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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. 

See The Engineering Behind This Floating, Award-Winning Stone Helical Stair

14:00 - 22 November, 2016
See The Engineering Behind This Floating, Award-Winning Stone Helical Stair, © Agnese Sanvito
© Agnese Sanvito

Helical staircases are often designed to be show-stoppers, focal points of architectural spaces that are intended to impress. But even compared to its eye-catching peers, this staircase developed by Webb Yates Engineers and The Stonemasonry Company is unusually audacious. Developed for a residential design by RAL Architects in Formby, UK, each step of the two-story, 4.6-meter diameter helical staircase is composed of an individual block of stone, giving an impression of weightlessness as the structure circles its way up through the building's atrium towards the glazed roof above. For their efforts, Webb Yates recently won the Award for Small Projects at the Institution of Structural Engineers' 2016 Structural Awards, whose judges said that they were "amazed by the grace and audacity" of the design. Read on to find out how Webb Yates achieved this feat of engineering.

© Agnese Sanvito © Agnese Sanvito © Agnese Sanvito Courtesy of Webb Yates Engineers +17

20 Details of Stunning Small-Scale Structures

08:00 - 17 November, 2016
20 Details of Stunning Small-Scale Structures

Throughout history, simple structures have constituted one of the most common forms of human expression. Small-scale housing, shelters, and viewpoints have been shaped by myriad materials that effectively created - depending on the techniques used - different forms of response to the same need.

Here is a compilation of 20 small-scale projects that stand out due to their small size and their simple, practical structures.

Studio Ossidiana Translates Elements of Persian Gardens Into Lively Materials Exhibition

14:00 - 13 November, 2016
Studio Ossidiana Translates Elements of Persian Gardens Into Lively Materials Exhibition, © Kyoungtae Kim
© Kyoungtae Kim

Studio Ossidiana, founded by Alessandra Covini and Tomas Dirrix, investigates architectural materials through experimental research projects. Their recent work "Petrified Carpets" explores the "ideal garden" found in Persian carpets and will be showcased at the Dutch Design Festival of 2016 along with other exhibitions.

© Kyoungtae Kim © Kyoungtae Kim © Kyoungtae Kim © Kyoungtae Kim +30

Boeing Develops World's Lightest Metal

14:05 - 9 November, 2016
Boeing Develops World's Lightest Metal, © HRL Laboratories. Via Interesting Engineering.
© HRL Laboratories. Via Interesting Engineering.

A metal microlattice developed by Boeing and HRL Laboratories has just been awarded the Guinness World Record for lightest metal.

Made from nickel phosphorus, the microlattice emulates human cell structure, reaching a density and surface area similar to lung tissue. So light it can be balanced on the top of a dandelion seed head, the material weighs in at approximately 100 times lighter than styrofoam.

40 Impressive Details Using Concrete

08:00 - 8 November, 2016
40 Impressive Details Using Concrete

Due to its ability to mold and create different shapes, concrete is one of architecture's most popular materials. While one of its most common uses is as a humble foundation, its plasticity means that it is also used in almost all types of construction, from housing to museums, presenting a variety of details of work that deserves special attention.

Check out this collection of 40 projects that highlight the use of concrete. Impressive! 

Kickstarter Campaign Produces Large Affordable CNC Cutting Machine

08:00 - 4 November, 2016

Young tech team (Bar Smith, Hannah Teagle, and Tom Beckett) has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Maslow, a four-by-eight-foot at home CNC cutting machine made to assist construction efforts by cutting user-specified shapes out of wood or any other flat material. Designed to be affordable—at under $500—easy to use, inclusive, and powerful, the project aims to share designs digitally so that you can build on the work of others or create your own from scratch. 

Based on the design of the hanging plotter, Maslow “uses gear-reduced DC motors with encoders and a closed-loop feedback system to achieve high accuracy and high torque.”

Courtesy of Maslow CNC Courtesy of Maslow CNC Courtesy of Maslow CNC Courtesy of Maslow CNC +6

Watch How These South American Architects Construct a Brickless Brick Wall

06:00 - 1 November, 2016

Using concrete and bricks made of raw mud, architects Solanito Benitez, Solano Benitez, Gloria Cabral, Maria Rovea and Ricardo Sargiotti built a wall able to be constructed by the two materials working in tandem. Once the concrete dries, the bricks are washed away, returning the mud back to its natural state, leaving spaces in the lines of concrete, like a kind of negative.

This artistic intervention arose from an invitation to participate in an art exhibition in Unquillo MUVA, Cordoba, Argentina from April 11 to May 3, 2014. 

More information and images below.

Courtesy of Ricardo Sargiotti Courtesy of Ricardo Sargiotti Courtesy of Ricardo Sargiotti Courtesy of Ricardo Sargiotti +17

CEMEX + Aptum Architecture's Floating Concrete Structures Act as Mangroves for Shorelines

12:00 - 29 October, 2016
CEMEX + Aptum Architecture's Floating Concrete Structures Act as Mangroves for Shorelines, Courtesy of Aptum Architecture
Courtesy of Aptum Architecture

Mangroves are vital for stabilizing shorelines, but their recent depletion presents impending doom for coastal habitats. 

Aptum Architecture and CEMEX Research Group might have a solution. Their collaborative project, Rhizolith Island (Isla Rhizolith), is a prototype that explores the potential for floating concrete structures to revitalize deteriorating shorelines. The structure was just installed in Cartagena, Columbia as part of the RC 2016 (Reunion del Concreto), an international Expo and Academic Conference on Concrete. 

