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"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 +16

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.

A21studio Uses Bamboo and Poonah Paper to Build Cocoon Inspired Pavilion in Vietnam

06:00 - 12 July, 2016

Architect Nguyen Hoa Hiep of a21 studio, in collaboration with Saigon architecture students, have created a cocoon-inspired pavilion. This exhibition is organized annually by Handhome.net in Vietnam in order to connect older generations of architects with students. 

© Trieu Chien © Trieu Chien © Trieu Chien © Trieu Chien +9

Kooo Architects' Colorful Mobile Fashion Store Built From Japanese Disaster Hoods

08:00 - 11 July, 2016
Courtesy of Kooo Architects
Courtesy of Kooo Architects

When posed with a brief for a Japanese-style mobile fashion store, Kooo Architects decided not to respond in a purely visual symbolic way. Rather, they looked at the climate for constructing architecture in Japan, and decided to raise social awareness of the destructive power of earthquakes. Using approximately 1000 disaster hoods to create an 8m diameter partial dome, their design embodies the color and texture of their client's fashion range while reminding the public of the prevalence of natural disasters.

How to Correctly Design and Build a Kitchen

06:00 - 4 July, 2016
How to Correctly Design and Build a Kitchen, Courtesy of Arauco
Courtesy of Arauco

Before starting the design process, the most important thing is to understand how the kitchen is going to be used. This is a basic approach that any architect must take. A kitchen can’t be just a leftover space or a space to be defined at the end of a project. Designers must understand that a kitchen has various flows and different work areas that need to be integrated throughout the entire project.

Beyond the style or design requested by the client, it’s important to define a module to optimize performance and minimize the manufacturing costs of the different pieces. This way, measurements of all the components of a kitchen are set before defining the space that will house them.

Constructing The Floating Piers: How the Last Great Work of Christo and Jean-Claude was Built

08:00 - 30 June, 2016
Constructing The Floating Piers: How the Last Great Work of Christo and Jean-Claude was Built, © Wolfgang Volz
© Wolfgang Volz

Until July 3rd, you can experience the latest and last work of artist duo Christo and Jean-Claude. Called The Floating Piers, the floating dock extends over the water of Italy's Lake Iseo.

The work consists of a three kilometer walkway wrapped in 100,000 square meters of yellow cloth, which is supported by a floating dock system composed of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes. These elements naturally undulate with the movement of the waves at Lake Iseo, which is located 100 kilometers east of Milan and 200 kilometers west of Venice. The floating yellow roads extend from the pedestrian streets of Sulzano, connecting the islands of San Paolo and Monte Isola.

The Floating Piers is the first large-scale work of Christo for more than a decade after making The Gates in 2005 with Jeanne-Claude, who passed away four years later. Due to the importance of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's work and the inspiration they have given to many architects, we wanted to investigate the process of building this spectacular project, which makes the dream of walking on water a reality.

February 2016: At geo – die Luftwerker, 75,000 square meters of yellow fabric are sewn into panels. (Lübeck, Germany) Image © Wolfgang Volz June 2016: Final installation of the docks, and covering with the yellow fabric. Image © Wolfgang Volz Noviembre 2015: Christo in his studio working on a preparatory drawing for The Floating Piers. Image © Wolfgang Volz May 2016: Workers install the felt that will cover the floating cubes before the yellow fabric is installed Image © Wolfgang Volz +31

Georges Batzios Architects Propose Cultural Center Made Entirely of Straw

06:00 - 30 June, 2016
Georges Batzios Architects Propose Cultural Center Made Entirely of Straw , Courtesy of Georges Batzios Architects
Courtesy of Georges Batzios Architects

A proposal from George Batzios Architects for the Konaki Averof Cultural Center in Greece uses a cutting edge, sustainable approach to revive a deeply historical site. The design intertwines elements of architecture and agriculture to refit an existing structure with reference to the Thessalian plains on which it lies. The new architecture recreates the existing envelopes with straw cladding, regenerating the "golden environment" which defined the place in the late 19th century.

