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5 Projects That Illustrate the Huge Potential of Prefab

14:00 - 29 May, 2017
5 Projects That Illustrate the Huge Potential of Prefab

Prefabrication is not a new idea for architects, but its usage is arguably on the rise. Using prefabricated materials can keep your costs down, as well as make your project more sustainable and efficient. But for this to happen, there must be a defined process of construction, which respects the architectural intent and integrates the entire structure with the building's facilities. This way, the work can be carried out in the shortest time possible, and the cost of labor and maintenance is reduced, as is the waste of materials.

The five designs selected below adopt prefabricated materials and demonstrate the benefits that it brings to the creative design strategy. Read on to see what each of their architects said about their prefabrication strategy.

UNStudio Designs Teflon Pavilion to Test Concepts for Extraterrestrial Living

09:30 - 27 May, 2017
UNStudio Designs Teflon Pavilion to Test Concepts for Extraterrestrial Living, © Olaf Becker
© Olaf Becker

Designed by UNStudio in collaboration with MDT-tex, Prototype II is a modular membrane structure that recently premiered at Techtexil’s Living in Space exhibition. Providing a space at the exhibition for visitors to experience a Virtual Reality trip to Mars created by European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). UNStudio and MDT-tex have previously teamed up on temporary envelope exhibits before; their contorting LED-backlit biomimetic Eye_Beacon pavilion debuted at the Amsterdam Light Festival late last year.

© Olaf Becker © Olaf Becker © Olaf Becker © Olaf Becker +14

II International Ideas Competition Chair CIMC

08:30 - 23 May, 2017
II International Ideas Competition Chair CIMC

The Chair of Innovative Construction Materials (CIMC) with the Higher School of Architecture of Málaga and Financiera y Minera S.A. announce the II International Ideas Competition for architects and students of architecture in their graduation project.

Continuity of Structure Defines this Timber Canopy in Chile

16:00 - 21 May, 2017
Continuity of Structure Defines this Timber Canopy in Chile , © Tomás Weisser
© Tomás Weisser

Set in a valley located 45 minutes west of Santiago de Chile, an elementary timber shed by Josep Ferrando and Diego Baloian seeks to unhinge the division between vertical and horizontal architectural elements. The scheme is the result of a private commission to build a wooden shed on a family-owned plot in the town of Curacaví, halfway between the Chilean capital and the coastal town of Valparaíso. 

Drawing heavy inspiration from vernacular canopies which historically dotted the landscape of rural Chile, the scheme seeks to create a central family meeting point amongst a vast 2 hectare plot. 

© Christian Nawrath © Diego Baloian © Tomás Weisser © Tomás Weisser +34

Zaha Hadid Architects Unveils New Experimental Structure Using 3D-Printing Technology

08:00 - 21 May, 2017
© Luke Hayes
© Luke Hayes

Zaha Hadid Architects unveiled a new experimental structure as part of Milan’s White In The City Exhibition during the city’s annual Salone del Mobile. Held at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in the heart of Milan’s design district, the exhibition explored the contemporary use of white color in design and architecture across various locations in the city. Named the Thallus – after the Greek word for flora that is not differentiated into stem and leaves, the sculpture is the latest in ZHA’s investigations using 3D printing technology. Thallus continues Zaha Hadid Architects’ Computational Design (ZHA CoDe) group’s research into generating geometries through robotic-assisted design.

© Luke Hayes © Luke Hayes © Luke Hayes © Luke Hayes +17

Wire Mesh Installation Features Architectural Fragments Constructed At 1:1

10:30 - 18 May, 2017
Wire Mesh Installation Features Architectural Fragments Constructed At 1:1, © Roberto Conte
© Roberto Conte

Commissioned for a large-scale event in the Emirate of Abu DhabiEdoardo Tresoldi in collaboration with Design Lab Experience have constructed a vast indoor "piazza" of architectural fragments. Accommodating a 7000sqm event space, each "Classical" element is built entirely from wire mesh and comprises domes, arches, colonnades, columns, and imitations of sacred spaces (namely Italian basilicas). Together they create a translucent and ephemeral sequence of indoor rooms – all layered by a strikingly contemporary aesthetic.

Zaha Hadid Design Unveils Corian Dominated Custom Kitchen Island

08:00 - 16 May, 2017
Zaha Hadid Design Unveils Corian Dominated Custom Kitchen Island, via Zaha Hadid Design
via Zaha Hadid Design

Through a revisiting of Zaha Hadid's MAXXI Museum of Art in Rome and Heyder Aliyev Center in Baku, as well as the practice’s exploration of materiality and composition, Boffi_Code Kitchen is a custom kitchen island created by Zaha Hadid Design and Boffi, an Italian furniture company founded in 1934.

“Boffi_code offers customization to the highest standards, tailoring individual solutions with selected materials, finishes and cabinetry,” explains Zaha Hadid Design. “The Boffi_Code Kitchen by Zaha Hadid Design marries exceptional detailing and design with functionality, carefully chosen materials, and traditional craftsmanship.”

