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id sigradi2006_e131c
authors Ataman, Osman
year 2006
title Toward New Wall Systems: Lighter, Stronger, Versatile
source SIGraDi 2006 - [Proceedings of the 10th Iberoamerican Congress of Digital Graphics] Santiago de Chile - Chile 21-23 November 2006, pp. 248-253
summary Recent developments in digital technologies and smart materials have created new opportunities and are suggesting significant changes in the way we design and build architecture. Traditionally, however, there has always been a gap between the new technologies and their applications into other areas. Even though, most technological innovations hold the promise to transform the building industry and the architecture within, and although, there have been some limited attempts in this area recently; to date architecture has failed to utilize the vast amount of accumulated technological knowledge and innovations to significantly transform the industry. Consequently, the applications of new technologies to architecture remain remote and inadequate. One of the main reasons of this problem is economical. Architecture is still seen and operated as a sub-service to the Construction industry and it does not seem to be feasible to apply recent innovations in Building Technology area. Another reason lies at the heart of architectural education. Architectural education does not follow technological innovations (Watson 1997), and that “design and technology issues are trivialized by their segregation from one another” (Fernandez 2004). The final reason is practicality and this one is partially related to the previous reasons. The history of architecture is full of visions for revolutionizing building technology, ideas that failed to achieve commercial practicality. Although, there have been some adaptations in this area recently, the improvements in architecture reflect only incremental progress, not the significant discoveries needed to transform the industry. However, architectural innovations and movements have often been generated by the advances of building materials, such as the impact of steel in the last and reinforced concrete in this century. There have been some scattered attempts of the creation of new materials and systems but currently they are mainly used for limited remote applications and mostly for aesthetic purposes. We believe a new architectural material class is needed which will merge digital and material technologies, embedded in architectural spaces and play a significant role in the way we use and experience architecture. As a principle element of architecture, technology has allowed for the wall to become an increasingly dynamic component of the built environment. The traditional connotations and objectives related to the wall are being redefined: static becomes fluid, opaque becomes transparent, barrier becomes filter and boundary becomes borderless. Combining smart materials, intelligent systems, engineering, and art can create a component that does not just support and define but significantly enhances the architectural space. This paper presents an ongoing research project about the development of new class of architectural wall system by incorporating distributed sensors and macroelectronics directly into the building environment. This type of composite, which is a representative example of an even broader class of smart architectural material, has the potential to change the design and function of an architectural structure or living environment. As of today, this kind of composite does not exist. Once completed, this will be the first technology on its own. We believe this study will lay the fundamental groundwork for a new paradigm in surface engineering that may be of considerable significance in architecture, building and construction industry, and materials science.
keywords Digital; Material; Wall; Electronics
series SIGRADI
email oataman@uiuc.edu
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