Industrial buildings are among the best examples of Louis Sullivan's famous phrase "form follows function." Generally, they are functional, efficient buildings, quick to build and unornamented. That is why, when we study the industrial heritage of different cities and countries, we are able to understand local materials, technologies, and traditional construction methods of the time. England's red brick factories come to mind, as well as the roof lanterns used to provide natural light to factories and other typical construction elements. Metallic and precast concrete structures are currently the most commonly used due to a combination of construction efficiency, cost, the possibility of expansive spans, and the unawareness of the benefits of other materials, such as wood. Often, these industrial warehouses are also characterized by being cold and impersonal, in addition to having a considerable carbon footprint. But Canada's experience in recent years is noteworthy, where there have been an increasing number of wooden buildings constructed for industrial programs.
Architect and Urbanist graduated from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC). Master in Urban Planning, History and Architecture Program, also at UFSC, with research related to the theme of mobility and urban sprawl. Has been collaborating in ArchDaily Brasil since 2012 and is currently Editor of Materials.
Metaphorically, building bridges equates to creating new opportunities, connections, and paths. The first bridges likely formed naturally with logs falling across rivers and natural depressions, though humans have also been building rudimentary structures to overcome obstacles since prehistory. Today, technological advances have made it possible to erect bridges that are both impressive and sculptural, playing a key role in transportation and connectivity. Usually needing to overcome large spans, with few points of support, bridges can be quite difficult to structure. But when is the bridge more than a connection between two points, instead resembling a building with a complex program? How can these 'bridge houses' be structured?
At the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, curator Alejandro Aravena decided to reuse 100 tons of material discarded by the previous Art Biennale to create the new exhibition halls. Besides preserving 10,000 m² of plasterboard and 14 km of metallic structures, the initiative intended to give value, through design, to something that would otherwise be discarded as waste. The project also shed light on another observation: as architects, we generally restrict ourselves to thinking about buildings during the design process, construction phase, and at most through the use phase. We hardly think of what will become of them when they are demolished at the end of their useful life, an issue that should urgently become part of the conversation.
Through shapes, colors, and the elements on their facades, many architects have sought to bring a sense of movement to works that are otherwise physically static. Santiago Calatrava, Jean Nouvel, and Frank Gehry are only a few of the masters who managed to provide a dynamic effect to motionless structures, highlighting the work in context using formal strategies borrowed from the plastic arts. In other cases, however, architects have also opted for physically kinetic structures that could bring a unique aesthetic or functional dimension to the work.
Urban infrastructures provide comfort to inhabitants and mitigate the risks of disasters such as flooding. Underground systems specifically conceal urban infrastructures from public view and are configured as real mazes under the streets. The distribution of drinking water, urban drainage, sewage, and even electrical wiring and fiber optics in some cases, pass under our feet without us noticing. To this end, the industry developed precast concrete parts for about 100 years that provided construction speed, adequate resistance to force, and durability against time. Concrete pipes with circular sections, in many diverse diameters, are perhaps the most used conduits and are ubiquitous around the world. But there are also those who use these apparently functional elements in creative architectural contexts as well.
In dystopian films, it is a common trope to depict the sky as filled with a thick fog, blocking the sun's rays and bringing a dark atmosphere to the scenes. Whether in Blade Runner or in a Black Mirror episode, the lack of sun commonly represents a future we would rather not live in. The sun provides heat to planet Earth and is a great source of light energy, essential for the survival of many living creatures. We can generate electricity from the sun and still use only a fraction of the energy it provides. Sunlight also regulates our circadian cycle, which affects our mood. But recent forest fires and industrial pollution in some large cities have already made the dystopian blockage of sun a relatively common phenomenon, depriving hours of sunshine from many inhabitants. Concurrently, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are living a plot that few science fiction writers could have predicted, and new technologies and solutions have emerged to try to contain the spread of this invisible enemy. Can the sun, or specifically ultraviolet radiation, kill viruses and bacteria? Could it kill the coronavirus?
