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This New Database Allows You to Search Through the Architectural Applications of Lesser Known Timber Species

12:15 - 29 August, 2016
This New Database Allows You to Search Through the Architectural Applications of Lesser Known Timber Species, Courtesy of FCS Denmark
Courtesy of FCS Denmark

Wood has always been one of the essential materials used in construction, and with the ongoing trend of timber-framed tall buildings, it has become more important than ever to be conscious of the impacts on the environment from the types of wood we source.

Currently, there exist more than 50,000 tropical timber species in the world, yet only a small percentage of those are utilized in construction projects. This has led to the exploitation of the more well-known timber species, altering the diversity of the world’s tropical forests and putting those species in danger of disappearing completely. But what if we began building with the full range of species available to us?

In efforts to increase awareness for the multitude of timber varieties available on the market, The Forest Stewardship Council of Denmark (FCS Denmark) have developed an online database of lesser known timber species (LKTS).

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.

Material Focus: House in Lago Sul Qi 25 by Sérgio Parada Arquitetos Associados

08:00 - 24 August, 2016
Material Focus: House in Lago Sul Qi 25 by Sérgio Parada Arquitetos Associados, © Haruo Mikami
© Haruo Mikami

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 a building constructed.

The House in Lago Sur Qi 25 was designed by  Sérgio Parada Arquitetos Associados firm. The project is 800 square meters and the layout is organized into 3 floors. Their volumes were defined by their use: intimate, service, formal and leisure. The project’s structure is completely made up of reinforced concrete with large openings that allow for complete integration of the exterior with the interior. We talked with the architect Rodrigo Biavati to learn more about the material choices and challenges of the project.

New DIY System from TERRA! Allows You to Grow Your Own Furniture Into Your Landscape

08:00 - 23 August, 2016

You can now easily build integrated seating into your landscape project, thanks to a prefabricated grass armchair system called TERRA! The laser cut framework elements are quickly assembled, and all that's left to do is cover the mound with soil and wait for the grass to envelope it. First released over 15 years ago and taken off the market shortly after, TERRA! is now back with a revitalized and simplified design. 

Repurposed Material Creates Distinct Felt Tile Patterns that Provide Sound Control

08:00 - 22 August, 2016
Courtesy of FilzFelt
Courtesy of FilzFelt

Architecture Research Office and FilzFelt have teamed up to create ARO Block, a series of modular acoustic tiles that provide sound control in a customizable, easy-to-install system. Generated from remnant material of FilzFelt’s CNC cut products, which are often times small, ARO Block not only creates distinct felt tile patterns but also prevents leftover fabric from going to waste.

SOM's Timber Tower System Successfully Passes Strength Testing

16:30 - 18 August, 2016

The recent trend in timber-framed architecture may just be beginning.

SOM’s Timber Tower Research Project has passed a major milestone as the structural system has successfully completed strength testing that validate initial calculations. Launched in 2013, The Timber Tower Research project was established with the goal of developing a new structural system for skyscrapers that uses timber as its primary material. Using these techniques, the research team estimates that the embodied carbon footprint of buildings can be reduced by 60 to 75 percent when compared to a benchmark concrete building.

Video: How to Build Your Own Spiral Staircase Using a CNC Router

12:25 - 16 August, 2016

In this video, Ben Uyeda of HomeMade Modern demonstrates how to build a sleek, contemporary spiral staircase using just a standard schedule steel post, plywood and a CNC router (along with a healthy amount of wood and construction glue). To build the staircase, Uyeda uses the CNC to cut out 12 shapes of incremental size from a plywood sheet, which he then stacks and fits around the post to secure into place.

HomeMade Modern has also made the CAD files available for free, so handy woodworking types can attempt the construction themselves.

Watch How Bamboo Scaffolding Was Used to Build Hong Kong's Skyscrapers

14:45 - 15 August, 2016
© flickr user ahmcdowall. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
© flickr user ahmcdowall. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

In the late 20th century, restricted by an a small landmass and extreme terrain, the Hong Kong urban area grew to become one of the densest and most vertical places on the planet, with more buildings taller than 500 feet than any other city in the world. But instead of the steel or aluminum structures used as scaffolding in Europe and the Western Hemisphere, the majority of skyscrapers built in Hong Kong and much of Asia used scaffolding systems constructed out of bamboo.

To create the structures, the high strength, lightweight material is strapped together with plastic ties by construction crews, who also use the structure as a ladder for scaling the building. Despite using few safety restraints, crews are able to construct up to 1,000 square feet of bamboo scaffolding in just one day. To protect the structure, nylon gauze is sometimes draped along the outside.

Check out a series of GIFs and images showing how it works after the break. And if you're interested in learning more about bamboo construction materials, check out our Materials catalog.

AA School of Architecture Designs Adaptable Structural Plastic 3D Printing Method

06:00 - 15 August, 2016
AA School of Architecture Designs Adaptable Structural Plastic 3D Printing Method, Courtesy of The AA School of Architecture
Courtesy of The AA School of Architecture

The AA School of Architecture’s DRL Masters Program has developed a thesis project, entitled Growing Systems, which explores adaptable building systems using methods of robotic fabrication and generative special printing within the context of housing.

Centered on a new method of structural 3D vertical extrusion, the project combines the precision of prefabricated elements with the adaptability of on-site fabrication, in response to the flux and dynamism of cities. The method becomes a system of elasticity that can accommodate site parameters, as well as future adjustments.

