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Ella Thorns

As a writer for ArchDaily, I am particularly intrigued by the sensitivity of architecture towards nature and people, as well as discovering the new and evolving technologies and materials that enrich our spatial experience. After only studying architecture for two years so far at the University of Bath, I find myself in the fortunate situation of being surrounded by many inspiring architectural minds and look to further expand both my knowledge and experience of architecture and the built environment.


How to Design When There is No Gravity

09:30 - 5 May, 2018
How to Design When There is No Gravity, © NASA <a href=''>via Flickr</a> licensed under <a href=''>Public Domain Mark 1.0</a>
© NASA via Flickr licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0

Not many architects will come across the challenge of building in outer space, but who knows what the future will hold... asteroid mining and space photobioreactors? In a recent article, Metropolis Magazine looks into the design of the International Space Station, examining how our conventional rules of architecture become obsolete in zero gravity. Walls, ceilings, and floors can be interchangeable, and "form follows function" is taken to the extreme.

2018 marks 20 years since construction first began on the International Space Station. The satellite is made up of 34 separate pieces, each of which was either delivered by space shuttle or self-propelled into space. With absolutely no room for error, the 13-year construction of the space station was perhaps one of the big success stories of the millennium, seeing 230 astronauts, cosmonauts and space-tourists visit over the past two decades.

8 Biodegradable Materials the Construction Industry Needs to Know About

09:30 - 2 May, 2018
8 Biodegradable Materials the Construction Industry Needs to Know About

In architecture we are so caught up in creating something new, we often forget about what happens at the end of a building’s life cycle—the unfortunate, inevitable demolition. We may want our buildings to be timeless and live on forever, but the harsh reality is that they do not, so where is all the waste expected to go?

As with most non-recyclable waste, it ends up in the landfill and, as the land required for landfill becomes an increasingly scarce resource, we must find an alternative solution. Each year in the UK alone, 70–105 million tonnes of waste is created from demolishing buildings, and only 20% of that is biodegradable according to a study by Cardiff University. With clever design and a better awareness of the biodegradable materials available in construction, it’s up to us as architects to make the right decisions for the entirety of a building’s lifetime.

Photographer Zsolt Hlinka Captures Geometric Compositions in the Evolution of Vienna's Architecture

09:30 - 22 April, 2018
© Zsolt Hlinka
© Zsolt Hlinka

In his latest photo series, "Viennametry," Hungarian photographer and printmaker Zsolt Hlinka captures the unexplored voids in Vienna’s patchwork of historical and contemporary architecture. After previously studying the symmetrical corner buildings of grandiose Budapest, Hlinka has moved north to Austria on his quest to find geometry and symmetry within the urban landscape.

Zaha Hadid's Dongdaemun Design Plaza Through the Lens of Andres Gallardo

09:30 - 21 April, 2018
Zaha Hadid's Dongdaemun Design Plaza Through the Lens of Andres Gallardo, © Andres Gallardo
© Andres Gallardo

In the bustling streets of Seoul, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza by Zaha Hadid Architects has become a landmark for its atypical architecture. A complex yet effortless building, the Design Plaza encapsulates the energy of the cultural hub in Dongdaemun, an area that has itself earned the nickname of the "town that never sleeps" thanks to its late-night fashion market.

Investigating the building's twists and turns, Andres Gallardo has photographed the structure's fluid compositions. Although his photographs display little human presence, the building itself expresses the activity that occurs throughout day and night. Beneath the walkable park on the roof, Dongdaemun Design Plaza includes large global exhibition spaces, a design museum, 24-hour retail stores and a media center, among many other facilities that intertwine across the levels.

© Andres Gallardo © Andres Gallardo © Andres Gallardo © Andres Gallardo + 26

The Next Sustainability Crisis: Humans Are Using So Much Sand That We May Actually Run Out

09:30 - 16 April, 2018
Objects made of Finite, a material developed by students from Imperial College London using desert sand. Image © Finite
Objects made of Finite, a material developed by students from Imperial College London using desert sand. Image © Finite

Sand is the most-consumed natural resource in the world after water and air. Modern cities are built out of it. In the construction industry alone, it is estimated that 25 billion tons of sand and gravel are used every year. That may sound a lot, but it’s not a surprising figure when you consider how everything you’re surrounded with is probably made of the stuff.

But it’s running out.

This is a scary fact to think about once you realize that sand is required to make both concrete and asphalt, not to mention every single window on this planet. The United Nations Environment Programme found out that from 2011 to 2013, China alone used more cement than the United States had used in the entire 20th century and in 2012, the world used enough concrete to build a wall around the equator that would be 89 feet high and 89 feet thick (27 by 27 meters).

