Posts tagged with "3D Printing":

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Researchers and students at ETH Zurich print complex columns for dance festival

For the Origen Festival in Riom, Switzerland students in the Masters of Advanced Studies in Architecture and Digital Fabrication program at ETH Zurich, guided by researcher Ana Anton, 3D printed nine unique, computationally-designed columns with a new layered extrusion printing process developed at the university over the past year and a half. ETH students and researchers created nine unique, 9-foot-tall concrete columns that came together as an installation titled Concrete Choreography. The arrangement of undulating columns served as an environment for dance performances. “The columns create the stage and set for the artists to dance in between, in front, around, to hide, climb and interact in many ways with this unique, monolithic architecture,” explained Anton. “Each column has its own particular expressivity and dynamics, just like the dancers.” The students used an automated, formwork-less process, called Concrete Extrusion 3D Printing (CE3DP), a printing method that continuously deposits and extrudes concrete in .2-inch-thick layers to create complex geometries. Anton has been experimenting with the process for a year and a half, as part of an interdisciplinary collaboration between ETH's Digital Building Technologies and the chair of Physical Chemistry of Building Materials. Anton says that for the column’s nine unique forms, “students worked towards finding unique designs suitable to this fabrication method, meaning more fluid geometries locally detailed using material-driven ornament,” going on to say that the geometries they worked with are only possible because of the high-resolution printing of CE3DP. ETH’s Digital Building Technologies lab claims this method comes “with the advantage of precise, digitized shape customization [that is] ideal for the creation of freeform shapes that would be impossible to produce with any other technology on the market.” CE3DP also has the added advantage of being fast; the columns each took just 1.5-to–2.5 hours to create. According to Anton, “The forest of columns should work both as performance space but also as an outdoor installation which invites visitors to explore the garden before and after the dance.”
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GXN thinks the future of construction could be flying 3D printers

Most 3D printers, no matter their size, operate in a pretty similar way: they move along a grid to deposit material, sliding on axes in a fixed manner within a frame. Even those with more flexible arms remain fixed at a point. GXN, the research-focused spinoff of the Danish architecture firm 3XN, is looking to change that, using high-tech robotics to “break the grid” and offer new possibilities in additive manufacturing. Along with the Dansk AM Hub, a foundation that supports experimentation in additive manufacturing, and MAP architects, GXN has been hacking printers—both mechanically and virtually—to create prototypes that can move through space on land, in the air, and underwater. Their speculative Break the Grid proposal imagines a near future where our buildings and infrastructure can be created and maintained with the help of autonomous, robotic 3D printers that move beyond the normal confines of additive manufacturing devices. The team started by asking themselves, “Where could we take this if we let our imagination run a little bit free, and what sort of impact would we imagine additive manufacturing having in a positive way in the built environment?” said Kåre Stokholm Poulsgaard, Head of Innovation at GXN. “The goal was to learn something about this," said Stokholm Poulsgaard, “so we had this idea that we wanted to be able to set the printers free, so we needed to understand robotics and mobility, and what this means." GXN took a hacker’s approach to the project. They used existing products, like simple stepper motors and 3D printers already available on the market, to create both mechanical and virtual prototypes. “We wanted to create something new, something that we haven't seen before, but we also wanted to make sure that whatever we created was tied into existing technologies and capabilities,” explained Stokholm Poulsgaard. Along with roboticist Teodor Petrov, the GXN team began creating a series of robots, using both cheaply available parts and bespoke components. They also created a variety of digital models and plans, virtual hacks, that in their final form look like something out of a sci-fi video game. The team behind Break the Grid has selected three main areas where they see autonomous 3D printers as prime opportunities. The first of these is in addressing global problems in maintaining infrastructure across the globe. It’s estimated that in the U.S. alone, unaddressed issues with highways, bridges, and the like could result in $4 trillion in losses to the economy by 2025. GXN imagines walking robots that could repair microcracks in concrete infrastructure before they eventually become far larger by allowing in water and oxygen, causing corrosion. Inspired by studies done at Rutgers and Bingham Universities, the team imagined a 3D printing robot that deposits the fungus Trichoderma reesei, which encourages calcium carbonate to form, filling in this microcracks and staving off further damage, especially in smaller and more isolated parts of the road. GXN also proposes using 3D printing robots on the seafloor to help minimize the damage from coastal storms by 3D printing artificial reefs made from a bio-based cement derived from oysters as a binder. For addressing climate issues on land—or above it, as it were—they imagined drone-printers that can help repair, enhance, and build sections of high-rise facades in order to support their thermal bridges, which are, the team claims, responsible for as much as 30 percent of a building’s heat loss. GXN hopes that robotic additive manufacturing devices like these could someday work alongside humans to change how construction happens. “Construction is a very large sector in society,” said Stokholm Poulsgaard, “and it's one of the last large sectors to see comprehensive automation. While all these other sectors are seeing very large productivity growth, the built environment is absolutely flat-lining.” Still, it’s important not to forget that there are many workers in construction. Stokholm Poulsgaard says it’s not about replacing human workers, but about understanding how technology can work alongside people. “Let's say we have these robots on a building site,” he said, “how do they interface with traditional construction techniques and the people working there in ways that add value and are meaningful? Because robots can do some things better than humans, that goes for artificial intelligence as well, but there's a lot of stuff it cannot do. How do we let the robots do what they do best to free up people to do what they do best?” The other hope, besides increases in productivity, safety, and efficiency is added design freedom for architects. “Additive manufacturing promises variation at less or no extra cost,” said Stokholm Poulsgaard, “because they allow you to link up with parametric programs and then mass produce variations of the same components, for example, at a very low cost compared to if you had to do them by hand or traditional means.” At the moment mobile 3D printing remains purely speculative, but GXN hopes that drones and ROVs will become normal occurrences on construction sites in the near future.
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Iris van Herpen collaborates with architects for hypnotizing couture presentation

