Six Essential Materials & The Architects That Love Them

In case you missed it, we’re re-publishing this popular post for your material pleasure. Enjoy!

To celebrate the recent launch of our US product catalog, ArchDaily Materials, we’ve coupled six iconic architects with what we deem to be their favourite or most frequently used material. From Oscar Neimeyer’s sinuous use of to Kengo Kuma‘s innovative use of , which materials define some of the world’s best known architects?

Raimund Abraham’s Last Project Realized at Former NATO Missile Base

© Tomas Riehle / Arturimages

Raimund Abraham’s last project, a “stunning” design for a building atop an unused NATO missile base in , has been realized four years after the architect’s death. At the time of his passing, Abraham was working on this project as part of a unique outdoor art complex close to Düsseldorf, Germany. A competition has now been announced to determine the future for the space which has become an “an integral part of Hombroich’s cultural sphere.”

VIDEO: Bunker 599 / RAAAF + Atelier de Lyon

Bunker 599, one of 700 secret bunkers that were used to weaponize artificial hydrology in during the 19th century (see: New Dutch Waterline), recently underwent a radical transformation. RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances], in collaboration with Atelier de Lyon, sliced through the seemingly indestructible bunker to link visitors to an existing network of footpaths, create a publicly accessible attraction to those revisiting the NDW, and form a dramatic connection with the flooded plains that were altered more than 200 years ago.

The video above takes you through the process of altering the monolith, ending with film of the stunning result that has been attracting thousands of daily visitors since its completion. To learn more about the project, follow this link.

Material Inspiration: 10 Projects Inspired by Concrete

To celebrate the launch of ArchDaily Materials, our new product catalog, we’ve rounded up 10 awesome projects from around the world that were inspired by one material: . Check out the projects after the break…

Kickstarter: DIY Concrete House Ring

Courtesy of Linda Bennett, via archi-ninja

Dream of one day making your own home? Well, here’s a fun alternative in the meantime. The “ Concrete House Ring” is a high quality silver and concrete ring that lets users experience the process of ‘making’. The ring itself is made from a compact kit, and comes in two familiar architectural silhouettes – gable roof or saltbox roof – and in either light or dark concrete. The project was developed by Linda Bennett, author of “10 Things They Don’t Teach You in Architecture School” and “Searching for a Job in Architecture? 10 Things You Need to Know…” via her blog, archi-ninjaCheck out the project’s debut on kickstarter (which offers fantastic perks for backers) for more information. 

“A Short History of the Highrise”

Oscar Niemeyer – Brasília, 1958. Image © Marcel Gautherot/IMS

The New York Times has published “A Short History of the Highrise” – an interactive that explores the 2,500-year global history of vertical living and issues of social equality in an increasingly urbanized world. Organized in four short films – “Mud,” “,” “Glass,” and “Home” – viewers are given the option to “dig deeper” into each subject and explore additional archival material while viewing the film. Check out the film here.

AD Classics: Habitat 67 / Moshe Safdie

Photo by Wladyslaw via Wikimedia Commons

Habitat 67, designed by the Israeli-Canadian architect at the World Exposition of 1967, was originally intended as an experimental solution for high-quality housing in dense urban environments. Safdie explored the possibilities of prefabricated modular units to reduce housing costs and allow for a new housing typology that could integrate the qualities of a suburban home into an urban high-rise.

Reflecting on the project’s significance in “A look back at habitat ’67” Safdie stated that “Habitat ‘67 is really two ideas in one. One is about prefabrication, and the other is about rethinking apartment-building design in the new paradigm.” [1]

More after the break…

Erik Schlangen Demonstrates the Potential of “Self-Healing Asphalt”

YouTube Preview Image

Imagine a pervious asphalt that not only significantly reduces noise pollution, but saves millions in maintenance and repairs by its ability to self-heal. Well, this type of super-asphalt is not far from being distributed world-wide as experimental micromechanic pioneer Erik Schlangen of has been studying the material’s potential on a test track in The Netherland’s for the past few years.

Basically, with the introduction of small steel wool fibers, Self Healing Asphalt is capable of repairing micro-cracks and significantly extending the service life of roadways by self-healing through induction heating. Similarly, Schlangen is leading the research on Self Healing Concrete, where by infusing concrete with a harmless limestone-producing bacteria that feeds off of calcium lactate – a component of milk – the material has the potential to self-heal micro-cracks in the presence of rainwater.

