Through the past few months, the importance of community interaction and mental well-being has been felt by all. Yet, the need for a support system and constant reassurance has been a recurrent issue for much longer for forcibly displaced populations. Adding to the current health fears these communities, estimated at nearly 70.8 million ( 25.9 refugees only) around the world, struggle with traumas, mental health issues and have much difficulty in adapting to temporary or permanent foreign settings.
Architects have long explored the concept of integrating interior and exterior, smoothing out the physical and visual boundaries in an attempt to bring the landscape into the architecture. However, when visiting the site to develop the project, two distinct scenarios may appear: an urban terrain, lacking a view, or natural elements; or a green area with trees and bushes, for example. In the latter case, many projects rely on the on-site location of each tree to accommodate the architectural design, respecting them, and creating new views, through patios and connecting them with the new landscape design. However, based on studies of the species and their size, it is increasingly common for these trees to be incorporated into the interior space, either partially or completely enclosed.
When facing emergencies such as natural disasters, warfare or pandemics, architecture must offer immediate and effective solutions. In these unfortunate circumstances, the priority is usually to solve problems around housing, however, once the emergency is under control, the focus starts to slowly move towards meeting places such as community centers, neighborhood councils and public spaces.
To create new meeting places in emergency situations, scaffolding is a good alternative regarding construction speed and tight budgets. Although they are usually used as temporary structures, they also allow creating a quickly composed space playing with horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines, and the combination with other materials such as textile, wood, polycarbonate and metal.
Noisy environments can significantly and negatively effect our bodies, and are a great villain to concentration, learning, and productivity in classrooms and offices. Headaches are one momentary symptom of noise. But staying exposed to very noisy places can bring greater problems such as hearing loss, lower concentration, high blood pressure, and even poor digestion. It can also trigger high levels of stress, sleep disturbances, mood changes, increased heart rate, and ringing in the ears. This is an invisible enemy and is often neglected in big cities with the noise of heavy traffic, demolition. and noisy equipment, such as generators and air conditioners. However, effective measures can be taken to avoid this unnecessary noise.
Many of us spend more time at our offices than ever before and sometimes see our colleagues more than our own families. Workplaces can be considered to be our second homes, which is why the way we deliberately design them in the present day has garnered so much attention. The overarching design of workplaces aims to create a perfect balance between heads-down focus work and layers of collaboration to improve the productivity and general well being of employees. As workplace trends come and go, there’s a new progression on everyone’s minds- and it predicts what a post-COVID-19 office might look like both in the immediate and long term future. Although there’s no crystal ball answer, many architecture firms, research groups, and real estate companies have been tapped to ideate and implement forward-thinking design solutions and health safety policies that will be critical in redefining how we utilize our workplaces for the years to come.
Earthquakes, pandemics, conflicts, and environmental disasters are some of the events that have challenged architects, planners, designers, and engineers. The goal is to find ways of creating structures and infrastructure more quickly, easily, efficiently, suiting both the circumstances and the location in which they will be implemented. When searching for materials that meet the requirements for each situation, those considered "alternative" or unusual - at least in the context of emergency shelters - can offer great opportunities for experimentation and applicability for emergency structures. Containers and tensioned fabrics always come to mind when discussing temporary constructions. However, there are other highly available materials with good mechanical properties that can achieve relief purposes.
Keep Everyone in the Loop: From Teams to Clients
The last decade has seen an enormous influx of new technologies in architecture. Ever since CAD revolutionized traditional pen and paper design methods, many forms of technology have found a comfortable place in the architect’s workflow. While the human experience has always been the cornerstone of architecture, innovations for the AEC industry aren’t always “people-centric”. High barriers to entry, whether that be price or ease-of-use, have kept many practitioners from realizing their full potential.
Concerns about the hygiene, durability, and healthiness of interior spaces have increased considerably in recent years, drawing extreme attention to hospital and health-related projects. Consequently, the choice of materials becomes essential from the conception of each project, guaranteeing that each space performs effectively on all fronts, from resistance and safety to environmental comfort and aesthetics.
In particular, the enclosures in hospitals and health centers must conform to a series of predetermined guidelines and dimensions, which respond to the standardized sizes of different types of equipment and to the needs of each medical procedure. Within the robust framework of the structural walls, the partitions – which are essential for subdividing the space – must be especially resistant to impact, fire, and humidity, in addition to effectively mediating the acoustics between rooms and inside each one of them.
With its wide range of applications and cosmetic properties, concrete is having a moment in the world of architecture. Today, thanks to the ever-moving stream of innovation in concrete production and application, optimal results are now the norm rather than the exception. For architects and builders alike, concrete is an opportunity to explore and experiment with tones and textures, ensuring that there is something for every design and project.
