Maria Paz Gutierrez

  • Photo Rendering of Maloca in Leticia’s Market.
  • Plant-waste Screens: Reclaiming Craft & the Democratization of 3D printing Maria Paz Gutierrez Reclaiming Plant-waste Craft explores the potentially transformative role of 3D printing of plant waste materials in flood risk zones critically impacted by climate change. Across the world, various cultures have had a long tradition of constructing with natural materials often of plant and agricultural waste including vegetal fibers used for lightweight enclosures in zones prone to inundation. During the twentieth century, constructions in these locations became incrementally supplanted or juxtaposed with industrial technologies including metals and concrete panels and blocks. Such is the case of the Western Amazon, where the material culture of the palm-weave is fully supplanted with the climatically and environmentally ineffective zinc panels because they are economically more advantageous. However, due to the rising interest in sustainable construction materials, the production of panels made onsite with natural waste is on the rise. Additive manufacturing or what is colloquially known as 3D printing offers a radical turn in this manufacturing and delivery ability. This digital fabrication technology offers the capacity for onsite resourcing combined to unforeseen complex geometries through a wide range of compounds including natural waste. Gutierrez_PhotomontageMaloca_3DprintedMa Photomontage of 3D Printed micro playspace in the communal site of the Urban Indigenous Community of Leticia, by Maria Paz Gutierrez, 2018. Consequently, such material technologies can be the source for panels that can revolutionize the environmental and structural performance of construction in enclaves under extreme climate change and sociocultural pressures. Furthermore, through democratizing the use of 3D printing onsite and local material resources we can provide an unprecedented capacity to reclaim the loss of a plant-based material craft culture. Reclaiming Plant-waste Craft explores precisely this intersection of environmental, structural, and cultural performance with bamboo, cork, and palm leaf waste compounds. The testbed for this exploration is the transnational border of the Western Amazon. This region comprises a robust material culture of plant-based building technology in riverine inundation zones which thrived for centuries. Through extensive fieldwork with the local urban indigenous communities of Leticia in Colombia, I have explored the design, cultural, and environmental boundaries of 3D printing for onsite resourcing of plant waste and a bioplastic Polylactic Acid (PLA). This research comprises the first-ever development of plant waste structural screens and multiscale evaluation of 3d printed construction panels. In this process, the transfer of technologies has been pivotal to enable new means of understanding the research. As such in addition to the current state of the art science and architectural imaging and fabrication analysis including SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) this investigation has challenged boundaries within architecture and scientific methods. This exploration includes incorporating imaging as CT Scanning traditionally used for live matter (e.g., brain imaging) for analyzing the 3D printing probes. Gutierrez_PalmWasteFilament&Powders_Mult Photos of Multiscale probes of 3D printed palm-waste, cork-waste & PLA: from top-left: palm-waste powder; powdering Ball mill; powdered/milled palm-waste; dried palm-waste; recycled PLA pellets; extruder for filament production; 3D printing cork waste & PLA; Dynamic Modulus Analyzer for 3Point bending tests; 3D printed Bamboo & PLA specimens; 3D Printed Bamboo and PLA panels; 3 Point bending panel tests; 3D printed Cork-waste wall assemblage, Maria Paz Gutierrez, 2018. Photo of 3D printed bamboo-waste & PLA screen, Maria Paz Gutierrez, 2017.
  • Photos of 3D printed cork-waste & PLA testing mold and lichen growth

Maria Paz Gutierrez, Associate Professor of Architecture at University of California, Berkeley, is an architect and researcher focused on nature and multifunctional material organizations and 21st century environmental and socioeconomic challenges. In 2008, she founded BIOMS, an interdisciplinary research initiative intersecting architecture and science to pioneer methods for integrating principles of design and biophysics from the nano to the building scale in contexts of risk. Her recent research focuses on exploring the biophysical and cultural implication of functional natural materials and agricultural waste (mainly gels and fibers) through multiscale digital fabrication and material computation. Gutierrez is the recipient of various prestigious research grants from leading scientific organizations, including the U.S. National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the area of sustainable building systems innovation. Her research has been recognized as pioneering multiscale design through groundbreaking material innovations in building systems that self-regulate and optimize multiple objectives, opening new paths for architects in the engineering and scientific communities, including at the National Academy of Engineering (U.S.). Her work has been published in leading scientific journals, including Science and Scientific Reports (Nature); exhibited in leading venues, including the Field Museum, Chicago; and widely covered in the press, including in Science Nation. Gutierrez’s prestigious accolades include being named a semifinalist for the 2014 Buckminster Fuller Award and receiving the 2010 Emerging Frontiers of Research Innovation Award from the U.S. National Science Foundation. She is a Fulbright NEXUS Scholar and served as an appointed Senior Fellow of the Energy Climate Partnership of the Americas by the U.S. Department of State from 2011-2016. Gutierrez has two provisional patents and a forthcoming book, Regeneration Wall (Routledge Press).

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    • Sacramento CA

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