AD Classics: Soreq Nuclear Research Center / Philip Johnson

Philip Johnson and Gideon Ziv, Sorek Nuclear Research Center, Israel, 1956-9 (from: Zvi Efrat, The Israeli Project: Building and Architecture 1948-1973)

American architect and Prizker Prize winner Philip Johnson – who would have turned 107 today – is well known for his contributions to 20th century architecture, from the modernist House in 1949 to his later infamous post modernist AT&T building in 1984. But did you know that Johnson designed a brutalistic nuclear plant in Israel? More on this monolithic concrete structure after the break…

Video: Teshima Art Museum / Office of Ryue Nishizawa

Designed for the artwork of artist Rei Naito, the Teshima Art Museum is a seamless, earthen form of white concrete in which responds to the rolling landscape of an island located in the Inland Sea of . Architect Ryue Nishizawa created the museum to be an open gallery, exposed to the elements, that is shaped by a 25cm thick concrete shell in which spans up to 60 meters.

Video courtesy of JA+U. More images after the break…

Construction of China’s Tallest Building On Hold Due to Concrete Scandal

© KPF

Scheduled to be the tallest tower in and the second tallest building in the world by 2015, Kohn Pedersen Fox’s 660-meter-high Ping’an International Finance Center has received a major unexpected set back. Following an industrywide inspection conducted last week, Shenzhen government officials have discovered a low-quality sea sand has been used by developers to create substandard for KPF’s supertall skyscraper and at least 15 other buildings under construction.

Although sea sand lures contractors by costing significantly less than standard river sand, it contains a deadly mixture of salt and chloride that corrodes steel in concrete and threatens the structural integrity of a building over time.

According to Bloomberg, Shenzhen’s Housing and Construction Bureau found 31 companies violated industry rules and ordered eight of them to suspend business for one year in the city for using substandard sea sand to make concrete.

White O / Toyo Ito

White O_Toyo Ito (75)

Architect: Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects
Location: Marbella,
Local Architect: Christian de Groote
Project Area: 370 sqm
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Nicolas Saieh

White O_Toyo Ito (11) White O_Toyo Ito (22) White O_Toyo Ito (62) White O_Toyo Ito (77)

Van Beuningenplein / Concrete

© Ewout Huibers

Architects: Concrete
Location: , The Netherlands
Design Team: Rob Wagemans, Erikjan Vermeulen, Bram De Maat
Year: 2011
Photographs: Ewout Huibers

REM Island / Concrete

© Ewout Huibers

Architects: Concrete
Location: Houthaven, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Team: Erikjan Vermeulen, Rob Wagemans, Wouter Slot, Jolijn Valk, Bram de Maat
Area: 661 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Ewout Huibers, Jim Ellam, Courtesy of Concrete Architectural Associates

Biological Concrete for a Living, Breathing Facade

© cowbite

The future of design requires thinking innovatively about the way current construction techniques function so we may expand upon their capabilities. Sustainability has evolved far beyond being a trend and has become an indelible part of this design process. Sustainable solutions have always pushed against the status quo of design and now the Structural Technology Group of Universitat Politècnica de CatalunyaBarcelonaTech (UPC) has developed a concrete that sustains and encourages the growth of a multitude of biological organisms on its surface.

We have seen renditions of the vertical garden and vegetated , but what sets the biological concrete apart from these other systems is that it is an integral part of the structure. According to an article in Science Daily, the system is composed of three layers on top of the structural elements that together provide ecological, thermal and aesthetic advantages for the building.

More after the break.

Interview: Krogmann Headquarters / Despang Architekten

© Olaf Baumann

The Headquarters Krogmann in Lohne-Kroge, , by Despang Architekten investigates the numerous characteristics and fundamental opportunities inherent within wood and exhibits a modern approach to the craftsmanship of traditional German vernacular. Designed as a new corporate center of operations for the woodworking company Krogmann,  this new office would need to succeed not only in handcrafting a new image for them, but also serve as a catalyst for future growth while showcasing their ability as ‘makers’ in the field of construction.  Having worked as the builders for several projects for , their choice to retain them as the design architects for their own project was a natural extension of an already solid relationship built upon the dedication to quality and progressiveness. As an extension of this article, we also had the opportunity to speak with Principal and University of Hawaii Associate Professor Martin Despang about the process involved in the making of this project.

More details and our Q&A with Martin after the break.

AD Classics: Holy Cross Church in Chur, Switzerland / Walter Förderer

Photo by Sebastian F - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AKKH -2.JPG

Standing at the foot of the Alps is the highly contemporary Holy Cross Church in Chur, Switzerland. Designed by Basel born Swiss architect , the church evokes strong features of Brutalism. Built between 1966 to 1969, the church appears like a mass fortress that conveys a symbolic defensive attitude.

Townhouse in Horgen / Moos Giuliani Herrmann Architekten

©

Architect: Moos Giuliani Hermann Architekten
Location: Horgen, Switzerland
Completion: 2011 
Built Area: 260 sqm 
Photographs: Beat Bühler