Is This the Most Beautiful Ghost Town Ever? Drone Video Captures Chinese Village Reclaimed by Nature

09:30 - 15 April, 2018

As the shadows of the past loom around what’s left of the overgrown houses and pathways, videographer Joe Nafis has perfectly captured the rare charm of the abandoned fishing village of Houtouwan using his drone. From above, you can appreciate the extent of the foliage carpeting the walls, roofs, and openings. It was the promise of this unlikely setting that first led Nafis to visit the village as part of a fashion shoot.

© Joe Nafis © Joe Nafis © Joe Nafis © Joe Nafis + 25

Time-Lapse Follows the Demolition of Over 25 Buildings (And it is Even More Satisfying Than You Think)

08:00 - 11 April, 2018

As Shanghai works hard to become an international economic, financial, trade and shipping center of the world, the city powers behind to keep up with the ever-growing needs. Joe Natisvideo follows the demolition of the buildings that didn’t quite make the cut for the fast-paced 21st century living as soaring skyscrapers and developments take their place.

© Joe Nafis © Joe Nafis © Joe Nafis © Joe Nafis + 41

On Jørn Utzon's 100th Birthday, 11 Prominent Architects Pay Tribute to the Great Architect

09:30 - 9 April, 2018
© <a href=''>Flickr user seier</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY 2.0</a>
© Flickr user seier licensed under CC BY 2.0

Today marks what would have been the 100th birthday of the leading Danish architect, Jørn Utzon. Notably responsible for what could be argued to be the most prominent building in the world, the Sydney Opera House, Utzon accomplished what many architects can only dream of: a global icon. To celebrate this special occasion, Louisiana Channel has collaborated with the Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark to put together a video series to hear prominent architects and designers talk, including Bjarke Ingels and Renzo Piano, about their experiences with Utzon and his work—from his unrivalled visual awareness of the world, to his uncompromising attitude that led him to create such strong architectural statements.

Unlike many architects around at the time of Jørn Utzon, who as modernists rejected tradition in favour of new technologies and orthogonal plans, Utzon combined these usually contradictory qualities in an exceptional manner. As the architects recount, he was a globalist with a Nordic base, that has inspired the next generation to travel the world and challenge their concepts. Many of them compare his work to Alvar Aalto’s, as both shared an organic approach to architecture, looking at growth patterns in nature for inspiration. Utzon even coined this approach "Additive Architecture," whereby both natural and cultural forms are united to form buildings that are designed more freely.

Anna Puigjaner on Why We All Should Adopt Her "Kitchenless" House Ideology

14:00 - 31 March, 2018
Courtesy of Anna Alba Yruela via Metropolis
Courtesy of Anna Alba Yruela via Metropolis

Spanish architect Anna Puigjaner has revealed how she is applying her “Kitchenless” housing typology within her own projects in a recent interview with Metropolis Magazine as one of their 2018 Game Changers. After receiving funding from the Harvard GSD Wheelwright Prize for her controversial proposition in 2016 (after which ArchDaily published an interview with her), Puigjaner talks about the time she spent traveling the world and visiting the many different cultures that share her idea of communal cooking, adding that millennials are more inclined to co-habit or share resources.

The kitchen is the most provocative part of the house. It has been used as a political tool for a long time, to the point that nowadays we can’t accept living without a kitchen.

LEGO Just Got Stylish: Modular Furniture to Bring Out Your Inner Child

08:00 - 27 March, 2018
LEGO Just Got Stylish: Modular Furniture to Bring Out Your Inner Child, Courtesy of Studio NINE
Courtesy of Studio NINE

For all those Brickheads out there, interior designing has just reached another Lego-filled level. Created by an Italian team of designers, Stüda has made the dream of Lego compatible furniture a reality. Their modular furniture comes in an array of colors textured in studs that are capable of holding the infamous bricks and can be customized to your heart’s content.

Courtesy of Studio NINE Courtesy of Studio NINE Courtesy of Studio NINE Courtesy of Studio NINE + 23

6 Materials That Age Beautifully

09:30 - 26 March, 2018
6 Materials That Age Beautifully, © Rory Gardiner
© Rory Gardiner

Often as architects we neglect how the buildings we design will develop once we hand them over to the elements. We spend so much time understanding how people will use the building that we may forget how it will be used and battered by the weather. It is an inevitable and uncertain process that raises the question of when is a building actually complete; when the final piece of furniture is moved in, when the final roof tile is placed or when it has spent years out in the open letting nature take its course?

Rather than detracting from the building, natural forces can add to the material’s integrity, softening its stark, characterless initial appearance. This continuation of the building process is an important one to consider in order to create a structure that will only grow in beauty over time. To help you achieve an ever-growing building, we have collated six different materials below that age with grace.

