Architects Say Glue May Be the Best Choice to Hold Skyscrapers Together

Posted On Tue, March 15, 2016 By

Posted On Tue, March 15, 2016 By In Architecture, Design, Technology

Designed by architecture firm Snøhetta, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s expansion has the largest composite-based facade in the U.S.

Adhesives and composite materials are joining 3D printing as innovations that may revolutionize the construction industry. According to architect Greg Lynn, using fast-drying glue to connect today’s lighter, stronger and cheaper building materials like carbon fiber, fiberglass and other structural plastics is a more efficient means of construction, reports Dezeen. The combination could mean a new chapter in construction methods, and “lead to entire towers being glued together,” making screws, rivets and bolts obsolete.

SFMoMA, Snohetta, construction materials, composite based building, Apple
Apple claims the carbon fiber roof of their Cupertino Campus 2 building, above, is the world’s largest free-standing carbon-fiber roof.

New Scientist magazine recently published a report by the author of BLDG BLOG, Geoff Manaugh, covering the new generation of construction techniques. One advantage is that the resulting weight reduction could dramatically bring down the cost of skyscraper construction, as well as keep it from swaying in an earthquake. The newer composite materials can be molded and glued into almost any shape and cover huge distances.

Apple claims the carbon fiber roof of their Cupertino Campus 2 building is the world’s largest free-standing carbon-fiber roof. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s expansion has the largest composite-based facade in the U.S., built by architecture firm Snøhetta. According to architect Bill Kreysler, who worked on the exterior panels used in the SFMoMA building, the materials are fundamentally different from those traditionally used.

The building industry is still stuck on traditional methods, for the most part, though. Extra screws, rivets and bolts continue to be used to connect the carbon-fiber building elements, as “glue is not trusted” quite yet. “Many adhesives perform poorly at high temperatures and can also feed flames.” Both architects agree that better regulations covering composite and adhesive-based construction methods are an important next step. New Scientist speculated that money for testing the new materials–which would be costly in both time and money–might come from the oil industry, as petroleum is a component in many plastic-based composites.

[Via Dezeen]

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