As the common phrase attests, “history is written by the victors.” We therefore know that the story of the West is that of Europe and the United States, while the other actors in world history are minimized or invisible: it happened to the Chinese and Japanese during World War II, to the Ottoman Empire in sixteenth-century Europe, and to racial majorities in the common reading of Latin American independence. The same thing happens in architecture.
The current boom of the Global South is based not only on new work, but rather on the recognition of an invisible architecture which was apparently not worthy of publication in the journals of the 1990s. The world stage has changed, with the emergence of a humanity that is decentralized yet local; globalized, yet heterogeneous; accelerated, yet unbalanced. There are no longer red and blue countries, but a wide variety of colors, exploding like a Pollock painting.
This serves as a preamble to consider the outstanding projects of 2016 according to the British critic Oliver Wainwright, whose map of the world appears to extend from New York in the West to Oslo in the East, with the exception of Birzeit in Palestine. The Global South represents more than 40% of the global economy and already includes most of the world’s megacities, yet has no architecture worthy of recognition? We wanted to highlight the following projects in order to expand the western-centric world view, enabling us to truly comprehend the extent of architectural innovation on a global scale.
A building’s materiality is what our bodies make direct contact with; the cold metal handle, the warm wooden wall, and the hard glass window would all create an entirely different atmosphere if they were, say, a hard glass handle, a cold metal wall and a warm wooden window (which with KTH’s new translucent wood, is not as absurd as it might sound). Materiality is of just as much importance as form, function and location—or rather, inseparable from all three.
Here we’ve compiled a selection of 16 materials that should be part of the design vocabulary of all architects, ranging from the very familiar (such as concrete and steel) to materials which may be unknown for some of our readers, as well as links to comprehensive resources to learn more about many of them.
We are inviting young architects / final year students, to build the First Children’s Nature Play Pavilion at Red Soil Nature Play. This is a blind fold jury competition; the selected top 3 entries will be given natural space of 1500 sq.ft at Red Soil Site. You are left to your own imagination with sensitivity towards young children and nature. We will grant/ fund the project. Each Pavilion (selected entries) will be built periodically (one by one) and will amaze the young children for 3-4 months at Red Soil Nature Play.
Building Trust are happy to announce that our latest workshop will be held in Cambodia to design and build a project made from bamboo. Building Trust have a number of sustainable design projects in South East Asia in 2016, ranging from schools and housing to wildlife conservation and healthcare. We are offering a hands on participatory workshop where participants will gain experience in sustainable building techniques and understand more about humanitarian design while building worthwhile projects that will have a huge benefit to the local community and local wildlife. Participants will gain an insight into a number of building techniques and architectural styles.
The 2016 MPavilion, designed by Indian architect Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai, has opened in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens. Over the next four months, the bamboo structure will play host to a free public program of over 400 talks, workshops, performances and installations.
Bijoy Jain’s design joins the growing international trend of “handmade architecture” as it becomes the largest bamboo structure in Australia, utilizing 7 kilometers of Indian bamboo, 50,000 kilograms of Australian bluestone, 5,000 wooden pins and 26 kilometers of rope to cover a 16.8 square meter area. The slatted roof panels are constructed from sticks of the Karvi plant and were woven together by craftspeople in India over a four month period.
In the late 20th century, restricted by an a small landmass and extreme terrain, the Hong Kong urban area grew to become one of the densest and most vertical places on the planet, with more buildings taller than 500 feet than any other city in the world. But instead of the steel or aluminum structures used as scaffolding in Europe and the Western Hemisphere, the majority of skyscrapers built in Hong Kong and much of Asia used scaffolding systems constructed out of bamboo.
To create the structures, the high strength, lightweight material is strapped together with plastic ties by construction crews, who also use the structure as a ladder for scaling the building. Despite using few safety restraints, crews are able to construct up to 1,000 square feet of bamboo scaffolding in just one day. To protect the structure, nylon gauze is sometimes draped along the outside.
Check out a series of GIFs and images showing how it works after the break. And if you're interested in learning more about bamboo construction materials, check out our Materials catalog.
Vo Trong Nghia Architects has released plans for The Signature Spa on Phu Quoc, one of the major islands of Vietnam. Nestled into surroundings of vast forests and pristine beaches, the spa will serve as an addition to its neighboring 5-star hotel. The project has been tucked into the corner of the site to provide a serene atmosphere aimed at establishing “a compact and autonomous place of solace, wherein one can immerse themselves within the lush mangrove reservoir whilst nestled inside the bamboo [structure].”
Architect Nguyen Hoa Hiep of a21 studio, in collaboration with Saigon architecture students, have created a cocoon-inspired pavilion. This exhibition is organized annually by Handhome.net in Vietnam in order to connect older generations of architects with students.
