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Transit WITH - Noumena

Transit WITH – Sharing Ideas – is our newborn initiative in which we will talk to innovators, creators and our partners about ways to change the world through fresh ideas, creative approaches and break-through processes.

Our first Transit WITH interview, Live on Instagram, was with Aldo Sollazzo – the founder of Noumena, La Maquina, Pure Tech and Reshape to chat about robotics, data and Sensing Machines.⁠

We spoke to Aldo Sollazzo about the innovation in data, construction and automation and the global challenges. Here are some outtakes.

1.Hello Aldo, thanks for being with us! Tell us a few words about Noumena.

Since 2011, Noumena has developed practice integrating cutting-edge technology to study and analyse spatial behaviours. Founded by me, Efilena Baseta and Chirag Rangholia, Noumena has been involved in multiple initiatives, from research to implementation, taking part in an international network of innovators and technology leaders.

Noumena’s mission is to develop metrics and instruments to empower decision-makers towards more efficient, resilient and sustainable spatial solutions.

2. What global challenges are we facing today? 

The construction industry is a historically complex sector.
In the late 20th century, the increasing difficulty to establish efficient practices became largely evident, indicating the need for a deep reassessment of its own foundation. The slow growth for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) sector can easily be proved by means of comparison. In the United States, for instance, from 1947 to 2010, productivity in construction barely changed at all. Meanwhile, productivity increased by more than a factor of eight in manufacturing and by more than a factor of 16 in agriculture [McKinsey, 2017].

Such a slow evolution is mainly due to several factors, the dependency of the Construction industry on the public-sector demand, the fragmentation of the marketplace and the consequential poor project management and execution, as the lack of skills, inadequate design process and underinvestments in research, development and Innovation. 

As a key aspect involving design and execution, equally relevant are the failure of planning mechanisms and the apparent inability of plans to represent the reality of on-site construction [Kamaruddin et al.,2015 ].

3. Could you share with us your ideas on emerging opportunities and trends in the architecture and technology face today?

In such a framework, a strong impact is foreseen in the next few years for companies introducing advanced automation systems.

Indeed, automation—alongside the global need for new and updated infrastructure and better and more affordable housing—can help shape the direction of the industry. The key will be anticipating and preparing for the shift, in part by developing new skills in the current and future workforce [Chui, 2019].

Behind the word automation there is an essential factor enhancing the effective implementation of emerging solutions: data.

Data-driven practices are, indeed, triggering the introduction of novel applications bringing closer the different stakeholders in the AEC sector, from design to manufacturing to on-site operations. As an undeniable force capable of revamping the stagnant AEC sector of central to redefine existing protocols and probably introduce new ones. From material properties informing design and fabrication protocols, to performance based simulations to on-site construction instructions and monitoring methods, data is stretching its roots in all principal stages of construction, becoming central in redefining existing protocols and probably introduce new ones. From material properties informing design and fabrication protocols, to performance based simulations to on-site construction instructions and monitoring methods, data is stretching its roots in all principal stages of construction.

Thank you for your time! Looking forward for the new developments from Noumena, PURE.TECH, La Maquina and Reshape.

Aldo Sollazzo – founder of Noumena
Noumena and the companies that originated from its DNA have implemented numerous solutions that tackle today’s necessities.
Here are some of the initiatives and projects that define their process.
On Site Robotics

Combining technological advances in robotics (cable robot and drones), natural materials and CAD/CAM software, the aim of the project is to bring automation to the construction site, as well as allowing the production of high-performance buildings and their monitoring in real-time during the construction.

More on this project here.

BCN Mapping

The project - for the Comune of Barcellona - aimed to expose numerically and statistically the impact of urban greenery in the reduction of heating and pollution levels in the built environment, to stimulate an informed and conscious organisation of public street sections.

More on this project here.

Pure Tech

PURE.TECH is an advanced recycled polymer with the property of mineralizing CO2, NOX, and is capable of reducing volatile organic compounds VOCs. In the advanced manufacturing industry, it can be used as an additive in the 3D textile manufacturing process, interior design, construction, to contributes to reduction of the carbon footprint emitted by industries, providing innovative solutions, improving the quality of the air we breathe.

More on this project here.

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