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José Tomás Franco

Architect from Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (2012). Interested in in discussing around the efficiency and the importance of the user in the design process. Instagram @josetomasfr

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Timber Trends: 7 To Watch for 2020

The history of timber construction stretches back as far as the Neolithic period, or potentially even earlier, when humans first began using wood to build shelters from the elements. The appearance of the first polished stone tools, such as knives and axes, then made wood handling more efficient and precise, increasing the thickness of wood sections and their resistance. Over the decades, the rustic appearance of these early constructions became increasingly orthogonal and clean, as a result of standardization, mass production, and the emergence of new styles and aesthetics.

Today we are experiencing another seminal moment within the evolution of timber. Nourished and strengthened by technological advances, new prefabrication systems, and a series of processes that increase its sustainability, safety, and efficiency, timber structures are popping up in the skylines of cities and in turn, is reconnecting our interior spaces with nature through the warmth, texture, and beauty of wood. Where will this path lead us? Below, we review 7 trends that suggest this progress is only set to continue, increasing both the capabilities and height of timber buildings in the years to come.

Gymnasium Régis Racine / Atelier d'Architecture Alexandre Dreyssé. Image © Clément Guillaume Canoeing Training Base / PSBA + INOONI. Image © Bartosz Dworski Hälleskogsbrännan Visitor Center / pS Arkitektur. Image © Jason Strong Photography La Seine Musicale / Shigeru Ban Architects. Image Cortesía de Blumer Lehmann + 25

There's No Good Architecture Without Daylight: How to Promote Designs Molded and Nurtured by Light

Humans spend almost 90% of the time indoors; that's approximately 20 hours a day in closed rooms and 9 hours a day in our own bedrooms. The architectural configurations of these spaces are not random - that is, they have been designed or thought of by someone, and are at least slightly "guided" by the conditions of their inhabitants and their surroundings. Some people inhabit spaces specially catered to their needs and tastes, while others adapt and appropriate designs made for someone else, perhaps developed decades before they were born. In either case, their quality of life may be better or worse depending on the decisions that are made. 

Understanding the importance of carefully designing our interiors, particularly through the lens of access and enjoyment of natural light, was the purpose of the 8th VELUX Daylight Symposium, held on October 9 and 10 of 2019 in Paris. This year, more than 600 researchers and professionals attended and reaffirmed the importance of natural light, presenting a series of concrete tools that could help quantify and qualify light by designing its entry, management, and control with greater depth and responsibility.

Trailer / Invisible Studio. Image © Jim Stephenson Cortesía de Ruetemple NOKKEN Kindergarten / Christensen & Co Architects. Image © Bo Bolther © Jackie Meiring + 25

Can a Machine Perform the Work of an Architect? A Chat with Jesper Wallgren, Founder of Finch 3D

There has been a lot of talk about how automation will affect the way we do architecture, and what our role will be when technologies reach our own desks and work tables. In recent years, while we have seen how robotics and advanced technology are gaining ground in construction and manufacturing, new tools are emerging that promise to automate the design process itself. These would allow us to quickly and easily configure living spaces and their dimensions in the initial stages of a project, using simulations and artificial intelligence.

Will this automation be the future of architectural design? We talked with Jesper Wallgren, architect and founder of Finch 3D, to better understand this tool and its possible scope.

Invite Others to See the Life in your Designs with Lumion 10, out now

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From residential homes and commercial buildings to interiors and landscape designs, Lumion helps architects breathe life into their 3D models and invite others to see the beauty in their designs.

Architectural rendering and visualization have become crucial tools in the art of communication. From client presentations to internal design reviews, showing your 3D models in lifelike, beautiful environments can convey both practical information about the project’s development, as well as the feeling and experience of a space.

Fiber Cement Facades in Architecture: 9 Notable Examples

Interested in building light and modular facades with a rustic and monolithic appearance?

Composed of cement, cellulose, and mineral materials, fiber cement allows us to clad walls in a light, non-combustible, and rain-resistant way, generating facades with different textures, colors, and tones. Its panels are easily manageable, perforable, and can configure ventilated facades when installed with a certain separation between the rear wall. Check after the break for 9 projects that have cleverly used fiber cement as the primary material in facades.

