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Architectural Upcycling: 3 Materials That Turn Trash Into Low-Cost Construction Elements

09:30 - 3 October, 2017
Architectural Upcycling: 3 Materials That Turn Trash Into Low-Cost Construction Elements, Courtesy of MetaComb, inc.
Courtesy of MetaComb, inc.

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Architectural Upcycling Builds Earth’s Better Future Out of Trash."

Contemporary designers are recycling waste materials into useable and well-crafted objects, and it’s easy to get the impression that this burgeoning realm of fabrication is destined only for the craft fair. A quick survey of Blaine Brownell’s new guide Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine Our Future turns up a half-dozen Etsy-ready art and furniture curios. There’s jewelry made from coffee grounds, bowls made from plastic bags, and a chair made from artichoke thistle fibers (the “Artichair”).

But these items don’t demonstrate the necessary capacity for heavy lifting and mass-market applicability for an age of climate change and dwindling resources. To grasp the kind of architectural upcycling that can divert trash from landfills and carbon from the atmosphere on a mass scale, it pays to step out of the design gallery and into the laboratory, where architects are inventing a new breed of modular building materials.

In A Male Dominated Field, Women Make Up Only 30% of Architects in USA

08:40 - 3 October, 2017
via Flowing Data
via Flowing Data

Nathan Yau collected US Census data between 1950 and 2015 to create a set of visualizations that demonstrate how the diversity of the workforce has evolved. "Naturally, men and women now work many of the same jobs, but many jobs are mostly men or mostly women," explains Yau. So how does the architecture profession fit into this narrative?

15 Money-Making "Side Hustles" for Architects and Designers

09:30 - 2 October, 2017
15 Money-Making "Side Hustles" for Architects and Designers, © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/121941453@N02/31834075120/'>Flickr user Activités culturelles UdeM</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/'>CC Public Domain 1.0</a>
© Flickr user Activités culturelles UdeM licensed under CC Public Domain 1.0

What do a lot of recent architecture college grads have in common besides their degree? Student loans and disillusionment (see point 1 in Megan Fowler’s 11 Things You Learn at Your First “Real” Architecture Job to understand what we mean by "disillusionment"). But with the emergence of the digital age and “side-hustle economy,” millennials are learning how to monetize their passions, and now 1 in 4 Americans are making money digitally. Side-hustling has become so popular that there is even a school for it. The difference between a side-hustle and a second job is that side-hustles aren’t just about giving yourself a raise. Your side-hustle is something you truly love to do, and would probably do anyway, but now you get to share it with the world and make a little extra cash in the process. So what side-hustle is right for you? Here is a list of side-hustles which suit the skillset of architects and designers.

Which Computer Is the Best for Architects and Architecture Students?

09:30 - 1 October, 2017

Buying “the perfect computer” comes with equal parts indecision and excitement—we put in hours of research, weigh brands, compare specs, read product reviews, and ask around for advice and suggestions. For the uninitiated, it often means wading through lots of technical jargon. i7? Intel? SSD? Quad-core? For others, it may mean being spoilt for choice and finding it difficult to shortlist options. Architect, writer, and entrepreneur Eric Reinholdt’s latest video on his YouTube channel 30X40 Design Workshop tackles the tricky subject of choosing the right computer for architecture, breaking the topic down into 6 simple steps.

Carbonized Wood: A Traditional Japanese Technique That Has Conquered the World

09:30 - 30 September, 2017
Carbonized Wood: A Traditional Japanese Technique That Has Conquered the World, Villa Meijendel / VVKH architecten. Image © Christian van der Kooy
Villa Meijendel / VVKH architecten. Image © Christian van der Kooy

Ancestral, vernacular and minimalist; for many, these three words have come to define the architecture of Japan, a country that has served as a source of cultural and technological inspiration to countless cultures.

In recent decades, popular Japanese techniques have spread throughout the world, not only in the field of technology but also in technical and artistic areas. In architecture, the appropriation and reinvention of different materials and construction techniques, such as the carbonization of wooden facades, has been a continuing theme.

