Fab Lab installations bookend A&M's Earth Day Texas exhibit

Negar Kalantar

Alireza Borhani

Bookending the giant Texas A&M exhibit at the 2017 [Earth Day Texas] (http://earthdaytx.org/) exposition in Dallas were two 20-foot square retractable pavilions designed by Negar Kalantar, assistant professor of architecture, and created by students and faculty at the College of Architecture’s Automated Fabrication and Design Lab.

The two articulating lattice tents of interconnected wooden slats defined the presentation space under which several Texas A&M groups, including the College of Architecture, showcased the university’s myriad contributions to environmental stewardship and sustainable living.

Emphasizing reusable, easily deployable structures and materials, the College of Architecture’s booth featured low-cost interlocking building modules designed and fabricated by students in plastic, wood and concrete using 3-D printing, laser cutters and casting techniques. Adjacent to the booth, students erected a temporary office space constructed from larger interlocking plywood modules, designed and fabricated by architecture lecturer Alireza Borhani and his freshman studio.

“The whole idea is that you can fabricate a structure off-site, easily transport it and erect it where needed, then easily collapse it and store it,” said Kalantar, whose towering, expansive pavilion roofs could collapse to a compact four-by-four foot block. “We wanted to manifest the power of design and how through the design you add value to the material and space.”

Using such modular building material is good for the Earth, because the waste-free pieces are reusable, can be made from sustainable or recycled materials and are adaptable into a variety of forms.

A [video] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcIb8YSIZ90) showing the design and fabrication of Kalantar’s retractable pavilions can be seen on You Tube.

This marked the second year the College of Architecture participated in Earth Day Texas, the world’s largest forum for sharing the latest discoveries, policies, products and corporate practices that are shaping the world and making it greener. Texas A&M University, the largest educational exhibitor at the festival, was joined by a variety of government agencies, other academic institutions, businesses, environmental organizations and distinguished speakers.

Also at this year’s Earth Day expo, the Texas A&M Department of Construction Science exhibited a student-designed and built tiny home to be donated to a Dallas-Fort Worth veteran’s group. During the event, a U.S. Department of Energy representative toured the home and interviewed its future resident in a live [Facebook video] (https://www.facebook.com/eeregov/videos/10158419907890062/?autoplay_reason=all_page_organic_allowed&video_container_type=4&video_creator_product_type=0&app_id=6628568379&live_video_guests=0) available online.

A [story with photos] (http://one.arch.tamu.edu/news/2016/11/11/student-designed-tiny-home-homeless/) of this tiny home and another built last fall by construction science students can be found in the College of Architecture’s online [arch|one] (http://one.arch.tamu.edu/) newsletter.

Sarah Wilson

posted May 2, 2017