Google Research Fellowship

Project Type: Material Research
Project Year: 2019 (Google R+D in the Built Environment Fellowship)
Project Team: Kostas Grigoriadis, Mims Rahin

The research was conducted for the inaugural six-month “Google R+D in the Built Environment Fellowship”, which was organised by Google in collaboration with XL Construction (a California based construction company). The proposed project was selected from a total of 80 applicants coming from 17 countries. The main objective was to rethink the component based make up of the conventional curtain wall panel. The use of mechanically assembled parts in a panel results in very high embodied energy (as the parts are manufactured in various locations globally) and in various failures that typically occur due to material property mismatches and/or eventual material degradation. In effect, the research investigated the possibility of fusing the metal frame and glazing in the panel and manufacturing this in one location as a componentless entity with a fraction of the materials used conventionally. The anticipated benefits of this approach would be radical energy (and potential cost) savings, more precise and effective material use, as well as greater design customisability.