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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.

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GSAPP Columbia is Launching the First-Ever Ph.D. in Historic Preservation Program

08:00 - 20 January, 2018
GSAPP Columbia is Launching the First-Ever Ph.D. in Historic Preservation Program, © Wikimedia <a href='http://https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ColumbiaUniversity.jpg#/media/File:ColumbiaUniversity.jpg'>user Beraldoleal</a>. Licensed under CC-BY-3.0
© Wikimedia user Beraldoleal. Licensed under CC-BY-3.0

Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) has launched the United States’ first-ever Ph. D in Historic Preservation. GSAPP is ranked within the top 10 architecture graduate schools in the US in the latest figures for 2017. It’s leadership in learning and experimental practice is about to be further enhanced by the introduction of the course.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Brooks + Scarpa Among Winners of 2018 AIA Institute Honor Awards

14:15 - 12 January, 2018
Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Brooks + Scarpa Among Winners of 2018 AIA Institute Honor Awards

Seventeen projects chosen by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) have been selected for this year’s Institute Honor Awards for Architecture, an award known to be the profession’s highest recognition of works in America that exemplify an excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design.

Out of 500 submissions, the 17 recipients will be honoured with the award at the AIA Conference on Architecture in New York City in June.

Kengo Kuma & Associates Reveal Plans for New Aquatics Centre on Copenhagen's Waterfront

12:00 - 12 January, 2018
Kengo Kuma & Associates Reveal Plans for New Aquatics Centre on Copenhagen's Waterfront , Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates
Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Kengo Kuma & Associates, led by Yuki Ikeguchi partner in charge, have recently won a competition to design a new waterfront cultural centre as part of the masterplan for Copenhagen’s Paper Island. The unique cone shaped form will combine facilities for sports associations, harbour baths and an indoor/outdoor pool along the edge of the main canal. In a press release from Copenhagen City they praised the project on the connection created between land and sea, fulfilling Copenhagen’s vision of a new addition to Paper Island. Kengo Kuma & Associates' proposal was up against strong competition from BIG, 3XN Architects, AART Archtitects + Cubo Arkitekter and ALA Architects + Studio Octopi.

Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates Courtesy of Luxigon Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates + 10

YIMBY's 2018 Construction Report has Seen a Decrease in the Height of Buildings

14:00 - 11 January, 2018
YIMBY's 2018 Construction Report has Seen a Decrease in the Height of Buildings, The 2020 skyline, photo by Andrew Campbell Nelson, rendering by Jose Hernandez. Image Courtesy of YIMBY
The 2020 skyline, photo by Andrew Campbell Nelson, rendering by Jose Hernandez. Image Courtesy of YIMBY

2017’s building applications has seen a rise in both Brooklyn and the Bronx, according to YIMBY’s construction report on New York. Despite a drop within Manhattan and Queens, the number of new building applications over the five boroughs seems to be stabilising; 2016 saw the number of multi-family units decrease by over 40% to 19,356, a pattern which fortunately appears to have stopped as 2017 saw fillings for 19,180. After the last two years of massive drops, this couldn’t be more welcomed by New York.

Neave Brown, RIBA Gold Medalist Winner, Sadly Passes Away Aged 88

12:00 - 11 January, 2018
Neave Brown, RIBA Gold Medalist Winner, Sadly Passes Away Aged 88, Neave Brown 2017. Image © Garath Gardner
Neave Brown 2017. Image © Garath Gardner

The celebrated modernist architect and innovator of social housing, Neave Brown, has sadly passed away following his battle with cancer.

Why the AIA is NOT Awarding Anyone the Twenty-Five Year Award in 2018

14:00 - 10 January, 2018
Why the AIA is NOT Awarding Anyone the Twenty-Five Year Award in 2018, © Koji Horiuchi. Courtesy of AIA
© Koji Horiuchi. Courtesy of AIA

We are starting the new year with an announcement from the American Institute of Architects that there will be no winner for their Twenty-five Year Award in 2018. This will be the first time this has occurred since the award was officially established in 1971. The AIA award recognises buildings that have “stood the test of time for 25-35 years and continues to set the standards of excellence for its architectural design and significance.”

