Digital Fabrication With Biomaterials
Friday, 9 December 2022
The final symposium and exhibition opening of a European research project on digitally fabricated building components made with bio-based materials, involving three university institutes and three industry partners from Denmark, Germany, Italy and Spain. Living Prototypes was instigated by ANCB and is supported by the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) on behalf of the German Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building with funds from the research innovation programme Zukunft Bau.
Over the course of 18 months, three university institutes have been collaborating with three industry partners on digitally fabricating prototypes for building components for living spaces made with the bio-based materials earth, flax fibre and bioplastics.
The final symposium focuses on what designing with biomaterials and digital fabrication might mean for architectural thinking and design. Following short presentations by each of the three teams, keynote speaker Prof. Ingrid Halland from the Oslo School of Architecture reflects theoretically on Living Prototypes, and together with BBSR representative Arnd Rose, engages the research teams in an in-depth conversation on this way of building.
In the exhibition at Aedes Architecture Forum, which will be opened after the symposium, three separate prototypes made of earth, flax fibre and bioplastics are brought together in a 1:1 scale installation built around a typical floorplan of a 1-bedroom apartment. Contextual and supporting information include visualisations of the architecture possible with these biomaterials and digital fabrication methods, and a selection of sample raw materials, test models and scaled prototypes from further explorations by each research team. Video and photographic material show the development of the biomaterials and building prototypes over the course of the Living Prototypes project.
Dunya Bouchi and Áine Ryan, Living Prototypes Curators, ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory, Berlin
Arnd Rose, Research Fellow at Division for Research in Building and Construction, German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR), Bonn
Alexandre Dubor, IAAC – Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Barcelona
Tsu-Ying Chen, ITKE – Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design, University of Stuttgart
Paul Nicholas, CITA – Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, Royal Danish Academy, Copenhagen
Alma Bangsgaard Svendsen, COBOD International A/S, Copenhagen
Ingrid Halland, architecture and design historian, Oslo School of Architecture and Design
Oriol Carrasco, IAAC – Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Barcelona
Moritz Dörstelmann, FibR GmbH, Kernen
Jan Knippers, ITKE – Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design, University of Stuttgart
Martin Tamke, CITA – Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, Royal Danish Academy, Copenhagen
Massimo Visonà, WASP, Massa Lombarda
moderated by Ingrid Halland and Arnd Rose, with the following research advisors joining from the front row:
John Harding, Lecturer in Architecture, University of Reading
Stine Kolbert, Researcher and Lecturer, Department of Planning and Construction Economy, TU Berlin
Bernd Wegener, Emeritus Professor, Social Sciences, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Jan Wurm, Europe Research Leader, Arup, Berlin
PROGRAMME EXHIBITION OPENING
Hans-Jürgen Commerell, Director, ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory, Berlin
Dirk Scheinemann, Head of Department, Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building, Berlin
Martin Tamke, Associate Professor, Centre for IT and Architecture (CITA), Royal Danish Academy, Copenhagen, joined by one representative from each project partner
Followed by reception
University partner: IAAC – Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Barcelona
Industry partner: WASP, Massa Lombarda
Earth is a traditional and inexpensive building material, for which extensive knowledge exists. IAAC and WASP employ 3D printing and computational design to improve the structural and climate-regulation performance of earth constructions. This also enables a new flexibility in the architecture achievable with this biomaterial, advances its aesthetic capacity, and makes the construction process more efficient and feasible for infill and other forms of built environment densification.
University partner: ITKE – Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design, University of Stuttgart
Industry partner: FibR GmbH, Kernen
Robotic coreless fibre winding aims to optimise material efficiency in architectural components by avoiding formwork and material cutoffs. Material use corresponds to structural demands. ITKE and FibR investigated robotic coreless fibre winding using natural flax fibres. Through the inter-material dialogue with other living prototypes at the Aedes exhibition, the project communicates the relevance of such material systems in future living spaces.
University partner: CITA – Centre for Information Technology and Architecture, Royal Danish Academy, Copenhagen
Industry partner: COBOD International A/S, Copenhagen
Bioplastics are renewable, inexpensive, biodegradable and chemically diverse. Digital data analysis technologies, such as machine learning, make it possible to predict and control the behaviour of these complex materials during and after the printing process. CITA and COBOD prototype components for interior spaces using two complementary bio-based materials (cellulose and bone glue). These suggest future circular material life cycles in buildings that are made possible by this adaptive manufacturing process.
What might our homes look and feel like if they were built without using fossil fuels, without depleting resources or damaging the environment? What if advanced research into bio-based building materials could change architectural design and building construction? How can architectural prototypes communicate knowledge about resource-conscious design and construction processes? These questions are at the core of Living Prototypes .
Central to the project is the task of translating abstract laboratory explorations into something physically tangible and recognisable, that enables us – the public – as well as the building industry and policy-makers to imagine the kinds of spaces and architecture that new bio-based materials with digital construction techniques make possible. ANCB provides the project with a physical and intellectual space of possibility, that supports collaboration and experimentation on research approaches and new materials towards sustainable building. In essence, Living Prototypes is about triggering the political pressure to innovate the way we build (in) the future.
Today, the urgent need to reduce our anthropogenic footprints of carbon dioxide emissions, resource consumption and waste production is undisputable. Considering that today around 40 % of the total CO2 emissions in Germany stem from the construction, use or dismantling of buildings, it is clear that there is still a long way to go before the objective already established by law is met: a climate-neutral building stock by 2045.
In 2017, ANCB launched the discussion series Craftsmanship in the Digital Age also in collaboration with the Zukunft Bau programme. This explored the potential of digital technologies to trigger innovative responses to the design and making of architecture; especially regarding energy and resource sustainability. With the Living Prototypes project, a follow-up step is taken from a theoretical discourse to an experiment that the audience can see, touch and discuss.
Research provides many promising proposals, but there is always a risk that the results remain in the ivory tower or disappear into the drawer. To avoid this, it is essential to build a bridge between scientific results, their translation into practical applications and their communication to a broad audience. Therefore, one aim of the Living Prototypes project is to provide such a bridging space: here ideas merge to solve a common task: the design and making of a full-scale prototype that demonstrates the potential of natural and bio-based recycled materials in combination with the latest techniques in digital fabrication.This project is supported by the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development on behalf of the German Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building with funds from the research innovation programme Zukunft Bau.