Construction: New Uses of Traditional Materials -Technology Combined with Ancient Knowledge

Innovation doesn’t always mean creating new technological materials in the laboratory through controlled and complex processes. Rather, innovation can come from using something common in a smarter way, or creating simple solutions that solve complicated problems. In the case of architecture, this type of innovation may take form in the resignification of materials for sustainable and aesthetic use, such as the beautiful mud walls in Ghana, or the use of waste to create artistic objects and various coatings. It can also mean rethinking inventive construction details to use a material like bricks.

Courtesy of Hive Earth
Courtesy of Hive EarthIn the case of traditional building materials, we showed this year various possibilities for improvements in building efficiency, sustainability, and even aesthetics. With wood, for example, the many different panel options have allowed more universal usage of this eco-friendly material in uses ranging from furniture to floors. Engineered woods, such as Cross Laminated Timber and Glued Laminated Wood, among others, have revolutionized the industry, paving the way for the construction of wooden skyscrapers in the near future.
Courtesy of Kast
Courtesy of KastConcrete, another traditional construction material that has been used in primitive forms since Roman times, remains highly appreciated by architects, whether natural or with the addition of pigments. Still, many researchers around the world continue to look for ways to make it lighter and sturdier for use on structures and even interior components. Innovations such as autoclaved cellular concrete or fiber reinforced concrete garnered prominence among our articles, highlighting new possibilities for the material. At the same time, simple solutions to common problems such as protecting slabs from water and vegetation have shown that knowledge is created when we combine traditional knowledge, experimentation, and errors with high-tech research.

Residência Montagnola / Attilio Panzeri & Partners.. Image © Giorgio Marafioti
Residência Montagnola / Attilio Panzeri & Partners.. Image © Giorgio MarafiotiOther reklated articles: 

This article was first published in Arch Daily and is republished with permission.

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Green Building Africa promotes the need for net carbon zero buildings and cities in Africa. We are fiercely independent and encourage outlying thinkers to contribute to the #netcarbonzero movement. Climate change is upon us and now is the time to react in a more diverse and broader approach to sustainability in the built environment. We challenge architects, property developers, urban planners, renewable energy professionals and green building specialists. We also challenge the funding houses and regulators and the role they play in facilitating investment into green projects. Lastly, we explore and investigate new technology and real-time data to speed up the journey in realising a net carbon zero environment for our children.

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