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Glue is the future of architecture. At least that’s how architect Greg Lynn sees it. And he’s not alone. “Mechanical assembly is already waning in many industries,” Lynn says. “An airplane now is glued together. A car now is glued together. Even a lot of appliances are being glued together.” So why not skyscrapers?
We have the materials. These non-metallic composites – such as carbon fibre, fiberglass panels and other structural plastics – are lightweight, often much cheaper than traditional industrial materials and offer physically stronger systems for designers to work with.
In fact, composite materials are more like rigid fabrics. Sticking them together results in building-sized components that can sometimes be set hard in just a few seconds, depending on the adhesives used. Composite materials are already used to make high-performance yachts, wind turbine blades, large passenger aircraft such as Boeing’s carbon fibre Dreamliner and even commercial spacecraft such as SpaceShipOne.
“These are fundamentally different material systems,” says architect Bill Kreysler, who began his career making composite sailboats, but later moved on to designing structures such as family homes and art museums. His firm recently worked on the modular exterior panels for the expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’, which is currently the largest composite-based building facade in the United States. […]