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The BCO IntelliBuild conference

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The office of the future: from algae to bioresponsive PV membranes

Footprint recently attended the BCO’s Intellibuild conference which attracted an audience of around sixty,  including a mix of architects, engineers, interior designers, manufacturers and consultants.

Chaired by Neil Pennell of Land Securities and chairman of the BCO’s technical affairs committee, the seminars focused on intelligent buildings in the office sector.

Neil was joined by a number of presenters including:

Speaking of the future smart city, Peter Rees stated that it must be the ‘place’ that is intelligent and not just the building, and that this comes from factors like accessibility, multiculturality, favourable climate and financial security. 

Both Clare Penny and Volker Buscher highlighted the significance of knowledge and how analysis of data can lead to savings and increase efficiency. Volker emphasised the importance of processes and technology in intelligently handling information and future proofing investments.

Clements-Croome, Building proposal with integrated photovoltaics on a thermoluminiscent membrane

Derek’s proposals for buildings which use a bio-inspired building membrane

Derek Clements Croome stressed that intelligent design must be peoplecentric and that good environmental design is essential for human well-being. He presented a bio-inspired responsive building membrane as a potential vision for buildings of the future. Inspired by the eye structure of a moth, the building membrane has integrated PVs which enhance sunlight absorption and glow in the dark.

Facade pattern on Ravensbourne College- FOA with AKT II

The facade pattern of Ravensbourne College by Foreign Office Architects

Hanif Kara spoke of a future using robotic construction and of the ‘invisible intelligence’ in the interdisciplinary use of bespoke tools, testing, fabrication and assembly of materials, citing three projects:

According to Sean Affleck of Make, ‘intelligent design must do more’, allowing experiments with form, innovative materials, textures and patterns on the facades. Make has been exploring algae facades since 2008. They thrive on carbon dioxide emitted from the building keeping it cool and therefore reducing emissions. This type of facade also reflects the seasons, responding to the life of the algae.

Algae facade-Make architects

The algae facade concept by Make Architects

An important theme emerging from the conference was how the integration of mobile technology in buildings could distance people from their work places. The physical presence of a building plays a critical role in enhancing social interaction. The speakers reflected on how the advent of mobile technology is changing the value of space in the city highlighting a need to retain a sense of belonging as ways of working become increasingly virtual.

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