Since Dutch designer Iris van Herpen opened her eponymous atelier in 2007, the brand has become the face of high-tech fashion. Often the first to embrace new technologies like laser cutting and 3D printing in her fluid and futuristic forms, van Herpen has designed pieces worn by the likes of Solange and Rihanna, and, on the streets of Paris this past July 1st, Céline Dion During the presentation of van Herpen’s latest collection during Paris’s Haute Couture week, titled Hypnosis, her already alien and energetic forms came alive. The clothing literally moved on the models as they passed through a large, also motorized, ring hung in the Élysée Montmartre.  Inspired by the fluidity and complexity of natural forms, van Herpen designed 19 different looks made from traditional materials like silk and satin, as well as aluminum and stainless steel. The fabric itself was guided by engineering, with plotter machines and laser cutters working alongside hand stitching. What really stood out, though, were the actual moving parts. Dresses were mounted with metal pieces and fabric flanges that rotated around, and in the center of the runway was a large moving circle, a motorized ring called Omniverse by kinetic sculptor Anthony Howe, a "portal" designed to evoke the “universal life cycle,” according to the artist. The dresses’ moving components were devised by experimental sculptor Philip Beesley (PB), along with architect Rolf Seifert. The duo behind PB, who also led the design of the moving metal augmentations that sprout off the garments, generally works on public buildings and art, along with experimental installations—including immersive textile environments. The pair also have architectural relationships with the Living Architecture Systems Group, the School of Architecture and Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo, the architectural practice of Rolf Seifert, and Riverside Architectural Press. It's hard to think of a technological setting so radical since Alexander McQueen's industrial robots to spray paint and dance along with the model in the Spring-Summer 1999 show. The results of these collaborations shook up viewers along the stage and on Instagram alike, as they pushed the bar even higher for integrating fabrication and robotics technology in haute couture, both on the garments and off. Hopefully, with Liz Diller, Kazuyo Sejima, and Cini Bouery designing for Prada and a trained-architect behind Louis Vuitton, we'll be seeing architectural thinking entering the fashion world both high and low more in the future.
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Exhibit Columbus's inaugural fellow program will go high-tech

