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This Self-Build Concrete Block System Reduces Construction Time by 50%

08:00 - 21 September, 2016
This Self-Build Concrete Block System Reduces Construction Time by 50%, Courtesy of CONACYT
Courtesy of CONACYT

An emerging sector of construction is developing new systems that manage to not only reduce construction times and costs, but also solve the housing problem in Mexico’s most disadvantaged areas. Originating from previously known construction techniques, national companies are venturing into international markets by proposing new models of construction that use fewer materials and have a greater structural strength and greater comfort. They’re also introducing smart materials adaptable to any construction need. 

As part of this new industry breakthrough, Juan Manuel Reyes from Armados Omega and architect Jorge Capistrán have developed a new, low-cost construction system which also reduces construction time by 50%. It uses single module blocks and doesn’t require binders, mixtures, or skilled labor. 

Elisa Strozyk Turns Wood Into Fabric

06:00 - 19 September, 2016
Elisa Strozyk Turns Wood Into Fabric, © STUDIO BEEN
© STUDIO BEEN

When you think of original designs, you know that you're talking about something unique and special. An innovative design that can change our perception and visual culture: that is exactly what the German designer Elisa Strozyk does with Wooden Textiles, a product line that mixes wood with fabric. 

The designer shows us that innovation remains a fundamental part of design. She imbues wood with living properties and turns it to a flexible fabric with unpredictable movements, changing its color and texture. It’s an astonishing use of this traditional material to create new forms and experiences. 

© STUDIO BEEN © STUDIO BEEN © STUDIO BEEN © STUDIO BEEN +58

Timelapse: The Construction of the World's Tallest Timber Tower

16:00 - 18 September, 2016

Topping out two weeks ago, the structure of Brock Commons, currently the tallest timber structure in the world, is now complete. Measuring in at 18 stories and 174 feet (53 meters) tall, the building was completed nearly four months ahead of schedule, displaying one of the advantages of building tall buildings with wood.

This Onsite Pop-up Plant Turns Excavation Waste into Building Material

09:30 - 14 September, 2016
This Onsite Pop-up Plant Turns Excavation Waste into Building Material, Courtesy of Watershed Materials
Courtesy of Watershed Materials

Excavation is usually a bane for real estate developers. To make way for new buildings, truckloads of excavated waste are removed from site in a noisy, time-consuming and gas-guzzling process. Exploring a more sustainable solution, the California-based company Watershed Materials have developed an onsite pop-up plant which repurposes excavated material right at the job site to create concrete masonry units (CMUs) used in the development. By eliminating truck traffic, reusing waste and reducing imported materials, the result is a win for the environment.

Material Focus: RPII Residence by Gustavo Arbex Architects

14:00 - 11 September, 2016
Material Focus: RPII Residence by Gustavo Arbex Architects, © Favaro Jr.
© Favaro Jr.

This article is part of our new series "Material Focus", which asks the architects to reflect on the thought process behind their choice of materials and illuminates the steps needed for constructing buildings.

The RPII Residence was designed by Gustavo Arbex Architects. The almost 1000m2 project was built in Sao Paulo. We spoke with the architect Gustavo Arbex to learn more about the choices of materials and the challenges of the project.

© Favaro Jr. © Favaro Jr. © Favaro Jr. © Favaro Jr. +37

Young Architects Design and Build Iran's First Free-Form Brick Structure

14:00 - 10 September, 2016
Young Architects Design and Build Iran's First Free-Form Brick Structure, Courtesy of ADAPt
Courtesy of ADAPt

Using an array of programs available for public use, a group of young architects called ADAPt have designed and realized a unique free-form brick structure in Iran. The complexity of the structure is broken down into several layers and elements, all guided by the analysis and output of their digital toolbox. This iteration, titled "FaBRICKate" is the first in what is intended to be a series of investigations of this contemporary design method.  

