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Last Update: 2018-08-10   Source: Research Headlines
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Innovation chain for next-gen buildings

As the building industry looks for new ways to harness advances in digital technology, talented young designers, architects, engineers and IT specialists are earning accolades for their innovative approach to this fast-moving industrial sector.


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The link between architecture and material design is a recognised driver of growth across the building industry. However, the challenge is to ensure that these disciplines complement each other as they forge ahead thanks to advances in the innovation chain promoted by digital technology.

The EU-funded INNOCHAIN network is training a new generation of researchers from different backgrounds with a strong industry focus in a bid to make real changes in the way planners and designers interpret and build the physical environment.

“InnoChain has a strong inter-sector focus and connects emerging and established research environments in academia and professional practice from architecture, engineering, design software development and fabrication,” notes project leader, Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen of Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole Denmark.

Innovation on show

The network’s diverse partners offer a unique training platform for 15 early-stage researchers exploring three core scientific areas: communication design, simulation for design, and materialisation design. Halfway into the four-year programme, supported by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks, several INNOCHAIN researchers and associates have been awarded prizes and accolades, including the German Design Award 2018 in the architecture category, and ACADIA Autodesk 2017 Award for emerging research.

A well-received Elytra Filament Pavilion at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London involved a young INNOCHAIN-supported researcher. Another project trainee worked on tools that make complex design simulations accessible even to non-experts. Yet more have worked on innovations in material design to control timber bending as well as formulations for cement that work even in sub-freezing temperatures.

INNOCHAIN researchers have also developed new equipment for hybrid robotic fabrication, combining additive and subtractive techniques, which is the core process in building things in layers, also known as 3D printing. Several scientific papers have been published and patents are being considered for parts of this work. Furthermore, a sample dataset from the workflow testing and calibration of a 3D scanning and machining set-up has been published on an open platform.


Project details

  • Project acronym: InnoChain
  • Participants: Denmark (Coordinator), UK, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Spain
  • Project N°: 642877
  • Total costs: € 3 972 691
  • EU contribution: € 3 972 691
  • Duration: September 2015 to August 2019

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