Weekend Roundup: Icon, Diamond Age, Cuby, Gropyus
Since there’s more interesting things happening in construction than I can cover in a weekly post (especially if I’m spending posts writing about things that happened 800 years ago), I’m experimenting with occasionally sending out a brief roundup of interesting links related to construction news, buildings, and infrastructure. Let me know what you think.
New Yorker article about 3D printing startup Icon. Icon has sucked up most of the media oxygen, as well as venture capital, in the construction 3D printing space, but I've yet to see any indication that they're progressing beyond vertical concrete walls, which will be crucial for this technology to have the potential for any sort of meaningful impact. One company that's trying to do that is Diamond Age, which gets talked about in this piece on Builder's Daily. Like Icon, Diamond Age uses a gantry-mounted 3D printer for the walls, but they swap out the print head for a robotic manipulator for other jobsite tasks. See also this previous Construction Physics post on 3D printing, and this now somewhat out of date post on construction startups that covers construction 3D printing companies.
For another portable fabrication technology construction company, see this Fast Company article about Cuby, a prefab construction startup using portable, inflatable factories that get set up "at or near the jobsite." They seem to be using a structural steel frame with what looks like precast concrete flooring for their building system. Interesting, but it's hard for me to imagine this ever being a low-cost system (though as always, I would love to be proven wrong).
Gas stoves were the main character on twitter a couple weeks ago after a paper came out suggesting they were responsible for 12% of asthma cases. I won't rehash the controversy (see this piece by Kelsey Piper if you missed it) but see this piece by Emily Oster and this one by Sarah Constantin for a more measured interpretation of the paper.
Apparently one way to prevent moisture wicking up from basement walls is to set your building on a layer of glass.Fabulous, a glass damp course!!!! The magic water injected damp course industry will be thinking… “But…but…but…”This was under my parents floor, steel beams, arched brick foundations for the heavy granite kitchen floor. And yes, that thin line is glass! https://t.co/EWMIEVvv3pFake History Hunter @fakehistoryhunt
Scrimber is an engineered wood product made from crushing whole logs and gluing the pieces together. It was developed in Australia to make use of fast-growing wood species and small diameter logs, and can utilize a higher fraction of the raw lumber than other engineered wood products.
Zoning limitations on this Vancouver lot (specifically, a minimum setback that didn’t apply above 30 meters) resulted in a skyscraper with a twisting, cantilever design.
Building of the week: these huge mass timber structures for storing potash.