible with traditional manual building methods. This is the first time that this approach to building has been seen in the UK. Designed and realised by Gramazio & Kohler, Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich (in cooperation with Bachmann Engineering AG, Zofingen) Further information: UCL Bartlett: Gramazio & Kohler: Ruairi Glynn: Bob Sheil:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tedd Benson on the Open-Built Strategy

One of the building industry's leading innovators, Tedd Benson of Bensonwood, speaks about his work with Open-Built and about innovation (and the lack of it) in the industry.

Tedd discusses his open-built system at length and how this system is derivative of Andrea Palladio's work in the 16th century.

Because he views the world from a builder/fabricator perspective, he defines building information modeling as pre-building a structures digitally (as opposed to a more common view of BIM as being a particular cad authoring application) and then fabricating them using CNC. I share his opinion (and frustration) that all other industries have been using an integrated design-optimize-fabricate-assemble process yet it remains largely unknown in the building sector.

Tedd uses a lot of European technologies including Cadwork design/manufacturing software and purchased one of the first Hundegger CNC lines to be used in the U.S.

He is working with researchers at MIT on the Open Prototype Initiative but does state at minute 4:25 of the video "I stopped doing research in this country in the late 1980s. Really in fact, to be honest with you, there is not much good going on in America in building technology."

Quite a statement from one of the leading innovators in residential construction.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

IKEA and Digital Fabrication

A great example of integrated project delivery, rapid prototyping/3D printing, and fabrication information modeling combined with optimized design and extremely automated fabrication.

Extremely Small Modular - 10 units in each 40 foot container

While it makes for extremely affordable housing, I can't imagine many people would choose to share a shipping container with 9 other living units. From Beijing
Full article on the Modular Home Coach website.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Digital Fabrication in Architecture - Singapore

Singpore is booming and leading innovation in many areas including building information modeling, virtual reality, mixed reality, etc. Here is a blog on Digital Fabrication in Architecture from the team at the National University of Singapore.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Premature Scaling? Number one cause of Startup Failure

Take the money and run (a company)?

Startup Genome released the report. Registration required to download a copy or you can read about it elsewhere at websites like this one.

Taking money too early makes life difficult for any business, but even more so for cleantech. There haven't been many successful cleantech exits for VCs and given how negative some investors are on the sector, one must be very careful indeed. Check out the Don of the Paypal Mafia, Peter Thiel, on VC investing in cleantech.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Prefab Myth, Hype and Reality - 15 page document

Pre.Fab: Myth, Hype Reality

Friday, September 16, 2011

Manufactured Architecture in a Manufactured Landscape

UCL Bartlett School of Architecture staff and alumni have created a steel shelter that explores the shifting relationship between the natural and the artificial. Architectural sixteen*(makers) collaborated with German steel manufacturer Stahlbogen GmbH to make the shelter for visitors to Kielder Water and Forest Park in Northumberland.

A 2011 RIBA award winner.

A good video showing the potential of architect-fabricator collaboration.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Future of the Building Industry - 5 Videos from the CEO of HOK

This is a great series by Patrick MacLeamy, CEO of HOK. In the series he describes the gradual separation of architects and builders -- and the idea of integrated project delivery (IPD) as an idea whose time has come again.

I couldn't embed the second video because this feature was disables on Youtube. you can find it by going to the following link:
Video Two:

Super Greenies - Influencers who can afford green.

Scarborough Research released this free report on wealthy consumers who choose green. It makes for very good reading for those selling green products and services.

Interestingly, the heaviest concentration is on the West Coast - our home territory. I only wish numbers for Vancouver, BC were also included.