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 a Sabotaged Model Can Become an Architectural Masterpiece

Courtesy of The Leewardists
Courtesy of The Leewardists

Sometimes all your project needs is that little push or three. Travelling on public transport with a model you have spent hours painstakingly fussing over is one of the more stressful situations for an architecture student, especially when you must present it to your tutor. The violence that occurs on a busy bus inevitably predicts the end of your creation, your only hope left is to photoshop what remains.

However, the tutor’s response can be somewhat unpredictable (much like the demise of your model) and you can find yourself in a rare situation where they actually like it. Who knows what is going through their heads, but at the end of the day, they are the ones marking it so I wouldn’t argue.

The Leewardists have perfectly illustrated in their comic the pain that consumes us as we watch our most pride possession deteriorate in front of our eyes.

Winners of Landmark for Nuclear Waste Isolation Announced

Architectural research initiative, arch out loud, have released winners for their international competition to design a landmark for a nuclear waste site in New Mexico. As part of the brief, participants were required to design a timeless piece of architecture that could stand for 10,000 years to warn future generations of the unstable by-products of nuclear weapon production that are buried 2,150 feet beneath the surface.

In the competition, many entrants engaged with the local geology of the site where the waste isolation pilot plant (WIPP) is situated for the landmark that would withstand millenniums. Testbed, the winner of the competition, proposed ex-situ mineral sequestration by reacting olivine or basalt with carbon dioxide to form inert and solid carbonate material to capture the gas, that would act as an ‘artificial tree.' The other proposals questioned the site and the underlying issues regarding human involvement with nuclear activities and the consequences, designing structures that heavily juxtaposed the natural landscape.

The New York Times Takes Us to the New 7 Wonders of the World with 360 Videos

via The New York Times
via The New York Times

As part of their "Daily 360," The New York Times has released a series of immersive videos exploring the New Seven Wonders of the World, offering viewers the experience of visiting the architectural marvels themselves without having to fly 5000 miles. Back in 2007, the seven monuments were announced after a seven-year poll that included votes by 100 million people who recognized the structural and innovative significance of these masterpieces across the planet.

The Daily 360 is a collection of videos by The New York Times; rather than a 2d moving image, they give a real understanding of space, transporting you to the place. Over the last year, their videos have included the Guggenheim, Art Deco masterpieces and memorial architecture from different cultures. Experience the New Seven Wonders of the World for yourself below:

The Luxury Pavilion Built From Recycled Bedsprings

Boutique firm, Fahed + Architects have developed a temporary pavilion for Abwab 2017, the highlight of Dubai Design Week that exhibits designers’ talent from across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

A commitment to the environment is at the core of Fahed + Architects philosophy, so it was necessary to create a structure out of 100% recyclable material from the local waste management company, Bee’ah. The outer skin of the pavilion is a mesh of entwined bedsprings that naturally lends itself to an organic form, floating amongst the surrounding buildings.

17 Stressful Situations Only Architects Can Relate To

From the moment we attend our very first lecture to the peak of our careers, architects are plagued with stressful events that are unlike any other profession. Meeting deadlines, dealing with planning and fabricating the dreams of our clients, our job can be intense and extremely demanding.

Often when we complain about it to our non-architect friends, however much they try, they don’t quite understand. They are not used to the impact that moving a staircase or rotating a plan might have on our workload, nor can they relate to losing a favorite pen. But among ourselves, we can wallow in our pain together as we go through just what makes our job so stressful (and rewarding)!

The Architect's Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Winter is here, the streets are full of festive lights and store displays are decorated with gift-wrapped goodies which must mean only one thing—the holiday season is upon us!

Architects, ArchDaily has got you covered: our 2017 holiday gift guide features over 40 ideas, with gifts ranging from the slightly wacky to the delicately designed. This year the list includes an assortment of concrete furnishings and accessories, space frame-inspired jewelry and architectural building blocks.

So without further ado, let the shopping begin!

This Mesmerizing Drone Footage Showcases the Success of the New Chicago Riverwalk

One year on from the Chicago Riverwalk’s completion, designers Sasaki Associates have released mesmerizing footage of the Riverwalk from a new perspective. Using a drone to give an overview of the project, the video captures the successful integration of the Riverwalk into the urban landscape as it changes shape and form, defining a unique experience for the public. Global design firm Sasaki led the team as prime consultant on the last two phases of the Riverwalk, working in close collaboration with local firm Ross Barney Architects.

