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The 10 Best Global* Architecture Projects of 2016 (*Asia, Africa and South America Not Excluded)

08:00 - 15 January, 2017
The 10 Best Global* Architecture Projects of 2016 (*Asia, Africa and South America Not Excluded)

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.

16 Materials Every Architect Needs to Know (And Where to Learn About Them)

16:00 - 14 January, 2017
16 Materials Every Architect Needs to Know (And Where to Learn About Them)

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.

Hexagons for a Reason: The Innovative Engineering Behind BIG's Honeycomb

06:00 - 10 January, 2017
Hexagons for a Reason: The Innovative Engineering Behind BIG's Honeycomb, © BIG
© BIG

BIG are known for unconventional buildings that often raise the question “how were they able to do that?” Such is the case for BIG’s Honeycomb, a luxury eight-story condominium currently under construction in the Bahamas. The project’s hallmark is its hexagonal façade made up of private balconies, each with its own glass-fronted outdoor pool. The façade was also the project’s greatest engineering challenge, with each balcony (including pool water) weighing between 108,000 and 269,000 pounds (48,000-122,000 kilograms) while cantilevering up to 17.5 feet (5.3 meters) from the structure. Tasked with this challenging brief were DeSimone Consulting Engineers, who previously worked with BIG on The Grove. Read on for more detail on the Honeycomb’s innovative engineering.

Courtesy of DeSimone Consulting Engineers © BIG © BIG Courtesy of DeSimone Consulting Engineers +15

How Ecologically Detrimental is Concrete?

16:00 - 24 December, 2016
How Ecologically Detrimental is Concrete?, Tricorn Shopping Centre, Portsmouth, 1965. Credit: RIBA Library Photographs Collection
Tricorn Shopping Centre, Portsmouth, 1965. Credit: RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Concrete has long been considered particularly harmful to the environment. However, Architect Magazine recently published an article on Nature Geoscience, which may offer some concrete (pun intended) findings regarding the issue.

11 Stunning Axonometric Drawings of Iconic Chilean Architecture

08:00 - 24 November, 2016

As the birthplace of our most recent Pritzker Prize winner, Alejandro Aravena, Santiago, Chile is full of iconic architecture. Because many of these buildings are situated in busy urban areas, their superior design is easy to miss. In an effort to encourage viewers to slow down and appreciate the volume, facades, context, and function of these urban landmarks, Benjamin Oportot and Alexandra Gray of San Sebastian University guided their 4th-year students in producing axonometric drawings of 11 buildings. The project centered on medium-sized office buildings built between 1989 and 2015, particularly focusing on their use of reinforced concrete.

URBANLOGIC Arts Factory Awarded Silver at 2016 American Architecture Prize

12:00 - 20 November, 2016
© URBANLOGIC
© URBANLOGIC

The annual AAP American Architecture Prize, which recognizes outstanding architectural design, interior design, and landscape architecture worldwide, has given URBANLOGIC's Sichuan Arts Factory and Innovation Center a Silver Award in the mixed-use category. The panel of judges included Troy C. Therrien of the Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, Peggy Deamer of Yale University, Ben Van Berkel of UNStudio and Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and Alan Ricks and Michael Murphy, founders of Mass Design Group. 

© URBANLOGIC © URBANLOGIC © URBANLOGIC © URBANLOGIC +15

AD Classics: Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, University of São Paulo (FAU-USP) / João Vilanova Artigas and Carlos Cascaldi

14:00 - 12 November, 2016
© flickr Fernando Stankuns. Used under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
© flickr Fernando Stankuns. Used under Creative Commons

This piece of Brazilian architecture was conceived in 1961 by São Paulo architects João Batista Vilanova Artigas and Carlos Cascaldi. Together with the architectural movement of the Paulista School, they form part of the most important history of São Paulo, because of the large amount of works they constructed there and the recognition of many of them at an international level.

