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I'm a PhD student studying Structural Engineering at the University of Cambridge. My research is about active control of tall buildings.Student
How can we make buildings better? Competition:
Buildings are designed to take much larger loads than they will normally ever see in their lifetime. This results in much more material being used than required. While this relates more to emissions and energy use from the initial construction, if less structural material can be used, this leaves more space for insulation, without the client needing to compromise on floor area.
My idea is to design buildings for the average load they are expected to take (e.g. this could be recorded in a similar use existing building), and then have active members which come into play under 'special cases' when the building needs to take more load (e.g. a party with lots of people).
What do you then do with the freed up space due to using minimal structural material? I suggest using vacuum insulated panels to reduce the energy use of the building in use - these panels have great insulating properties, while being very thin, giving the added advantage of maximising internal floor area, which is always desirable!
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