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An Oasis at Home: The Past, Present and Future of Bathrooms

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The practice of frequenting public baths was common in civilizations such as the Greeks, Persians and Byzantines, but it was the Romans who popularized their use as places of socialization and purification. These bathrooms were communal and people sat side by side in a collective latrine. The modern bathroom, more similar to what we know today, began with Sir John Harington and his invention of the first flush toilet in 1596. Another crucial advance occurred with Alexander Cummings in 1775, which included a siphon within the toilet to retain gases and odors. But it was only when houses were equipped with running water and effective drainage in the second half of the nineteenth century that the modern private bathroom emerged: a bathroom, a sink and a bath place, which can be a shower or a bathtub. The basics have remained almost unchanged since then, with a few cultural variations in different parts of the world.

These days, the bathroom is a space that goes far beyond its function. With numerous options on the market, it can be designed with the most diverse aesthetics in mind, become a space for relaxation or a design statement in an interior design project.

Mariela Ajras: “I Think of the City as a Large Canvas Loaded With Morphological and Historical Stories”

Addressing themes involving memory, oblivion and gender, the Argentinean visual artist and muralist, Mariela Ajras, displays her art on the walls of numerous cities around the world such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, Barcelona, Valencia, Salamanca, Mexico City, Bogota, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, among many others. With a background in psychology, she has participated in different urban art festivals, exhibitions, fairs and public art projects, one of the largest murals in the city of Buenos Aires being the one she developed for the project "Corredor de la Memoria", commemorating the 25th anniversary of the AMIA bombing.

Corrales and Molezún: Dreamlike Rational Architecture

With José Antonio Corrales and Ramón Vázquez Molezún, a situation quite common in Spanish architecture post-1950 is repeated: the lack of international projection of talented architects, largely due to the absence of theory. Apart from that, an intrinsically mysterious and enigmatic character pervades their work, deeply reinforced by the attitude of these architects towards it. They never stopped to explain it. They were never interested in providing it with a theoretical foundation. All this makes it extraordinarily difficult to understand their architecture, leaving many questions unanswered, open only to the interpretation of those who pause to reflect on them.

Corrales and Molezún have collaborated together on numerous projects sine 1952. They were very different people. José Antonio used to define himself as a "more rigorous person", while Ramón was closer to the "gaie", with a lighter, almost romantic touch. Their duo could be incarnated, respectively, as the two lobes of the brain: the left hemisphere, visual, verbal, linear, controlled, dominant, quantitative, etc. in Corrales; while the right, spatial, acoustic, holistic, contemplative, emotional, intuitive ... perhaps more accurately represents Molezún. One more couple to the long history of creation: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, ...

How Mixed-Use Neighborhoods Can Reduce Crime Rates

The planning and design of mixed-use neighborhoods and individual mixed-use developments are on the rise. Many of the places we frequent most feature a variety of programs, bringing many of life's daily conveniences to one place. But mixed-use spaces do more than just create a diverse array of experiences in cities- they might also help contribute to lower crime rates.

Why Bespoke Display Cases are Important in Museums

© Max Touhey - NYPL
© Max Touhey - NYPL

Museums play a key role in the preservation and dissemination of culture and knowledge. They can exhibit works of art, documents, photographs, historical artifacts or even plants and trees. Although today there are entirely virtual exhibition spaces, the primary functions of traditional museums are the conservation and protection of objects, which are invaluable due to their historical relevance, rarity or market value. From simple “Do not touch” signs to tape, security guards, or glass displays, each object receives a type of protection that is in accordance to its needs. These types of protection, in turn, must consider both the safety of the object, whilst also allowing for its appreciation and conservation, creating a controlled environment for the exposed object that preserves it indefinitely.