© Kate Joyce Studios © Kate Joyce Studios © Kate Joyce Studios © Kate Joyce Studios + 9

Tatiana Bilbao: Creating Spaces with Relevance Means "Enhancing Someone's Life"

In the second film from this year's series of PLANE—SITE's Time-Space-Existence videos, Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao shares her philosophy of how architecture should be designed with the user’s experience in mind, rather than for standalone aesthetic qualities. In the video she discusses how architects should to some extent let go of their artistic intentions for a more practical approach to serve the needs of people, discussing how architecture has become detached from its key purpose over the last fifty years due to the influence of capitalism.

© Rory Gardiner © Jaime Navarro © Jaime Navarro © Jaime Navarro + 12

Hiroshi Sambuichi: "I Take Something that People Already Like, and Make Them Even More Aware of It"

In this extended interview from the Louisiana Channel, Japanese architect and experimentalist in sustainable architecture Hiroshi Sambuichi explains how he integrates natural moving materials—sun, water and air—into his architecture. A rare symbiosis of science and nature, each of his buildings are specific to the site and focus on the best orientation and form to harness the power of Earth’s energy, particularly wind. Two of his projects displayed in the video, the Inujima Seirensho Art Museum and the Orizuru Tower, force a contraction of air to make it flow faster and circulate with you through the building, while the Naoshima Hall takes a more sensitive approach due to the nature of the building, reducing the wind’s velocity as it passes.

Hiroshi Sambuichi: I Take Something that People Already Like, and Make Them Even More Aware of It Courtesy of Louisiana Channel Courtesy of Louisiana Channel Courtesy of Louisiana Channel + 19

Rare Footage Reflects the Complications of Construction of Early Skyscrapers

This silent film, ‘The Skyscrapers of New York’ bears rare footage of the construction of a skyscraper from over one hundred years ago, shared by the Library of Congress as part of their ‘Early Films of New York’ collection. The first scenes include real work crews and the early construction methods that made the first skyscrapers possible; the steel framework the men can be seen clinging onto was a technical innovation that provided the strength and stability for buildings to be built over twenty floors high. It is startling to imagine their lack of concern for health and safety as the men are pictured dangling off a crane line in the sky.

Studio Libeskind's Military Museum Through the Lens of Alexandra Timpau

The complications of war and violence demanded a bold piece of architecture to provoke the public's understanding of the impact it had on Germany. Daniel Libeskind chooses to engage with such events in his extension to Dresden's Military History Museum, by crashing a huge steel and concrete structure through the neoclassical facade, tearing apart the symmetry of the original building. Photographer Alexandra Timpau has captured the sharp edges and harsh angles of the museum's extension that convey the pain and the stark reality of war Libeskind and the museum refer to.

© Alexandra Timpau © Alexandra Timpau © Alexandra Timpau © Alexandra Timpau + 28

Minnesota's Experimental City of the Future that Never Got Built

The Minnesota Experimental City (MXC)—a utopian plan for the city of the future that was decades ahead of its time, and yet is surprisingly little-known—was the brainchild of the urban planner and technocrat Athelstan Spilhaus. Spilhaus was a man who saw science as the solution to the problems of the world, and became a public figure presenting his ideas of utopia in everyday life through his comic strip "Our New Age." During the mid-1960s, he conceived an ambitious plan to condense his ideas into a prototype for future cities that would be both noiseless and fumeless, accommodating America's growing population and their by-products.

A new documentary, The Experimental City, explores the development, and ultimately, failure of the MXC's vision for future settlements. Using retro film clips, it takes us back in time to a period where Spilhaus' predictions of computers that can fit into your home and remote banking appeared more of a fantasy than reality. The film is directed by Chad Freidrichs (known also for his 2011 film The Pruitt-Igoe Myth) and was premiered at the Chicago Film Festival, in conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Several further screenings will be taking place across the country, including at DOC NYC on November 16th.

