College of Architecture and Construction Management 2020-2021 Projects
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1. Department of Architecture (Dr. Giovanni Loreto): Sustainable Building Materials of the Future: Architectural Forms and Structural Design
2020-2021 First-Year Scholar: Sean Sadler, civil engineering
Sustainable Building Materials of the Future: Architectural Forms and Structural Design
What will cities look like in 30 years from now? What is the future of building materials?
This research project seeks to bridge the gap between material science and construction, looking at sustainable approaches in designing new buildings and infrastructures. It can take decades for a breakthrough in engineering from a lab to a building site. This research embraces the need for innovative architectural forms while building upon structural design principles to create a new generation of smart materials.
Students working on this research project will investigate the use of sustainable approaches in building materials of the future to (1) achieve more economical construction, (2) improve sustainability and resilience, and (3) advance architectural forms and forces.
The goal is to advance our fundamental understanding of cementitious materials and their construction in an effort to marry architectural form and structural design. The last hundred years in architecture and civil engineering have been widely dominated by the use of concrete, which became the second most consumed commodity after water. Although concrete and cementitious materials have a low embodied energy (of approximately 0.90 MJ/kg), they are used in vast quantities. In 2019, cement production amounted to approximately 3.2 billion tons, with production and usage accounting for almost 8-9% of total global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
This research aims to impact the embodied energy and the carbon emission associated with new concrete constructions by possibly saving up to 30% in concrete volume compared to an equivalent strength prismatic member. This research thus offers exciting opportunities for engineers and architects to move towards a more sustainable construction industry.
By working on this project, students can expect to improve on two separate sets of skills: technical and professional.
Depending on your background (architecture, construction management, engineering, etc.), you will be challenged with the idea of sustainability and sustainable approaches at different levels. To address the research questions, you will be working in a multidisciplinary group that includes students from architecture to engineering, as the project requires expertise in different areas. This approach will provide you with a unique opportunity to work in a dynamic research environment that will foster your understanding of research problems and will help you to build fundamental skills for your future career.
Specific outcomes include:
- Understanding the role of previous research and literature review in the broad context of research (i.e., define the terminology associated with research and theory in advanced cementitious materials; describe past research studies and critically analyze past research in concrete formwork, and articulate how their research study makes a contribution to the field).
- Learning how to develop a matrix for tests and conduct laboratory experiments (i.e., understand the role of ASTM standard tests in material characterization; design and performing of material characterization test, specifically in compressive and tensile properties; analyze and interpretation of the test data from concrete and steel tests).
- Being able to design and build small scale prototypes (i.e., design of concrete elements using digital tools; design of concrete elements including formwork, materials requirement for cast, and procedures for concrete curing).
- Developing skills in communication and public speaking. This learning objective is specifically important as it will teach you how to disseminate and transfer individual knowledge in a work environment.
Student Weekly Duties
Students will meet with faculty for 1 hour per week and can work remotely otherwise. Some of the tasks include:
- Architectural and engineering design
- Drawing and formwork design (Rhino, Photoshop, Illustrator)
- Casting concrete (mix design, materials procurement, casting, and cleaning)
- Data analysis and presentation