"...When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there..."
(David L. Weatherford - "Slow Dance")

Cutting-edge in civil engineering

Growing Bricks, Not Another Brick in the Wall
Imagine a world where bricks are grown instead of fired: this is the world architect-turn-scientist Ginger Krieg Dosier lives every day. Ginger strives to create an alternate building block that will craft a more sustainable future for the construction industry and in turn help to lower the world's ecological footprint.

LUCEM lichtbeton
Designed by German concrete manufacturer LUCEM, the facade features light transmitting concrete panels in a variety of vibrant hews. The project, which is on display in Aachen, Germany, features 136 rectangular concrete panels that contain optical fibers. Each panel is fitting with color-changing technology, with the colors becoming brighter approximately one hour before sunset. The LED-panels are controlled using an internet-based DMX technology system, with each panel containing 3 percent optical fibres. The LED-infused panels can be controlled independently, via the internet or a mobile device, and interactive elements can be displayed on the screen. It literally means any internal or external wall could be transformed into a display piece, creating opportunities for advertising and communication without adding flat screen televisions or sky-blocking billboards.

Solar roads - the road of the future
Solar Roadways and its founders have made a big splash on the Web(at Tedx, and YouTube) introducing their original work. In addition to solar cells in the glass sandwich they are installing led lights that can be programmed to spell out messages and to respond to the environment, signaling that cars should stop for pedestrians, for example.

Sound-absorbing tower designed to produce clean energy
Soundscraper is a concept structure that absorbs sound vibrations and turns them into clean energy. The tower, designed to be built near major highways and railroad junctions, features a double-skin facade. The outer layer of "sound-sucking material" contains thousands of electro-active cilia equipped with Parametric Frequency Increased Generators, energy harvesters that convert noise vibrations to kinetic energy. Transducer cells convert that energy into electricity.

The Chinese sustainable building company, Broad Group, has yet attempted another impossible feat, building a 30-story tall hotel prototype in 360 hours, after building a 15-story building in a week earlier in 2011. Prefabricated modular buildings has many advantages over conventional buildings. Higher precision in fabrication (+/- 0.2mm). More coordinated on-site construction management. Shorter construction time span. Lower construction waste. Also many other health and energy features are included in Broad Sustainable Buildings. The building was built over last Christmas time and finished before New Years Eve of 2012.

Nuclear fusion reactors present complex construction challenges
To be able to commercialize nuclear fusion-based power in the future, organizations and countries building the facilities for fusion reactors will be faced with numerous and complex construction challenges. Building containment structures for inertial containment fusion requires facilities to withstand high pressures and temperatures that can reach more than 150 million degrees Fahrenheit. Now, a $15 billion nuclear fusion reactor is being built in France. If successful, it will "produce 500 megawatts of output for every 50 megawatts of input."

IsoTruss® grid structures offer a lightweight and efficient alternative to traditional wood, steel, aluminum and composite structures. The highly symmetric and redundant nature of IsoTruss structures provides an attractive, efficient, and damage tolerant design. The open grid enables a variety of standard and innovative connections. This unique form of advanced composite grid structure is revolutionizing structures as they exist today, resulting in lighter, more architecturally appealing, and more environmentally friendly structures.
Study aims to build more concrete buildings inquake-prone areas
Large-scale tests investigating the use of reinforced-concrete link beams with embedded structural steel sections have had good results and could lead to easier construction of concrete buildings in seismic zones. Minimal damage to the embedded portion's concrete surface was seen. More tests are planned by the UCLA researchers to study beam anchorage depth to the shear walls to further enhance constructibility. After that, proposals "will follow for changes to the 2017 edition of the American Concrete Institute's (ACI) seismic standard and to general wall provisions, also for wind resistance." 
A team of engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University were inspired by a collapsible, spherical toy to develop the "buckliball", a hollow, rubber spherical structure that incorporates buckling and features no moving parts. “In civil engineering, buckling is commonly associated with failure that must be avoided," researcher Pedro Reis said. The buckliball, which can be used to develop large buildings with collapsible walls or roofs, "may also be used as a building block for creating new materials with unusual properties, capable of dramatic contraction in all directions,” said Katia Bertoldi of Harvard University.

Polyurethane foams could be cost-effective solution for FRP bridges
Researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology are testing fiber-reinforced, polyurethane foams as a replacement for costly honeycomb construction currently used to make fiber-reinforced polymer bridge deck panels. “The foam and FRP panels offer the same cost as concrete but could live forever”, said Jeffery Volz, an assistant professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at the university. “It should last until we have flying cars and don’t need bridges anymore.” 

Magdeburg Water Bridge, the Longest Navigable Aqueduct in the World

Perfect buildings: the maths of modern architecture

Building Science Corporation
Parking car in Budapest
Mechanical concrete

August 4, 2011 
“This is a strong, cost-effective, environmentally sensitive solution for our customer,” said Tom Laurita, president of Laurita Inc. “We now have several other projects completed or under way using Mechanical Concrete supporting the coal industry.”