New Documentary on Freddy Mamani Explores the Connection Between Architecture and Cultural Identity

09:30 - 29 September, 2017
New Documentary on Freddy Mamani Explores the Connection Between Architecture and Cultural Identity, © Isaac Niemand via screenshot from documentary
© Isaac Niemand via screenshot from documentary

Soon you will be able to satisfy your wanderlust free from altitude sickness; on Wednesday October 4th, the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam will see the world premiere of the documentary Cholet: The Work of Freddy Mamani. From director Isaac Niemand comes the story of Bolivia's unlikely architectural phenomenon, and one of ArchDaily’s 2015 leaders in architectural design and conceptualization.

A Virtual Look Inside Case Study House #4, Ralph Rapson’s "Greenbelt House"

09:30 - 28 September, 2017

The fourth house in Arts & Architecture’s Case Study program departed from the trend with a noticeably more introverted design. Intended for a modestly sized urban lot, rather than the dramatic and expansive canyon or forest locations of so many other Case Study homes, it couldn’t borrow drama from the landscape, nor would the residents welcome curious glances from their close neighbors—so the house looks entirely inward.

Rapson called his design the “Greenbelt House” for the glass-covered atrium that divides the living and sleeping areas. In his original drawings and model, as in Archilogic’s 3D model shown here, this strip is shown filled with plant beds in a striking geometric pattern. However, Rapson imagined that it could be put to many uses, according to the residents’ tastes: a croquet court or even a swimming pool could find their place here. This “brings the outdoors indoors” rather more literally than, for instance, Richard Neutra’s expansive, open-door designs.

Are Smart Cities Doomed to Promote Inequality?

09:30 - 27 September, 2017
Are Smart Cities Doomed to Promote Inequality?, As the former Chief Urban Designer of New York City, Alexandros Washburn had to carefully consider whether technological developments were right for the city's residents. Image © <a href='https://www.pexels.com/photo/bridge-brooklyn-bridge-buildings-city-534757/'>Pexels user Kai Pilger</a> licensed under CC0
As the former Chief Urban Designer of New York City, Alexandros Washburn had to carefully consider whether technological developments were right for the city's residents. Image © Pexels user Kai Pilger licensed under CC0

This article was originally published by Common Edge as "Can the Wired City Also Be the Equitable One?"

A city is smart when it makes better decisions, and there are only two types of decision: strategic and tactical. Strategic decisions determine the right thing to do. Tactical decisions choose the right way to do it. SMART technology is not smart technology if it causes us as citizens to confuse strategy with tactics. In other words, there are many decisions about the operation of a city that we may delegate happily to technology. But there are questions of governance, of determining our fate, of deciding what is the right thing to do as populace, that if we delegate—we abdicate. “To govern is to choose,” John F. Kennedy once said.

If I were to have believed the many consultants and emissaries of large technology companies that came to see me when I was the Chief Urban Designer of New York City, the SMART city they promised me was a place where the traffic lights always turned green and the elevator doors always awaited our arrival. They promised a city that would anticipate our needs at every turn, given tantalizing form in the recent present of our connected personal devices and the apps that seem to know us better than we know ourselves. Now, with the advent of the internet of things on the near horizon, we are set to make SMART cities a reality. Imagine the awesome power of an entire city synchronized to our taste and movement!

How Architects in Chicago Are Making New History

10:20 - 26 September, 2017

"We are at a moment of great cultural transition," Jorge Otero-Pailos argues. "The kinds of objects that we look to to provide some sort of continuity in that transformation is often times architecture, [...] one of the most stable objects in culture." This short film, in which an number of participants of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial reflect on their work and those of others, tackles the theme conceived by artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark LeeMake New History.