40 Impressive Details Using Concrete

08:00 - 8 November, 2016
40 Impressive Details Using Concrete

Due to its ability to mold and create different shapes, concrete is one of architecture's most popular materials. While one of its most common uses is as a humble foundation, its plasticity means that it is also used in almost all types of construction, from housing to museums, presenting a variety of details of work that deserves special attention.

Check out this collection of 40 projects that highlight the use of concrete. Impressive! 

CEMEX + Aptum Architecture's Floating Concrete Structures Act as Mangroves for Shorelines

12:00 - 29 October, 2016
CEMEX + Aptum Architecture's Floating Concrete Structures Act as Mangroves for Shorelines, Courtesy of Aptum Architecture
Courtesy of Aptum Architecture

Mangroves are vital for stabilizing shorelines, but their recent depletion presents impending doom for coastal habitats. 

Aptum Architecture and CEMEX Research Group might have a solution. Their collaborative project, Rhizolith Island (Isla Rhizolith), is a prototype that explores the potential for floating concrete structures to revitalize deteriorating shorelines. The structure was just installed in Cartagena, Columbia as part of the RC 2016 (Reunion del Concreto), an international Expo and Academic Conference on Concrete. 

Courtesy of Aptum Architecture  Courtesy of Aptum Architecture  Courtesy of Aptum Architecture  Courtesy of Aptum Architecture  +13

AA Summer DLAB Program Applies Computational Design to Concrete

06:00 - 24 October, 2016

Update: We've added a video of the process to the article!

This year's Architectural Association (AA) Summer DLAB program culminated in Weave.X, the final working prototype of three-dimensionally interwoven concrete structures. Designed and fabricated by 21 participants from 11 countries in July and August, the prototype explores computational design, geometry rationalization, material behavior, and robotic fabrication as applied to concrete and robotic rod-bending techniques. The result is a network of self-supporting concrete branches that envelop an amorphous enclosure.

© Architectural Association © Architectural Association © Architectural Association © Architectural Association +12

Experience the "Brutal Faith" of Gottfried Böhm's Pilgrimage Church in Neviges

04:00 - 23 September, 2016
Experience the "Brutal Faith" of Gottfried Böhm's Pilgrimage Church in Neviges, Courtesy LOBBY Magazine. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Courtesy LOBBY Magazine. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

This exclusive photo essay by Laurian Ghinitoiu was originally commissioned for the fifth issue of LOBBY. Available later this month, the latest issue of the London-based magazine—published in cooperation with the Bartlett School of Architecture—examines the theme of Faith as "a fervent drive, a dangerous doctrine, a beautifully fragile yet enduring construct, an unapologetic excuse, a desperate call for attention and a timely consideration on architectural responsibility."

In 1986 the Pritzker Architecture Prize announced their first German laureate. In a speech at the ceremony in London’s Goldsmiths’ Hall, the Duke of Gloucester suggested that the prize “may not guarantee immorality,” inferring, perhaps, that not even the most prestigious award in architecture could compete with an œuvre so compact, focussed and enduring as that of Gottfried Böhm – a “son, grandson, husband, and father of architects.”

Courtesy LOBBY Magazine. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Courtesy LOBBY Magazine. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Courtesy LOBBY Magazine. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Courtesy LOBBY Magazine. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu +24

This Self-Build Concrete Block System Reduces Construction Time by 50%

08:00 - 21 September, 2016
This Self-Build Concrete Block System Reduces Construction Time by 50%, Courtesy of CONACYT
Courtesy of CONACYT

An emerging sector of construction is developing new systems that manage to not only reduce construction times and costs, but also solve the housing problem in Mexico’s most disadvantaged areas. Originating from previously known construction techniques, national companies are venturing into international markets by proposing new models of construction that use fewer materials and have a greater structural strength and greater comfort. They’re also introducing smart materials adaptable to any construction need. 

As part of this new industry breakthrough, Juan Manuel Reyes from Armados Omega and architect Jorge Capistrán have developed a new, low-cost construction system which also reduces construction time by 50%. It uses single module blocks and doesn’t require binders, mixtures, or skilled labor. 