Catalan Church Restored Using Ingenious Tensioning System

12:00 - 14 May, 2017
Catalan Church Restored Using Ingenious Tensioning System, © Santi Prats i Rocavert
© Santi Prats i Rocavert

The object of this architectural restoration is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Vistabella, the work of Catalan architect Josep Maria Jujol (16 September 1879 – 1 May 1949). The original design dates from 1917 with the construction completed in 1923. The building is a magnificent and personal work of Catalan architecture.

The simplicity of the materials used—basically brick, mortar, and stone—contrasts with the spectacular formal richness of the structural solutions: columns, arches, and vaults that generate a complex, rich, and surreal interior space typical of the mysticism of Jujol.

© Santi Prats i Rocavert   © Santi Prats i Rocavert   © Santi Prats i Rocavert   © Santi Prats i Rocavert   +23

A Triangulated Ramp Made For People With Reduced Mobility In Mind

08:00 - 12 May, 2017
A Triangulated Ramp Made For People With Reduced Mobility In Mind, © Micael Löfgren
© Micael Löfgren

© Micael Löfgren © Micael Löfgren © Micael Löfgren © Micael Löfgren +27

The geometric design from Lab for Planning and Architecture for the Municipality of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain is a morphological response that conditions Julio Navarro's and Roque Díaz's swimming pools allowing adequate movement of people with reduced mobility.

The project is a path of stairs and ramps with a triangular design that integrates with the surrounding landscape; the materiality and the constructive details are adapted to the different needs and natural conditions of the land. 

Industrialized Ceramic Elements That Create a Variety of Urban Furnishings

08:00 - 7 May, 2017
Industrialized Ceramic Elements That Create a Variety of Urban Furnishings, © Javier de Paz García
© Javier de Paz García

In 1855 the German machinery manufacturer Carl Schlickeysen issued the patent he had recently created, the "Universal Patent Brickmaking machine", the first machine created to manufacture bricks by extrusión as an industrial process. 

SCHLICKEYSEN is a modular furniture system based on two types of modular metal supports and standard-sized ceramic curved vaults. All kinds of settings can be configured from the combination of these three elements; picnic tables, continuous benches, grandstands, topographies, and many more typologies can be achieved by just stacking the metal supports and using the ceramic vaults as a horizontal supporting surface. 

© Javier de Paz García © Javier de Paz García © Javier de Paz García © Javier de Paz García +22

This House was Built in 5 Days Using Recycled Plastic Bricks

06:00 - 1 May, 2017
Construction of house made of recycled plastic bricks.. Image Courtesy of Conceptos Plásticos
Construction of house made of recycled plastic bricks.. Image Courtesy of Conceptos Plásticos

Ten years ago when Colombian Fernando Llanos tried to build his own house in Cundinamarca, he realized that moving the materials from Bogota was going to be very difficult. After mulling it over, he decided to build his house out of plastic, and after a series of trials and errors, he ended up meeting architect Óscar Méndez, who developed his thesis on the same subject, and together they founded the company Conceptos Plásticos (Plastic Concepts) in 2011. 

The innovative local company managed to patent its system of bricks and pillars made of recycled plastic, which is then put together like Lego pieces in a construction system that lets you build houses up to two stories high in five days.

Temporary shelter in Guapi (Colombia) for 42 families displaced by armed conflict.. Image Courtesy of Conceptos Plásticos Temporary shelter in Guapi (Colombia) for 42 families displaced by armed conflict.. Image Courtesy of Conceptos Plásticos Temporary shelter in Guapi (Colombia) for 42 families displaced by armed conflict.. Image Courtesy of Conceptos Plásticos Temporary shelter in Guapi (Colombia) for 42 families displaced by armed conflict.. Image Courtesy of Conceptos Plásticos +16

From Recycled Plastic Waste to Building Material

14:00 - 30 April, 2017
From Recycled Plastic Waste to Building Material, © Project.DWG / Artwork by Jelle de Graaf
© Project.DWG / Artwork by Jelle de Graaf

Project.DWG and LOOS.FM have unveiled their PET pavilion, a temporary structure in a community park in The Netherlands that focuses on issues of sustainable building, recycling, and waste by rethinking the ways that buildings are developed, built, and used. Specifically, the pavilion is a study of the use of plastic waste as a building material.

Using the elevated framework of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, the structure consists of two monumental slabs in a steel framework. “From floor to ceiling, double-walled transparent corrugated sheets hold over 40,000 plastic bottles,” with bottle caps attached to bottlenecks supporting the system.

© Project.DWG / Artwork by Martin Oostenrijk © Marco van der Ruit / Artwork by André Boone © Project.DWG © Paul Clason / Artwork by Martin Oostenrijk +16

12 Dynamic Buildings in South Korea Pushing the Brick Envelope

08:00 - 30 April, 2017

Bricks are as old as the hills. An enduring element of architectural construction, brick has been a material of choice as far back as 7000BC. Through the centuries, bricks have built ancient empires in Turkey, Egypt, Rome and Greece. Exposed stock brick came to define the Georgian era, with thousands of red brick terraces still lining the streets of cities such as London, Edinburgh and Dublin.