9 of the Most Bizarre and Forward-Thinking Radical Architecture Groups of the 60s and 70s

09:30 - 26 September, 2017
9 of the Most Bizarre and Forward-Thinking Radical Architecture Groups of the 60s and 70s

The first moon landing, widespread anti-war protests, Woodstock and the hippies, rural communes and environmentalism, the Berlin Wall, the women’s liberation movement and so much more—the tumultuous decades of the Sixties and Seventies occupy an unforgettable place in history. With injustices openly questioned and radical ideas that set out to unseat existing conventions and practices in various spheres of life, things weren’t any different in the architectural world. 

The grand visions dreamt up by the modernists were soon challenged by utopian experiments from the “anti-architecture” or “radical design” groups of the 1960–70s. Reestablishing architecture as an instrument of political, social, and cultural critique, they drafted bold manifestoes and designs, experimented with collage, music, performance art, furniture, graphic design, zines, installations, events, and exhibitions. While certain individuals from this era like Cedric Price, Hans Hollein, and Yona Friedman remain important to the realm of the radical and the unbuilt, the revolutionary spirit of these decades also saw the birth of various young collectives. For eccentricity at its very best, read on for a (by no means exhaustive) list of some groups who dared to question, poke, expand, rebel against, disrupt and redefine architecture in the 60s and 70s.

In "Horizontal City," 24 Architects Reconsider Architectural Interiors at 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial

10:20 - 25 September, 2017

Horizontal City is one of two collective exhibitions (the other being Vertical City) at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial. 24 architects were tasked by artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee to "reconsider the status of the architectural interior" by referencing a photograph of a canonical interior from any time period.

Their challenge was in considering the forms and ways that their selection "might extrapolate out from the cropped photographic frame into a spatial and lifestyle construction across a larger, horizontal site" – in this case, a field of plinths, the size and positioning of which is a direct reference to the footprint of Mies van der Rohe's 1947 plan for the IIT Campus in Chicago.

Installation Showing the Perspective of a Self-Driving Car Aims to Evoke Empathy for Artificial Intelligence

09:30 - 25 September, 2017
Installation Showing the Perspective of a Self-Driving Car Aims to Evoke Empathy for Artificial Intelligence, Courtesy of Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Urtzi Grau and Daniel Perlin
Courtesy of Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Urtzi Grau and Daniel Perlin

Driver Less Vision, an installation at the 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism by Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Urtzi Grau and Daniel Perlin, is an immersive 3D video experience comprised of spatial scans of Seoul, projected into a dome and paired with surround sound. The supporting audio is the internal monologue of a personified autonomous vehicle, driving through the streets of a future Seoul, Korea. The installation transports vierers to the front seat of the autonomous vehicle, providing a new perspective of traversing cities—through the car’s point of view.

Courtesy of Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Urtzi Grau and Daniel Perlin Courtesy of Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Urtzi Grau and Daniel Perlin Courtesy of Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Urtzi Grau and Daniel Perlin Courtesy of Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Urtzi Grau and Daniel Perlin + 9

All-In-One Structure Solves Flooding, Parking and the Lack of Green Space in Cities

08:00 - 25 September, 2017
All-In-One Structure Solves Flooding, Parking and the Lack of Green Space in Cities, Courtesy of THIRD NATURE
Courtesy of THIRD NATURE

As Earth’s population continues to grow, so does car traffic and issues related to climate change. It has been estimated about 30% of urban roadway congestion are drivers searching for a place to park. Car culture puts the pressure on cities to build more parking garages, which usually win out over green parks. Meanwhile, climate change continues to challenge cities to handle a great deal of stormwater. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is proof of this - as of Monday, 13 named storms have formed in the Atlantic ocean, costing 210 lives and counting. 

THIRD NATURE, a Danish architecture firm, designed a solution for the modern-day urban issues of flooding, parking and lacking green spaces with their project, POP-UP. A stacked green space, car park, and water reservoir, from top to bottom respectively, POP-UP uses Archimedes’ principle to store water and create floating space to store cars.

