In 1977 I broadened my sphere of knowledge by taking a course in Construction Management at a wellknown technical institute, which helped significantly in building the first solar home in Edmonton, Alberta. Although I gave up participation in the Solar Energy Society to concentrate on other things, I maintained a reference manual on alternative energy and construction systems as they evolved over the years since then.
While reading the works of Edgar Cayce I noted that he had stated that future homes would be made out of a combination of glass and metal. We are still looking for the introduction of such a material: it has been hinted at on occasion, but no proof of its existence has been traced as of yet.
Many new applications involving concrete have been either marketed or await production financing, but concrete itself is not a suitable environment for human beings. The 'concrete jungle' is what we have been used to for decades and it has been recognised for quite some time now as an unhealthy environment - but no practical replacement has as yet been put into use.
Older buildings were made of stone or brick. Both these materials make comfortable residences, although in some climates they would require extra heating in winter to maintain a comfortable environment. In regions with a high rainfall, stone tends to grey quickly (as evidences in older cities) and requires waterproofing.
Why do we have the desire to get away from built up areas? We jump in the car and go off into the countryside. The buildings that are often in these concreted areas, including roads and walkways, are not conducive to creating the peaceful atmosphere that one instinctively seeks. The energies of people and all manner of activities and noise leave their marks for a long time, and are trapped there until they finally diminish. What concrete jungles do is to stifle the natural energies from Mother Earth, and disturb what otherwise should be a pleasant and healthy environment. The energies become ugly and discordant and can reach the point of becoming unhealthy in the worst scenario.
In the future each building will be self-sufficient and require no outside supplies and all will be self contained.
There are some systems which can be introduced right now which can contribute to better living, stronger construction or quicker turnround time:
Back in the '50s in Western Germany a concrete foamed block was marketed which allowed houses to be built in a couple of days. The standard construction block was 1 meter long and could easily be picked up by one man. An attempt was made to introduce it into Canada, but it fell foul of the building code, which other manufacturers in collusion with government made sure was not changed. Of course, this was also made partly of concrete so it was not an ideal construction material.
- The laws of structural engineering have been rewritten, according to the Engineering Department of the University of Alberta, the University of BC and a similar institute in Japan, by the concept of the Wolfhook, a component locking device, patented by Wolf Creative Designs (E-mail), which adds immense strength to the post and beam framework of any building.
The new trade name for this advanced technology is "Hook&Build ™ Building Systems"
- One other alternative in building construction would be a return to dowels rather than nails, which likewise binds the components together, although shrinkage might play a factor here and cause looseness over time. This would also alter the emphasis on trades within the construction industry.
These two concepts should result in a building structure unaffected by the most intense weather patterns, and which should remain intact even during seismic disturbances.
- Reusable forms for the construction, in jigsaw fashion, of floors in high-rise buildings (see illustrations below).
One other aspect still not recognised - and it would be very inconvenient to recognise it - is that human beings should NOT live one on top of another, such as happens in high-rise buildings.
There is a lack of understanding of life, deliberately omitted from our education systems (they are directed more to the 'dumbing-down' of future generations rather than instilling them with knowledge), which results in the essentials of living being largely ignored by the construction industry.
A human being constantly emits energy in the form of frequencies, which radiate mainly vertically, both up and down (radially to some extent also - about one meter in general). These emanations can consist of very negative energies - anger, jealousy, outbursts of rage, or even more serious emotions and actions, which then travel vertically and are picked up by everyone in its path. That means that in a 30-story-building, if you live on the 20th floor, you have the energies of 19 families below you and ten families above you to contend with. That may be part of the reason why you cannot sleep well at night.
So these great views from the penthouse come with some real disadvantages.
High-rises allow a much higher population density, but at a real cost to livability.
The townhouse may offer the best solution for downtown living - unless one has noisy neighbours. It is always difficult to know just how much noise the walls will absorb and how much residual, unwelcome noise will come through to you. The only real alternative left is the free-standing dwelling, which could be the ultimate in living, but involves quite a bit more work on the individual's part to maintain to acceptable standards, and eats up 'valuable' urban space.
Living in the country does not present the same problems, but can we all live in the country? In this computer age, it has been suggested that this is quite a possibility. Working from home poses one major social problem: lack of regular interaction with one's fellow workers or peers.
Living in communities has been a subject of discussion for decades. Originally it inferred communal living, which was definitely not for everyone, but that is not the case today. Even a small town or village is essentially a community, although it may lack the bonds that a new, intentional community can achieve.
Illustrations of the use of pre-fabricated forms in high-rise buildings:
AND HOW NOT TO DO IT - In some countries, standards are often non-existent or not complied with. Here is an example from China in 2009: Tumbling tower of China: A newly built 13-storey residential building collapsed in Shanghai yesterday, killing one worker. By Daily Mail Reporter, 28th June 2009
These photographs of the Callisto Tower at Coal Harbour, Vancouver, were taken whilst under construction in 2003, showing the reusable sectional forms used for each complete floor.
Once the concrete had set, the forms were eased out (above) and with the crane dropped into position on the next floor.
In this way two floors of this 35-storey building were completed approximately every two weeks.
The block of high-rise flats toppled onto its side in the muddy construction site raising concerns that building safety standards are being overlooked in favour of fast construction in China's rush to modernise. The building appeared to be almost complete with fitted windows and a finished, tiled facade. Other similar-looking blocks in the same property development were still standing nearby.
All photographs © Copyright 2003 Dr Milson Macleod, unless otherwise indicated
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