Digitization can help us make construction more efficient and sustainable
The construction industry is facing significant challenges—all of them familiar. It starts with increasing demand: over the next 30 years, we’ll need homes and infrastructure for an additional 2.3 billion people. But in contrast to other industries, productivity in construction has actually been going down. In addition, it’s facing a shortage of materials such as sand, a key ingredient in concrete, as well as a shortage of skilled labor. And then there’s the waste and emissions—construction and operation of buildings contribute one-third of global CO2 emissions. So how can we modernize construction in a sustainable way? According to Dr. Mania Aghaei Meibodi, assistant professor of architecture at the University of Michigan, digitization of construction holds great promise. She shares examples from multiple projects that feature computational design, additive manufacturing, and new building materials to demonstrate how we can dramatically increase productivity, precision, and sustainability. From 3D-printed sandstone molds to CNC laser-cut plywood, from 3D-printed thermoplastic facades for building envelopes to a 3D-printed carbon fiber home, Meibodi shows us that new approaches to building can help us reduce negative impact and also provide new design opportunities for architects.
About the speaker
Dr. Mania Aghaei Meibodi is an assistant professor of architecture at Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Design at the University of Michigan, director of the DART Laboratory, and co-founder of the architectural design office Meonia. Meibodi specializes in computational design, robotics, and additive manufacturing. She holds a PhD from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.
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