24 Housing Units / Zanon + Bourbon Architects. Image © Olivier Dancy Casa Hoffstad / Knut Hjeltnes. Image © Inger Marie Grini Villa GK / CORE Architects. Image © Alexander Bogorodskiy Casa GZ / Studio Cáceres Lazo. Image © Pablo Casals Aguirre + 25

Layered Architecture: What is Additive Manufacturing?

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a term used to identify the manufacturing processes performed by 3D printing through layer-by-layer construction. In addition to avoiding the generation of waste through the use of precise geometries and exact quantities of material, these controlled processes can be much faster than traditional ones, since they don't require tools or other instruments.

Additive Manufacturing is done based on a digital model. The process begins with a CAD design or three-dimensional scan and then translates that shape into an object divided into sections, allowing it to be printed. Its use has extended from industrial design to the replica of archaeological objects to the manufacture of artificial human organs and tissues, among many others.

Walk-in Showers Without Doors or Curtains: Design Tips and Examples

Because it doesn't include a bathtub, or require doors, screens, or curtains, the walk-in shower often makes bathrooms appear larger, cleaner, and more minimalist. 

However, some precautions must be taken when designing them. Most importantly, the shower cannot be left completely open, even if it appears to be at first glance. Most designs incorporate a tempered glass that prevents water from "bouncing" out of the shower space, subtly closing the area. When this transparent division doesn't have a frame, the appearance of fungi due to accumulation of water and moisture becomes less likely.

Casa de monte / TACO taller de arquitectura contextual. Image © Leo Espinosa Fagerstrom House / Claesson Koivisto Rune. Image © Åke E:son Lindman AUTOHAUS / Matt Fajkus Architecture. Image © Charles Davis Smith Pombal / AZO. Sequeira Arquitectos Associados. Image © Nelson Garrido + 28

Is Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) the Concrete of the Future?

Concrete, an essential building material, has for decades offered us the possibility of shaping our cities quickly and effectively, allowing them to rapidly expand into urban peripheries and reach heights previously unimagined by mankind. Today, new timber technologies are beginning to deliver similar opportunities – and even superior ones – through materials like Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT).

To better understand the properties and benefits of CLT, we talked with Jorge Calderón, Industrial Designer and CRULAMM Manager. He discusses some of the promising opportunities that CLT could provide architecture in the future. 

"KITERASU" Edificio modelo en CLT en la estación Kuse / ofa. Image © Ken'ichi Suzuki MINIMOD Catuçaba / MAPA. Image © Leonardo Finotti Capilla Sacromonte Landscape Hotel / MAPA Arquitetos. Image © Leonardo Finotti Cortesía de Jorge Calderón + 21

How Tree Trunks Are Cut to Produce Wood With Different Appearances and Uses

As wood is one of the most widely-used materials in the world, architects are accustomed to being able to easily obtain sawn wood at a nearby store. However, many of us know little about its manufacturing process and all the operations that determine its appearance, dimensions, and other important aspects of its performance.

The lumber we use to build is extracted from the trunks of more than 2000 tree species worldwide, each with different densities and humidity levels. In addition to these factors, the way in which the trunk is cut establishes the functionality and final characteristics of each wood section. Let's review the most-used cuts.

How to Design an Accessible Kitchen: Adjustable and Multifunctional Furniture

Universal accessibility in architecture refers to the capacity that all people have to access and inhabit a space regardless of their cognitive and physical capacities, and it is a subject that cannot be dismissed. Although little modifications can make a difference, it is ideal for the spaces to be thought out according to universal design guidelines from the beginning.

In the case of the kitchens, a series of new technologies that increase the comfort and efficiency of our daily spaces have made an appearance. Thus, multiplying its functions and allowing better use of the available surface. Let's take a look at the latest innovations presented by Häfele.

Courtesy of Häfele Courtesy of Häfele Courtesy of Häfele Courtesy of Häfele + 24

16 Brick Cladding Constructive Details

Traditionally, bricks have been used in architecture to fulfill a double function: structural and aesthetic. While they act as an effective and resistant modular solution in building structures, their faces can be exposed to constitute their architectural appearance, generating facades rich in texture and color, thanks to the iron present in the clay they are composed of.

At present, there are products that allow the attractive appearance of bricks to be merged with other structural systems, separating their functions and providing the necessary freedom of design so that the facades can adapt creatively in favor of the conditions of each project and the requirements of its users.