Since immemorial time, humans have constructed their shelter and homes using wood. Gradually these structures grew more complex, but wood has continued to play a fundamental role in architecture and construction. Today, especially due to growing concerns about climate change and carbon emissions, wood has been regaining significance as an important building material for the future, if used consciously and sustainably. Wood’s structural performance capabilities make it appropriate for a broad range of applications—from the light-duty repetitive framing common in low and mid-rise structures to the larger and heavier, often hybrid systems, used to build arenas, offices, universities and other buildings where long spans and tall walls are required.
"And a window that looks out on Corcovado. Oh, how lovely." Tom Jobim's lyrics, immortalized by João Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto's voices and a soft guitar, was one of the early songs that introduced the world to the idea of a paradisaical Rio de Janeiro and a promising Brazil, with an increasingly urban population and a modern capital being built from nothing. Almost 60 years later, Paulo Mendes da Rocha casually quotes this song in an interview and points out that for him, in this scene, the most important element is the window, not Corcovado or Christ the Redeemer. That's because it frames the view and directs our eyes to what matters. It is a phrase that goes almost unnoticed, but that carries enormous poetic and artistic significance to the craft of architecture.
Little has been said about the contribution of scaffolding to the history of construction. These structures are generally treated as mere equipment and, as a result, their records are very scarce. Without scaffolding, however, it would be almost impossible to construct most of the buildings we know. Scaffolding allows workers to reach and move materials at difficult points in a construction, providing safety and comfort. But in addition to its role as a support structure for buildings, we have also seen that scaffolding can be used for mobile, temporary, and even permanent structures. Below, we explain its history and possibilities for use.
Many of our childhood experiences take place in school. Whether these memories are good or bad, most children and teenagers spend a majority of their days in classrooms or other educational facilities. According to IQAir, “every year, children spend an average of 1,300 hours in school buildings.” But even as the world changes rapidly, and the internet in particular increases the accessibility of information, the design and operation of schools remain, in a way, outdated. As noted in a previous article, ideally the typology of educational spaces and the configuration of classrooms should suit more contemporary ways of teaching and learning, rather than the traditional organization of rows of desks facing a teacher at the head. But it is important that the analysis of educational facilities does not stop there. All surfaces and materials have a significant impact on both the well-being and learning of users.
Francis D. K. Ching  characterizes a chimney as an “incombustible vertical structure, which contains a duct through which smoke and gases from a fire or furnace are pushed outwards and through which an air current is created.” While its pipes can be hidden in walls or other structures, the chimney top usually remains prominent in order to transfer dangerous gases from the inside out without dirtying the interior or harming the health of the occupants. Being vertical elements, there are chimneys that become major landmarks in the urban landscape, especially in industrial projects. At the time of drawing, deciding on the “weight” that the chimney will have in a project is essential. At Casa Milá, for example, Gaudí crowns the building in sinuous and curvy sculptural chimneys. In other cases, the solemnity of the building aesthetic is mirrored in its chimney, whereas in others, the architects render the chimney as hidden as possible. Recently, too, many chimneys have been refurbished for new uses or to accommodate new cleaner technologies. Whether it takes a prominent role or is hidden from view, see below some chimney design tips and possibilities of use.
In his Robie House, Frank Lloyd Wright created an ingenious arrangement of public and private spaces that slowly moving away from the street through a series of horizontal planes. Pronounced eaves made the interior space expand toward the outside. Considered the first phase of the American architect's career, the so-called Prairie Houses had marked horizontality, mainly due to the enormous plans created by slightly inclined eaves. Eaves are ubiquitous in most traditional architecture, and in addition to their aesthetic role, they serve several important functions, the primary one being to keep rainwater away from the building's walls and structure. But for some time now, we have seen plenty of projects with sloping roofs without eaves, forming pure and unornamented volumes. This brings us to the question: in these projects, how are practical issues such as draining rainwater?
Shortly before the First World War, Harry Brearley (1871-1948), who had been working as a metalworker since he was 12 years old, developed the first stainless steel. Seeking to solve the problem of wear on the inner walls of British army weapons, he ended up obtaining a corrosion resistant metal alloy, and added chrome to the cast iron. The invention found applications in almost all industrial sectors including for the production of cutlery, health equipment, kitchens, automotive parts, and more, replacing traditional materials such as carbon steel, copper, and even aluminum. In civil construction, this was no different, and stainless steel was soon incorporated into buildings.