Click a presenter to see a video of their presentation, and the accompanying paper and PowerPoint presentation.

Nick Wirth
Founder, Wirth Research
Rob Rowsell
Engineering Manager, Wirth Research

Session Summary

The Innovation: Part I session presented details about some of the year’s most groundbreaking new technology. Starting the session, which was chaired by CTBUH Vice Chairman David Malott, Founder and CEO, AI, was Benjamin Piper, Principal and Design Partner, Killa Design, who gave a fascinating presentation on “The Office of the Future”, contained within the world’s first permanently occupied 3D-printed building. The building is significant for its use of 3D-printing technology, which allowed a dramatic reduction in labor force needed during construction, opening up and identifying cost-saving opportunities for buildings of the very near future. Despite the implications this has for a robotically constructed future, the project was nevertheless a testament to human collaboration. “They say architecture is like classical music, where the score is written, and the orchestra plays; but this project was like jazz – a fully community-built project,” said Piper.

Carlos De Oliveira, President & CEO, CAST CONNEX, described the design and inception of the company’s High-Integrity Blocks, weldable structural steel sections that resist up to 65 ksi and yield isotropic mechanical properties. De Oliveira took the audience through the initial design phases to demonstrate the challenges that the blocks addressed. “When you load a plate orthogonal to its thickness, its likely to form cracks,” said De Oliveira. “An alternative to this is to cast structural steel, which is what our company does, to resist incredible forces and to address incredible geometry – it’s load-direction-agnostic.”

George Argyrou, Director, Hickory Group, delivered an energetic presentation to the audience about Hickory Building Systems, a prefabricated construction method that boosted efficiency significantly for the completion of Melbourne’s La Trobe Tower, a 133-meter-high apartment building that was erected only during nighttime hours to reduce disruption to the neighborhood. The project’s success was signified by the number of complaints it received during the construction process: zero—a first for the city, said Argyrou. The project used modular bathroom pods, precast concrete slabs and pre-attached windows to drive a thorough and speedy completion. These modular elements were designed to scale up or down as unit sizes changed.

The next presentation delved into innovations in wind-load testing for high-rise buildings. “The wind load on a tall building has a fundamental effect on construction costs,” said Nick Wirth, Founder, Wirth Research, who presented alongside Rob Roswell, Engineering Manager, Wirth Research. According to the firm, Hi-Res CFD, the company’s iteration of high-capacity computational fluid dynamics, has the potential to lead the industry to a time when physical wind tunnel testing is not always necessary, which would save time, effort and energy. “A ton of steel takes about 10,000 kilowatt-hours to produce,” Wirth said. “That’s about 4,500 kilograms of carbon dioxide, so if you can improve the aerodynamics of the building such that you can save one percent of the structural mass, that’s a significant cost and carbon dioxide savings. Every bit of effort you can put into aerodynamics will result in these savings, so It is the socially responsible thing to do.”

Session Photo Gallery

The audience at the Innovation Part I session listens to presentations on the most groundbreaking technology transforming the tall building industry.
CTBUH Vice Chairman and Session Chair David Malott, Founder & CEO, AI, gives opening remarks for Innovation Part I.
Benjamin Piper, Principal and Design Partner, Killa Design, tells the audience describes the collaboration process to create the first permanently occupied 3D building as "like jazz -- a fully community-built project."
Carlos de Oliveira, President & CEO, CAST CONNEX, describes the innovative process that resulted in CAST CONNEX High-Integrity Blocks, which resist stress and strain equally from multiple directions.
Attendees enjoy the opening session of Day 2 of the CTBUH 2018 Tall + Urban Innovation Conference.
Nighttime construction and prefabricated building elements made La Trobe Tower one of the least publicly disruptive projects in Melbourne's history, explained George Argyrou, Director, Hickory Group.
Nick Wirth, Founder, Wirth Research, explains why wind-load testing can translate into construction cost savings.
Rob Rowsell, Engineering Manager, Wirth Research, gave a detailed presentation on the potential industry implications of Wirth Research's High-Res CFD for Wind Loading.
From left: Nick Wirth, Founder, Wirth Research; Rob Rowsell, Engineering Manager, Wirth Research; George Argyrou, Director, Hickory Group; Carlos de Oliveira, President & CEO, CAST CONNEX; Benjamin Piper, Principal and Design Partner, Killa Design; CTBUH Vice Chairman and Session Chair, David Malott, Founder & CEO, AI.