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Below The Extraordinarily Textured Surface of This Unique Polish Concert Hall

06:00 - 17 January, 2017
Below The Extraordinarily Textured Surface of This Unique Polish Concert Hall , © Patryk Lewinski
© Patryk Lewinski

This article is part of our new "Material Focus" series, which asks architects to elaborate on the thought process behind their material choices and sheds light on the steps required to get buildings actually built.

The CKK Jordanki (Jordanki Cultural and Convention Center) by Fernando Menis is located in the historical center of Torun. It respects the shorter height of the surrounding buildings to preserve the views of the river and better fit the natural environment that surrounds it. The building was designed to have a more natural look, like a 'rock' that marks the transition from the urban plot to the park that surrounds it. In this interview we spoke with Fernando Menis who explained in depth how the selection of project materials contributed to the design process, helped in the inclusion of universal accessibility, and the project’s construction.

© Jakub Certowicz © Jakub Certowicz © Patryk Lewinski © Patryk Lewinski +13

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.

Newly Discovered Molecular ‘Glue’ May hold the Key to Strong Wooden Skyscrapers

06:00 - 12 January, 2017
Newly Discovered Molecular ‘Glue’ May hold the Key to Strong Wooden Skyscrapers, HAUT, a proposed 240-foot timber-framed tower to be built in Amsterdam. Image Courtesy of Team V Architectuur
HAUT, a proposed 240-foot timber-framed tower to be built in Amsterdam. Image Courtesy of Team V Architectuur

The key to engineering wood strong enough to support skyscrapers may lie in the interaction between molecules 10,000 times narrower than the width of a human hair.

A new study by researchers at the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge has solved a long-held mystery of how key polymers in plant cells bind to form strong, indigestible materials such as wood and straw. By recreating this ‘glue’ in a lab, engineers may be able to produce new wood-based materials that surpass current strength capabilities.

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

Video: This Kinetic Green Wall Displays 'Pixel' Plant Art

16:00 - 9 January, 2017
Video: This Kinetic Green Wall Displays 'Pixel' Plant Art, Courtesy of BAD. Built by Associative Data
Courtesy of BAD. Built by Associative Data

BAD. Built by Associative Data’s Associative Data Research has collaborated with Green Studios to create Kinetic Green Canvas, a prototype Green-Art Installation for building façades.

The Canvas consists of individual modules, each of which is a cube made from steel framework, back paneling, L-shaped jambs, secondary structure, waterproofing board, irrigation piping, Green Studios hydroponic skin, and plants. These layered components are assembled on four sides of the cube module, with a motor and water pipe attachment that circulates water throughout.

MIT Develops Multi-Material Design System Slated to Become “Photoshop of 3D Printing”

14:00 - 7 January, 2017

Following last year’s introduction of MultiFab, a multi-material 3D printer, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has pioneered a system for designing multi-material objects. The new interface, Foundry, is meant to be accessible to non-programmers, whereas multi-material 3D printing technology has historically been prohibitive both with respect to cost and user-friendliness.

17 Templates for Common Construction Systems to Help you Materialize Your Projects

08:00 - 5 January, 2017

Earlier this year, Chilean architects and professors Luis Pablo Barros and Gustavo Sarabia from the Federico Santa María University released a book (in Spanish) titled "Sistemas Constructivos Básicos" (Basic Construction Systems)." The book aims to be a tool to help architects translate their plan diagrams into tangible architectural works, as well as to help students learn the knowledge necessary to build what they plan. 

This Concave Roof System Collects Rainwater in Arid Climates

08:00 - 30 December, 2016
This Concave Roof System Collects Rainwater in Arid Climates, Courtesy of BMDesign Studios
Courtesy of BMDesign Studios

Iran-based BMDesign Studios has unveiled Concave Roof, a double-roof system with steep slopes resembling a bowl for the purpose of rainwater collection in arid climates like Iran, where a lack of water could lead to mass displacement in the future.

Because precipitation in this area is less than one-third of that of the world average, and evaporation is more than three times higher than the world average, the concave roof system is designed to “help [make] even the smallest quantities of rain [flow down] the roof and eventually coalesce into bigger drops, just right for harvesting before they evaporate” explained the architects. 

Courtesy of BMDesign Studios Courtesy of BMDesign Studios Courtesy of BMDesign Studios Courtesy of BMDesign Studios +29

The Totora Cube Investigates the Techniques of Incan-Era Craftsmanship

12:00 - 28 December, 2016
The Totora Cube Investigates the Techniques of Incan-Era Craftsmanship, Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner
Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner

Developed by the architects of the "think-act tank" Archquid, in connection with the indigenous community and other institutions of the parish of San Rafael de la Laguna (Otavalo, Ecuador), this project revolves around the material research of the totora plant, a subspecies of the giant bulrush sedge. The Totora Cube project deepens the understanding of the art and craft with which these fibers have been used since pre-Inca times.

Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner +25

30 Plans, Sections and Details for Sustainable Projects

08:00 - 28 December, 2016
30 Plans, Sections and Details for Sustainable Projects

The dramatic improvement in recent decades in our understanding of sustainable design has shown that designing sustainably doesn't have to be a compromise—it can instead be a benefit. When done correctly, sustainable design results in higher-performing, healthier buildings which contribute to their inhabitants' physical and mental well-being.

