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 ’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 ’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 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?

, 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 materials she uses and more. 

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

Yacht designed by Zaha Hadid. Could “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 sustainability. 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 materials, traced over time: , , 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 Troldtekt Award 2014. The EUR 5,000 prize was won by three students from Escuela Superior de Arquitectura in Guadalajara () 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 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 Jannetje in ‘t Veld and Toon Koehorst 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 , 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 interviews 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.

Ten Buildings Pushing The Boundaries of Wood

Perkins + Will UBC Earth Sciences Building. Image © Martin Tessler

Wood is the ultimate material - it’s renewable, sequesters carbon and more importantly, it’s buildable. Nevertheless is rarely used in tall, vertical construction. Now reThink wood has come out with their Tall Wood Survey (available in full on their website), which surveyed over 50 wood experts to explore three main areas in which wood is usually questioned: financing, insurance and performance. But beyond discussing the pros and cons of wood, the survey also highlights 10 projects that show how wood products are being used in ways you never thought existed. See all ten innovative projects, after the break. 

Reflective Concrete, Wooden Textiles And More: Five Materials You Never Knew Existed

Wooden Textiles – A Mixture Of Of Materials That Makes Feel Soft. Image Courtesy of Interiors & Sources

The following post is presented by ArchDaily Materials, our new US product catalog.

Recently, Interiors & Sources featured fourteen of the coolest materials they’ve come across in their 30-year history; the following post lists the five that most tickled our fancy. Enjoy!

MIT Develops Self-Assembling, Easy-Bake Robots

MIT has developed a way to 3D print sheets of material that self-assemble when baked. With inspiration from Japanese , researchers have developed — among other objects — robots. Head researcher Daniela Rus is already looking for potential applications saying, ”I want a robot that will play with my cat.” Check out the full article at HNGN to learn more and watch a video of the assembly in action.

Three Projects That Transform Low-Tech Materials Into Innovative Design

Top: Educational Building In Mozambique / Bergen School of Architecture Students. Middle: School Library Gando / Kere Architecture. Bottom: Umubano Primary School /

The following article is presented by Materials, ArchDaily’s new US product catalog.

How many times in the last year have you heard 3d printing mentioned? What about double-skinned curtain walls or “smart” buildings? High-tech materials almost always seem to dominate the conversation – at least in architectural circles. But using the latest invention in material technology usually does not make a building “innovative.” More often than not, it just makes it expensive and flashy.

Low-tech materials like lumber, stone and brick, on the other hand, are often overlooked, even though the use of local and locally produced materials offers the lowest possible carbon footprint. And while these common materials may seem boring, with a bit of imagination and technical skill, an architect can transform these materials into something fresh. With that in mind, check out three truly innovative projects which use low-tech materials in different and exciting ways.