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Introduction to ‘structures & architecture: joining forces’

The Journal Architecture, Structures and Construction was launched in 2021 motivated by the need to provide an international platform, hitherto non-existent, for nurturing the synergetic potentials of the disciplines of architecture, building and structural engineering.

Today, the severity of the intertwined nature of the social, economic, and environmental challenges that the world is facing obviously requires that we change our behaviour as well as our consumption patterns rapidly. This makes the quest to expand the synergistic potential of architecture, structure, and construction bearing in mind their commitment and responsibility as drivers of a viable urban development a pressing issue. We need to reduce the environmental impact of construction as such, while simultaneously advancing its positive socio-economic potential to nurture sustainable behaviour and strong communities. Regarding the disciplines of architecture, building and structural engineering, this means that we need to further develop each of our core-competencies in addressing these challenges as we engage interdisciplinary collaboration. Yet, simultaneously equipping ourselves with methods to engage collaboration with disciplines also way outside of our related fields of knowledge.

This special issue of Architecture, Structures and Construction searches the contours of these collaborative efforts, asking how and with whom we must join forces in addressing these challenges. It contains selected papers from the Fifth International Conference on Structures & Architecture (ICSA2022) held at the Department of Architecture, Design, and Media Technology at Aalborg University in Denmark, from 6th to 8th of July, 2022. From the over 400 abstracts initially reviewed by the ICSA2022 International Scientific Committee, approximately 50 authors were invited to submit their paper to this special issue. Following the journal’s peer-review process, the 12 papers within this volume are the first group of papers finally accepted for publication in the journal after having successfully completed this process.

Based on significant changes in how art is perceived due to recent neuroaesthetics research, the first paper sheds new light on the aesthetic experiences inherent in the built environment, providing a body-informed perspective on structural art and redefining the effect of structures on architectural space and aesthetics. The second paper proposes practical ways in which the findings of 4E cognition – which holds that cognition is embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended – can be integrated in educational settings. The third paper takes the discussion on daylight conditions in housing back to a broader understanding of daylight and reintroduce a holistic approach to designing with daylight.

The fourth paper explores the versatility of cast glass as a building material and its architectural potential has been shown in a sculptural glass structure pavilion in Greenland, highlighting the practical challenges linked to the assembly of adhesively-bonded glass bricks and providing a simple and fast construction that spares the need for specialized craftsmanship and sophisticated equipment, being able to withstand the polar winter temperatures. The fifth paper reveals the robotic zip-bending technique, using kerfing patterns applied to two layers of planar wood elements, which achieves zipped composites with precomputed bending and twisting behaviour of custom curved wood elements, overcoming geometrical limitations and automating freeform wood construction without the need for highly specialized craftsmanship.

The sixth paper makes observations specifically on the collaborative design process between the architect and the engineer, in the specific context of a design competition, showing how progressive insight, conflict, and mutual understanding are key during the design process. The seventh paper presents a theoretical framework for the implementation of artificial intelligence in architectural and structural design processes, simulating certain aspects of human cognition which are integrated into CAD software to support conceptual design. The eighth paper explores several types of structure-based design generators, illustrating their potential in architectural design and providing a frame of reference for students to develop creative design skills.

The ninth paper proposes a method for quantifying the complexity of spatial truss designs by the variation in nodal force demands. The tenth paper reports on numerical and experimental methods for the use of post-tensioning with brittle ceramic extrusions, proposing a novel construction approach, including new joint typologies, and demonstrating the viability of ceramics as a primary structural material in a bending-active context through two pavilion-scale prototypes. The eleventh paper explores transformable building structures in architectural engineering education, by discussing related influencing modes and preliminary design results of an integrated interdisciplinary approach driven by aspects of modularity, flexibility, transportability, deployability, adaptivity, and interactivity, as well as their implications for a framework of related research.The twelfth paper investigates what can be achieved by an increased architectural awareness of the spatial potential of structural form, focusing on the relationship between structure and space by application of structural types to multistory buildings.

We hope that this special issue will serve to demonstrate the potential of Architecture, Structures and Construction as an international platform for nurturing the synergetic potentials of the disciplines of architecture, building, and structural engineering, and as an invitation to join forces in developing it further.

Marie Frier Hvejsel (Guest Editor)

Paulo J. S. Cruz and João Paulo C. Rodrigues (Editors in Chief)

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Correspondence to Marie Frier Hvejsel.

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Hvejsel, M.F. Introduction to ‘structures & architecture: joining forces’. Archit. Struct. Constr. 2, 1–2 (2022).

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