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Nanotechnology and New Materials for Architecture

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Carbon Nanotube | Image Credit: © ghutchis | Flickr

NANOTECHNOLOGY IS HERE…

Nanotechnology will have profound effects on the way we live. Already, developments are underway for newfound uses. For the architecture profession, nanotechnology will greatly impact construction materials and their properties. Materials will behave in many different ways as we are able to more precisely control their properties at the nano-scale.

WHY CARBON NANOTUBES?

Carbon nanotubes are a great example of how useful materials are being developed. This material is said to be one hundred times stronger than steel because of its “molecular perfection” as explained in the paper Year 2050: Cities in the Age of Nanotechnology by Peter Yeadon. In addition, because carbon atoms can bond with other matter; such material can be an “insulator, semi-conductor or conductor of electricity”. As a result, carbon nanotubes will have significant influence on the architecture industry as such materials can act as “a switchable conduit, a light source, a generator of energy and even a conveyor of matter”. (1)

IMPACTING BOTH DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION

As materials gain such transient features, architectural design and construction will evolve. By transforming the essential properties of matter, nanotechnology will be able to change the way we build. For instance, structures will be constructed from the bottom-up because materials like carbon nanotubes can self-assemble. (1)

Nanotechnology will profoundly affect the industry of architecture at all scales; and, interior design, building design and city design will all benefit. Architecture will have the ability to function at more optimum levels – revolutionizing the way inhabitants live.

NANO-ARCHITECTURE UNLEASHED

Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance is a great book that explains how nanotechnology will impact environments. For example, nanotechnology will give architecture superior interactive functions — allowing occupants to better “communicate” with their surroundings. Windows and walls with variable transparency and mood/context sensitive clothing are just a few ways this will become possible.(2)

As new materials and construction methods emerge, “nano-architecture” will definitely unleash the designer’s imagination. For this reason, Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance is worth reading.

Here is the link: Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance

Reference:

(1) Yeadon, Peter. Year 2050: Cities in the Age of Nanotechnology

(2) Crandall, BC. Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance. MIT Press. 2000.

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what members are saying...
Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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