The construction industry has evolved throughout time, but always by way of builders. What happens when people are no longer part of building and construction? This is the question asked by British multinational infrastructure company Balfour Beatty, and they’ve published their answer in the 2050 Innovation Paper. The industry report has become a reference point to those looking at the evolution of buildings and design.
It may seem like a sci-fi future, but the future is already underway. Advances in construction are happening in months rather than after years of development, with technologies helping to coordinate repetitive and laborious tasks through systems like Building Information Modelling (BIM), drone construction, VR/AR, 3D printing and wearable technology. At the same time, we continue to find better ways to promote health, safety and productivity on the construction site. A study by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI) estimates that by 2057 robots could replace or displace 2.7 million jobs in construction. Global consulting firm Roland Berger found that less than 6% of construction companies make full use of digital planning tools, and 93% of construction industry professionals agree that digitization will affect every process. But what does this mean for design?
New modes of construction will change practice. They will also bring new answers to skill shortages, customer delivery, profitability and sustainability. Architects will need to place these advances and changes in context and answer for themselves where they derive meaning as the pace of digital change is only set to increase. As designers grapple with these questions, we’ve brought together a range of articles looking at the future of human-free construction on ArchDaily.
3D printing itself is no longer a new technology, but that hasn’t stopped researchers and innovators around the world from coming up with new applications and opportunities. Some experiments with new materials have been driven by sustainability concerns and others are simply the result of imagination and creativity. Others have chosen to invest their time utilizing more traditional materials in new ways. Materials, however, are just the beginning. Researchers have developed new processes that allow the creation of objects that were previously impossible to print and, on a larger scale, new building typologies are being tested – including a Mars habitat!
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.