Over the 46 years of the award, it has celebrated buildings by of Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Louis Kahn and Charles and Ray Eames. Last year it was awarded to the Grand Louvre – Phase I by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners for its iconic stainless steel pyramid that “rivals the Eiffel Tower as one of France’s most recognisable architectural icons.”

Stefano Boeri Architetti's Vertical Forest is the Very First to be Used in Social Housing

11:30 - 10 January, 2018
Stefano Boeri Architetti's Vertical Forest is the Very First to be Used in Social Housing, © The Big Picture
© The Big Picture

The new social housing project by Stefano Boeri Architetti is the first to integrate a vertical forest into an affordable residential skyscraper, improving the living conditions often incurred within such developments. 5,200 shrubs and 125 trees will be planted up the 75m tall structure in Eindhoven.

Trudo Vertical Forest will contain 125 social housing units over 19 floors to house lower income social groups, particularly young people. Each apartment will include a balcony filled with an array of trees, plants and shrubs for a forest soaring into the city's sky.

Edible Architecture Formed from Chocolate Using 3D Printed Moulds

14:00 - 9 January, 2018
Edible Architecture Formed from Chocolate Using 3D Printed Moulds, © Universal Favourite
© Universal Favourite

Universal Favourite have developed a range of modular chocolates Complementary that are formed in 3D printed moulds to satisfy any architect with a sweet tooth. The architectural forms have been developed to establish a connection between the two pieces to be eaten as one, complementing one and other.

© Universal Favourite © Universal Favourite © Universal Favourite © Universal Favourite © Universal Favourite © Universal Favourite © Universal Favourite © Universal Favourite © Universal Favourite © Universal Favourite + 22

The Subterranean Housing and Studio Proposal Wins RIBA Competition

12:00 - 9 January, 2018
The Subterranean Housing and Studio Proposal Wins RIBA Competition, © Outpost Studio
© Outpost Studio

The RIBA have announced the winner of their competition in collaboration with the National Grid to give function to the sub-terrain voids left behind when the steel frame of a gasholder is dismantled. Outpost, the winning London studio, proposed a mixed-use scheme for a ring of four storey buildings descending into the well below. The other shortlisted teams included CF Architects, 318 Studio, Max Architects, Wilson Owens Owens Architects and Jan Verhagen and Priscille Rodriguez of Unit Architects.

Outpost’s proposal solves Britain’s shortage of affordable housing and creates an opportunity for flexible workshops, studios and workspaces to be integrated into the structure. The simple, economical vision makes full use of the gasholder base and presents a familiar domestic setting on street level, appearing as one storey.

CF Møller’s Nature Park is Designed to Flood to Save the Nearby Town

14:00 - 8 January, 2018
CF Møller’s Nature Park is Designed to Flood to Save the Nearby Town, Courtesy of CF Møller
Courtesy of CF Møller

CF Møller’s Storkeengen (Stork Meadow) is a landscape solution, bringing the town of Randers closer to the longest river in Denmark, the Gudenå River to prevent the threat of flooding. The storm protection uses the wetland meadows as an attractive nature park to handle the raised stormwater level, whilst a recreational pathway increases accessibility with the nature areas across the river.

The Glacier Shelter Built from Nothing but Wood

12:00 - 8 January, 2018
The Glacier Shelter Built from Nothing but Wood, © Keystone
© Keystone

At an altitude of 2735m, architecture students at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have built The Bonatti Bivouac, a temporary refuge for the A Neuve’s glacier. The shelter uses the envelope as a structural object, eradicating the need for metal, screws, or nails. Informed by theoretical architect Semper, their design uses the joints to form a piece of architecture.

© Keystone Courtesy of EAST/EPFL © Keystone © Keystone + 27

Test Your Knowledge of British Architecture With the UK's Citizenship Test Questions

06:00 - 4 January, 2018
Test Your Knowledge of British Architecture With the UK's Citizenship Test Questions, Courtesy of BDP
Courtesy of BDP

For those who want to become a citizen of the UK, they must fulfill all the citizenship process requirements which include passing the seemingly difficult Life in the UK Test. Many of the British population themselves would struggle with some of the questions posed despite living in the UK from birth as they demand historical, geographical and literary knowledge.

