Rethinking Construction

Rethinking Construction

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.          

Related learning

Want to learn more about digitization in construction? Check out this related content: 

Addressing the Productivity Crisis in Construction 

By increasing productivity, we can address all of construction’s biggest challenges: sustainability, the skills gap, rising costs, and pressure on resources. This session showcases how we can deploy computational design, industrialized construction, robotics, and on-site automation to cut schedules, use fewer workers, achieve higher quality and safety, and lower carbon emissions. 

How Can We Design Sustainability into Additive Manufacturing? 

Additive manufacturing (AM) holds many promised environmental benefits, from lightweight parts for electric vehicles to reduced material consumption through optimized designs and flexible, localized production. But there are caveats. This class looks at case studies that show us how we can print parts that perform better and last longer, and how we can design not just for the printing process, but also for post-processing, shipping, and the entire product life cycle. 

Digitize Key Construction Processes with Autodesk Build 

One way to survive tight deadlines and tighter budgets is by better capturing, managing, and analyzing key project data and communications. And that’s where Autodesk Build excels. Join Carolina Fong for a look at how to leverage information and make key processes more efficient. 


Share Article