Architect Arielle Blonder has a radical vision for the future of architecture— not about how we design buildings but how we fabricate the materials we build them with. And it begins with smashing the mould.
Fibreglass, a lightweight, resilient and durable composite that resists fire, water, corrosion and insects, is popular in the aerospace, automotive and construction industries. But before components can be made, money and energy must first be sunk into building a mould and shaping the product, which amounts to an estimated forty per cent of the total cost. But what if we could eliminate the one-time need for a mould and all that throwaway material and labour?
Blonder, who holds postdoctoral research positions at the Racah Institute of Physics in Jerusalem and École nationale supérieure d’architecture Paris-Malaquais, believes we can and is working across disciplinary boundaries to prove it. “Composite materials represent the present and future of architecture, or at least they offer a lot of opportunities,” she says. “But they have limitations which, for a large part, lie in the moulding process that turns the raw materials into shape and into service.”