Dance With me? The Future of Architecture looks tall.

The Future of Architecture looks tall. According to New Geography.com "By 2025, the world's urban areas are expected to account for 58% of the world population, rising to two-thirds in 2050.”, a phenomenal increase on the 10% (or so in the 1800’s). The Urban growth statistics is primarily from the UN and to be fair, individual country’s definition of urban differs markedly. A large rural settlement in China is for example the same size as a small urban settlement in the US. Regardless, we are getting more urban and particularly in the LEDC’s, a cozy acronym for ‘Less Economically Developed Countries’.

So , how does Architecture Cope? – time to look up, methinks. 

Like it or not, ‘The Vertical City’ is no longer a word banded around and if this does happen we will need materials and construction to push the boundaries. Materials will need to resist both gravitational and lateral forces whilst retaining a slenderness. Afterall, we cannot have a building that is all column and no space.

 

 

Thinking caps are on.

One such Architect is Wilfredo Mendez. Whilst his prime research is to create an Architectural structural system that can mitigate the occasional severity of nature’s seismic activity, the solution will certainly contribute to the verticality we strive for.  His inspiration and solution is based upon his observation that our musculoskeletal system can efficiently dissipate the impact and energy generated by movement. The Building Framework needs to mimic the skeletal joints and inspiration has come for the femur bone, the longest and strongest skeleton bone that given its hollow physiology, provides maximum strength with minimal weight. The solution is to develop a  new ‘concrete ‘ metamaterial that will be able to withstand lateral loads. It will be an anisotropic material that has the structural and elastic properties within the material composite presenting Architecture with the gift of dance and movement.

So far, Wilfredo and his consultants and researchers“ have prototyped small-scale models reproducing growth in order to study anisotropy, fibrous surfaces and its arrangement, morphogenesis and tensile strength. They have also prototyped a 3D printed frame to study the 'dancing' parameters of a structure, the joints position and dissipater effect. And like the best ideas, are awaiting federal grants to continue on.

 

Further For Further Reading: http://www.nextnature.net/2012/08/structuring-biomimicry-improving-buildings-resiliency-2/