When the Architect Designs for Communities: 9 Popular Residential Designs

Jardim Vicentina Urbanization / Vigliecca & Associados. Photo: © Leonardo Finotti
Jardim Vicentina Urbanization / Vigliecca & Associados. Photo: © Leonardo Finotti

Housing will always be a theme and challenge for architects. Thinking about it in a way that serves the entire population, including the most precarious contexts, is one of the most complex, and perhaps impossible, tasks to be fully consolidated. Each place and family will always place different priority points on a project, which is why resorting to a standard solution is not ideal. However, several proposals present intervention possibilities that create an intricate seam between the most different factors: basic infrastructure, program, self desires, aesthetics, budget. For this reason, we have gathered here some Brazilian examples of affordable housing, ranging from a single-family house to large residential blocks.

Heliópolis Social Housing / Biselli Katchborian Arquitetos. Photo: © Nelson KonResidencial Alexandre Mackenzie / Boldarini Arquitetos Associados. Photo: © Daniel DucciPaudalho Popular Houses / NEBR arquitetura. Photo: © Manuel SáHouse in Pomar do Cafezal / Coletivo LEVANTE. Photo: © Leonardo Finotti+ 36

The Transformation of the Museum: From Curiosity Room to Exhibition

Housing objects of artistic, cultural, historical and scientific importance, the term ‘museum’ is derived from the Latin language. In regards to classical antiquity, in Ancient Greek ‘mouseion’, meaning ‘set of muses’ was a philosophical institution, a place for contemplation and thought. These muses refer to the 9 muses in Greek mythology, the goddesses of the arts and sciences, and patrons of knowledge. Early museums’ origins stem from private collections of wealthy families, individuals or institutions, displayed in ‘cabinets of curiosities’ and often temples and places of worship. Yet these ‘collections’ are predecessors of the modern museum, they did not seek to rationally categorize and exhibit their collections like the exhibitions we see today.

In definition, the modern museum is either a building or institution that cares for or displays a collection of numerous artifacts of cultural, historical, scientific or artistic importance. Through both permanent and temporary exhibits, most public museums make these artifacts available for viewing and often seek to conserve and document their collection, to serve both research and the general public. In essence, museums house collections of significance, whether these be on a small or large scale.

Ashmolean Museum / Oxford . Image Courtesy of Lewis Clarke / Wikicommons CC BY-SA 2.0Shanghai Astronomy Museum / China . Image © ArchExistsThe Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum / New York . Image © Laurian GhinitoiuA Cabinet Painted by Frans II Francken / 1636. Image Courtesy of Wikicommons+ 11

Why Insulation Systems Are Key for Urban Regeneration

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Courtesy of Terraco
Courtesy of Terraco

Before the pandemic, there was a concerted effort from world leaders to curb the effects of global warming, with nations from around the world trying to unite in this endeavor. There was an increased emphasis on policies and action plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 through the rapid introduction of new energy saving technologies and innovative carbon dioxide removal techniques, with the purpose of meeting the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality and limiting global warming to 1.5ºC. 

From Lina Bo Bardi to Renzo Piano: When Drawing Translates the Experience of Space

© Mikkel Frost
© Mikkel Frost

If today technologies are emerging for different forms of representation and interaction with drawing, understanding how architects communicate through hand-drawn strokes can be essential to delve into the topic of architectural visualization. Through the simplicity of gestures, small texts or a collage of references, it is possible to translate ideas in an innovative way, unlike the ways that a render can present. For this reason, we highlight here the work of great names such as Lina Bo Bardi, Renzo Piano, Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Mikkel Frost, who, using different techniques, reveal different ways of representing a project.

Lina Bo Bardi. Preliminary study – practicable sculptures from the belvedere Museu de Arte Trianon, 1968. Ink and watercolor on paper, 56.3 x 76.5 cm. MASP collection, donation from Instituto Lina Bo and P. M. Bardi© Mikkel FrostPainting of INES Innovation Center / Pezo von Ellrichshausen. Image Courtesy of Pezo von Ellrichshausen.Sketch - Renovation and Expansion of the Harvard Art Museums / Renzo Piano + Payette+ 17

A View From the Top: The History of Observation Towers

There’s something magical about seeing a city from the very top. To have a new vantage point, and look across a skyline instead of looking up at it is one of the most powerful and awe-inspiring feelings. Observation decks are not just architectural marvels, but also a sort of civic icon and sense of pride for a city. In the present day, it’s not just their height that draws people in, but the additional programming of sky-high bars, rides, and bungee jumping as well.

