When architecture and composites manufacturing meet

Architect Greg Lynn not only knows composites, but manufactures with them as well. Might he be providing a glimpse of what's to come as architects look to use advanced materials?


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Greg Lynn, owner of architecture firm Greg Lynn Form (Venice, Calif., USA) was the featured speaker on May 15 at ACMA's Corrosion, Mining and Infrastructure conference in Denver, Colo., USA. 

His presentation, a tour de force of innovative design and structure mixed with materials of all types — including composites and plastics — provided a glimmer of what can be and what is yet to come for the world's future architects. Lynn might be atypical in that his office/shop features a CNC machine and vacuum bag infusing equipment for in-house manufacture of composite structures of glass and carbon fiber. He understands the fundamental mechanics of composites design and manufacture and integrates composites frequently into his designs — everything from buildings and homes to furniture and displays (see photo of carbon fiber museum display). 

The question is whether Lynn represents the exception or the rule in the use of advanced materials in architecture and design. The panel of architects and materials experts who wound up the first day of the conference thought that architecture schools, generally speaking, don't have curricula designed to helpd students understand the applicaiton of advanced materials like composites. If this is true, then it will fall only to the most curious and courageous architects — like Lynn — to learn about, understand and use composites.

The audience at the conference, however, did feature a healthy share of fresh-faced college students, so perhaps the curiosity and courage required is even now in development.

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