The Green Building Wars

The Clinton Presidential Center by Polshek Partnership and Hargreaves Associates received a rating of Two from the GBI. But would have rated it the same? Image © Timothy Hursley

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.

IaaC Students Develop Material System with Responsive Structural Joints

Courtesy of IaaC (Instituto de Aquitectura Avanzada de Catalunya), Ece Tankal, Efilena Baseta, Ramin Shambayati

Despite architecture’s continued evolution over the course of history, our use of structural has remained largely the same since the advent of modern building . This reality may be changing thanks to the development of new 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.

Complexity Via Simplicity: Urbana’s Parking Structure Facade

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 ’ 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.

Invisible Solar Harvesting Technology Becomes Reality

Solar power with a view: MSU doctoral student Yimu Zhao holds up a transparent luminescent solar concentrator module. Image © Yimu Zhao

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.

Dive Into ArchDaily Materials, Our Latest Tool

Dear Readers,

In December of last year, we announced the launch of our latest innovation: ArchDaily Materials, our new US product catalog.

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!

Sincerely,

The ArchDaily Team

Merging Bamboo & Concrete for the Emerging World

© Hannah Ahlblad

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 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.

In Focus: The Architectural Applications of Zinc

The Roof Of Stonehenge - Custom Zinc Panels Fabricated By VMZINC. Image © Peter Cook

Many times, the most innovative minds in architecture aren’t the architects themselves. They can come in the form of students, researchers and in this case – providers. We recently asked VMZINC, a company that provides material solutions for architects, a few questions about the use of zinc in architecture, the Stonehenge Visitors Center and more. 

AD: How do you create intricate shapes with zinc, as seen in the roof at the Stonehenge Visitors Center?

AD Classics: Thorncrown Chapel / E Fay Jones

© Flickr User Anirban Ray

Hidden in the middle of the forests surrounding Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains, Thorncrown Chapel rests amongst the oaks, pines and maples. The humble chapel, designed by Euine Fay Jones, is less than 35 years old – yet it’s on the U.S. Historic register, has been named one of the AIA’s top ten buildings of the 20th century, and has even been called the best American building since 1980.

The Solution To Pollution Is…The Rooftops?

Titanium Dioxide, used to keep Richard Meier’s Jubilee Church a crisp white, is now being looked at for pollution reduction at The University of California – Riverside. Image © Flickr User Rory MacLeod

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, and more. To see all the possibilities, read the full article here.

An Interview With Materials And Rapid Prototyping Specialist Krista Ninivaggi

Named the 2014 Designer of The Year by Contract Magazine, of K & Co is an expert in material innovation. In the following interview, Susan S. Szenasy of Metropolis Magazine asks the young designer about her design process, the she uses and more. 

Why 3D Printing Is Not As Sustainable As Its Defenders Say

Yacht designed by Zaha Hadid. Could 3D Printing “someday make Hadid-like forms so cheap to execute that they become mundane”?. Image © Unique Circle Yachts / Zaha Hadid Architects for Bloom+Voss Shipyards

 is a column, penned by Christopher Brenny and presented by ArchDaily Materials, which investigates the innovative applications of  in architecture.

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 . Among its oft-cited advantages are a use of “green” materials and a reduction in construction waste. However, is 3D Printing really as sustainable as its defenders contend?  

Craftsmanship: Material Consciousness – Inside Indonesia’s Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2014

© Nico Saieh

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 , traced over time: wood, , brick, steel, concrete and bamboo. See images of the pavilion and enjoy a statement from the curators after the break.

DIY Materials Concept Wins Troldtekt Award 2014

Courtesy of Troldtekt A/S

115 entries from 39 countries! This was the number of architectural and design students who entered this year’s international concept competition – the 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.

Modern Masters Of Materiality: An Interview With Australia’s Tonkin Zulaikha Greer

The Cloudy Bay Winery in New Zealand conveys TZG’s love for timeless . Image © Mike Rolfe

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.

Campos Leckie Studio: Adapting Materials Across Contexts

Vancouver, BC Based Architects Campos Lecki – The Zacatitos 03 House. Image © John Sinal

In the following interview, presented by ArchDaily Materials and originally published by Sixty7 Architecture Road, Canadian firm Campos Leckie Studio defines their process for designing site-specific, beautiful architecture that speaks for itself. Enjoy the firm’s stunning projects and read the full interview after the break. 

We asked Michael Leckie, one of the principals of Vancouver-based Campos Leckie Studio, about the importance of discovery in design and the textural differences between projects. Your website states that your firm is committed to a rigorous process of discovery. How do you explain that to clients?

Process is extremely important in our work. When we meet with clients we do not immediately provide napkin sketches or an indication of what form the work will ultimately take on. Rather, we focus on the formulation of the ‘design problem’ and the conditions that establish the basis for exploration and discovery. These contextual starting points include the site, program, materiality, budget, as well as cultural reference points. This is challenging for some clients, as our culture generally conditions people to expect to see the final product before they commit to something.

Trenches, Benches, and Trees on Towers: New Exhibit Delves Into our Relationship with WOOD

In our technology-obsessed age we tend to forget where materials actually come from. But in their first exhibition on materials, WOOD, the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam not only overviews wood’s uses from World War I trenches to daily tools, but also reminds us where wood comes from, tracking wood’s manmade and natural “cycles” of destruction and reconstruction. WOOD is curated by Dan Handel, in cooperation with exhibition designers and and is showing until October 8th of this year – learn more at the website here.

Why Tall Wooden Buildings are On the Rise: An Interview with Perkins+Will’s Wood Expert

IZM Building / Architekten Hermann Kaufmann – Germany. Image © Norman A. Müller

Material Minds, presented by ArchDaily Materials, is our new series of short interviews with architects, designers, scientists, and others who use architectural materials in innovative ways. Enjoy!

Wood. The United States is the largest producer of the natural resource in the world. But yet we rarely see it in commercial, high-rise construction. So we asked a wood expert – Rebecca Holt at Perkins+Will, an analyst for reThink Wood‘s recent Tall Wood Survey  – to tell us about its potential benefits.

AD: Why is wood a material architects should use in taller buildings?

There are lots of reasons to consider wood – first it has a lower environmental impact than other traditional choices like concrete and steel.  Wood is the only major building material that is made the by sun and is completely renewable.

Arthur Andersson on Timeless Materials & Building “Ruins”

Tower House . Image © Art Gray

Material Minds, presented by ArchDaily Materials, is our new series of short with architects, designers, scientists, and others who use architectural  in innovative ways. Enjoy!

Arthur Andersson of Andersson-Wise Architects wants to build ruins. He wants things to be timeless – to look good now and 2000 years from now. He wants buildings to fit within a place and time. To do that he has a various set of philosophies, processes and some great influences. Read our full in-depth interview with Mr. Andersson, another revolutionary ”Material Mind,” after the break.