Experimental City conceptual drawing by MXC urban designer N.J. Pinney. Image Courtesy of N.J. Pinney Conceptual drawing of MXC megastructure's utility and transportation access, by MXC urban designer N.J. Pinney. Image Courtesy of N.J. Pinney Conceptual drawing of a possible air zoning scheme for the Experimental City, by MXC urban designer N.J. Pinney. Image Courtesy of N.J. Pinney Conceptual drawing of MXC megastructure’s interior, by MXC urban designer N.J. Pinney. Image Courtesy of N.J. Pinney + 13

How To Survive an All-Nighter

As most architecture students and practicing architects find out, all-nighters are (ironically) the stuff of nightmares. They're a last resort when the project is due and you have run out times you can say "I’ll do that tomorrow." All-nighters should be avoided at all costs as they can have many negative effects on your mind such as decreased concentration and reduced long-term memory. Even your body can suffer too; pushing yourself to the limit as you fight tiredness and work as much as physically possible will weaken your immune system and can cause circulatory problems from sitting down for 20 or so hours straight.

In a previous article, we have discussed the many ways in which you can avoid pulling an all-nighter so you don’t have to be as sleep deprived. But sometimes things just don't go to plan, and you may feel that working through the night is the only option. Read on for tips and tricks that should make your all-nighter slightly more bearable (if that's at all possible).

How Bridges Evolved Into Signifiers of Urban Identity

Increasingly close collaboration between architects and engineers has caused an explosion in bridge design over the last few decades, resulting in structures that are both bold yet rational. As a result, cities have exploited bridges as great monuments of design, to foster pride in the residents and promote themselves as a destination for tourists. These ideas have inspired photographer Greig Cranna as he travels the world, capturing the elegance of today's bridge infrastructure.

Cranna has been documenting some of his stunning photography on Instagram, collating it over the past 20 months into a forthcoming book, Sky Architecture—The Transformative Magic of Today's Bridges. In capturing these entrancing structures, the photos show the impact of the bridges as an addition to the landscape and revel in their contemporary silhouettes and designs.

Sundial Bridge, Redding, Ca.. Image © Greig Cranna Lanier Bridge, Brunswick, Georgia. Image © Greig Cranna Bond Bridge, Kansas City, Mo. Image © Greig Cranna Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Tampa, Fla . Image © Greig Cranna + 21

13 Tips to Help You Avoid an All-Nighter

All-nighters: the bane of all architecture students. The new academic year brings in an influx of fresh, enthusiastic architecture students alongside slightly more hardened veterans of the degree, and students of all experience levels are reminded of the unfortunate tendency for work to stretch through the night. It's an easy habit to slip into for both students and even those working in practice; however many times we may tell ourselves at the end of a project that we will be more organized next time, the work always piles up and it seems like the only option – but it’s not!

With architecture holding the title for the degree that works the longest hours, it is important to maintain a healthy work-life balance throughout. If you feel that you are falling into the trap of staying up until 6am every day then this article should prevent any further sleep deprivation. With advice taken from several architecture students with years of experience dodging the twilight hour, this list will guide you on your way to enough sleep and decent grades.

Lightweight and Compact Shelter Is The Last Base Before the Climb to the Highest Point in Europe

At an altitude of 3,800 meters, Ice-Age architects have designed and produced a compact and lightweight shelter as the last base before climbers venture up Mount Elbrus, the highest point in Europe. Inspired by Buckminster Fuller's 2V geodesic dome, it can sleep up to 16 people as they acclimatize to the altitude and wait for the appropriate weather for the climb.

© Artem Oganov © Artem Oganov © Artem Oganov © Artem Oganov + 45

Brooklyn's Tallest Building Revealed in New Renderings

Brooklyn Point by Kohn Pederson Fox will hold the title of Brooklyn’s tallest building - although for a short while as the downtown developer craze competes for the next top spot. The mixed-use skyscraper is the final step in the City Point mega-development and is the first of Extell Development Company in the borough

After being in the design process for the past three years, construction of Brooklyn Point began this summer; it is only now that Extell is releasing the details of the tower in a new render that displays the extent of the façade.

Burnham Prize 2017 Winners Announced for 'Under the Dome' Competition

The Burnham Prize 2017 is a competition hosted by the Chicago Architectural Club (CAC), this year the title was ‘Under the Dome,' requiring participants to rethinking the radial form that has been a part of architecture for centuries.

Participants were asked to develop a speculative proposal for the abandoned St Stephen’s Church on its centennial anniversary, challenged with the task of injecting energy and life back into the desolated ruin. In reaction to the Chicago Architecture Biennale, the historical and typological construct of the dome was to be taken and reconsidered as a contemporary structure with an understanding of the historical context.