Material Focus: The Great Wall of WA by Luigi Rosselli

10:00 - 29 June, 2016
Material Focus: The Great Wall of WA by Luigi Rosselli ,  The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch
The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch

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 Great Wall of WA, designed by the Australian firm Luigi Rosselli Architects, and selected as one of Archdaily’s Best Building of the Year 2016, provides a unique example of rammed earth construction. At 230 meters in length, the Great Wall of WA is the longest structure of its kind in Australia and possibly the South Hemisphere, according to its architects. Built in remote North Western Australia, the building is made from locally available materials whose thermal properties help it to endure a variable climate. We spoke with the architect Luigi Rosselli to learn more about his compelling choice of material and the determining role it played in his concept design.

 The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch  The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch  The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch  The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch +13

This New "Fancy Fence" System Retracts Gate Directly Into Ground

08:00 - 28 June, 2016

A new fencing system uses the same tried and tested hardware as a standard sliding gate, but with a twist; the vertically operable slats sink into the ground in less than five seconds, disappearing completely. The Fancy Fence was created to streamline accessibility, while also improving the visual bulk of traditional fences by removing all horizontal elements. The system can be installed in an infinite number of configurations and incorporates elegantly designed fixed slats, the retractable gate and an "invisible" walkway gate.

SUTD Professors Design 3D Printed Mesh Pavilion

08:00 - 18 June, 2016
SUTD Professors Design 3D Printed Mesh Pavilion, © SUTD : Felix Raspall + Carlos Bañón
© SUTD : Felix Raspall + Carlos Bañón

Professors Felix Raspall and Carlos Bañón from SUTD Singapore have designed a 14.5-meter-long fibrous mesh made out of metal and nylon 3D printed nodes and aluminum bars for the SUTD Open House 2016.

Rather than utilizing 3D printing to create a scaled model, the pavilion project applied 3D printing technology directly to functional architectural components at a large scale.

Let Your Building "Breathe" With This Pneumatic Façade Technology

09:30 - 11 June, 2016

Have you ever seen a building that breathes through thousands of pores? That may now be a possibility thanks to Tobias Becker’s Breathing Skins Project. Based on the concept of biomimicry, the technology is inspired by organic skins that adjust their permeability to control the necessary flow of light, matter and temperature between the inside and the outside. In addition to these performative benefits, the constantly changing appearance of these façades provides a rich interplay between the exterior natural environment and interior living spaces.

Courtesy of The Breathing Skins Project Courtesy of The Breathing Skins Project Courtesy of The Breathing Skins Project Courtesy of The Breathing Skins Project +8

RMIT Researchers Develop a Lighter, Better Brick Made With Cigarette Butts

16:00 - 10 June, 2016
RMIT Researchers Develop a Lighter, Better Brick Made With Cigarette Butts, © Flickr cc user letsbook. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
© Flickr cc user letsbook. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

One man’s trash is another man’s building material. Researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (commonly known as RMIT University) have developed a technique for making bricks out of one of the world’s most stubborn forms of pollution: discarded cigarette butts.  Led by Dr. Abbas Mohajerani, the team discovered that manufacturing fired-clay bricks with as little as 1 percent cigarette butt content could completely offset annual worldwide cigarette production, while also producing a lighter, more efficient brick.

The Compact Wooden City: A Life-Cycle Analysis of How Timber Could Help Combat Climate Change

10:45 - 2 June, 2016
The Compact Wooden City: A Life-Cycle Analysis of How Timber Could Help Combat Climate Change, Sou Fujimoto and Laisné Roussel's proposal for a tall wooden building in Bordeaux. Image © SOU FUJIMOTO ARCHITECTS + LAISNÉ ROUSSEL + RENDERING BY TÀMAS FISHER AND MORPH
Sou Fujimoto and Laisné Roussel's proposal for a tall wooden building in Bordeaux. Image © SOU FUJIMOTO ARCHITECTS + LAISNÉ ROUSSEL + RENDERING BY TÀMAS FISHER AND MORPH

Nowadays the main building materials used in the construction industry are concrete, steel and timber. From the point of view of ecological sustainability, there are four important differences between these three materials: first, timber is the only material of the three that is renewable; second, timber needs only a small amount of energy to be extracted and recycled compared to steel and concrete (but the implementation of its potential is not as developed yet); third, timber does not produce waste by the end of its life since it can be reused many times in several products before decomposing or being used as fuel and; and fourth, timber traps huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere – a tree can contain a ton of CO2 [1] – and the carbon absorbed remains embedded as long as the wood is in use.

