Digitized Stone: ZAarchitects Develop “Smart Masonry”

Courtesy of ZAarchitects

When one hears the term architecture, digital fabrication and automated processes are probably not the first ideas to come to mind. By its very nature, the architecture produced with stone masonry is often heavy, massive, and incorporates less natural light than alternative methods. However, with their research proposal for “Smart Masonry,” Zaarchitects are proposing to change masonry buildings as we know them and open opportunities for digital fabrication techniques in stone and other previously antiquated materials. Read on after the break to get a glimpse of what these new masonry buildings could look like and learn more about the process behind their construction.

How Can We Hold On To Heritage Skills?

© James Taylor-Foster

In an age when 1:1 3D printed buildings are becoming ever more commonplace from the Netherlands to China, it’s important to pause and assess the existing built fabric of our cities, towns and villages. If we want to maintain and preserve them whilst protecting the inherent craft imbued in their construction, the importance of nurturing and promoting these skills should be recognised.

In the UK, the Heritage Skills Hub (HSH) push to see ”traditional building skills, conservation, restoration and responsible retrofit” included within all mainstream built environment courses. In a recent conversation with Cathie Clarke, CEO of the HSH, we discussed the obstacles faced by an organisation dedicated to conserving and teaching skills like stonemasonry, roof thatching, glass making, traditional construction to a new generation.

Bricks Grown From Bacteria

Courtesy of bioMason

A unique biotechnology start-up company have developed a method of growing bricks from nothing more than bacteria and naturally abundant materials. Having recently won first place in the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation ChallengebioMason has developed a method of growing materials by employing microorganisms. Arguing that the four traditional building materials – concrete, glass, and wood – both contain a significant level of embodied energy and heavily rely on limited natural resources, their answer is in high strength natural biological cements (such as coral) that can be used “without negative impacts to the surrounding environment.”

National Parliament Principality of Liechtenstein / Hansjoerg Goeritz Architekturstudio

© Jürg Zürcher

Architects: Hansjoerg Goeritz Architekturstudio
Location: Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Collaborators: Anne-Claire von Braunmühl, Stefan Höpfinger, Mario Bearth, Marc Berliat, Fritz Eggenberger
Local Architects: FrickArchitekten AG
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Jürg Zürcher
Products used in this project: , Door & windows hardware.

Boulder Regional Fire Training Facility / Roth Sheppard Architects

© Roth Sheppard Architects

The Regional Fire Training Facility holds many different programs. Its exterior metal shell is as red as an iconic fire truck, and stands out as a modern interpretation of a traditional building type. The facility was designed by Roth Sheppard Architects to accommodate all of the varied needs of the Boulder’s Fire Training Facility, united in one design.

Architect: Roth Sheppard Architects
Location: Boulder, , United States
Consultants: TCA Architecture Planning, Scott Cox & Associates Inc, Abeyta Engineers, R2H,  Studio NYL, Design Studio West, Spec by Design, Walsh Environmental Scientists and Engineers, YRG
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Roth Sheppard Architects

Hidden Gems of Yemen

© Flickr / Ai@ce

is a country rich with history. Its cities are full of architectural monuments that are constructed with a craft that often goes overlooked. These cities merge seamlessly with the surrounding landscape, contextually complementing each other.

Al Hajjara is one such village that warrants a closer look. Built on the precipice of a mountain, the architecture clings to the sides of the cliffs. Multi-story buildings rise up out of the ground and step their way to the top. It is quite amazing given the fact that these buildings were constructed hundreds of years ago, and are still standing.

The Parlor Pizzeria / Pathangay Architects with Aric and Jennifer Mei

© Suad Mahmuljin - Perspectiv Studios

Architect: Pathangay Architects
Designers: Aric Mei, and Jennifer Mei
Project Architect: Joe Deleree
Location: Phoenix,
Project Year: 2009
Project Size: 4,300 SqFt
Structural Engineer: Schneider and Associates
Shell : Shony Construction
Interior Design: Aric Mei, Blake Britton, Charlie Carney
Artists: Aric Mei, Blake Britton
Photography: Suad MahmuljinPerspectiv Studios, Aric Mei, Taube Photography 


Roth House / Debartolo Architects


The studio of Debartolo Architects is a unique architectural design firm in that they are passionately committed to architectural excellence parallel with their commitment to serving clients and creating relevant and functionally-tuned environments for people. Founded in 1996 as a collaboration of the father-son team, the firm is built on the rich history of Jack Debartolo Jr. FAIA’s 22-year partnership with Anderson DeBartolo Pan, Inc. Through creativity, innovation and careful listening, their team has become one of the leading studios in creating highly-custom, well-tuned built-environments that respond to their client, context, culture and community.