Courtesy of ADAPt Courtesy of ADAPt Courtesy of ADAPt Courtesy of ADAPt +18

Material Focus: Casa dos Caseiros by 24.7 Arquitetura

08:00 - 9 September, 2016
Material Focus: Casa dos Caseiros by 24.7 Arquitetura, © Pedro Kok
© Pedro Kok

This article is part of our new series "Material in 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.

Casa dos Caseiros was designed by architectural firm 24.7. The project is 70 meters square and was a private order for a large-scale social steel framed housing project to be built in some cities in the state of Rio de Janeiro. We talked with the architect Giuliano Pelaio to learn more about material choices and challenges of the project.

"World's Tallest Timber Tower" Tops Out in Vancouver

06:00 - 1 September, 2016
"World's Tallest Timber Tower" Tops Out in Vancouver, Courtesy of Talk Shop Media
Courtesy of Talk Shop Media

The world's tallest timber tower has topped out this week, standing 53 meters high in the Vancouver skyline. The 18 story building, designed by Acton Ostry Architects, began construction in November 2015 and has since opened the floodgates for a new wave of mass timber towers. The building, which has been erected at record speed, will house 404 students as the Brock Commons Student Residence at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Offsite-production and the careful coordination of trades saw it rise at a rate of two floors per week, with the official completion set for mid-2017. 

This New Database Allows You to Search Through the Architectural Applications of Lesser Known Timber Species

12:15 - 29 August, 2016
This New Database Allows You to Search Through the Architectural Applications of Lesser Known Timber Species, Courtesy of FSC Denmark
Courtesy of FSC Denmark

Wood has always been one of the essential materials used in construction, and with the ongoing trend of timber-framed tall buildings, it has become more important than ever to be conscious of the impacts on the environment from the types of wood we source.

Currently, there exist more than 50,000 tropical timber species in the world, yet only a small percentage of those are utilized in construction projects. This has led to the exploitation of the more well-known timber species, altering the diversity of the world’s tropical forests and putting those species in danger of disappearing completely. But what if we began building with the full range of species available to us?

In efforts to increase awareness for the multitude of timber varieties available on the market, The Forest Stewardship Council of Denmark (FSC Denmark) have developed an online database of lesser known timber species (LKTS).

NTU Singapore Researchers Develop Flexible Concrete that Resists Cracking

12:05 - 24 August, 2016
NTU Singapore Researchers Develop Flexible Concrete that Resists Cracking, via Nanyang Technological University
via Nanyang Technological University

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have developed a bendable variety of concrete called ConFlexPave, which in addition to its increased flexibility, is both stronger and more durable than traditional concrete. Working at the NTU-JTC Industrial Infrastructure Innovation Centre (I³C), the team created the material by introducing polymer microfibers into the concrete mixture.

The innovation also allows for the production of slim precast pavement slabs, increasing installation speed. It is anticipated to be used in infrastructural projects, halving the amount of time needed for road works and new pavements while also requiring less maintenance.

Material Focus: House in Lago Sul Qi 25 by Sérgio Parada Arquitetos Associados

08:00 - 24 August, 2016
Material Focus: House in Lago Sul Qi 25 by Sérgio Parada Arquitetos Associados, © Haruo Mikami
© Haruo Mikami

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 House in Lago Sur Qi 25 was designed by  Sérgio Parada Arquitetos Associados firm. The project is 800 square meters and the layout is organized into 3 floors. Their volumes were defined by their use: intimate, service, formal and leisure. The project’s structure is completely made up of reinforced concrete with large openings that allow for complete integration of the exterior with the interior. We talked with the architect Rodrigo Biavati to learn more about the material choices and challenges of the project.

New DIY System from TERRA! Allows You to Grow Your Own Furniture Into Your Landscape

08:00 - 23 August, 2016

You can now easily build integrated seating into your landscape project, thanks to a prefabricated grass armchair system called TERRA! The laser cut framework elements are quickly assembled, and all that's left to do is cover the mound with soil and wait for the grass to envelope it. First released over 15 years ago and taken off the market shortly after, TERRA! is now back with a revitalized and simplified design. 