The test contains 24 multiple choice questions that can cover anything from the British political system all the way to Glastonbury and a roast beef dinner. As architecture and art take up a large part of British culture, knowledge of such topics is considered necessary for anyone who wants to become a UK citizen. Have a go yourself, and see how well you know British architecture:

3D Printed Hexagonal Pods Could House New York City's Homeless

08:00 - 3 January, 2018
3D Printed Hexagonal Pods Could House New York City's Homeless , Courtesy of Framlab
Courtesy of Framlab

Across the world, homelessness in fast-paced metropolises such as New York City is at a record high since the Great Depression of the 1930s, more than 60,000 people are in shelters every night while many others must find a place to sleep on the streets, the subway or other public spaces. The real estate industry has caused the increasing rents and a high demand for any remaining plots; many of the new builds are luxury apartments, rather than the low-cost housing that is so desperately needed. As a result, thousands of people are forced onto the streets and charities struggle to provide adequate help for everyone.

Mural artwork by Viktor Miller-Gausa. Image Courtesy of Framlab Courtesy of Framlab Courtesy of Framlab Courtesy of Framlab + 20

These Modernist Birdhouses are Inspired by Famous Architects

06:00 - 28 December, 2017
These Modernist Birdhouses are Inspired by Famous Architects, via Sourgrassbuilt.com
via Sourgrassbuilt.com

Douglas Barnhard, the owner of the home decor company Sourgrassbuilt, designs and builds birdhouses. Built out of repurposed materials, his designs are inspired by mid-century modernism and pay homage to the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright, Joseph Eichler and the Bauhaus School in Germany yet mix with Barnhard's experience of the rich surf and skate scene in Santa Cruz.

8 Common Materials You May Not Have Realized Are Sustainable

09:30 - 26 December, 2017
8 Common Materials You May Not Have Realized Are Sustainable

Sustainability. A word that, for many of us, has been driven into our minds from the very start of our careers as architects. We have a responsibility to the planet and future generations to design buildings that are socially conscious—from solar panels to triple-glazed windows, we have tried it all.

Ultimately, whether our designs are sustainable comes down to the early decisions we make for the building, with our choice of materials having a huge effect on the overall carbon footprint. With new technologies come new ways of incorporating abundantly found materials into the skin of the building that could reduce the building's embodied energy and enhance the structure's properties.

In this article, we have compiled a list of 8 familiar materials that you wouldn't initially associate with sustainability but which you might consider for your next design.

Kengo Kuma Explains How His Architectural Style was Formed by Financial Crisis

09:30 - 24 December, 2017

Japan's renowned architect Kengo Kuma is the latest to feature in PLANE—SITE's video series Time-Space-Existence, exploring the inner workings of his Tokyo office and how the Japanese financial crisis of the early 1990s shaped his firm.

© Mitsumasa Fujitsuka © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka © Mitsumasa Fujitsuka © Takeshi YAMAGISHI + 11

What Does Your Choice of Pen Say About You?

09:30 - 18 December, 2017
What Does Your Choice of Pen Say About You?, © Andrea Vasquez
© Andrea Vasquez

Architects are people of great taste, who enjoy the finer things in life – especially when it comes to pens. The saying goes: ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but inevitably we find ourselves judging an architect by their choice of pen. It’s easy to do when your colleague decides to grab the nearest biro to sketch a quick diagram, leaving you to squirm as you sit and watch it indent the paper.

Pens are powerful tools for architects, that harness our thoughts and ideas into potential three-dimensional structures. In the age of the digital world, pens have become sacred, grounding us back to the simple pleasure of drawing to begin the creative process. After years of trying and testing all the different writing instruments out there, we eventually find the one which can say a lot more about ourselves than you may think.

Could Cork Be Nature’s Answer to Our Environmental and Construction Needs?

09:30 - 16 December, 2017
Could Cork Be Nature’s Answer to Our Environmental and Construction Needs? , © Wai Ming Ng
© Wai Ming Ng

Unbeknown to many, cork is something of a dark horse when it comes to the environment—a model of a sustainable industry and building material. By its very nature, cork is both recyclable and renewable, as it is the only tree that regenerates its bark, while harvesting that bark causes the tree no harm.

Cork has been sneaking its way into our buildings for many years now; due to its hard-wearing properties it can be found, for example, in the checkerboard flooring of the Library of Congress. Even NASA has been wise to cork's light weight and insulation capacity, using it as an insulator for their space shuttles.