José Tomás Franco

Architect from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, graduated in 2012. I am interested in the ongoing debate surrounding efficiency, materials, and the importance of establishing a meaningful connection with the user during the design process.

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Enriching Minimalism Through Pixel-Type Ceramics and Oversized Marbles

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Aiming to balance the calm and uniformity of minimalism with the tactile appeal of raw, textured materials, ceramics emerge as a versatile medium to bridge the gap between sterile spaces and those that might become overwhelming. Whether incorporating large formats or small mosaics, or embracing organic or geometric aesthetics, the diverse range of ceramic options enables the infusion of character into spaces while maintaining a sense of order and cohesion. But it is not a simple task. In the pursuit of this harmonious blend, we explore specific types of ceramic cladding that have been effectively applied in architectural projects, enriching the visual language of minimalism while grading its complexity with precision.

How (And Why) to Integrate Earth and Bamboo Into an Architectural Project

By recognizing and analyzing the multiple architectural possibilities of bamboo—a construction material mostly native to warm and tropical areas—the following questions arise: How can we take advantage of its qualities and enhance its use in colder climates? Such regions necessarily require a certain level of thermal isolation in walls, floors, and roofs—but for these climates, we can combine bamboo with materials that complement it.

We spoke with Penny Livingston-Stark, a designer and professor of permaculture who has worked for 25 years in the field of regenerative design based on non-toxic natural materials, to understand the opportunities offered by combining bamboo with earth.

How (And Why) to Integrate Earth and Bamboo Into an Architectural Project - SustainabilityHow (And Why) to Integrate Earth and Bamboo Into an Architectural Project - SustainabilityHow (And Why) to Integrate Earth and Bamboo Into an Architectural Project - SustainabilityHow (And Why) to Integrate Earth and Bamboo Into an Architectural Project - SustainabilityHow (And Why) to Integrate Earth and Bamboo Into an Architectural Project - More Images+ 21

Probably the Largest Brick Beam to Date: An Impressive Feat at the Danish Crown Headquarters

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Brick beams have been widely used in construction due to their strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal. By embedding steel reinforcing bars into a series of bricks arranged in a specific pattern, these elements form horizontal load-bearing structures that distribute the weight and forces that act on a building. However, it is difficult to find brick beams with excessively large spans, in order to avoid long-term structural problems. Instead, they mostly come in the form of simple lintels, which can be easier to handle.

With a length of 16.2 meters and an impressive clear span of 15.8 meters, CEBRA architects have collaborated with the Randers Tegl group, the largest brick supplier in Scandinavia, to complete the construction of probably the longest brick beam to date. This exterior beam is accompanied by a 13-meter-span interior "sister" beam and is located above the main entrance to the Danish Crown's new headquarters in Randers, Denmark, extending freely between two of the building's wings. The longest beam is made up of almost 4,200 bricks – its height is made up of 25 rows of bricks, equivalent to 1.6 meters, and its edge consists of 4 bricks.

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21 Projects Where Kengo Kuma (Re)Uses Materials in Unusual Ways

Kengo Kuma uses materials to connect with the local context and the users of his projects. The textures and elementary forms of constructive systems, materials, and products, are exhibited and used in favor of the architectural concept, giving value to the functions that will be carried out in each building.

From showcases made with ceramic tiles to the sifted light created by expanded metal panels, passing through an ethereal polyester coating, Kuma understands the material as an essential component that can make a difference in architecture from the design stages. Next, we present 21 projects where Kengo Kuma masterfully uses construction materials.

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Navigating Complexity and Change in Architecture with Data-Driven Technologies

The architecture profession is increasingly facing the pressures of a rapidly changing era marked by urbanization, population growth, and climate change. To effectively navigate the complexities surrounding architectural and urban projects, there has been an acceleration in the adoption and integration of data-driven technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. However, valid concerns have risen regarding the potential loss of the designer's creative control, with fears that their role may be reduced to a mere "parameter adjuster." Is this a genuine possibility or merely a reflection of resistance to change?

In a conversation with Carl Christensen, Autodesk's Vice President of Product, we delve into the impact of AI on the traditional role of the architect and explore the opportunities that arise with these technological advances. As paradigms shift, forward-thinking architects and designers could find themselves especially empowered to expand their influence and shape a new future for the discipline.

3D Printing Lightweight, Insulated Walls Using Cement-Free Mineral Foam

Harnessing the power of moldless manufacturing through large-scale robotic 3D printing, research at ETH Zürich in collaboration with FenX AG delves into the use of cement-free mineral foam made from recycled waste. The objective is to build wall systems that are monolithic, lightweight, and immediately insulated, minimizing material use, labor requirements, and associated costs.

How Could a House Work in a Post Climate Change Scenario?

Climatic conditions are changing around the world, and with more extreme temperatures and limited resources, architectural and urban solutions must also change. How could our homes look and function effectively in a post-climate change scenario? Analyzing in detail the forecasts of these climatic variations, the architects of W-LAB have developed a Low-Tech habitat proposal for humid, hot, and arid climates, incorporating bio-materials, transportable solutions, and configurations that promote life in small and resilient communities.

How To Take Advantage of the Space Under The Bed

Over the last few years, we have explored different ways of taking advantage of small spaces in residential architecture. From efficient furniture to kitchens with transformable systems to adapting essential household appliances, architects have begun looking for effective ways of optimizing scarce floor space or making spaces more flexible in multifunctional and mixed-use typologies.

The bed, as an indispensable element, is an essential consideration in these experiments. Its functions can be fulfilled without completely losing the valuable space it occupies, and the bedroom experience can be enriched with careful thought. How can we reinvent and take advantage of the opportunities of the traditional bed?

Housing in Copenhagen: A Commitment to Equality and Community Living

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When we google 'housing in Copenhagen', the first thing that pops up are the most common questions asked by users: how much does it cost to live in Copenhagen? Is it difficult to find housing in Copenhagen? It's true, living here is significantly more expensive than the European average, especially in its most central district: Indre By. Although the housing prices are adapted to the salaries of its citizens –and the quality of life index is consistent with this high cost–, it's still complex for a foreigner to settle permanently in the city.

However, there is a serious commitment from the authorities and stakeholders to kindly open the city to new inhabitants, offering affordable housing designed by its best architects –both in suburbs and in refurbished downtown areas. In 2023, Copenhagen will be the UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture and the host of the UIA World Congress of Architects, so a large number of people will be able to see firsthand what it's like to inhabit the city in projects of great architectural quality, which not only integrate wisely into its vibrant urban life, but also propose innovative ways of living.