Courtesy of Aptum Architecture  Courtesy of Aptum Architecture  Courtesy of Aptum Architecture  Courtesy of Aptum Architecture  +13

AA Summer DLAB Program Applies Computational Design to Concrete

06:00 - 24 October, 2016

Update: We've added a video of the process to the article!

This year's Architectural Association (AA) Summer DLAB program culminated in Weave.X, the final working prototype of three-dimensionally interwoven concrete structures. Designed and fabricated by 21 participants from 11 countries in July and August, the prototype explores computational design, geometry rationalization, material behavior, and robotic fabrication as applied to concrete and robotic rod-bending techniques. The result is a network of self-supporting concrete branches that envelop an amorphous enclosure.

© Architectural Association © Architectural Association © Architectural Association © Architectural Association +12

How Physico-Realistic Rendering Helps Architects Choose the Right Glass for Facades

10:30 - 21 October, 2016

The physical properties of glass are invaluable and unequaled when it comes to the architect’s material palette. From the time of the cathedrals and the the brilliantly colored stained glass that served a functional and didactic purpose, to the modernist liberation of the floor plan and the exquisitely-framed horizontal views provided by ample windows, architects have turned to glass to achieve not only aesthetic but performative conditions in their projects.

Today, Architects face an increasing array of choices in specifying and designing with glass for building facades, as glass manufacturers propose a greater variety of colors, textures and patterns than ever before. A wider range of coatings and treatments has also been developed, allowing for a finer selection of glass panes with a combination of light transmittance, reflectance and absorption to meet the needs of outstanding architectural projects. These options affect the aesthetics and energy performance of the glass, and therefore of the overall building.

Thanks to advanced calculation tools, energy performance can now be anticipated accurately, but the graphic representation of glass is still a challenge, and yet a crucial need for architects.

Material Focus: Cerrado House by Vazio S/A

06:00 - 19 October, 2016
Material Focus: Cerrado House by Vazio S/A, © Gabriel Castro
© Gabriel Castro

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 Casa no Cerrado (Cerrado House) was designed by Vazio S/A office. It was built in Moeda, Minas Gerais and, according to the architects while it seeks to explore the plasticity of basic architectural elements, the project showcases this unappreciated and threatened natural area: the Cerrado. We spoke with architect Carlos M. Teixeira to learn more about his choices of materials and the challenges of the project. 

© Gabriel Castro © Gabriel Castro © Gabriel Castro © Gabriel Castro +17

16 Details of Impressive Brickwork

08:00 - 15 October, 2016
16 Details of Impressive Brickwork

The wide range in which pieces of masonry can be arranged allows for multiple spatial configurations. Born in a furnace, the brick adorns and reinforces, protects and—to various degrees—brings natural light into spaces that need slight, natural illumination. 

Throughout history, traditional brick-laying consisted of predetermined arrangement of parts, and lines of rope to guide the consistency and placement of each individual brick. But there are many other ways to exploit this multi-faceted, timeless material, so we've selected 16 projects that demonstrate the potential of the humble brick. 

Below find 16 construction details from projects that use bricks in ingenious ways. 

How CODA Used Hundreds of White Plastic Chairs To Build A Recyclable Pavilion

07:00 - 14 October, 2016
How CODA Used Hundreds of White Plastic Chairs To Build A Recyclable Pavilion

This article is part of our "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 projects actually built.

In this exceptionally imaginative and thought-provoking exercise in perceptual shifts, Ithaca- & Brooklyn-based CODA transformed hundreds of humble plastic lawn chairs into a project in the Arts Quad at Cornell University. Viewed from afar as a spiky singular entity, close inspection reveals the simple, unpretentious repeated module. CODA explains, "the object’s features are no longer understood in terms of their use (legs, arms, seat) but in terms of their form (spikes, curves, voids) as, due to their rotation away from the ground, they lose their relationship with the human body." We asked Caroline O'Donnell, principle at CODA, to explain the challenges faced in the development and construction of the fully-recyclable URCHIN.

Monocle 24 Explores Creative Uses of Wood in Contemporary Architecture and Design

04:00 - 10 October, 2016

In this edition of Section DMonocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, the show explores how wood is being used creatively at every scale by designers and architects today. From the "timber terrazzo" of London-based designer Conor Taylor, to the four protected (yet threatened) wooden escalators at Sydney's Wynyard Railway Station, the episode questions how innovative designers are, or need to be, with this age-old tried and tested material. Finally, the show visits Folkhem in Sweden – a construction company who believe wood "to be superior to conventional alternatives in almost every respect, from construction time to acoustic properties."

60 Storey Tower Maximizes Energy Capture with Photovoltaic Facade

16:00 - 9 October, 2016
60 Storey Tower Maximizes Energy Capture with Photovoltaic Facade , Courtesy of Peddle Thorp Architects
Courtesy of Peddle Thorp Architects

Peddle Thorp Architects have submitted their proposal for the Moray Street Residential Tower in Melbourne for approval. At 1173.5 square meters, Sol Invictus is wrapped entirely in solar panels, attaining 10 times more solar surface area than a traditional roof covering. The facade can achieve up to 5000 square meters of solar panel array and is connected to a battery storage system. 

Courtesy of Peddle Thorp Architects Courtesy of Peddle Thorp Architects Courtesy of Peddle Thorp Architects Courtesy of Peddle Thorp Architects +20