Featured Volta House / Ambrosi I Etchegaray
For some years now, wood has received an increasing amount of attention in the construction industry. With concerns raised about sustainability and the carbon footprint of buildings, new construction methods and innovative possibilities in the use of timber have developed rapidly. This interest in wood stems in part from its renewability, though this benefit is contingent on sustainable logging and the appropriate management of forests to be allowed to regenerate naturally. However, it is the versatility of wood that serves as the primary impetus for its widespread use. From boards, to beams, to floors, and even to thermal and acoustic tiles and insulators, wood can be used in several different stages of a single project and with different degrees of processing and finishing.
In order to create vibrant public spaces, people need to have a constant presence in these locations, whether they are on their own or in groups. In fact, they need to linger in these places and establish social interactions. To do so, one major element has to be incorporated in the urban setting: the bench.
This seating feature, simple or high tech, insures firstly the comfort of the passersby and animates the area consequently, through the addition of the missing human aspect. Sometimes, this is all it takes to revive a space that became a dull passage. The most basic urban design component can take many forms and can be created from different materials, always generating a statement and serving its purpose.
It is an inevitable truth that the world population is growing exponentially. Higher numbers can only lead to a higher demand for resources, food, and housing. By the year 2100, the 7.6 billion people currently living on earth will reach, according to the UN, a whopping 11.2 billion.
This increase can only mean that the need to accommodate these people will become an urgent priority, innovating and shifting from the household system that is present nowadays. Soon enough this will be a global pressing issue.
Oscar Niemeyer was a revolutionary of modernism, with an architectural language characterized by audacious curves and elaborated structures. The Brazilian architect established an architectural vision of a future utopian Brazil, one that ultimately has not come to pass. While public attention is often drawn to his masterpieces in Brasília, somewhat hidden from the architectural discourse is a house that Niemeyer designed for himself; a colonial-style scheme offering a radical departure from the expressive forms of his more noted works.