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jerryking : construction   21

The Trees and the Forest of New Towers - The New York Times
By Stephen Wallis
Nov. 20, 2019

Mass timber refers to prefabricated structural wood components that can be used to construct buildings — even large-scale buildings — faster, with less waste and eventually with less money........Mass timber refers to a variety of different types of engineered wood components, the most common being cross-laminated timber (known as CLT) and nail-laminated timber (or NLT), in which multiple layers of wood planks, stacked at 90 degrees, are glued or nailed together under pressure to form structural panels. So-called glulams, which are made in a similar fashion and have been around for more than a century, are typically used for long elements like beams and columns.........building with mass timber can ameliorate climate change because it produces less in greenhouse gas emissions than construction with concrete and steel. And wood has the benefit of storing the carbon dioxide trees absorb during their growth, keeping it out of the atmosphere indefinitely.....While cutting down trees to make buildings may not sound environmentally sensitive, mass timber supporters argue that wood could be harvested from sustainably managed forests...At the end of last year, the International Building Code was changed to allow wood buildings of up to 270 feet tall, or the equivalent of about 18 stories, from 85 feet....People want to live and work in these kinds of buildings — they have a sense of connection to the material,”......what we’ve seen from fabricators and builders is that there’s a 35 percent drop in construction time for mass-timber buildings, which means the carrying costs are less.”....
architecture  building_codes  climate_change  construction  design  emotional_connections  lumber  materials  skyscrapers  sustainability  Swatch  timber  wood_products  
november 2019 by jerryking
Log Cabins? No, These Wooden Buildings Are High-Rises
Jan. 1, 2019 | The New York Times | By C. J. Hughes.

"But proponents scored a huge win last month when the International Code Council, an influential advisory group in Washington, concluded that some wooden buildings could climb as high as 18 stories, more than twice the current permissible height, without compromising safety."....."In addition to their green benefits, he said, wood buildings perform well in earthquakes because of their lighter weight and flexibility.".....Proponents of wood must still overcome a longstanding bias. In the 1800s, fires were a scourge, prompting restrictions on wood. But steel is not infallible and can buckle in extreme heat, ....“But we’ve gotten comfortable using steel and concrete products, so the question’s been, ‘Why would we change?’” ....Still, wood is not what it used to be. The decline in old-growth forests means developers can no longer count on huge single trunks to support floors. Instead, they rely on mass timber, an engineered product made of layers of spruce or fir pressed together in a way that is similar to plywood but with a more elegant look......Wood remains expensive, but the assembly-line aspect of mass-timber production, in which factories make large panels, then assemble them on-site, saves time and labor costs......
construction  timber  wood_products  design  lumber  building_codes  skyscrapers 
january 2019 by jerryking
How to build a better future: high-tech Jenga at the Soane Museum
December 21, 2018 | Financial Times | Simon Ings.

Suspended from four wires, this digitally controlled cable robot is building something out of hand-size wooden blocks. It’s a slow beast. Hours must pass before its construction becomes recognisable: a dome, of the sort that John Soane produced for the Bank of England and Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Polibot does not look like a game changer. But according to Arthur Mamou-Mani, whose architectural practice built it, Polibot’s children are going to change the world.......in the early 2000s, computer-generated design was a fairly dry topic. Patrik Schumacher, principal of Zaha Hadid Architects, dubbed it “parametricism”, reflecting the way programmes evolve forms according to a set of parameters........Through experiments in robotics, Mamou-Mani’s practice is out to develop new ways of building that will make architecture, engineering and construction merge into single field. The point is not what Polibot is, but what it could become. It’s not just a pick-and-place machine. It’s the early prototype of a universal builder.....There have been many experiments in the large-scale 3D printing of buildings. But the kinds of industrial robot arms that are usually employed for this work are far too cumbersome and delicate to wheel on to a building site....Gigantic robot arms will never spew out skyscrapers at a single sweep, Mamou-Mani says, for the simple reason that it would make construction less, not more efficient....construction is mostly about bringing big chunks of stuff together,” he says. “Currently, concrete is still the material of choice for the construction industry, but we’re slowly switching to timber, and this will be a massive revolution, because once you start working with timber, you’re no longer casting anything on site. You’re thinking entirely in terms of prefabrication and assembly.”Mamou-Mani dreams of building simple towers from elements (“prefabricated properly, by robotic arms, like cars”) assembled on site by gigantic Polibots....Mamou-Mani explains his vision of buildings that can expand and contract, depending on the economy....Why do we think that permanence is necessary?” Elsewhere in the show, the wall text proclaims that “the best cities are the ones that don’t leave ruins”....All great advances in industrial culture are prefigured by model-making.


