AIA RP mention

From: Rupert Soar (
Date: Thu Jan 09 2003 - 18:50:21 EET

Hi Makai,

Thought I'd just throw in something to think about... It's probably not
surprising that when many architects begin to look at the type of work
we do they almost always assume our technologies are about producing
prototypes. In almost every example of architectural applications of RP
the goal is to use an RP machine to produce a model of a design to sell
to a client. I truly believe (TIBS reference) that that the
construction industry is on the verge a revolution of the type Gordon H.
Chong is referring to in his speech, and that this revolution will come
in the form of large scale freeform fabrication processes.

Construction looks on with envy at the breakthroughs manufacturing has
made in the automation of the manufacturing process and the development
of additive manufacture that will ultimately lead to the emergence of
mass customisation. When I get into discussions about techniques such
as functionally graded parts or structural functionality I get looks of
amazement, but then I have to point out that much of what we have done
is what the construction industry has been doing for eons. In
construction many structures are mass customised and built layer by

For me the question then becomes, what benefits could be gained by the
construction industry by incorporating the ideas of additive
manufacture, structural functionality and light's out automation that go
beyond simple brick laying robots?

A fabrication machine placed on site, in which a program of a structure
to be built is loaded, will realise certain benefits over and above the
process of automating the building process. These include:

. The ability to produce any non-linear freeform geometry to
enhance both functionality and the aesthetic.
. The ability to incorporate structural geometries (e.g. domes,
arches, buttresses) which are self-supporting and eliminate the need for
beams and lintels etc.
. Elimination of heavy lifting plant by incorporating structural
as well as aesthetic elements into the same fabrication process.
. The construction is driven from a 3D-CAD model which can be
modified immediately before the build begins. As construction is
continuous, there is the opportunity to incorporate a 'design freeze'
into the construction process which reduces client indecisiveness.
. The capture of the architectural and structural engineering
expertise within a computer programme that will allow the customer to
produce design iterations using non-parametric design tools.
. The delivery of a single material and curing agent which can be
modified for acoustic, insulative, porosity and structural properties as
it is deposited, shaped and cured (Structural Functionality).
. Additives may be combined with the construction material as it
is deposited through incorporation of reinforcing materials, blown inert
gasses or even an optical fibre infrastructure.
. A single material can be used for the entire construction whose
properties can be modified as it is deposited based on the buildings
functional requirements.
. The ability to incorporate any internal geometry into the fabric
of the building including services and ducting.

Those of you busy researching 'direct' printing of electronic circuitry
into a component should know that one of the greatest immediate
challenges facing the construction industry is a lack of plumbers and
electricians. A process that can not only lay in the ducting and
services, as each layer is deposited, but also print/extrude copper wire
or optical fibre will be a revolution. Likewise, so will a process that
can take a single material and modify it as it is deposited/extruded to
selectively change its insulative, acoustic, strength or even stealth

If anyone wants a chat about this then please drop a line, we are
actively pursuing the objectives shown here (trust me, I haven't
mentioned the good stuff) and are looking out for those that don't think



Dr Rupert Soar
The Rapid Manufacturing Research Group
Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU
tel: +44(0) 1509 227637
fax: +44(0) 1509 227549

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Makai Smith
Sent: 09 January 2003 13:20
To: ''
Subject: AIA RP mention

I am posting a link to the farewell address by the president of the
Institute of Architects, Gordon H. Chong, delivered 06 Dec 2002.

It seemed like an unlikely yet interesting place to see mention of RP
paragraph five).

As an architect, I impressed by the reluctance of my profession to
proactively apply computing and RP/CAM technology as a design and
construction tool let alone as an intellectual asset within the studio.

|\/| /\ |< /\ |
O. Makai Smith



PH: 215 487-0400
FAX: 215-487-2520

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