Courtesy of The AA School of Architecture Courtesy of The AA School of Architecture Courtesy of The AA School of Architecture Courtesy of The AA School of Architecture +8

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,

These Everyday Household Items Convert Light Into Energy

08:00 - 7 August, 2016
These Everyday Household Items Convert Light Into Energy, Courtesy of Caventou
Courtesy of Caventou

London-based design firm Caventou has designed a series of “stained glass” everyday objects that turn daylight into electricity, even indoors.

Integrated with solar cells, Current Table and Current Window are both independent, intelligent power sources that function normally as household items.

Courtesy of Caventou Courtesy of Caventou Courtesy of Caventou Courtesy of Caventou +20

Material Focus: Enseada House by Arquitetura Nacional

08:00 - 4 August, 2016
Material Focus: Enseada House by Arquitetura Nacional, © Marcelo Donadussi
© Marcelo Donadussi

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 Enseada House project was developed by the Porto Alegre office of National Architecture in 2015 and is 317 square meters with an interesting interplay between volume and materials. We talked with the architect Paula Otto, one of the designers to learn more about the material choices used in this project and the role that these choices played in the design concept.

© Marcelo Donadussi © Marcelo Donadussi © Marcelo Donadussi © Marcelo Donadussi +23

Amazing Robotically Fabricated Mesh Revolutionizes How Concrete is Formed and Reinforced

08:00 - 2 August, 2016

Since 2015, Gramazio Kohler Research has been in the process of developing "Mesh Mould Metal," a project that studies the unification of concrete reinforcement and formwork into a single, robotically fabricated material system. The project is based on their first phase of research, Mesh Mould, which spanned from 2012 to 2014, and developed a robotic extrusion process for a polymer mesh.

Now, as a second phase, Mesh Mould Metal “focuses on the translation of the structurally weak polymer-based extrusion process into a fully load-bearing construction system” by replicating the process in metal. Specifically, the current research delves into the development of "a fully automated bending and welding process for meshes fabricated from 3-millimeter steel wire."

Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Research Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Research Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Research Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Research +12

Material Focus: Salling Tower by Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter

09:30 - 31 July, 2016
Material Focus: Salling Tower by Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter, © Torben Eskerod
© Torben Eskerod

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.

Installed last year, the Salling Tower provides a striking, sculptural landmark in Aarhus Docklands. From inside, its deceptively simple counterbalanced form provides a range of ways to look out over the harbor and the city - but from the outside the project's designers, Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter wanted the tower to take on an abstract appearance, referencing nautical themes with its sail-like shape and porthole-like openings all while obscuring the process of its own construction. To do this, the firm created a structure composed entirely of a single steel piece resting on top of its foundations. In this interview, project architect Noel Wibrand tells us about how the project's material choice contributed to the construction process.

© Torben Eskerod © Torben Eskerod © Torben Eskerod © Torben Eskerod +8

This Brick-Laying Robot Can Construct an Entire House in Just 2 Days

12:40 - 28 July, 2016

Thanks to a new robot named Hadrian X, we made soon be able to construct an entire brick house in just 2 days. Developed by the appropriately named Australian firm Fastbrick Robotics, the giant truck-mounted robot has the ability to lay up to 1,000 bricks an hour. Its innovation comes via the machine’s 30-meter telescopic boom, which allows the base to remain in a single position throughout the brick-laying process.

"DIY For Architects": This Parametric Brick Facade Was Built Using Traditional Craft Techniques

12:00 - 23 July, 2016
"DIY For Architects": This Parametric Brick Facade Was Built Using Traditional Craft Techniques, Courtesy of Sstudiomm
Courtesy of Sstudiomm

With their latest facade construction, Iranian architecture firm Sstudiomm explores the potential that brick can offer by utilizing parametric architecture. Instead of relying on unique construction elements for assembly on-site at a later date, in their new project (called, in full, "Negative Precision. On-Site Fabrication of a Parametric Brick Facade // A DIY for Architects") the firm considers how a simple mass-produced element like the brick can be assembled in unique ways by taking advantage of digital technology. While firms like Gramazio Kohler have already developed industrial methods of assembling brickwork following parametric designs, Sstudiomm aims for a more lo-fi approach, creating parametric brick walls using little more than the traditional construction methods found in Iran and a dose of ingenuity.

Courtesy of Sstudiomm Courtesy of Sstudiomm Courtesy of Sstudiomm Courtesy of Sstudiomm +17

This Spray-On Compound Can Protect Buildings During Disasters And Explosions

06:00 - 21 July, 2016
This Spray-On Compound Can Protect Buildings During Disasters And Explosions , A wall coated with Paxcon (left) vs an untreated wall (right) after a TNT detonation. Image Courtesy of Line-X
A wall coated with Paxcon (left) vs an untreated wall (right) after a TNT detonation. Image Courtesy of Line-X

A game-changing protective coating from Line-X has the power to make buildings virtually impenetrable. The spray creates a thin barrier which is watertight, abrasion and impact resistant and can withstand high temperatures; all of which combine to make it almost indestructible. The concoction deemed "Paxcon®," is stronger than steel, and can protect buildings from explosions or natural disasters such as earthquakes or storms. 

OSU Chemists Discover New Blue Pigment that Could Help Keep Buildings Cool

08:00 - 16 July, 2016
OSU Chemists Discover New Blue Pigment that Could Help Keep Buildings Cool, Mas Subramanian. Image Courtesy of Oregon State University
Mas Subramanian. Image Courtesy of Oregon State University

After discovering a vibrant new pigment of blue by accident, chemists at Oregon State University have brought the compound to market in the form of a paint that looks promising to architectural sustainability. 

While experimenting with materials to study applications for electronics in 2009, OSU chemist Mas Subramanian and his team mixed black manganese oxide with other chemicals and heated them to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Little did they know, one of their samples would turn into a brilliant blue color.