Chandler Gilbert Community College Ironwood Hall / Architekton

© Bill Timmerman /

Architect: Architekton
Location: Chandler, Arizona
Project Year: 2009
Project Cost: $12.9M
Client: Maricopa County Community College District
Contractor: Caliente Construction
Mechanical & Plumbing Engineer: Energy Systems Design
Structural Design: Paragon Structural Design
Civil Engineer: Hess-Rountree Inc.
Laboratory Planning & Programming: Lord Aeck & Sargent
Acoustical Engineer: Convergent Technologies
LEED Sustainable Consultant: Ecological Environments Inc.
Geotechnical Consultant: RAMM
Landscape Architect: Terrano
Metal Works: Total Metals + WBE Services Inc.
Photography: Timmerman Photography, Mike Small Photography


STAAB Residence / Chen + Suchart Studio

© www.chensuchartstudio.com

For the STAAB Residence designed by Chen + Suchart Studio the context for this site consists of larger homes on one-acre lots. Aesthetically, the neighboring houses’ architectural language is more often than not, associated with speculative developer trends and styles, rather than an integrated understanding of the site, the views, and the potential. As a result, the project required a strategy which would edit out the immediate context of this neighborhood while focusing on distant views of the McDowell Mountains to the north and the valley to the south and southwest. The project also sought to create a protected courtyard space for the backyard and pool area as an immediate focus for the lower level of the house in contrast to the second level taking advantage of the more distant views.


Flyway View House / Jon Anderson Architecture

© Kirk Gittings

Architect: Jon Anderson Architecture
Location: , New Mexico
Project Manager: Jarrod Arellano
Project Year: 2008
Building Area: 4,590 SqFt
References: Blueher Abodes
Photography: Kirk Gittings Photography


First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ Sanctuary / Constantine George Pappas AIA Architecture/Planning

© David Rose

Architect: Constantine George Pappas AIA Architecture/ Planning
Location: , , United States
General Contractor: Frank Rewold and Sons, Inc.
Project Area: 21,000 gross sq ft
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: David Rose

N+C Townhouse / Studio101 Architects

© Trevor Mein

Architects: Studio101 Architects
Location: Geelong, ,
Project area: 256 sqm
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Trevor Mein

AD Classics: Casa Barragan / Luis Barragan


Widely recognized for his emphasis on color, light, shadow, form and texture, it can only be expected that the former residence of Pritzker Prize winner Luis Barragan encompasses all of his trademarks. On its street in City, the stark facade of the house humbly blends in with its neighbors, giving no hints to the personality of it’s interior.

More on the style of Luis Barragan after the break.

Yerger Residence / Chen + Suchart Studio LLC

© Bill Timmerman

Architects: Chen + Suchart Studio LLC
Location: , Arizona, USA
Project Architects: Szu-Ping Patricia Chen Suchart and Thamarit Suchart
Structural Engineering: AED Structural Engineers, Inc. – Christopher J. Sosnowski, P.E.
Construction Company: Creative Concrete and Masonry, LLC
Project Area: 361.40 sqm
Project Year: 2007-2009
Photographs: Bill Timmerman

Chandgaon Mosque / Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury

© Aga Khan Award for Architecture / BKS Inan

Location: Chittagong,
Client: Faisal M. Khan
Project Area: 1,048 sqm
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Aga Khan Award for Architecture / BKS Inan

Schouwburg Amphion / Mecanoo

© Christian Richters

Architects: Mecanoo
Location: Doetinchem,
Client: Cultural Centre Theatre Amphion SA, Doetinchem
Structural engineer: ABT bv, Delft
Project management and building cost consultant: BBN Consultants, Houten
Building physics advisor, acoustics and fire safety: LBP SIGHT, Nieuwegein
Technical adviser, Theatre: Theateradvies bv, Amsterdam
Mechanical, electrical engineers: Royal Haskoning, Rotterdam
Contractor: Aan de Stegge Bouw & Werktuigbouw, Goor
Building costs including installations: € 23,130,000
Design Year: 2006-2008
Year: 2008-2010
Photographs: Christian Richters

Monthey Kindergarden / Bonnard Woeffray Architectes

© Hannes Henz

Architects: Bonnard Woeffray Architectes
Location: Monthey, Switzerland
Collaborator: Nuno Ferreira
Client: Commune de Monthey
Project Year: 2007-2008
Project Area: 1,200 sqm
Photographs: Hannes Henz