Exhibit Columbus, the annual celebration of mid-century and contemporary design in Columbus, Indiana, will be showing off new possibilities of materials that unify support and envelope. This August,  two of the festival's six University Design Research Fellows will present this work as part of a brand new fellowship program.  Marshall Prado, a professor at the University of Tennessee, is creating a 30-foot-tall tower out of a carbon-and-glass fiber spun by robots. To manufacture Filament Tower, strands of the material were rotated on a steel frame and injected with resin, which is cured and then baked to increase its tensile and compressive strength. After cooling, the 27 computationally-designed components were removed from the steel frame and made to support themselves. The design was inspired both by historic architecture—akin to the churches of Eero Saarinen—and by biology. Filament Tower mimics the integrated, fibrous matrices of protein structures native to the connective tissues found in plants and animals, all while maintaining transparency. Christopher Battaglia, a research fellow at Ball State University, turned his skills to a different material for Exhibit Columbus: concrete. In DE|stress, a 35-foot-long, 9.5-foot-tall, pavilion, Battaglia critiques the common approach to prefab concrete construction, which often sacrifices either strength and control over form. DE|Stress is made from 110 curved panels created in a green-sand casting method, where the concrete, made of silica sand and bentonite clay, is worked while still wet. The same CNC robot that produced the mold, which is easily recyclable, later prints the material, giving the process a high degree of efficiency. “There’s no material waste in the form-making at all,” Battaglia claimed in a report from Autodesk. He also said that 3D printing gives a far greater control over shaping the vault-like structure, which is designed to encourage communal occupation and encounters.
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Could jump roping robots change how we think about architectural drawing?

"Movement was always an underlying instigator to how I look at form," explains architect Amina Blacksher, who began ballet at age six. Her work crosses boundaries and unifies seemingly disparate practices, as she now, among many other things, uses the tools and methods of an architect to investigate the place of robots in our lives and the relationship between the analog and digital. Most recently, her explorations of movement and robotics have taken the form of two arms that join humans to play jump rope.

Two industrial robotic arms from ABB, jointed similarly to a human's, swing ropes in partnership with a human while people Double Dutch amid the ropes. Custom 3D-printed grips are attached to the robotic manipulators to hold on to the ropes but also to allow for human error, like stepping on a rope, without toppling over the robots.

The Double Dutch project began at Princeton University during the Black Imagination Matters incubator and Blacksher has continued to develop the project, exploring the cultural history of jumping—from children’s games to the Maasai jumping tradition, trying to evoke that “cleansing moment” when suspended in the air.

The Double Dutch robots reveal the intelligence inherent in our bodies: the fact that children’s games possess so much kinetic knowledge that we often overlook and that there is such a profound complexity to sensing and moving through our world. "Rhythm is something we often take for granted," said Blacksher, “but even a simple circle with a jump rope is not a continuous velocity. It’s weighted, it has a rhythmic bias.” It requires choreography, something that is seemingly so "simple" for humans, children even, but incredibly difficult for robots. And these ironies and oppositions are revealing.

The Double Dutch project is part of Blacksher’s mission to help us realize new relationships to robots and a more complicated relationship to the typically divided analog and digital. It's also about normalizing what is likely to become increasingly commonplace human-robot relationships.

As an architectural problem, robots could change how we make and understand space. "No arc is absolutely the same," Blacksher said of the swings made by the jump rope robot. “I’m compiling these micro-deviations to create a pseudospace that could be 3D printed or spun." In a way, the arcs these robots make are a form of architectural drawing, but a drawing through physical space in three dimensions. This is leading Blacksher to ask: “How do you make a drawing that has a duration?”

Architecture began with hand drawing and has obviously been radically impacted by 2D CAD software, then powerful 3D software suites, and more recent technologies like virtual reality. Robotics has the power of "redefining what a drawing is," said Blacksher, moving it into 3D space and “using the body again in the generation of a drawing in a way that makes the design process exponentially more intelligent.” By using digital and physical technology in real space and establishing a unique circuit of the relationships between code, movement, embodiment, image, and space, architects might find new tools and new ways of thinking through design problems. "It’s in the relationship between the analog and digital where I’m interested in finding form."

Blacksher’s research is ongoing. Some of it will be incorporated into future classes at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and updated Double Dutch robots will be exhibited in Los Angeles this fall. Blacksher hopes to "raise the stakes of holding robots to accountability in terms of rhythmic precision, and their relationship to  space and time." She hopes we can see a future where "robots are friends, not just something purely functional."