Repurposed Material Creates Distinct Felt Tile Patterns that Provide Sound Control

08:00 - 22 August, 2016
Courtesy of FilzFelt
Courtesy of FilzFelt

Architecture Research Office and FilzFelt have teamed up to create ARO Block, a series of modular acoustic tiles that provide sound control in a customizable, easy-to-install system. Generated from remnant material of FilzFelt’s CNC cut products, which are often times small, ARO Block not only creates distinct felt tile patterns but also prevents leftover fabric from going to waste.

SOM's Timber Tower System Successfully Passes Strength Testing

16:30 - 18 August, 2016

The recent trend in timber-framed architecture may just be beginning.

SOM’s Timber Tower Research Project has passed a major milestone as the structural system has successfully completed strength testing that validate initial calculations. Launched in 2013, The Timber Tower Research project was established with the goal of developing a new structural system for skyscrapers that uses timber as its primary material. Using these techniques, the research team estimates that the embodied carbon footprint of buildings can be reduced by 60 to 75 percent when compared to a benchmark concrete building.

Video: How to Build Your Own Spiral Staircase Using a CNC Router

12:25 - 16 August, 2016

In this video, Ben Uyeda of HomeMade Modern demonstrates how to build a sleek, contemporary spiral staircase using just a standard schedule steel post, plywood and a CNC router (along with a healthy amount of wood and construction glue). To build the staircase, Uyeda uses the CNC to cut out 12 shapes of incremental size from a plywood sheet, which he then stacks and fits around the post to secure into place.

HomeMade Modern has also made the CAD files available for free, so handy woodworking types can attempt the construction themselves.

Watch How Bamboo Scaffolding Was Used to Build Hong Kong's Skyscrapers

14:45 - 15 August, 2016
© flickr user ahmcdowall. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
© flickr user ahmcdowall. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

In the late 20th century, restricted by an a small landmass and extreme terrain, the Hong Kong urban area grew to become one of the densest and most vertical places on the planet, with more buildings taller than 500 feet than any other city in the world. But instead of the steel or aluminum structures used as scaffolding in Europe and the Western Hemisphere, the majority of skyscrapers built in Hong Kong and much of Asia used scaffolding systems constructed out of bamboo.

To create the structures, the high strength, lightweight material is strapped together with plastic ties by construction crews, who also use the structure as a ladder for scaling the building. Despite using few safety restraints, crews are able to construct up to 1,000 square feet of bamboo scaffolding in just one day. To protect the structure, nylon gauze is sometimes draped along the outside.

Check out a series of GIFs and images showing how it works after the break. And if you're interested in learning more about bamboo construction materials, check out our Materials catalog.

AA School of Architecture Designs Adaptable Structural Plastic 3D Printing Method

06:00 - 15 August, 2016
AA School of Architecture Designs Adaptable Structural Plastic 3D Printing Method, Courtesy of The AA School of Architecture
Courtesy of The AA School of Architecture

The AA School of Architecture’s DRL Masters Program has developed a thesis project, entitled Growing Systems, which explores adaptable building systems using methods of robotic fabrication and generative special printing within the context of housing.

Centered on a new method of structural 3D vertical extrusion, the project combines the precision of prefabricated elements with the adaptability of on-site fabrication, in response to the flux and dynamism of cities. The method becomes a system of elasticity that can accommodate site parameters, as well as future adjustments.

Courtesy of The AA School of Architecture Courtesy of The AA School of Architecture Courtesy of The AA School of Architecture Courtesy of The AA School of Architecture +8

This is How Urban Agency Made a 150kg Concrete Model

10:00 - 9 August, 2016

As part of the Danish contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale Urban Agency embarked on a challenging feat: the construction a 1:50 concrete model. The firm—based in Dublin, Copenhagen and Lyon—contributed three projects to the "Human Architectures" exhibition at this year's Danish Pavilion.

The video shows the careful, painstaking process of molding, setting and assembling the 150kg model. Urban Agency told ArchDaily,