A building’s materiality is what our bodies make direct contact with; the cold metal handle, the warm wooden wall, and the hard glass window would all create an entirely different atmosphere if they were, say, a hard glass handle, a cold metal wall and a warm wooden window (which with KTH’s new translucent wood, is not as absurd as it might sound). Materiality is of just as much importance as form, function and location—or rather, inseparable from all three.
Here we’ve compiled a selection of 16 materials that should be part of the design vocabulary of all architects, ranging from the very familiar (such as concrete and steel) to materials which may be unknown for some of our readers, as well as links to comprehensive resources to learn more about many of them.
Helical staircases are often designed to be show-stoppers, focal points of architectural spaces that are intended to impress. But even compared to its eye-catching peers, this staircase developed by Webb Yates Engineers and The Stonemasonry Company is unusually audacious. Developed for a residential design by RAL Architects in Formby, UK, each step of the two-story, 4.6-meter diameter helical staircase is composed of an individual block of stone, giving an impression of weightlessness as the structure circles its way up through the building's atrium towards the glazed roof above. For their efforts, Webb Yates recently won the Award for Small Projects at the Institution of Structural Engineers' 2016 Structural Awards, whose judges said that they were "amazed by the grace and audacity" of the design. Read on to find out how Webb Yates achieved this feat of engineering.
Join us for Harnessing the Full Potential of Modern Dimensional Stone: An evening of tapas and education about Stone from Spain!
Since man first figured out how to dig a hole, we have been harvesting the natural treasures of the earth and using stone for our buildings and arts. With such a long history, it’s easy to forget how much research, innovation and technology infuses the stone industry - breathing new life into the possibilities provided by this material that is millions of years old.
Matthew Simmonds, an art historian and architectural stone carver based in Copenhagen, is known as the creator of exceptionally beautiful miniature spaces hewn from stone – a number of which have been previously featured on ArchDaily. Drawing on the formal language and philosophy of architecture, his work "explores themes of positive and negative form, the significance of light and darkness and the relationship between nature and human endeavour." Here he shares four recent projects: Ringrone (Faxe Limestone, 2016, 61cm tall), Corona (Faxe Limestone, 2016, 30cm tall), Ararat: Study II (Faxe Limestone, 2016, 20cm tall), and Tetraconch (Limestone, 2015, 31cm tall).
Kéré Architecture has placed first in a competition to design a protective shelter on the UNESCO-protected Meroe Royal Baths in Sudan, North Africa. Believed to have served nearby palaces from the great African Kingdom of Kush (now modern-day Sudan), the Meroe Royal Baths were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011 and is the focus of joint research by the German Archaeological Institute and the National Corporation for Antiques and Museums. Still marked by temples, palaces and over two hundred pyramids, the ruins of Meroe are a testimony to the exchanges of culture between the Mediterranean and Africa. Find out more about the proposal after the break.
Matthew Simmonds, an art historian and architectural stone carver based in Italy, has created a collection of exceptionally beautiful miniature spaces carved from stone. Having worked on a number of restoration projects in the UK - from Westminster Abbey to Ely Cathedral - his skills have been transferred into work of a much smaller, if not more intricate, scale. Hewn from large stone blocks (some of marble), the level of intricacy Simmonds has achieved in the architectural detailing is almost incredible. Capitals, vaults and surfaces all distort and reflect light in a very beguiling way.
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.
Architects: Budapesti Műhely Location: Sóskút, Hungary Architect In Charge: Tamás Dévényi, Budapesti Műhely Associate Architects: István Kovács, Eszter Mihály, Orsolya Takács, Viktor Vadász Project Year: 2011 Photographs: Tamas Bujnovszky
Soon to be Shenzhen’s tallest tower at 660 meters, the Ping An Finance Center by KPF will anchor the city’s new Central Business District. Positioned at the southwest corner of the intersection of Yi Tian Road and Fu Hua Road in the Futian District, the tower will connect with neighboring properties in addition to Shenzhen Line 1 Gou Wu Gong Yuan metro station. More details after the break.