AU Class
AU Class
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Opportunities and Risks of Material Innovation in a Developing Construction Industry

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    In many parts of the world, fragile supply chains, lack of standardization, and limited training in construction best practices are barriers to using locally sourced sustainable engineering materials. MASS Design Group has pushed the boundaries of design and construction in East Africa through the use of such materials, and has created opportunities to strengthen the construction industry to deliver innovative and sustainable projects. This session will present the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture and The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund as case studies. We’ll discuss the rigorous research and testing required to validate the structural use of earth, timber, and lightweight-concrete construction. We’ll also explore how these designs were documented to assist construction workers in implementation, to assist supervisors by highlighting critical structural elements, and to assist designers in an analysis of environmental impact.

    Key Learnings

    • Employ lessons learned from the case studies to innovate with materials in practice across different geographical contexts
    • Learn how to document and communicate design assumptions and analysis to highlight critical structural elements and connection
    • Learn how to approach embodied carbon calculations for atypical materials
    • Learn the importance of engaging early with new or fragile supply chains and designing to their limitations