The UAE is the 5th largest importer of construction sand in the world, in spite of the fact that it is 80% desert. Construction sand is extracted from mines, riverbeds, or offshore, causing significant environmental damage. Through research and testing, it is being shown that desert sand, mixed with by-products of industrial processes, can provide a strong alternative to imported sand: initially for use in small-scale projects, and with further testing potentially be applied to larger-scale buildings. As well as being extremely beneficial to the architecture and construction industry, this material could result in a significant reduction in global carbon footprint.
Alyina Ahmed, Maximo Tettamanzi, Maria Luiza and Elliot Ouchterlony, are a multidisciplinary team of architects and industrial designers working to create a sustainable alternative to concrete. The Master of Architecture in Emergent Technologies and Design at the Architectural Association brought them together and they look forward to researching and improving their material to be used at multiple scales of architecture and design. their primary research looks at substituting riverbed sand with desert sand and concrete with similar cementitious materials to create a more sustainable concrete composite. more