NTU Singapore Researchers Develop Flexible Concrete that Resists Cracking

12:05 - 24 August, 2016
NTU Singapore Researchers Develop Flexible Concrete that Resists Cracking, via Nanyang Technological University
via Nanyang Technological University

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have developed a bendable variety of concrete called ConFlexPave, which in addition to its increased flexibility, is both stronger and more durable than traditional concrete. Working at the NTU-JTC Industrial Infrastructure Innovation Centre (I³C), the team created the material by introducing polymer microfibers into the concrete mixture.

The innovation also allows for the production of slim precast pavement slabs, increasing installation speed. It is anticipated to be used in infrastructural projects, halving the amount of time needed for road works and new pavements while also requiring less maintenance.

Bridges & Highways Engineering & Maintenance Summit

14:10 - 23 August, 2016
Bridges & Highways Engineering & Maintenance Summit

Bridges and Highways infrastructure development have rapidly escalated in recent years in Asia Pacific, constituting 60% of the global market. Demand is largely driven by the availability of government road building funds, urbanization growth, and the need to replace or repair aging infrastructure. The Engineering and Maintenance components play a vital role in bridges & highways development as they are key to overall safety, project management and delivery of bridge and highway project and on a larger scale, a reflection of the country’s infrastructure plans and reputation.

This is How Urban Agency Made a 150kg Concrete Model

10:00 - 9 August, 2016

As part of the Danish contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale Urban Agency embarked on a challenging feat: the construction a 1:50 concrete model. The firm—based in Dublin, Copenhagen and Lyon—contributed three projects to the "Human Architectures" exhibition at this year's Danish Pavilion.

The video shows the careful, painstaking process of molding, setting and assembling the 150kg model. Urban Agency told ArchDaily,

QUIKRETE One Bag Wonder

11:00 - 3 August, 2016
QUIKRETE One Bag Wonder

For $2500, what can you do with one single bag of any QUIKRETE® Concrete Mix? From traditional home improvement projects to fixtures of modern décor, project ideas using QUIKRETE are limitless. We wonder - What will you create with ONE bag of QUIKRETE...

AD Classics: Parish of the Holy Sacrifice / Leandro V. Locsin

04:00 - 30 June, 2016
AD Classics: Parish of the Holy Sacrifice / Leandro V. Locsin, Courtesy of Wikimedia user Allan Jay Quesada
Courtesy of Wikimedia user Allan Jay Quesada

Once dubbed a “flying saucer,” the Parish (Church) of the Holy Sacrifice is a Modernist expression which embodies the complex colonial history of the Philippines. Located on a university campus in Quezon City (formerly the capital of the nation, now a part of the Metro Manila National Capital Region), the domed concrete church was the product of Filipino architect Leandro Locsin, and of three other national artists who contributed to the building’s interior.[1] Locsin’s design, which combines elements of traditional Filipino architecture with postwar International aesthetics, is a potent symbol of a newly-independent nation following centuries of imperial control.

Courtesy of Wikimedia user Ramon FVelasquez Courtesy of Wikimedia user Ramon FVelasquez Courtesy of Wikimedia user Ramon FVelasquez Courtesy of Wikimedia user Ramon FVelasquez +7

AD Classics: TWA Flight Center / Eero Saarinen

03:00 - 13 June, 2016
AD Classics: TWA Flight Center / Eero Saarinen, © Cameron Blaylock
© Cameron Blaylock

Built in the early days of airline travel, the TWA Terminal is a concrete symbol of the rapid technological transformations which were fueled by the outset of the Second World War. Eero Saarinen sought to capture the sensation of flight in all aspects of the building, from a fluid and open interior, to the wing-like concrete shell of the roof. At TWA’s behest, Saarinen designed more than a functional terminal; he designed a monument to the airline and to aviation itself.

This AD Classic features a series of exclusive images by Cameron Blaylock, photographed in May 2016. Blaylock used a Contax camera and Zeiss lenses with Rollei black and white film to reflect camera technology of the 1960s.

© Cameron Blaylock © Cameron Blaylock © Cameron Blaylock © Cameron Blaylock +26