La Géode / ADHOC architectes. Image © Adrien Williams Four51 Marlborough / Hacin + Associates. Image © Trent Bell Photography Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building / Mecanoo + Sasaki Associates. Image Cortesía de Mecanoo Moody Center for the Arts / Michael Maltzan Architecture. Image © Nash Baker + 21

How to Choose the Right Glass for Your Projects

Today, improvements in glass processing technology have made it possible to render specific and effective solutions for a wide range of architectural projects. In fact, there are so many options available that it's almost necessary to research different products and their properties, and how this will impact, for example, the windows and doors that you are designing.

What variables should be considered – and prioritized – when choosing the glass used in a project? How can aesthetics coincide with function and efficiency? We sat down with the experts at Cristales Dialum to delve into the complex world of glass and to better understand the hows and whys of choosing the best type of glass for your projects and ensuring the best results for your clients.

Adaptative Plans: An Algorithm That Predicts Spatial Configurations

Automation has finally reached our desks. If just a few years ago we believed that technology (including robots) could replace the work done by humans, minus the design specifications and some 'creative' aspects, we were wrong.

Aluminum Foam Facades: Architecture Rich in Texture, Porosity and Brightness

CaixaForum Sevilla / Vázquez Consuegra. Image © Jesús Granada
CaixaForum Sevilla / Vázquez Consuegra. Image © Jesús Granada

Modular coatings for facades and enclosures typically deliver fast and efficient solutions. However, many times they lack richness and character since they are repeated infinitely, without relating to the architectural design and its different functions and requirements.

These aluminum foam panels are manufactured through an air injection process in molten aluminum, which contains a fine dispersion of ceramic particulate. These ceramic particles stabilize the air bubbles, and create aluminum foam panels which provide an interesting level of detail and variability, generating unique facades with different levels of texture, transparency, brightness, and opacity. These ultralight panels can be used as flat architectural sheets, are 100% recyclable and available in standard sized formats up to 3.66 meters long (custom longer panels also available). 

Alusion™. Image Cortesía de Cymat Technologies Ltd. Alusion™. Image Cortesía de Cymat Technologies Ltd. Alusion™. Image Cortesía de Cymat Technologies Ltd. Alusion™. Image Cortesía de Cymat Technologies Ltd. + 20

Reaction And Fire Resistance: How Are Materials Classified In The Event Of A Fire?

In case of fire, protecting the lives of people is the most important. All occupants of the building should have the opportunity to evacuate on time, and the time available depends largely on the materials chosen and their behavior during fire exposure.

In order to facilitate and optimize this process, the European Union has adopted the Standard EN 13501 [1], introduced in the 2000s, which specifies a series of classes that determines the anti-fire properties of different materials. Their classifications are unified and compared based on the same test methods, and are currently used as a reference in many countries around the world.

Because of the architect’s role in choosing materials for projects, we have compiled the most important nomenclature to better understand the level of security of our built environment.

10 Ideas for Presenting Your Project With Concrete Models

Physical models have, for centuries, been a highly-effective way of explaining an architectural idea, allowing the audience to experience a concept in a plan, section, elevation and perspective all at once. However, a model can communicate so much more if you deviate from traditional cardboard materiality. If you want to express the monolithic massing of your latest scheme, or its expressive texture, then a model of plaster or cement may capture so much more than a digital rendering ever could.

Creating a concrete model is profoundly engaging, as it forces us to follow a methodology similar to that of large-scale construction: make a mold / formwork, mix the cement or plaster with water, and then pour. When done correctly, the resulting model could stand as an architectural sculpture in its own right. 

Below, we have rounded up concrete models from the ArchDaily archives, giving you the inspiration to set your concrete model ideas in stone. 

How to Design and Build a Wooden Structure with Hidden Joints

New technology in digital building, particularly Computer Numerical Control (CNC) systems, are changing the way that we design and build wooden structures. Their high level of precision allows us to design perfect assembles--without screws or visible metalwork--resulting in structures that are durable, easy-to-build, and extremely well-organized. We spoke with the experts at Timber to better understand the process of building a wooden structure and to compile a list of key tips in designing one.

© Timber El Galeno Horse Stables and Warehouse / Peñafiel & Valdivieso Arquitectos. Image © Francisco Croxatto Viviani House on the Rocks / Schwember García-Huidobro Arquitectos. Image © Nicolás Sánchez © Timber + 25