Thursday, May 26, 2016

Architectural 3D Printed Ceramics in California

Amazing company, Emerging Objects, just introduced a wonderful new innovation in 3D printed ceramics with their project GCODE.Clay. They were previously involved in another successful ceramic 3D printing project at UC Berkeley I blogged about. This time the resulting pieces are smaller but experiment with several different mediums - porcelain, bmix, terra-cotta, and recycled clay – as part of an exhibition showcasing patterns. The article goes onto note: “GCODE.Clay was first exhibited at Space 2214 in its inaugural exhibition investigating Pattern, Predictability, and Repetition, which explored the themes of repetition, and rote action—a defining peril of modernity. In this project, the unpredictability is the fundamental aspiration of the object making. Patterns emerge and disappear in the variations of the experiments explored.”

GCODE is actually the design computer language used but I’m more interested in the results. Here the pieces capture subtle visual rhythms I quite like and the tiny imperfections (seen in the close ups) lend the pieces great warmth. The architect in me deeply questions the structural properties of said pieces in addition to their wear patterns over time. Setting these pieces in a gallery is very different than placing them architecturally in a busy public space.

So what do you think? Quirky experiment or revolutionary architectural feature? Leave your comments below!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

BIM-generated Real-time Architectural Visualizations and Photo-realistic Renderings

Following up on my post about the Gamification ofArchitectural Renderings the comes a great article from AEC Magazine of BIM-generated real-time visualizations and photo-realistic renderings. Though I personally forgo real-time digital renderings in favour of more traditional architectural renderings I will admit to liking BIM’s ability to extract line work for all sorts of architecturally communicative reasons. The argument the writer puts forward is that the period of high quality real-time visualization has arrived and is already being used innovatively by several firms mentioned in the article. Some of the more advanced renderings’ treatment of light is extremely realistic. The writer has kindly summarized the benefits in one paragraph referencing Abu Dhabi International Airport's new Midfield Terminal:                         
A money saving point of view BIM (Building Information Modelling) is in some minds just another way of saying “3D”. But when modelling takes centre stage it becomes easier to add visualisation into the workflow. When Kohn Pederson Fox Associates, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Consolidated Contractors Company were partners on the Midfield Terminal project for Abu Dhabi International Airport, they adopted a “4D” BIM workflow that used threedimensional visualisations and time studies to review construction and design issues from a holistic perspective. The result was documented savings of more than $5 million due to better clash detection and a visualisation study that validated early calculations on crane allocation.

Friday, May 13, 2016

How Building Codes Change

After a short vacation I’m back in professional mode trying to keep abreast of the latest structural engineering and building information modelling news. Perhaps with my background in architectural history I’m more apt to take an interest in the evolutionary changes which slowly occur within the field of structural engineering. Though of slightly more relevance to civil engineering, a recently released report of a January 2015 subway fire in Washington D.C. noted - among the many other safety short comings of the Washington D.C. metro system - that a contributing factor in the poor emergency response was that the tunnel had been built in the 1970s to 1970s standards where controlling temperature and heat had been main priorities. In the 80s, cumulative experience shifted this view instead to focus on the evacuation of smoke in an emergency and codes subsequently updated. Another example of this is what engineers learned from 2011 Japanese Tsunami; my connection being I use to live there. The article notes, “The debris fields along the devastated coastal areas of northeastern Japan quickly became a laboratory for investigating not only the direct hydraulic loads but also many related phenomena, such as building buoyancy, backwash and scour.” Concluding, “Concrete structures with deep foundations and good shear bracing survived, but others with weak foundation connections lifted and rolled.” Ultimately this has led for calls to change the building code for essential structures in coastal areas which could be used as places of refuge in an emergency. The article conveniently summarizes the recommended changes in one paragraph: “The new ASCE standards were developed based on a maximum considered tsunami (MCT) that has a 2% probability of being exceeded in a 50-year period, or a ~2,500 year average return period. The MCT is characterized by the site-specific inundation depths, run-up and flow velocities during inflow and outflow—all based on probabilistic tsunami hazard analysis”.