Since buying our first home nearly five years ago, my wife and I have become pretty well versed in locating problems, minor maintenance, and fixer-upper work. We've had a good eye toward energy efficiency, but there's still plenty of other areas we'll need to modify and adapt as we go forward, and figuring out better sustainability methods, like installing solar panels, which makes long-term sense for us given the amount of direct sunlight our home absorbs and rising energy costs. Our home is only 30 years old, but from a design perspective, quite a lot has changed. And present-day technology seems fit to modify home design even further and perhaps permanently alter the face of architecture and construction. I really appreciate the amount of innovation that has come alongside these new innovations, and I'm very excited by the possibilities now opened with these broader scopes. If we can aim high with 3-D printed organs, why not go simpler (and perhaps quite a bit less sexier from a pop-sci perspective) and more immediate?
Recently, China built several homes constructed from a 3-D printer. That's a pretty impressive breakthrough, although questions of long-term durability and sustainability of this initiative still remain.
Personally, I think it's a pretty significant breakthrough. 3-D printing seems to have sparked a bit of a race to see how compatible this technology is with architecture. Ultimately, the answer seems to be pretty damn compatible after all, and there's a lot of areas where it may even be better, from a design or aesthetic view, than traditional methods. As ArchDaily suggests, 3-D printing may make for a low-cost, simple method to execute Hadid architecture.
Another significant breakthrough could lie in these smart bricks.
Designed by Ronnie Zohar, his focus is
to make it as simple as possible to build using the bricks. "I'd like people in Africa and other places in the world to be able to build with our brick and get a thermally-insulated house using the same money they would have spent on tin."
Both of these technologies, perhaps even acting in unison, strike me a terrific solution to low-cost urban development, and a smart way to get financially strapped regions back on their feet following natural disasters.
On a side note, and from the perspective re-purposing, recycling, and reusing, I'm a bit enamored with the Shipping Container Home movement. Check out this article from Popular Mechanics. Lots of intriguing design work happening with a rather surprising object.