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3-D  architecture  concrete  construction  design  models  model-making  museums  robotics  timber  howto 
december 2018 by jerryking
We are still waiting for the robot revolution
2017 | Financial Times | Tim Harford.

“Our chief economic problem right now isn’t that the robots are taking our jobs, it’s that the robots are slacking off. “

Or at least — it should. Our chief economic problem right now isn’t that the robots are taking our jobs, it’s that the robots are slacking off. We suffer from slow productivity growth; the symptoms are not lay-offs but slow-growing economies and stagnant wages. In advanced economies, total factor productivity growth — a measure of how efficiently labour and capital are being used to produce goods and services — was around 2 per cent a year in the 1960s, when the ATM was introduced. Since then, it has averaged closer to 1 per cent a year; since the financial crisis it has been closer to zero. Labour productivity, too, has been low.

Plenty of jobs, but lousy productivity: imagine an economy that was the exact opposite of one where the robots took over, and it would look very much like ours. Why? Tempting as it may be to blame the banks, a recent working paper by John Fernald, Robert Hall and others argues that productivity growth stalled before the financial crisis, not afterwards: the promised benefits of the IT revolution petered out by around 2006. Perhaps the technology just isn’t good enough; perhaps we haven’t figured out how to use it. In any case, results have been disappointing.

There is always room for the view that the productivity boom is imminent. Michael Mandel and Bret Swanson, business economists, argue in their policy paper that we are starting to find digitally driven efficiencies in physical industries such as energy, construction, transport, and retail. If this happens, Silicon Valley-style innovation will ripple through the physical economy. If.
Tim_Harford  artificial_intelligence  productivity  automation  economists  efficiencies  energy  construction  transportation  retailers  robotics  physical_economy  data_driven 
august 2017 by jerryking
Wood buildings reaching higher - The Globe and Mail
WALLACE IMMEN
TORONTO — Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Jun. 27, 2016
Liberty_Village  Wallace_Immen  wood_products  lumber  construction  skyscrapers 
july 2016 by jerryking
City of holes
23 April/24 April 2016 | Financial Times | by Edwin Heathcote
architecture  construction  London  cities  design 
april 2016 by jerryking
The Workers Defense Project, a Union in Spirit - NYTimes.com
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
Published: August 10, 2013
for Eden.
The Workers Defense Project is one of 225 worker centers nationwide aiding many of the country’s 22 million immigrant workers. The centers have sprouted up largely because labor unions have not organized in many fields where immigrants have gravitated, like restaurants, landscaping and driving taxis. And there is another reason: many immigrants feel that unions are hostile to them. Some union members say that immigrants, who are often willing to work for lower wages, are stealing their jobs. ....Worker centers, which are among the most vigorous champions of overhauling immigration laws, coalesce around issues or industries....With labor unions losing members and influence, these centers are increasingly seen as an important alternative form of workplace advocacy, although no one expects them to be nearly as effective as unions in winning raises, pensions or paid vacations....“Worker centers are part of the broad scramble of how to improve things for workers outside the traditional union/collective bargaining context. They’ve become little laboratories of experimentation.”
labor  labour  unions  immigrants  workplaces  construction 
august 2013 by jerryking
With its entrepreneurial spirit, Alberta is no one-trick hydrocarbon pony - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 19 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by TODD HIRSCH.

