Julio Diarte is an architect, researcher, and educator. He earned his Ph.D. in Architecture from Penn State University in 2021 and currently works as a Visiting Scholar in Emerging Technologies and Design at UNC Charlotte in the David R. Ravin School of Architecture.
His research intersects the areas of design for climate change, craft and digital fabrication, and material processes. During his Ph.D., Diarte developed methods and tools to reuse waste cardboard as a construction material for low-cost and sustainable architecture. In his teaching, he focuses on developing critical-making skills by engaging students in material-based projects combining low and high-tech tools to design and prototype full-scale components.
Diarte received the 2020 Engineering for Change (E4C) Research Fellowship in Habitat and 2022 E4C Expert Fellowship, 2019-20 and 2022 Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture Sustainability Faculty Teaching Fellow, and the 2019 John Row Sustainability Champion Award.
His research has been published in peer-reviewed conference proceedings and journals about architecture, computational design, and circular economy, including ARCC, CAADRIA, and CAD Futures. His work "Tapping into Urban Recycling for Low-cost/No-cost Housing Solutions: Using Waste Cardboard to Build & Sustain the Resilient City" has been showcased at the 2021 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism.
EXPLORE HIS RECENT WORK
Low-cost and reusable cardboard formwork system for precast building elements:
Precast concrete building components are often produced using expensive and hard to recycle metal or wood molds. Consequently, fabrication feasibility of precast components depends on industrial mass production becoming inaccessible to small builders or very expensive for unique designs. The goal of the project is to develop durable molds made of waste or brand-new cardboard products to lower the cost and increase recyclability.
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Cardboard Architecture: Eight Decades of Exploration in Academic Research and Professional Practice 1940-2019:
Explorations in the use of cardboard products in architecture have existed since the 1940s. However, it was not until the early 1990s, when Shigeru Ban's work emerged when cardboard products became a potential material for architecture. Since then, cardboard use in architecture has been continuously growing worldwide, and Ban's cardboard buildings have now achieved important recognition. This article reviews cardboard architecture works in academic research and professional architectural practice in the last eight decades to lay a foundation for designers to get ahead in cardboard for architecture.
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Kinetic Shading System: Design and Fabrication Strategies using Kerf Bending Techniques with Bamboo (in Collaboration with Elena Vazquez):
Climate change has forced architects and researchers to improve building envelopes to reduce energy consumption and increase resilience. Creating adaptable shading systems is a way to retrofit existing buildings and protect new ones. The complexity of traditional kinetic systems has driven researchers to propose using smart materials as actuators; these materials, however, present limited kinetic capabilities and large actuation timescales. As a result, few studies have shown building-scale implementation and real-time actuation control. The project's goal is to develop a kinetic compliant shade using kerf bending techniques–creating flexible forms from rigid panels.
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