Aedas' Latest Mixed-Use Development Creates a City Inspired by 'The Cloud'

16:00 - 25 March, 2018
Aedas' Latest Mixed-Use Development Creates a City Inspired by 'The Cloud', Courtesy of Aedas
Courtesy of Aedas

Aedas' latest project is inspired by the tech cloud as a platform to boast connectivity within the mixed-use development and enable maximum productivity between the zones. Vanke Tianfu Cloud City will be within the new development zone in Chengdu, China designated for new hi-tech and sci-tech industries and provide offices, exhibition, residential and retail facilities.

Campervan Breaks World Record for Largest Indoor 3D Print

14:00 - 25 March, 2018
Campervan Breaks World Record for Largest Indoor 3D Print, Courtesy of Create Cafe 3D Print
Courtesy of Create Cafe 3D Print

3D printing just got a whole lot more impressive. If we weren’t already enthralled by the bridges, homeless shelters and structural components that have been made possible through 3D printing, a Canadian team have managed to print the world’s first 3D printed campervan that beats records for the largest indoor 3D print ever – three times larger than the previous record holder. Made from hundreds of feet of plastic filament, the seamless camper measures 13 feet long and six feet wide and took over 230 hours to build on their custom ErectorBot 3D printer.

Which Architecture Firms Are Building the Most in New York City?

08:00 - 25 March, 2018
Which Architecture Firms Are Building the Most in New York City?, Courtesy of Related-Oxford
Courtesy of Related-Oxford

In an industry-affiliated overshadowed by the so-called ‘starchitects’, do we really know who is dominating in the field of architecture? Often it is found that for most of the projects bearing the big names, there are the firms assuming the roles of “executive architect” that work behind the scenes to enable the high-profile buildings to get through planning and construction.

To give us insight into which architecture practices actually have the most impact across in New York City, The Real Deal have compiled a list of the 30 firms with the highest square footage of new buildings across the five boroughs over a six-year period from the 1st of January 2012 until the 31st of January 2018. There are of course many of the firms that you would expect, although as you will see there are also a few that have gone under the radar so far and may be worth watching out for in the future...

Pascall+Watson to Design Stansted Airport’s Transformation

06:00 - 21 March, 2018
Pascall+Watson to Design Stansted Airport’s Transformation, Courtesy of Pascall+Watson
Courtesy of Pascall+Watson

After Pascall+Watson’s success with their concept design for the £130m Arrivals Terminal at Stansted Airport, the firm have been selected for the £600m transformation programme by MAG (Manchester Airports Group owners of Stansted Airport). As demand for air travel continues to increase, Pascall+Watson’s plans aim to provide a greater choice of airlines and destinations by making use of the airport’s spare runway capacity and supporting the future growth.

RDHA Wins The 2018 RAIC's Architecture Firm Award

08:00 - 14 March, 2018
RDHA Wins The 2018 RAIC's Architecture Firm Award, Courtesy of Tom Arban
Courtesy of Tom Arban

Toronto based architecture studio, Rounthwaite Dick and Hadley Architects (RDHA) have been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Firm Award. The annual award recognizes firms that demonstrate architectural excellence and design for a better quality of life by addressing the important issues in society. This year’s winner, RDHA, is one of Canada’s oldest practices, established in 1919, that has recently undergone a successful renewal to produce the highest caliber of architecture.

Courtesy of Ema Peter Courtesy of Tom Arban Courtesy of Tom Arban Courtesy of Tom Arban + 16

North Face Releases a Geodesic Dome Tent Capable of Withstanding the Toughest Weather

14:00 - 11 March, 2018
North Face Releases a Geodesic Dome Tent Capable of Withstanding the Toughest Weather, via North Face
via North Face

Reinterpreting the teachings of Buckminster Fuller, North Face have announced the latest tent in their collection; a geodesic dome tent. Thanks to the most spatially efficient shape in architecture, it can withstand winds of up to 60 mph as the force is spread evenly across the structure whilst even providing enough height for a six-foot person to stand comfortably inside.

The extremely efficient design has allowed the tent to weigh not much more than 11kg and comprise of 5 main poles and the equator for fast and easy assembly and storage. The outdoor gear company has also considered a water-resistant dual-layered exterior skin for their incredibly strong and sturdy tent to endure whatever mother nature has to throw at it.

Detroit's Waterfront is Setting a Precedent for Community Led Architecture

16:00 - 10 March, 2018
Detroit's Waterfront is Setting a Precedent for Community Led Architecture, Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations
Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations

As the river offers a place of beauty and solitude to the people of Detroit, four international design teams have presented their creative schemes for the West Riverfront to extend this vibrant area in the city as part of an international design competition led by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy (DRFC). The development of the 22-acre West Riverfront Park is expected to cost around $50 million to complete the DRFC’s ultimate vision for 5.5 miles of revitalized riverfront.

The four principal firms include Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN), Hood Design Studio (HDS), James Corner Field Operations and Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates (MVVA) collaborating with numerous Detroit and Michigan- based firms. Each of the teams has collaborated closely with the public to achieve a design that gives justice to the legacy of the people.