The Albertan economy is about: Capitalizing on what works today, and quickly shifting gears if it doesn’t work tomorrow. This young man farmed with his dad in the 1990s at a time when farming made little sense or money. But he realized the farm’s backhoe was making him big bucks. So farming became secondary to construction machinery, and a decade and a half later he owns a thriving construction company in central Alberta. And now (cue the Circle of Life theme song) he’s shifting back into farming to capitalize on today’s good crop prices.
Alberta  wealth_creation  entrepreneurship  TED  oil_industry  Todd_Hirsch  construction 
june 2013 by jerryking
Inspired, Naturally
13 Aug 2011 | Financial Times pg. 1. | by Paul Miles.

In a truly sustainable world, we would build our homes using only recyclable materials, renewable energy and without any waste. It seems impossible – and yet that is how the rest of nature operates.

Animals and plants build structures of incredible complexity without the energy-hungry high temperatures, pressures and toxic chemicals with which we process raw materials in this fossil fuel age, and without generating useless waste. Our buildings, on the other hand, are responsible for more than 40% of carbon emissions in the EU. Globally, the construction industry is responsible for 30-40 % of solid waste, says the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

It is no wonder that architects and designers are looking to the rest of nature for inspiration. They always have: Leonardo da Vinci sketched designs for a flying machine with bird-like wings; the Wright brothers studied a vulture’s drag and lift. In the 21st century, scientific advances such as molecular genetics and nanotechnology have made drawing inspiration from nature a more precise science. Biomimicry, as it’s known in the US (or biomimetics in the UK) is, “the conscious emulation of life’s genius: innovation inspired by nature”.......If we could mimic that on a larger scale, imagine the difference it would make to our building industry. We could produce our own organic “steel” at an ambient temperature, formed from nothing more than everyday atoms such as carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen. The need to mine, transport raw materials, burn coal and produce toxic wastes would all virtually disappear. What’s more, the whole process would be solar-powered....The $170bn cement industry, a big emitter of carbon dioxide, is having a biomimicry-related makeover. Calera, the American company, is using waste carbon dioxide from flue gas to produce a type of cement in a process similar to coral growth. In a move that shows that the US government recognises the potential of Calera to turn cement manufacture from a process that emits millions of tons of carbon dioxide into one that sequesters it from power stations, the company was awarded $19.5m by the US Department of Energy last year.

That is a Utopian scenario but there are other areas where progress is being made. These include digital fabrication technologies such as 3D printing that can “grow” structures that breathe and work like living systems...biomimicry is heralded as one of the growth areas for this century. It is a genuinely multi-disciplinary field where, for instance, a research team comprising entomologists, engineers and materials scientists is not uncommon.......Buildings with an appearance of biological forms are not new. Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes, similar to plankton in their geometry, are resource-efficient in their construction....Biomimetic architecture is certainly not as simple as creating buildings that reflect nature’s aesthetics.

A building cited as an example of biomimicry is a conventional-looking 1990s shopping centre and office block, the Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe.....“Buildings that adapt to changing conditions is the way we have to develop if we are to mimic truly the low energy ways in which biology works,” says architect Michael Pawlyn, whose book on the subject, Biomimicry in Architecture,
3-D  agriculture  biomimicry  books  cement  construction  cross-disciplinary  Department_of_Energy  inspiration  Leonardo_da_Vinci  nature  sustainability 
august 2011 by jerryking
globeandmail.com - I can see the economic downturn from here
December 13, 2008 G&M article by Anthony Reinhart on the
impact the economic downturn is having on Toronto's construction trades.

December 13, 2008
Toronto  economic_development  construction  unions  organized_labour  Anthony_Reinhart 
january 2009 by jerryking

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