The benefits of incorporating vegetation in façades and in roofs, as well as materials and construction systems that take energy use and pollution into account, demonstrate that sustainable design has the potential to create buildings that improve living conditions and respect the natural environment.

Below we have compiled 30 plans, sections and construction details of projects that stand out for their approach to sustainability.

Translucent Wood and Light Installation Brightens Children’s Hospital in Australia

08:00 - 26 December, 2016

For children especially, hospitals can be anxiety-inducing and overwhelming space. New media studio ENESS aims to change that experience with their installation LUMES, a light-emitting wood piece, the first of which is now on display at Cabrini Hospital in Malvern, Australia.

Courtesy of ENESS Courtesy of ENESS Courtesy of ENESS Courtesy of ENESS +15

Material Focus: Expansion Inspired by Portuguese Tiles by João Tiago Aguiar

14:00 - 17 December, 2016
Material Focus: Expansion Inspired by Portuguese Tiles by João Tiago Aguiar, © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG
© Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

This article is part of our new series "Material in Focus", where we ask architects to share with us their creative process through the choice of materials that define important parts of the construction of their buildings.

Casa Restelo was designed by Portuguese studio João Tiago Aguiar - architects. The 225 square meter project consists of the expansion of a 50's residence in the Restelo neighborhood, an area of semi-detached houses. For this project they also completely renovated the exterior facades, keeping the current look in mind while creating a new interpretation of the patterns inspired by traditional Portuguese tiles. We talked with the architect João Tiago Aguiar to know more about the material choices and the challenges of this project.

10 Innovative Materials That Could Revolutionize the Construction Industry

08:00 - 9 December, 2016

Cement that can generate light? Concrete for building on Mars? Translucent wood? Biodegradable furniture? Pollution absorbing bricks? At first, it sounds crazy but these are only some of the research projects taking place around the world in order to take the construction industry to the next level.

Continue reading below for more information about the motivations behind these projects and how these "experiments" that have already begun large-scale testing are being carried out. 

This Cement Generates Light

12:00 - 8 December, 2016
This Cement Generates Light, Courtesy of Sinembargo.com
Courtesy of Sinembargo.com

Over the past ten years the development of intelligent construction models, closely tied to energy efficiency, has introduced new materials that have one or more properties modified, in a controlled and partial way, by external stimuli such as radiation, temperature, pH, humidity, wind, and other environmental factors. 

As a response to new construction models, Dr. José Carlos Rubio Ávalos of the UMSNH of Morelia, has developed a cement with the capacity to absorb and irradiate light energy, in order to provide greater functionality and versatility to concrete in regards to energy efficiency. 

Material Focus: Hacienda Niop by AS Arquitectua and R79

06:00 - 8 December, 2016
Material Focus: Hacienda Niop by AS Arquitectua and R79 , © David Cervera
© David Cervera

This article is part of our new series "Material in Focus", where we ask architects to share with us their creative process through the choice of materials that define important parts of the construction of their buildings.

Niop Hacienda from AS Arquitectura and R79 is part architectural regeneration project part historical building involving the transformation of an abandoned industrial space into high-end tourist complex in the southeast region of Mexico. A desire to maintain the original feel of the place influenced the selection of the new materials (like steel, stone, chukum, wood and glass) in order to create new spaces for public and private use that meld with the existing structure. In this interview, we talked with Roberto Ramirez from R79 who explains more about how the material choice of the project contributed to the design and construction process. 

© David Cervera © David Cervera © David Cervera © David Cervera +18

50 Impressive Details Using Wood

07:00 - 27 November, 2016
50 Impressive Details Using Wood

Over the course of history the unique characteristics of wood, which are dependent upon the species of the tree and the location in which it has grown, have enabled humanity to flourish in all parts of the globe. The architectural details of wooden construction therefore show a great diversity of meetings and joints, showing not only a project's constructive and structural logic, but also embodying the value and complexity of each project.

Take a look at these 50 construction details of projects that stand out for their clever use of wood.

These Space-Saving Home Elevators are Vacuum Powered

06:00 - 25 November, 2016

Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators, LLC has created a series of air-powered, space-saving, “plug & play” elevators designed to be easily installed into home environments.

Ranging from a single-passenger to a three-passenger, wheelchair accessible model, the elevators—called Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators (PVE)—are self-supporting, and do not require equipment rooms or other additional spaces above or below the shaft. Similarly, the elevators are completely enclosed and are not built into the framework of the home around them, and thus it can easily be relocated. 

15 Details of Metal Structures and Facades for Residential Projects

08:00 - 23 November, 2016
15 Details of Metal Structures and Facades for Residential Projects

The use of steel in both the past and present is mainly associated with the success of grand industrial and civic structures. But due to the commercialization and standardization of steel profiles, its use in residential projects (thanks to its mechanical properties and fast installation) has resulted in complex and interesting solutions on a domestic scale.

Dive into these 15 construction details from residential projects that have made use of steel structures and cladding.