Plus, Columbia Climate School tracks the rising exposure to deadly urban heat, structures that survived the Great Chicago Fire, and more design-tech news.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), and Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) have officially opened HiLo, a living laboratory that will investigate how “lightweight structures and efficient construction methods can be combined with intelligent and adaptive building systems to reduce both embodied and operational emissions in the construction and building industry,” according to an ETH Zurich press release. Located in Duebendorf, Switzerland, the two-story structure was designed and built using computational design and fabrication techniques. It boasts a doubly curved concrete roof and an innovative, low-concrete “funicular” structural flooring system that is strengthened by rib-like walls inside each flooring panel.
The HiLo building is outfitted with an adaptive solar façade that can be manipulated to control how sunlight enters the structure, maximizing passive cooling opportunities. With HiLo open, researchers will study the project in real-time, tracking how the “construction and operation of buildings can be designed to be as energy- and resource-efficient as possible, while at the same time ensuring an attractive architectural space and a high level of comfort,” according to the same release. [ETH Zurich]
Researchers from the Columbia Climate School in New York reported that global exposure to deadly urban heat has tripled since the 1980s. For their research, the scientists studied more than 13,000 cities around the world, finding that the number of days on which city dwellers are exposed to extreme heat and humidity is increasing—a problem that now impacts almost a quarter of the global population. “This has broad effects,” said Cascade Tuholske, the study’s lead author and a researcher at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. “It increases morbidity and mortality. It impacts people’s ability to work and results in lower economic output. It exacerbates pre-existing health conditions.” [Columbia Climate School]