3D-printed neighbourhoods ‘can revamp water springs’

WATER springs in Bahrain could be refurbished by creating an eco-friendly residential 3D-printed neighbourhood that use advanced technologies.

The design proposal includes water channels embedded in 3D-printed earth structures and the use of condensation methods to plant green cover on the ground surface.

It also includes an expandable housing unit made of clay using a hierarchical pyramid structure and a stabilised clay mixture.

The project ‘Nomow’, which won the Colette partial scholarship granted by the Institute of Advanced Architecture in Spain in 2021, is the brainchild of Bahraini interior architect, researcher and Ahlia University academic Zainab Abdulmohsin.

She is also the founder of Rimal Earthen Architecture Studio which has conducted field research in Marrakesh and Ahmedabad on vernacular architecture and colonial influence as well as local research on water springs and architectural solution.

“There are great efforts for architectural protection in Bahrain by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (Baca), however, efforts can be more inclusive and extend beyond physical sustainability to social, environmental, economic and cultural sustainability,” she told the GDN.

“Most of the water spring locations are either reclaimed or converted into waterparks.

“However, these parks use manufactured materials that harm the water table using artificial landscape, which is hard to maintain and lacks human interaction.

“This presents a great opportunity for improvements using a naturally embedded landscape that is based on the remaining existing features at these sites and providing ownership from the contextual urban community.”

According to Ms Abdulmohsin, Nomow aims to refurbish the water spring areas in Bahrain by creating an eco-friendly residential 3D-printed neighbourhood that utilises the site’s earthen material and its remaining water table.

The design reduces heat conductivity and uses air humidity to catalyse agricultural activities and the plan includes the central public space featuring the water spring and the surrounding residential dwellings.

She added that concrete amounts for seven per cent of the world’s CO2 emissions from manufacturing its main component – cement.

“Earthen architecture is a sustainable construction method as earth is a ubiquitous flexible material that, when stabilised, replaces concrete,” added Ms Abdulmohsin.

“Design configurations and implementation methods minimise site impacts and pressures while promoting environmental, agricultural and social heritage revitalisation.

“A prototype neighbourhood is a 3D-print on a low excavated platform surrounding a water source location with surplus sand used to manufacture building materials.

“Since the soil in Bahrain is mostly earthy and low in clay 5-10 per cent lime is added to enhance the mix, additionally a water content of 18-24pc ensures printability.

“A living unit starts out as one level growing vertically in a pyramid order and the foundation is supported by excavated soil on site, providing added strength and stability and allowing for vertical expansion.”

She added that a lowered neighbourhood platform acts as ‘a cool air pool at night’, channelling air to the surrounding units through patterned air ducts while the structure includes channels that carry water and moisture from the air and water table to the structural component.

According to her research, 3D-printing architecture reduces material consumption, on-site construction and injuries, construction errors and time as well as reduces construction waste.

She also added that it increases environmental friendliness and design flexibility and is applicable in complex designs.


Source: https://www.gdnonline.com/Details/1265540/3D-printed-neighbourhoods-%E2%80%98can-revamp-water-springs%E2%80%99


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