If the thought of skyscrapers held together by glue fills you with trepidation, fear not. In his monthly column for the New Scientist, journalist Geoff Manaugh explores the idea of adhesives replacing bolts and screws in some types of construction. That’s now within the realm of possibility thanks to the rise in the use of composite materials, whose rigid-but-textile-like qualities allow them to be joined in new ways. “What’s more, composite structures are typically made from fewer parts, so assembly is simpler,” Manaugh writes. “But this also makes those structures stronger—sticking a smaller number of parts together along large surface areas beats bolting or nailing them together at specific, vulnerable points.” Additionally, the glue is made out of a composite material that’s lighter than concrete and steel; it has long been used by aircraft makers and, more recently, auto companies. A major obstacle to using the technology in construction is, of course, building codes. Unlike mechanical fasteners, glue can deteriorate over a shorter period of time, AIA Codes and Standards committee chair Brad Gaskins, AIA, told CityLab. Adhesives are also highly susceptible to fire and some are even flammable, as is thought to have been the case for a fire on Dec. 31, 2015, at the 63-story Address Downtown hotel, in Dubai. Ultimately, getting this kind of adhesive into the field requires project teams and clients willing to spend the time and money on testing and for code officials to seriously consider the innovations. “But I think it will happen,” Gaskins told CityLab. “We are a technologically driven society and we come up with better stuff all the time.” [New Scientist + CityLab + The Telegraph]

ICYMI: Does your firm do research? Here’s how to get paid for it this tax season. [ARCHITECT]

The 29-hour shutdown of Washington, D.C.’s Metro system this week draws attention to the funding, management, and perception challenges faced by American public transit infrastructure. [The Economist]

And D.C. wasn’t the only city to experience transit woes this week. San Francisco's BART system faced electrical problems. [Wired]

NASA is using satellite and laser technology to map the world’s forests to learn how public and private groups can better manage them. [Grist]


From French designer Philippe Starck comes Speetbox (above), for wood-stove maker Speeta, in France. This modular system of stackable cubes includes a fireplace, a seating element, and storage for wood, pebbles, and books. [Designboom]

Listen: How New York’s SoHo changed the way developers name the neighborhoods that they carve out of existing urban areas to spur investment and draw newcomers, often leading to gentrification. [99% Invisible]

Officials are cleaning up graffiti throughout the 15th-century, Gothic-style “Duomo,” in Florence, Italy, and are giving visitors a new digital surface on which to leave their mark. [The New York Times]

In his forthcoming book, Construction Matters, architect and Cooper Union instructor Georg Windeck explores how the evolution of building technology has informed craft. [Curbed]