Jim Kollaer's blog

It is the middle of summer and we thought that you deserved a break from nailing, hanging, drilling, welding and all of those tasks you do in your day jobs. We noticed in a recent Fast Company post by Daniel Terdiman that Autodesk has an Applied Research Lab, and the team is playing with three industrial robots to look at the future uses of Autodesk products with industrial robots.

The research team learned, much to their delight, that Bot & Dolly, the San Francisco based tech firm behind the dynamic projections in the film Gravity, were using Autodesk products for these projections.

Two things fascinate me. First, Autodesk is pushing the robotics software in their lab, and second, Bot & Dolly are doing amazing things. Oh and yes, Google bought Bot & Dolly to add to their portfolio of companies and to expand their reach.    Read more » about Bot & Dolly and Autodesk [VIDEO]

The transit hub at the World Trade Center site is still under construction, and one major piece underway is the Oculus (a circular or oval window usually found at the top of a dome) that covers the transit station. In this case, the oculus is not at the top of the dome and is much larger than you might find in the landmark buildings in Europe.

According to Jessica Dailey at Curbed.com, this Oculus has been named the “bird in flight” by its designer Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava’s firm is best known for his sculptures and landmark bridge designs that reflect his design thinking and philosophy. The General contractor for the structure is Skanska, USA.

   Read more » about World Trade Center “Oculus” Construction

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) named the top four global award winners for new tall buildings as part of its annual awards program. The 123 submissions, up 40% from last year, were judged by an independent board of jurors, and they selected four to honor this year. The submissions are required to be new buildings and are judged for their sustainability, their contribution to the science and design of tall buildings and their livability.

The jury selected one honoree from each of the four areas of the globe, The Americas, Auastralasia, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa.

You can see the awardees and the finalists from each of the geographical areas on the CTBUH website here.    Read more » about The Four Best Tall Buildings of 2015

MX3D, a design and engineering firm located in Amsterdam, is working on new and innovative ways to use robotic 3D printers to autonomously print with exotic materials. A unique feature of their process is that the robots are multi-axis and can build some projects without additional supporting structures. They build their own support as part of the construction process.

MX3D has proposed to build a Joris Laarman-designed pedestrian bridge from molten steel and resins that will cross one of the many canals in Amsterdam as a way to showcase their abilities. DeZeen, a design, architecture and interiors website, says that the bridge will be printed by two multi-axis directional printing robots usually used in auto manufacturing to autonomously print the bridge by starting on opposite sides of the canal and building towards each other until the bridge is complete.   Read more » about MX3D will 3D Print a Bridge From Here To There

Driving down the interstate from Houston to San Antonio recently, I passed a semi–trailer truck carrying a blade for a wind turbine. This isn’t your grandfather’s windmill out in West Texas, it is a blade for one of the new wind turbines being erected to generate power, usually on a wind farm as part of the sustainability movement around the world. This one was gigantic.

The blade was so large that I wondered out loud about how long it would take to do a build like that. Maybe you have wondered the same thing. Well, wonder no more. Here is a video that shows the complete process from foundation to the tip of the blades, a three week process reduced to a few minutes.   Read more » about How to Build a Wind Turbine [VIDEO]

The president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, resigned today after being re-elected in the midst of an unprecedented scandal over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Scandal is not new to the global scene, nor is the seedy underbelly of the construction industry in the countries where major facilities are needed to host the games. In this case, there are five stadiums being built for Qatar 2022, but recently, amid the scandal, the underbelly of global construction has once again been exposed in an investigative report by Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

In a recent article by ABC, the kafala system of forced labor, “kin to slave labor” even though the world’s richest per capita country, “is spending $260 billion building the stadiums, public transport systems, freeways, hotels and apartments to stage the tournament.”    Read more » about Scandal and Slum Conditions in Qatar for 2022 Games

The Broad Sustainable Buildings division of the BROAD Company, a Chinese building company, has just erected a 57-story skyscraper in Changsa called “Mini Sky City” in 19 days, according to the NY Daily News. “The impressive high-rise has 19 atriums, office space for 4,000 people and 800 apartments. It also claims to be earthquake-resistant.”

This building is but one in a series of taller and taller buildings that the company plans will ultimately include erecting a 202-story high rise multiuse residential tower named Sky City in 3-4 months, a schedule that amazes many and puzzles others.    Read more » about Chinese Building at Warp Speed [VIDEO]

Take a 2,000 foot high tower built for housing, hotels, office space, restaurants, retail shops, twist it 120 degrees clockwise, build it in sections, add eight 12-story high open non-leasable vertical gardens or mini parks, hang a second skin to enclose the open mini parks, make it able to accommodate 120-130 mile-per-hour winds from the typhoons, and what do you have? A super skyscraper.

The Shanghai Tower is currently the second tallest building in the world. Shanghai is a city with a population of over 24 million, or three times the population of New York City. Shanghai Tower was designed by Gensler, built by Shanghai Construction Group, and is owned by the Chinese government. It is quite a feat to behold. In an era of engineering and architectural feats never before possible, this one raises the bar again. 

PBS is doing a series on the Super Skyscrapers, and this is one of the series that will hold your attention whether you are an engineer, architect, contractor or a person who used to play with Lincoln Logs or Lego blocks as a kid.

   Read more » about Twister Makes Tower [VIDEO]

BIM/IPD today. What tomorrow? Listen to how the designers, contractors and technologists see the future of BIM in the next ten years based on their work.

This panel discussion, from a recent BuiltWorlds event, features David Ivey of HOK, Josh Farkas, CEO of Cubicle Ninjas, Nancy Clark-Brown of Assemble Systems, and Steve Crowley, Construction Manager of Graycor Construction Company.

The panel discussion is revealing of the current state of BIM in the construction industry, both commercial and industrial.    Read more » about BIM Future [VIDEO]

We were amazed when we heard that Microsoft had given its Sketch Up program to Trimble. Now Construction Enquirer lets us in on one of the reasons that might have happened.

In a recent article, they give us a glance and a couple of videos of how Microsoft and Trimble might be bringing the Virtual Reality technology to construction sites to give the team a VR view of how the space should look while it is still under construction.

It will make “walk-throughs,” inspections, and day-to-day construction interesting. The technology and the new craft workers who are used to playing in the VR world will have a ball and might even join the construction industry to be able to make use of their skills.   Read more » about Keep an Eye on Trimble


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