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MIT and Maldivian researchers mimic nature to save sinking land

Human-driven climate change is threatening the coastal areas that nearly half of the world calls home with rising sea levels and increasingly severe storms. While dams, barriers, dredging, and artificial reefs are sometimes used to address these “forces of nature,” these strategies come with their own drawbacks and, in some cases, significant environmental and ecological impacts. Researchers at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, in collaboration with Invena, a Maldivian organization, have proposed a solution that is inspired by nature. Called "Growing Islands," their project uses wave energy to grow sand formations in a way that mimics natural sand accumulation. The hope is that over time, sand can “grow” into new islands, beaches, and barriers that can protect coasts from erosion and save islands like the Maldives that are under threat of disappearing under rising seas. The Growing Islands project uses sand-filled 10-foot-by-10-foot canvas bladders with biodegradable 3D-printed interiors that use energy generated by waves to create new protective sand formations to rebuild beaches and act as “adaptable artificial reefs,” according to the lab’s website. The site goes on to explain: “By harnessing wave forces to accelerate and guide the accumulation of sand in strategic locations, and adapting the placement of the devices to seasonal changes and storm direction, our approach aims to naturally and sustainably reshape sand topographies using the forces of nature.” This past winter, the lab and Invena installed these devices off the Maldivian coast and are collecting data by way of on-the-ground measurements, drones, and satellite imagery. They hope to create an affordable, sustainable solution to protecting island nations—many under threat of disappearance—and coastal towns and cities from encroaching water. More dramatically, the lab also imagines that this process could be leveraged at a larger scale to create entire new islands over time.
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Could buildings be evolved instead of designed?

What if we could “breed” buildings to be more efficient? That’s the provocation by artist, designer, and programmer Joel Simon, who was inspired by the potentials of 3D printing and other emergent digital manufacturing technologies, as well as his background in computer science and biology, to test a system of automated planning. With a series of algorithms of two types—“graph-contraction and ant-colony pathing”—Simon is able to “evolve” optimized floor plans based off different constraints, using a genetic method derived from existing neural network techniques. The results are, according to a white paper he put out, “biological in appearance, intriguing in character, and wildly irrational in practice.” The example he gives is based off an elementary school in Maine. Most schools are long corridors with classrooms coming off the sides, a highly linear design. By attempting to set different parameters, like minimizing traffic flow and material usage, or making the building easier to exit in the event of an emergency, the algorithms output different floor plans, developed on a genetic logic. But this optimization is done “without regard for convention [or] constructability,” and adding other characteristics, like maximizing windows for classrooms, led to complicated designs with numerous interior courtyards. For projects like schools, he suggests, class schedules and school layouts could be evolved side-by-side, creating a building optimized around traffic flow. While perhaps currently impractical (there’s no getting rid of architects—or rectangles— yet!), Simon hopes that the project will push people to think about how building with emergent technologies—like on-site 3D printing, CNC, self-assembling structures, and robotic construction—can be integrated within the design process. These technologies have promises for new forms that are hard to design for, he believes, and potentials that can’t be realized through existing design methods. As he told Dezeen: "Most current tools and thinking are stuck in a very two-dimensional world…[but,] designing arbitrary 3D forms optimized for multiple objectives—material usage, energy efficiency, acoustics—is simply past human cognitive ability."

Open Call: R+D for the Built Environment Design Fellowship

R+D for the Built Environment, is sponsoring a 6-month, paid, off-site design fellowship program starting this summer. We're looking for four candidates in key R+D topic areas:
  1. Building material science
  2. 3D printing, robotics, AR/VR
  3. AI, machine learning, analytics, building intelligence
  4. Quality housing at a lower cost
  5. Building resiliency and sustainability
  6. Workplace optimization
  7. Adaptable environments
We're excited to support up-and-coming designers, engineers, researchers (and all the disciplines in between!) advance their work and provide them with a platform to share their ideas. Follow the link below for more details and instructions on how to apply. Applications are due by May 31, 2019. https://sites.google.com/view/rdbe-design-fellowship-2019/home  
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New York–based startup wins NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge

After four years, NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge culminated at Caterpillar's Edwards Demonstration & Learning Center in Peoria County, Illinois, on May 4, with the New York–based AI SpaceFactory taking home the $500,000 first place prize. The competition’s three phases to develop and refine habitats that could be printed from scavenged soil and form a future Martian outpost were subdivided into smaller progressive challenges. The structures would have to be airtight and printed autonomously via drones or another self-deploying mechanism. New York’s SEarch+ and Apis Cor won first place in the complete virtual construction challenge on March 27, where teams were asked to create full-scale digital renderings of their prospective habitats. AI SpaceFactory’s hive-like MARSHA habitat took home the top prize at the next challenge—the company 3D printed a one-third scale model of its prototypical dwelling. Over the course of 30 hours, the 15-foot-tall MARSHA was printed from a plant-based biopolymer mixed with basalt strands, a substrate similar to what would be found on Mars. All three of the windows and the ceiling cap were placed via a robotic arm without human interference. The structure also survived NASA’s crush, impact, and smoke tests better than its competitors. The smoke test is an especially important measure of the habitat’s airtightness, as the fine microparticulate in the Martian environment could damage sensitive equipment and would be difficult to get rid of. The team from Pennsylvania State University took second place and was awarded $200,000. While it may be a while before a MARSHA habitat is erected on another planet, AI SpaceFactory wants to translate the use of structures printed from sustainable biomaterials to the Earthbound construction industry. Enter TERA, an adapted version of MARSHA built using recycled materials from the original structure, that AI SpaceFactory wants to build in Upstate New York. "We developed these technologies for Space, but they have the potential to transform the way we build on Earth,” said David Malott, CEO and founder of AI SpaceFactory, in a press release. “By using natural, biodegradable materials grown from crops, we could eliminate the building industry’s massive waste of unrecyclable concrete and restore our planet.” The company will launch an Indiegogo campaign to realize TERA later this month, and backers will get an opportunity to stay overnight in the research-structure-slash-sustainable-retreat.
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The solar-powered FutureHAUS is coming to Times Square

New housing is coming to Times Square, at least temporarily. The Virginia Tech team of students and faculty behind the FutureHAUS, which won the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018, a competition supported by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and U.S. Department of Energy, will bring a new iteration of its solar-powered home to New York for New York Design Week in collaboration with New York City–based architects DXA Studio. The first Dubai iteration was a 900-square-foot prefab home, that, in addition to being entirely solar powered, featured 67 “futuristic devices,” centered around a few core areas including, according to the team’s website: “entertainment, energy management, aging-in-place, and accessibility.” This included everything from gait recognition for unique user identities and taps that put out precise amounts of water given by voice control to tables with integrated displays and AV-outfitted adjustable rooms. One of the home’s biggest innovations, however, is its cartridge system, developed over the past 20 years by Virginia Tech professor Joe Wheeler. The home comprises a number of prefabricated blocks or "cartridges"—a series of program cartridges includes the kitchen and the living room, and a series of service cartridges contained wet mechanical space and a solar power system. The spine cartridge integrates all these various parts and provides the “central nervous system” to the high-tech house. These all form walls or central mechanical elements that then serve as the central structure the home is built around, sort of like high-tech LEGO blocks. The inspiration behind the cartridges came from the high-efficiency industrial manufacturing and assembly line techniques of the automotive and aerospace industries and leveraged the latest in digital fabrication, CNC routing, robotics, and 3D printing all managed and operated through BIM software. Once the cartridges have been fabricated, assembly is fast. In New York it will take just three days to be packed, shipped, and constructed, “a testament to how successful this system of fabrication and construction is,” said Jordan Rogove, a partner DXA Studio, who is helping realize the New York version of the home. The FutureHAUS team claims that this fast construction leads to a higher-quality final product and ends up reducing cost overall. The cartridge system also came in handy when building in New York with its notoriously complicated permitting process and limited space. “In Dubai an eight-ton crane was used to assemble the cartridges,” explained Rogove. “But to use a crane in Times Square requires a lengthy permit process and approval from the MTA directly below. Thankfully the cartridge system is so versatile that the team has devised a way to assemble without the crane and production it would've entailed.” There have obviously been some alterations to the FutureHAUS in New York. For example, while in Dubai there were screen walls and a courtyard with olive trees and yucca, the Times Square house will be totally open and easy to see, decorated with plants native to the area. The FutureHAUS will be up in Times Square for a week and a half during New York’s design week, May 10 through May 22.
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The Gaia House is a 3D-printed prototype made of biodegradable materials