NOA's Ultra-Modern Vision of Outdoor Living

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At a prime location in the middle of Belgium, an original concept has taken form, as NOA Outdoor Living invites professionals to experience outdoor design in an entirely different way.

What is Design Justice?

Asentamiento de Kya Sands en Johannesburgo, Sudáfrica. Photo © Johnny Miller Fotografía
Asentamiento de Kya Sands en Johannesburgo, Sudáfrica. Photo © Johnny Miller Fotografía

Design Justice is a branch of architecture and design focused on redesigning cities, products, services and environments with historic reparations in mind.

The term emerged about 7 years ago when debates and dialogues about inclusion and diversity in spaces started to get stronger, creating movements that fought for the rights of people who had their roots and choices denied in society.

Self-powered Homes That Pay for Themselves by Producing Clean Energy

Courtesy of Cosmic Buildings
Courtesy of Cosmic Buildings

Now that the effects of climate change are visible and indisputable, consumers are more environmentally conscious than ever. In fact, as a United Nations 2021 study suggests, 85% of them reveal that sustainability plays a key role when making their purchase decisions, motivating businesses and manufacturers to respond accordingly. This explains the rising demand for electric vehicles and products made of renewable or recyclable materials. However, architecture – and especially traditional housing – seems to be several steps behind compared to other industries. Although there are numerous efforts to move towards a greener built environment, the way most buildings are made today continues to be outdated, creating tremendous amounts of waste and significantly contributing to the global carbon footprint.

Hypnotising Glass Light Constellations by BOMMA

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A starry blend of vision, talent, craft and technical know-how aligns for BOMMA. The glass-lighting producer, based in the Czech Republic, fuses centuries of glassmaking tradition as hand-blown, monumental-sized designs take shape and form through the use of unconventional materials, daring colours and modern technological advancements. These combinations characterise each of BOMMA’s seventeen collections, five of which can be arranged into otherworldly constellations. To expand the artistry further, designers and architects are invited to project their boldest creative visions of space through several of the brand’s collections.

Reading Spaces: The Book as an Architectural Element

Vac-Library / Farming Architects. Image © Thai Thach, Viet Dung An
Vac-Library / Farming Architects. Image © Thai Thach, Viet Dung An

Far beyond basic training, reading is a leisure activity that is part of modern society. Whether outdoors, in squares and parks, at home or even at work, this habit, which improves reasoning ability and mental health, already had large spaces dedicated to books in palaces and mansions. We selected 15 projects that demonstrate the different ways of integrating reading at different scales and architectural programs.

Pavilion Library / SpaceTong (ArchiWorkshop). Image © Juneyoung LimAníbal Building / Bernardes Arquitetura. Image © Leonardo FinottiCereso Femenil Library / Proyecto Reacciona A.C. Image © Héctor Padilla FerrarisCasa com Pequena Biblioteca / Hiroshi Kinoshita and Associates. Image Cortesia de Hiroshi Kinoshita and Associates+ 16

5 Installations Inaugurate the Model Barcelona Architectures Festival

On the 5th of May, the first edition of Model. Festival of Architecture of Barcelona was inaugurated. An event organised jointly by Barcelona City Council and the Architects' Association of Catalonia (COAC) that brings us closer to experimental architecture and helps us to rethink how we want to live together through new city models and new imaginaries.

The Real Problems of Today’s Design

Since the emergence of the design profession, boosted in the Industrial Revolution with the increasing production of objects and the desire of a middle class eager to consume; designers, interior decorators and architects are known as professionals who create spaces and products to beautify the world.

Photo by Brady Bellini via UnsplashPhoto by Chris Gallagher via UnsplashPhoto by Petr Magera via UnsplashPhoto by Sergei A via Unsplash+ 8

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