Building Trust are happy to announce details of our latest workshop which will be held in Cambodia to design and build a project made from bamboo. Building Trust have a number of sustainable design projects in South East Asia in 2016, ranging from schools and housing to wildlife conservation and healthcare.
We are offering a hands on participatory workshop where participants will gain experience in sustainable building techniques and understand more about humanitarian design while building worthwhile projects that will have a huge benefit to the local community and local wildlife.
The countryside carries so much emotional weight and nostalgia through thousands of years of time. Currently, more than 100 villages disappear every day in China. On the other hand, the rise of city living standards and GDP require a more suitable tourist experience in the surviving villages. How can we combine the inheritance and preservation of villages with a countryside tourism business model? To provide a better ecosystem for lodge and inn, farm, organic agriculture and handmade crafts is the challenge that we are facing now!
Disaster can strike a community at any minute. Following the most costly earthquake in their history in April, hundreds of thousands of Nepalese residents were rendered instantly homeless. To help these people reorganize and get back to a familiar way of life, Barberio Colella ARC has designed a temporary structure using local materials “to make a house that can be built quickly, lightweight and compactly, durably and economically.”
From the architect. Following up a year of development, Penda has unveiled their installation for Beijing Design Week (BJDW) 2015 – Rising Canes, a structural system made entirely of bamboo and ropes. Meant to be a speculation system for larger developments, the installation is fully modular, ecological and easy to expand in every direction. Bamboo was chosen as the main construction material for its long traditional roots in China and fantastic structural capability, as well as part of a desire to fight its current obscurity as a construction material.
Too often, architects and designers treat nature as separate from humans or human creations. Nature is fought, or protected, or considered as something to accommodate for through a retroactive checklist. In contrast, Barberio Colella ARC's Lanterns Sea Village is a conceptual plan to create short-stay housing that integrates natural systems with people and buildings. The team behind the project, Micaela Colella and Maurizio Barberio, designed the small residences to approach housing from a more adaptive perspective.
Steven Holl Architects (SHA) has broken ground on London's newest Maggie's Centre across from the large courtyard of St. Bartholomew’s (Barts) Hospital, the city's oldest hospital. The structure, a branching concrete frame lined with perforated bamboo and matte white glass, was inspired by its historic site, which also neighbors the St. Bartholomew the Great Church. It was envisioned as a "vessel within a vessel within a vessel" embellished with colored glass fragments that recall "neume notation" of Medieval music in the 13th century.
"The word neume originates from the Greek pnevma, which means 'vital force.' It suggests a 'breath of life' that fills oneself with inspiration like a stream of air, the blowing of the wind. The outer glass layer is organized in horizontal bands like a musical staff while the concrete structure branches like the hand," describes SHA.
A video of Steven Holl detailing the center's design, after the break.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about bamboo - besides being an entirely natural, sustainable material with the tensile strength of steel that can grow up to 900 millimeters (3 feet) in just 24 hours - is that it's not more widely recognized as a fantastic construction material. Like many traditional building materials, bamboo no longer has the architectural currency that it once did across Asia and the pacific, but the efforts of Elora Hardy may help put it back into the vernacular. Heading up Ibuku, a design firm that uses bamboo almost exclusively, Hardy's recent TED Talk is an excellent run through of bamboo's graces and virtues in construction, showing off sinuous private homes and handbuilt school buildings.
Developed by Hannah Ahlblad, a recent graduate of Wellesley College cross-registered at MIT's School of Architecture + Planning, this article explores the potential of merging bamboo and concrete, harnessing the strengths of both materials to create a sustainable, durable and affordable material for use in developing countries. Hannah’s project was created in conclusion to the semester-long emergent materials elective taught by Professor John E. Fernández, Director of MIT’s Building Technology Program.
In the rapidly developing economies of East Asia and Latin America, urban architecture often seeks to combine the local heritage with the prestige of Western contemporary form and practices. The materials used in urban areas of these growing cities follow the steel, glass, and concrete technology used elsewhere. Usually, emerging materials research looks at the structural properties and applications of materials under scientific development. Less consideration has been given to ancient building materials and their interaction with today’s engineering.
Chinese architecture firm Penda, known for their ecologically sensitive designs, has redesigned the tent in a bold new way for the AIM "Legend Of The Tent" Competition. Their proposal, ”One With The Birds," is a flexible and sustainable structure that integrates sleeping pods into the forest canopy. Inspired by Native American Tipis, which are moveable and reusable, the structure, made from bamboo sticks latched together with rope, leaves no impact on the site nor causes any harm to the bamboo itself.
A mock-up of the project will soon be installed as a temporary hotel. According to the architects, “after the temporary hotel is deconstructed, the materials can be reused as scaffolding on a construction site or reused as another temporary hotel on a different location.”
Learn more about this remarkable structure, after the break.