With more than 70 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, according to the UNHCR, and nearly 25.9 million refugees, the time has come to reconsider the traditional emergency camp approach. Although the concept is temporary by definition, in real life the lifespan of these refugee camps exceeds the planned and the expected.
Ranging from seven to seventeen years, most of these settlements surpass their expiry dates. Actually, on average, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Kenya, "many displaced persons spend more than 16 years living as refugees in temporary shelter."
Flooding is a significant problem for buildings all around the world, including architectural treasures like the Farnsworth House that have been plagued by the issue time and time again. In particular, one-third of the entire continental U.S. are at risk of flooding this spring, especially the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, and Deep South. Last April, deadly floods decimated parts of Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Iran as well, resulting in a low estimate of 1,000 deaths while tens of thousands more were displaced. While architecture cannot solve or even fully protect from the most deadly floods, it is possible – and necessary – to take several protective measures that could mitigate damage and consequently save lives.
OSB (Oriented Strand Board) can be easily recognized for its distinctive appearance. This material consists of cross-oriented layers of wood strands compressed and bonded together with resin, applied under high pressure and temperature. As a result, the standardized panels have great stiffness, strength, and stability, and are often used as wall cladding attached to the steel frame of a building or as partitions. Also, they have good soundproofing capabilities, since the panels are uniform and have no internal gaps or voids. It is also worth mentioning that OSB can be fully recycled, thereby being considered eco-friendly.
The construction industry is responsible for 75% of the consumption of earth's natural resources. Stone, sand, iron, and many other finite resources are extracted in huge quantities to supply the markets. Additionally, construction sites themselves generate enormous quantities of waste, whether through construction, demolition, or remodeling. In Brazil, for example, construction waste can represent between 50% and 70% of the total mass of municipal solid waste . This waste often ends up in landfills and dumps rather than being properly disposed of, overwhelming municipal sanitation systems and creating informal disposal sites.
The concepts of autonomy, collaboration, and participation have gained relevance in architecture and urbanism through collaborative actions involving the community, architects, urban planners, and designers. As the number of climate disasters has significantly increased - doubling in the last 40 years according to a report released in 2016 by CRED (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters) - in addition to conflicts and other tragedies, the demand for the rebuilding of houses and infrastructure in affected areas has grown simultaneously. This has called for a major collaborative effort in architectural and urban reconstruction.
Peter Zumthor, in one of his most emblematic works, gives concrete an almost sacred dimension. The work in question is the small Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, located in a small village in Germany, a construction that is both robust and sensitive. Built with white cement, which was mixed with stones and sand from the region, the chapel is composed of 24 layers of concrete that were poured day after day by local labor, and compressed in an unusual way. The building's flat and smooth exterior contrasts with its interior, which was initially made of inclined wooden logs forming a triangular void. To remove these internal forms, the logs were set on fire in a controlled process, reducing them to ash and creating a carbonized interior that varied between black and gray and retained the texture of the negatives of the logs. The result is a masterpiece of architecture, a space for reflection and transformation, in which the same material appears in diametrically opposing ways.
SCI-Arc’s Master of Science in Design Theory and Pedagogy is a one-year program that addresses the growing ambiguity between practice and academia and prepares students for the new hybrid career that has emerged in architecture: the architect-theorist-educator. As shifting political, social, cultural, technological, and ecological paradigms redefine architecture, the program speculates on how architects will practice in the future, interrogates current pedagogical models, and focuses on what needs to be rethought, advanced, or challenged. One of five master’s programs within SCI-Arc EDGE, Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture, Design Theory and Pedagogy prepares young architects for new forms of architectural practice.
JOA is honoured to participate in the 2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen). We have always taken the research led perspective as the starting point of the design, trying to discuss the story behind the architecture in greater depth, and present it to the public through the exhibition. Our understanding of the future world is more based on the perspective of architecture rather than sci-fi movies. The premise of envisioning the future is actually to discuss the current social pain points, and then come up with critical reflections in a future dimension, which we call "The Post Anthropocene” project.
As the world is slowly reopening, easing lockdown measures, everyone is adapting to new realities. Imposing drastic adjustments to our lives, the coronavirus has introduced a new “normal”, changing our perceptions and altering our priorities. Driven towards questioning and evaluating our environment, we are constantly reacting and anticipating a relatively unknown future.
A casual conversation between two editors at ArchDaily generated this collaborative piece that seeks to investigate the current trends, predict the future, and offer insights to everyone/everything related to the architectural field. Tackling the evolution of the profession, the firms, and the individuals, especially young adults and students, this article, produced by Christele Harrouk and Eric Baldwin, aims to reveal what is happening in the architecture scene.