Students from the Pratt Institute have created a wall of concrete blockwork… but not like any you’ve seen before. Challenged by their tutors Lawrence Blough and Ezra Ardolino to produce something highly customized from something highly standardized – the 8-by-8-by-24-inch AAC brick – the students used Rhino software and a CNC miller to create a 96-block screen wall composed of 20 different block profiles. “The earlier stuff I’d done was trying to use as much off-the-shelf material as I could,” said Blough. “Here we decided to really push it, and to take on more of the ideas of mass customization.” Find out more about the project at the Architect’s Newspaper Fabrikator Blog.
Buildings, regrettably, don’t last forever. Until recently, the only way to increase a building’s lifespan was ongoing maintenance, which can be expensive, time-consuming and in the case of infrastructure such as bridges or roads, inconvenient. Beyond that, periodic replacement of the entire structure was an option, however this is clearly not a sustainable solution, especially considering the amount of CO2-releasing concrete used in modern construction.
But in the 21st century, another alternative is emerging. This article on CityLab uncovers three self-healing materials that could significantly extend the lifespan of a construction, including Erik Schlangen‘s asphalt that re-sets itself with a dose of induction heating, concrete developed at TU Delft (and elsewhere) that patches up cracks with the help of its living bacterial aggregate, and a recent discovery by MIT scientists that some metals have self-healing properties.
Continuing recent research trends in the ways nature can inspire new architectural methods and typologies, London-based architecture practice Tonkin Liu in collaboration with engineers at Arup, have developed a single-surface structural technique called Shell Lace Structure. The innovative technique takes advantage of advanced digital design, engineering analysis, and manufacturing tools. Read on to learn about their upcoming book and exhibition that reveals the process behind this nature-inspired material.
Originally published by Metropolis Magazine, this comprehensive analysis by sustainability expert Lance Hosey examines the current disputes within the green building industry, where market leader LEED currently finds competition from the Living Building Challenge, aiming for the “leading edge” of the market, and the Green Globes at the other end of the scale. Arguing for a more holistic understanding of what makes materials sustainable, Hosey examines the role that materials, and material industries such as the timber and chemical industries, can have in directing the aims and principles of these three sustainability rating systems – for better or for worse.
Despite architecture’s continued evolution over the course of history, our use of structural materials has remained largely the same since the advent of modern building materials. This reality may be changing thanks to the development of new materials seeking the same kinds of adaptability often found in nature.
Adaptable architecture is becoming an increasingly viable endeavor as a result of recent developments in building technologies and materials. Masters research students Ece Tankal, Efilena Baseta and Ramin Shambayati at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia were interested in “architecture of transition” and have developed a new material system that utilizes a thermally responsive polymer as structural joints with their project, “Translated Geometries.” Read on after the break to learn about how this new material system was developed and its potential for applications in architecture.
Asked to design an interactive facade for an existing parking structure at the new Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, Urbana principle Rob Ley had a conundrum to deal with: “With Indianapolis’ really extreme weather patterns, we gave a lot of thought to: how can we make something that’s interactive but won’t be broken in a year?” he told the Architect’s Newspaper. “Unfortunately, the history of kinetic facades teaches us that that they can become a maintenance nightmare.”
His solution came from turning the question on its head – how could they design and fabricate a static facade that appears to change when the viewer moves? The resulting design appears highly complex, while in fact using aluminum fins bent at just three different angles. Find out more about the challenges of fabricating this facade, and inserting it into an existing structure, through the video above or at the Architect’s Newspaper Fabrikator blog.
Solar harvesting systems don’t need to be glaringly obvious. In fact, now they can even be invisible, thanks to researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) who have developed a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) that can be applied to windows or anything else with a clear surface.
LSC technology is nothing new, but the transparent aspect is. Previous attempts yielded inefficient results with brightly colored materials, and as researcher Richard Lunt, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at MSU, puts it, “No one wants to sit behind colored glass.” To learn how Lunt and the rest of the research team achieved transparency, keep reading after the break.
Materials will make ArchDaily more useful for you. When you come to our site to browse our projects, and come across certain facades, lighting, or any other kind of detail you admire, Materials allows you to instantly access the makers of those architectural products, so you can incorporate them into your own projects. It’s Inspiration, Materialized.
We wanted to update you now and let you know how Materials has grown over the last five months. Since launching, we’ve added 31 categories that let you easily explore our 286 products. We’ve added a useful link from the product page to the project page – allowing you to see the material applied in all its glory. Following your feedback, we’ve even added construction details and specs to project pages. And we’ve partnered with some amazing manufacturers, including: Hunter Douglas, Equitone, Sherwin Williams, Alucobond, VMZinc, and Big Ass Fans.
Today, we’re happy to report 466,000 pageviews and counting! However, we know we’re still in the early stages yet. Take a moment to explore this inspirational resource by clicking on Materials at the top of the page (between Articles & Interviews), share it with your friends, and let us know how it can be more useful to you!
The ArchDaily Team
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.
The potential solution to smog and pollution may be hovering right over our heads, now that Students at the University of California – Riverside have designed a pollution reducing rooftop tile. According to their calculations, cladding one million rooftops with the tiles could remove 21 tons of nitrogen oxides — daily. Currently the Los Angeles area spits out 500 tons of nitrogen oxides a day, so the tiles are just one piece of the puzzle in reducing pollution – however the students are imagining their nitrogen-oxide-eating Titanium Dioxide compound in exterior paints, concrete and more. To see all the possibilities, read the full article here.
On a purely aesthetic level, 3D printing holds great potential for buildings – all the possibilities of sculpted concrete without the bulky and expensive formwork. Taken to an extreme, it could someday make Hadid-like forms so cheap to execute that they become mundane (even for a non-architect) – maybe even causing the profession to re-evaluate what qualifies as high design.
However, the more important advantage of 3D printing, what could spur its acceptance as a viable means of construction, is its supposed sustainability. Among its oft-
At its debut at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014, Indonesia offers a peek into the country’s past 100 years of architectural history in its pavilion: “Craftsmanship: Material Consciousness.” Moving images projected onto glass panels tell Indonesia’s story through the development of six materials, traced over time: wood, stone, brick, steel, concrete and bamboo. See images of the pavilion and enjoy a statement from the curators after the break.
115 entries from 39 countries! This was the number of architectural and design students who entered this year’s international concept competition – the Troldtekt Award 2014. The EUR 5,000 prize was won by three students from Escuela Superior de Arquitectura in Guadalajara (Mexico) for their project Troldtekt Raw. The jury was so impressed with the overall quality of the entries that three special prizes were also awarded, while a further four projects received honourable mentions.
With conscious material choices, Australian architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer are known for their ability to integrate buildings into a city’s existing fabric. Michael Holt, editor of the Australian Design Review, caught up with partner Tim Greer, for the following interview, picking his brain on materiality, site, history and more.
Since the practice’s inception in 1988, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (TZG) has become expert in the reuse of existing built fabric and how best to reintroduce the past into the contemporary. Through projects such as the restoration of Hyde Park Barracks, the National Arboretum Canberra (featured in AR131–Present), Carriageworks, and Paddington Reservoir Gardens, certain design characteristics are notable: volumetric boxes, a shifting in typology, an overarching and encompassing ceiling or roof plane, a restricted material palette, and working-off the existing while simultaneously revealing the existing.