Considering the fact that 36 percent of total carbon emissions in Europe during the last decade came from the building industry,[2] as well as 39 percent of total carbon emissions in the United States,[3] the materiality of construction should be a priority for governments’ regulations in the future as measurements against global warming. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the level of carbon emissions of the big economies across the globe are big issues that need to be solved with urgency in order to avoid larger, more frequent climate catastrophes in the future. The current regulation in several countries of the EU, which is incentivizing the use of renewable materials in buildings, is showing the direction the building industry in many other parts of the world should follow. And if these measures are adopted across the EU and beyond – if other countries start to follow this tendency as well – there will be significantly more wood in cities.

In order to raise awareness of tall wooden buildings, last year Michael Green Architecture reimagined the Empire State Building as a wooden structure. Image © Metsä Wood Limnologen in Växjö, Sweden. Image © Midroc Property Development Early construction of Acton Ostry Architects' Brock Commons Student Residence at the University of British Columbia. When complete in 2017, the 18-story building will be the world's tallest timber building. Image © Acton Ostry Architects Inc. & University of British Columbia Michael Green Architecture was part of a team that proposed the world's tallest wooden buildings as part of the Réinventer Paris competition. Image © MGA +7

With Recent Innovations, Where Will Elevators Take Us Next?

09:30 - 27 May, 2016
With Recent Innovations, Where Will Elevators Take Us Next?

Many technological advancements have changed the way we design in the past 150 years, but perhaps none has had a greater impact than the invention of the passenger elevator. Prior to Elisha Otis’ design for the elevator safety brake in 1853, buildings rarely reached 7 stories. Since then, buildings have only been growing taller and taller. In 2009, the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, maxed out at 163 floors (serviced by Otis elevators). Though a century and half separates those milestones, in that time elevator technology has actually changed relatively little - until recently.

SCI-Arc’s Close-up Exhibit Explores the Potential of Digital Technologies on Architectural Detail

12:00 - 14 May, 2016
SCI-Arc’s Close-up Exhibit Explores the Potential of Digital Technologies on Architectural Detail, SCI-Arc's "Close-up" Exhibtion Explores Architectural Detail in an age of digital manufacturing and design. Image © Joshua White
SCI-Arc's "Close-up" Exhibtion Explores Architectural Detail in an age of digital manufacturing and design. Image © Joshua White

SCI-Arc’s “Close-up” exhibition is currently on display at the SCI-Arc gallery, featuring architectural details designed with the use of digital technology by top architects in the field. The exhibit, curated by Hernan Diaz Alonso and David Ruy, seeks to explore the impact of new computational tools not only on large-scale building analysis, but also on the “traditions of tectonic expression” associated with architectural detail.

“Out of the many critical shifts that the discipline has gone through in the last 25 years with the explosion of new technologies and digital means of production, the notion of the construction detail has been largely overlooked,” Diaz Alonso said. “This show attempts to shed light on the subject of tectonic details by employing a fluid and dynamic movement of zooming in and zooming out in the totality of the design.”

The 16 exhibitors include architecture firms like Morphosis, Gehry Partners and UN Studio – see preview images of them all after the break.

By UN Studio. Image © Joshua White By Gehry Partners. Image © Joshua White By P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S. Image © Joshua White By Tom Wiscombe Architecture. Image © Joshua White +37

New Material From Harvard Researchers Folds and Changes Shape On Its Own

08:00 - 14 May, 2016

A material produced by Harvard researchers changes size, volume and shape all by itself, reports The Harvard Gazette. The new material, inspired by the “snapology” technique from origami is composed of extruded cubes that have 24 faces and 36 edges.

At Kunstmuseum Basel, iart Creates a Frieze with a Technological Twist

09:30 - 13 May, 2016

Though it was once an essential element of all classical structures, the frieze has largely been left behind by architects looking for contemporary façade systems. But at the recently-opened addition to the Kunstmuseum Basel, designed by Swiss architects Christ & Gantenbein in collaboration with design group iart, the frieze returns with an eye-catching, technological twist, as hidden pixels within the facade light up to display moving images and text to those below.

© Derek Li Wan Po, Basel © Derek Li Wan Po, Basel © Derek Li Wan Po, Basel © Derek Li Wan Po, Basel +15