courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

Working with Block Research Group at ETH Zurich, Incremental3D, and Holcim, Zaha Hadid Architects' computation and design group has developed the world's first 3D-printed concrete arched bridge. Created using computational design, engineering, and robotic manufacturing, Striatus is self-supporting thanks to its geometry, which results in a structure that is held in compression. Cognizant of its potential environmental impact, the design team ensured that the bridge exemplifies circular design: Not only can Striatus be repurposed, but the bridge is also produced with minimal material waste. Concrete is printed precisely where needed, the entire structure is dry-assembled without binders, and it does not require any additional support or reinforcement.

Striatus will go on display at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale, where its creators hope that it "opens up a world of possibilities with concrete in a design that is structurally informed, fabrication-aware, and ecologically responsible," according to ZHA's press release. [Striatus Bridge]

Researchers from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) have published a study forecasting cooling demands as the average global temperature rises in the coming years. The report predicts the installation of air-conditioning units that increase hand in hand with a "higher energy demand for cooling buildings," according to an EMPA press release. Focusing on local changes, the researchers analyzed potential changes in the energy demands of their own building, projecting a "significant increase" in its demand for cooling energy, a demand they then extrapolated to residential units around the country. "Based on these findings, ... these developments must be taken into account when constructing new buildings and that the possibilities of passive cooling must be fully exploited." [EMPA]

LEGO Everyone is Awesome set
courtesy LEGO LEGO Everyone is Awesome set

On June 1, LEGO will celebrate the start of Pride Month with a 346-piece buildable model aimed at honoring diversity and the LGBTQIA+ community. Inspired by the rainbow flag, the Everyone is Awesome set includes 11 monochrome figurines, each with a unique hairstyle and color. “I wanted to create a model that symbolizes inclusivity and celebrates everyone, no matter how they identify or who they love," said set designer and LEGO vice president of design Matthew Ashton in a press release. Designed to fit on shelves and windowsills when built, the set will be available for $35. [LEGO]

Researchers from Washington State University, in Pullman, Wash., are converting plastics into jet fuel, hoping to develop a cost-effective method of reusing the fossil fuel–derived material. The WSU team transformed the plastic with a catalyst made from the metal ruthenium and carbon, converting "about 90% of the plastic to jet fuel components or other hydrocarbon products within an hour at a temperature of 220 degrees Celsius (428 degrees Fahrenheit), which is more efficient and lower than temperatures that would be typically used," according to a WSU press release. [WSU]

Yen Strandqvist, courtesy Chalmers University of Technology

Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenberg, Sweden, have created the concept for the world's first rechargeable, cement-based battery. The prototype comprises a cement base mixed with conductivity-increasing carbon fibers and embedded with an iron-and-nickel–coated carbon fiber mesh. Although it currently has a lower energy density than most commercial batteries, the battery technology offers a range of potential applications. In addition to forming concrete buildings that themselves store energy, the batteries could "also be coupled with solar cell panels ... to provide electricity and become the energy source for monitoring systems in highways or bridges, where sensors operated by a concrete battery could detect cracking or corrosion," says building technology researcher Emma Zhang in a university press release. "Considering that any concrete surface could have a layer of this electrode embedded, we are talking about enormous volumes of functional concrete." [Chalmers]

The Vine Collection, Yves Béhar for Forust
courtesy Forust The Vine Collection, Yves Béhar for Forust

Desktop Metal, a Boston-based additive manufacturing developer, has announced the launch of Forust, which 3D prints end-use wood parts to create "an end-to-end sustainable manufacturing solution," according to a company press release. Developed by Andrew Jeffery, Virginia San Fratello, and Ronald Rael, Forust combines the technology from binder-jet additive manufacturing with wood waste such as lignin or sawdust, producing a lightweight material that can be 3D printed into home products, furniture, and architectural accents. The process even includes a "digital grain," meaning that Forust software can produce a 3D-printed wood that mimics the natural grain of oak, ash, or walnut, according to the same release. [Forust]

Autodesk University 2021 will be free again this year. The software developer expects to release more details in the coming weeks, but the popular annual event will take place over two weeks in October: Oct. 5–7 for the Americas; Oct. 6–8 for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India; and Oct. 13–14 for Asia-Pacific and Japan. [Autodesk University]

Courtesy KieranTimberlake

Philadelphia-based KieranTimberlake has transferred its life cycle assessment app Tally, a 2016 award winner in ARCHITECT's annual R+D Awards, to the Seattle-based open-access data provider Building Transparency. Developed in-house by KT Innovations in a partnership with Autodesk Sustainability Solutions and Thinkstep (now Sphera), Tally "is considered a game-changer for those in the high-carbon-output architecture, engineering, and construction industries," according to a press release from KieranTimberlake and Building Transparency. [ARCHITECT]

Have you developed an innovative product, project, or technology? The deadline to submit to ARCHITECT's 15th Annual R+D Awards is approaching quickly. Entries are open through May 26. [ARCHITECT]