“A pragmatic up-cycling of building components using artificial intelligence”

Regional Jury Report – North America

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    Unmaking Architecture – New York

    With this model the entire library can be matched onto an adjustable shape, allowing for a holistic optimization where all elements simultaneously arranged. Heavy Concrete elements are transported into place by barge, and lifted by crane into new temporary assemblies. Material is no longer discarded, but rather put into new holding patterns that can maintain valuable material through generations.

Last updated: June 15, 2021 Eclepens, Switzerland

Project description by jury

The proposal describes an artificial intelligence-based method that enables the up-cycling of building components (e.g. concrete floor plates, glass elements, façade cladding) destined for dismantling. Starting from an indexed library of demolition rubble, a computational tool is able to guide the design of new buildings in order to optimize available materials. The entire library can be matched like jigsaw puzzle pieces onto adjustable shapes, producing significant money savings as well as a reduced carbon footprint for building construction. Material is placed in a holding pattern so that it maintains value and use through generations. The approach thereby attempts to create a less wasteful materials cycle by redeploying materials, and also reducing the volume of building rubble sent to landfill.

Jury appraisal

The LafargeHolcim Awards jury North America was very impressed by the pragmatism of the design method proposed in this research project that is able, in parallel, to promise a very compelling architecture. The idea of bringing new life to demolition rubble was found very relevant in terms of economic and environmental sustainability. The jury also appreciated the elegant and precise exemplifying design solutions that are featured along with the computational tool, which shows a clear sensitivity for architectural quality. In general, the idea of putting artificial intelligence combined with 3D printing at the service of both attractive design projects and resource conservation was found very powerful. The jury also considered the wide applicability in terms of building types and replicability in different geographic contexts a strong asset of the proposal.