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WASP, a 3D printing studio based out of Italy, recently produced a full-scale residential prototype out of soil, rice products, and hydraulic lime. Measuring approximately 320-square-feet in plan, the project was completed in 10 days and was built in the town of Massa Lombarda in the region of Emilia-Romagna. The project, named Gaia House, aims to establish a template for mass-produced biodegradable and structurally efficient structures. The building rises from a circular concrete foundation, relying on a team-developed computational design to reduce the total quantity of materials while imprinting geometric variation across the facade.
  • Facade Manufacturer & Installer WASP
  • Designer WASP
  • Location Massa Lombardo, Italy
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Computationally-designed
  • Products Raw soil, straw, rice husk, lime
For the fabrication of the residential prototype, WASP used a 3D printer suspended from a crane, aptly titled Crane WASP. The mixture, composed of 25 percent soil, 40 percent chopped rice straw, 25 percent rice husk, and 10 percent hydraulic lime, was dispensed onto successive layers with a series of triangular cavities placed between the primary interior and exterior courses. Rise husks were poured into the cavities to insulate the structure. Although the biodegradable material is suitable for use as an enclosure system, the principal load-bearing elements for the overhanging octagonal roof are wooden columns placed along the interior of the structure. For the interior of the structure, WASP softened the rustic materials by treating them with clay lamina and linseed oils. "Gaia is a highly performing module both in terms of energy and indoor health, with almost zero environmental impact," said the design team. "Printed in a few weeks, thanks to its masonry it does not need heating or an air conditioning system, as it maintains a mild and comfortable temperature both in winter and in summer." Currently, WASP is collaborating with the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia to develop a 3D-printed earthen wall with embedded floor and staircase systems, and is seeking to reduce construction time via the use of multiple printers working in tandem with each other.
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MIT lab creates sculptural pavilion made with dissolvable panels

Less than 10 percent of the billions of tons of plastic ever produced has been recycled, with much of it winding up in the Earth's oceans where the plastic disrupts ecosystems and releases toxic chemicals. In response, researchers led by Neri Oxman of MIT’s Mediated Matter Group, which focuses on “nature-inspired design and design-inspired nature,” have devised a new materials that they say, in somewhat biblical terms, go “from water to water.” The substances include a structure made of biocomposite skins derived from cellulose, chitosan, and pectin, some of the most abundant biopolymers on earth, in everything from tree branches to insect exoskeletons to common fruits to human bones. The researchers have put these new composites to the test in a 16-foot-tall pavilion named Aguahoja I (literally, water-sheet in Spanish), the culmination of six years of intense research into material science and robotic fabrication. Panels, comprising a top layer of chitosan and cellulose with a bottom layer of apple pectin and chitosan, were 3D-printed in various compositions to affect their rigidity and strength, color and color-changing abilities, transparency, and responses to heat and humidity, as well as their load-bearing abilities. This means, according to the lab, that the materials are functionally "programmable." Because of this variability, a variety of facade or load-bearing structural components can be generated from the same process, and the size is limited only by that of the printer. This “water-based digital fabrication” is intended to create a situation in which form, function, and fabrication are more closely linked, working in a way that mimics how the natural world designs itself; the result is “a continuous construction modeled after human skin—with regions that serve as structure, window, and environmental filter,” said the lab. In a display at the MIT Media Lab, the pavilion was shown along with a library of materials with various colors, shades, and structural properties, and an array of custom hardware, software, and wetware. The pavilion has been acquired by SFMOMA for its permanent collection, and a second version, Aguahoja II, will appear in the Cooper Hewitt’s design triennial, themed “Nature,” which opens next month. When structures made of these materials have run their course, the materials can be dissolved in water, returning natural materials to the environment with relatively little harm or disruption, much like any organic object in a naturally occurring ecosystem that decays and returns to be reused by the life that relies on it. For more on the latest in AEC technology and for information about the upcoming TECH+ conference, visit techplusexpo.com/nyc/.