New architectural tools are ten a penny yet not always easily implemented. Scientific studies have highlighted the inherent difficulties in bringing new techniques into architectural study and design; one Wiley-published journal in particular decried the difficulties of assimilating architectural design, function and methods. The problem is clear, and it’s one that has had an impact on, for example, sustainable architecture designs. How can futuristic planning and tools be used while still meeting the ever-present demand for new buildings and new residential spaces for the world’s growing population? Increasingly, new tools are being used in the design process, and to great effect.

A clear picture

A good place to look is in the world of 3D rendering and generation. Rendering technology has enabled architects and estate agents to present a clear picture of their design and vision without having to break the bank, and in a way that enables customers to see exactly what has been envisioned. Taking this a step further is the inexorable rise of 3D-printed houses. CNN has highlighted the raising of the first 3D printed community, a set of 15 eco-friendly homes to be planted in Rancho Mirage, California. Perhaps one of the key reasons that 3D printing has been so easy to assimilate is that it isn’t drastically different from current designs. It simply creates a new way for them to be constructed, in an efficient and eco-friendly way. However, the materials science involved with 3D development is providing inspiration elsewhere.

 The Technology Pushing Architectural Envelopes

New materials, old designs

This principle can be extended to newer-looking buildings. JSTOR Daily highlights the innovative wood tower design being cited for construction in Chicago and highlights similar products across Europe. The use of ‘mass wood’ – lumber products that have been fortified to have the same strength as materials such as steel – are creating a sustainable and old-fashioned, yet very new-tech edge to architecture. These products wouldn’t have been possible years ago, but with innovation, towers as tall as 33 stories are now absolutely possible.

Recycling the planet

The design trend of recycling is about to take a significant step up. A University of Tokyo study found that building materials could be synthesized from recycled concrete and CO2 sequestered from the air. Not only does this make an attractive and sustainable future material for building but, as the journal outlines, it also creates a significant reduction in the amount of resources required for building. This makes it a boon for architects, who are often constrained by local conditions in terms of the materials they can use. This improves flexibility, and is truly an innovative technological tool for a wide range of architectural development.

Architecture is a difficult field in which to innovate. The regulations and safety rules of new buildings means that it isn’t always easy to assimilate new tools and technologies into the design process. Through sustainable and long-term innovation, however, there are reasons to be excited about the future of architecture.

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