PROTOTYPICAL ITERATIONS IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT

ACCELERATOR FUND 

Project period: May to November 2015 

This community previously received Initiator Funding for the project: Flexible Formwork

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: John Orr 
University of Bristol: Wendel Sebastian 
Cardiff University: Iulia Mihai 
University of Exeter: Prakash Kripakaran 

Project overview

This community has the long-term vision to change the way that all structures are designed and operated within the built environment. This is crucial if we are to achieve global sustainability in the face of a growing population and increasing urbanisation. 

Background 

All buildings use materials and energy to perform their functions. A decarbonised built environment will be founded on several challenges, for example: minimum use of materials; renewable energy sources; recyclability. Whilst these are interlinked challenges, research to date has typically considered them isolation. By 2050 all new structures will be prototypical iterations; harnessing big data to be self-resilient while minimising whole life environmental, economic, and social costs. Every new structure will be designed and measured in terms of whole life cost – consuming minimal energy during construction and operation. 

This Accelerator project was focused into three themes which were identified through an Initiator project: 

 1) Structural Skins  

2) Scale and Data 

3) Performance Based Design 

Project summary 

Accelerator funding was used for facilitated workshops and undertaking proof of concept technology trials. The workshops and regular meetings allowed the community to grow and strengthen their collaborations, including engagement with industrial colleagues, and to bring together a large funding proposal incorporating all three themes as well as smaller supplementary research proposals. Proof of concept trials were started using a PDRA that developed technologies which supported the large grant: work on these continued beyond the project lifespan. While the initial grant was unsuccessful, the community applied for a second EPSRC grant which was successful.