Today, brick is experiencing a Renaissance. Architectural landmarks across the world such as Frank Gehry’s Dr Chau Chak Wing Building in Sydney and the Tate Modern Switch House by Herzog & de Meuron are pushing the proverbial brick envelope, redefining how the material can be used and perceived.

South Korea presents an interesting case for the changing face of brick, with a preference for dark, grey masonry striking a heavy, brutalist, yet playful tone. Like many countries, South Korean brick architecture has questioned conformity, experimenting with stepped, perforated, permeable facades, and dynamic, curved, flowing walls. Below, we have rounded up 12 of their most interesting results.

Rebuilt Travel Agency Receives a More Fluid and Dynamic Space

14:00 - 29 April, 2017
© Rafael Shcmidt
© Rafael Shcmidt

This article is part of our series "Material Focus", where we ask architects to share with us their creative process through the choice of materials that define important parts of the construction of their buildings.

From the demolition of the existing building to the making of a new one better suited to the travel agency’s requirements of more open space, the new project also needed to leave the remaining neighboring building intact. The solution they went with was to create a new structure away from the wall, stripped to let the bricks show, and within that underlying area create a space with vertical circulation, natural lighting, gardens, and service areas like a kitchenette, restrooms, and a technical shaft. We spoke with architect Baldomero Navarro Gomes from NN Arquitetos Associados to learn more about his choices on materials and the determining role they played in his design concept.

Big Data Becomes Architecture in This CNC-Milled Screen Wall for IBM

12:00 - 29 April, 2017
Big Data Becomes Architecture in This CNC-Milled Screen Wall for IBM, Courtesy of Synthesis Design + Architecture
Courtesy of Synthesis Design + Architecture

Responding in part to recent debates on how big data will affect our built environments, Synthesis Design + Architecture have teamed up with IBM Watson Analytics to design an interior feature wall for the Watson Experience Center in San Francisco. The project, named Data Moiré after the dizzying patterns created by overlapping sets of lines, uses data from the influence of mobile phones on monthly consumer spending to create a precise screen material that defines the wall.

Courtesy of Synthesis Design + Architecture Courtesy of Synthesis Design + Architecture Courtesy of Synthesis Design + Architecture Courtesy of Synthesis Design + Architecture +31

3 Low-Cost Kitchens You Can Build Right Now / Part I

16:00 - 28 April, 2017
3 Low-Cost Kitchens You Can Build Right Now / Part I, Design by Jhan Arancibia. Courtesy of Arauco
Design by Jhan Arancibia. Courtesy of Arauco

In 2016, Arauco launched a call to rethink the space of the kitchen with the objective of finding simple and attractive solutions for the houses of the Worker's Housing Plan (PVT), located in Constitución, Maule Region, Chile.

The competition developed within the framework of the II Encuentro Espacios Vesto, and it forced participants to consider a simple, low-cost assembly that could be self-constructed and expanded according to the needs of the users. In addition, each project had to consider self-supporting furniture that didn't require support holes on the walls to preserve the acoustic insulation of the dwellings.

We present below the kitchen designed by Jhan Arancibia, plus a list of all the necessary materials so you can build it yourself.

5 Online Resources For Learning How To Protect Wooden Buildings From Fire

06:00 - 28 April, 2017
5 Online Resources For Learning How To Protect Wooden Buildings From Fire, Full-scale Mass Timber Shaft Demonstration Fire. Image Courtesy of reThink Wood
Full-scale Mass Timber Shaft Demonstration Fire. Image Courtesy of reThink Wood

With the aim of raising awareness and expanding knowledge about the advantages of wood in the built environment, reThink Wood has created an online library that collects a series of articles, reports, studies and videos that can be freely accessed right now.

Here we have 5 outstanding resources related to fire safety, which can help you solve this issue on your next project.

From Superheroes To SuperMaterials: Five Super Materials With The Power To Change Our World

08:00 - 26 April, 2017
From Superheroes To SuperMaterials: Five Super Materials With The Power To Change Our World, Courtesy of The Built Environment Trust. Image © Chris Tubbs
Courtesy of The Built Environment Trust. Image © Chris Tubbs

What's behind our current obsession with all things Superheroes, from the Marvel and DC comics spinoffs for TV and Film, to the more eccentric offerings on Netflix from the Wachowski’s Sens8 to the cosmic supernature of The OA? Critics see the classic superhero expressing the desire to re-establish order in the face of chaos (Batman/Joker) but some of our more recent superheroes are about the power of change, of remaking the world through a kind of ‘superempathy’. The power of the superhero depicted as an eccentric group of people reskilling with new forces and energies – think the aerobics-physics of The OA which invents and designs a new collective body and superpower and the transcultural/transtemporal superempathy of Sens8.

Something of this otherworldly capability of the new wave of superheroes is tangible at SuperMaterial exhibition at The Building Centre in London. It's about materials and the built environment, how these SuperMaterials will radically transform our relationship to the world around us through the superpower of material empathy, either adapting and changing to the environment, or being so efficient to produce and upcycle that they diminish the need to lay waste to the environment in the extraction of resources.