Courtesy of THIRD NATURE Courtesy of THIRD NATURE Courtesy of THIRD NATURE Courtesy of THIRD NATURE + 14

Social Agenda vs Social Media: Reviewing the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial

09:30 - 24 September, 2017
Social Agenda vs Social Media: Reviewing the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, © Steve Hall
© Steve Hall

While architecture exhibitions have a tendency to be drab affairs with poorly displayed poster boards and reams of intellectualized text spouting pseudo-complex ideas, the Chicago Architecture Biennial stands out for its undeniable sense of playfulness. From its central HQ to the fringe performance events, this exhibition is bright, fun and Instagram-ready.

Chicago, like Venice, is blessed when it comes to architecture, making the city an ideal home for a recurring architecture show. The importance of this year’s iteration, the second after its inaugural event in 2015 (thus confirming its status as an actual “Biennial”), is clear. And the curators, Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee from LA-based practice Johnston Marklee, seem determined to grab people’s attention.

Which Building Has the World's Fastest-Moving Elevator?

09:30 - 23 September, 2017
Which Building Has the World's Fastest-Moving Elevator?, via Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
via Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

The targeted maximum wait time in office building elevators is 20 seconds—it just feels like 2 minutes when you’re in a rush. But how quickly are the elevators actually moving?

The fastest installed elevator reaches speeds of 67 feet per second (20.5 meters per second), or 46 miles per hour (73.8 kilometers per hour) in the Shanghai Tower. Not only does the Gensler-designed Shanghai Tower boast the fastest elevator, but also the longest continuous run of 1,898 feet of the 2,073-foot tower (578.5 of 632 meters), as revealed in a recent study by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). At these speeds, you can reach the 119th floor in 55 seconds.

via Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat via Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat via Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat via Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat + 6

How Narinder Sagoo And Foster + Partners Are Turning Architectural Preconceptions On Their Head (With A Pencil)

14:45 - 22 September, 2017
How Narinder Sagoo And Foster + Partners Are Turning Architectural Preconceptions On Their Head (With A Pencil), © Foster + Partners
© Foster + Partners

This short article, written by the author and critic Jonathan Glancey, coincides with the launch of the inaugural Architecture Drawing Prize – a competition curated by the World Architecture Festival, the Sir John Soane's Museum, and Make. The deadline for the award has been extended to September 25, 2017, and successful entries will be exhibited in both London and Berlin.

For architects, says Narinder Sagoo, Head of Design Communications at Foster + Partners, drawings are about story telling. They are also a highly effective way of raising questions about design projects. Although the history of architecture—certainly since the Italian Renaissance—has been mapped by compelling drawings asserting the primacy, and reflecting the glory, of fully resolved buildings, there is another strain of visualisation that has allowed architects to think through projects free of preconceptions.

© Foster + Partners © Foster + Partners © Foster + Partners © Foster + Partners + 8

15 Must-See Installations at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial

12:00 - 22 September, 2017

With the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial in full swing and open to the public until January 7, 2017, we've scoured the galleries, halls and corridors of the Chicago Cultural Center to bring you our favorite fifteen installations. Documented through the lens of Laurian Ghinitoiu and assembled by our Editorial Team on location, this selection intends to shed light on the breadth, scope and preoccupations of Make New History – the largest architecture event in North America.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu + 45

DesignIntelligence Announces Top Architecture Schools for 2017–2018

11:55 - 22 September, 2017
DesignIntelligence Announces Top Architecture Schools for 2017–2018, Milstein Hall at Cornell University / OMA. Image © Matthew Carbone
Milstein Hall at Cornell University / OMA. Image © Matthew Carbone

Which programs in the United States are best preparing students for a future in the profession? DesignIntelligence emailed architecture and interior design professionals from around the US and asked them to answer this question, using their answers to rank schools from the perspective of those with the power to hire graduates. According to the report, DesignIntelligence surveyed "a total of 2,654 hiring professionals from 1,923 professional practice organizations" in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design.