A Collaborative Approach to Architectural and Societal Issues in Nanotechnology


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How will nanotechnology affect the way we design, make, and inhabit buildings? In the NanoSTUDIO, interdisciplinary groups of students from Ball State University’s Department of Architecture and the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Interprofessional Projects Program explored nanotechnology’s potential impact on the built environment, as well its social, ethical and environmental consequences. Teams of students designed buildings using nanomaterials including carbon nanotubes, quantum dot displays, and nanosensors to create new kinds of environments not limited by the constraints of traditional materials. The results suggest that these radical materials may fundamentally alter the relationship between building, users, and environment. Teams integrated a detailed examination of the social, ethical and environmental side-effects of nanotechnology’s architectural applications into their investigation. Their results proved to be a proactive contribution to the social discussion on this rapidly developing technology. The projects include detailed descriptions of nanomaterials, their architectural applications in the design of a residence, and architectural renderings and animations, as well as discussion of the specific technical, societal and environmental concerns they raise. They are now available online to stimulate discussion on nanotechnology and its social and environmental consequences. The Center for Computational Nanoscience and the Louis Stoke Alliance for Minority Participation, both funded by the National Science Foundation, also contributed to the course.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 1, Technical Proceedings of the 2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, Volume 1
Published: May 20, 2007
Pages: 624 - 625
Industry sector: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing
Topic: Advanced Manufacturing
ISBN: 1-4200-6182-8