During the inauguration of the Spanish Pavilion for the 2018 Venice Biennale, we spoke with Spanish architect Atxu Amann, curator of the space, to better understand the ideas and motivations that shape the exhibition called "Becoming." One of the most interesting concepts –and with the aim of avoiding unnecessary waste– is that 2018 budget was mostly applied to remodel the pavilion building itself; then Amann's team "tattooed" its walls with more than 140 projects made by students and young architects.
(Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara) underscore the concept of generosity, which I think is important because we have to give space and time to those who are not yet building or constructing. We have been very lucky. When I was 30 years old I was already building. Here we have young people between the ages of 35-40 who have never built anything.
On one hand, this has made it so that they don’t have visibility, but on the other hand, it has made it so that during this time different architectural themes emerge –other ways of being an architect. (...) So this is the spirit of generosity: this is a Spanish space and we give it to you (the students) so that you show what you are doing.
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.
The challenge of designing a house with a tight budget and space constraints, together with the essential duty of responding correctly to the requirements of the user, is sometimes one of the most challenging and motivating tasks an architect can face. How can you take advantage of space most effectively? How can you avoid wasted material? How do you anticipate the possible future expansion of the house? And how do you develop a simple design that also delivers value to its inhabitants?
To help you in this process, we scoured our projects archives to select 30 houses that provide interesting architectural solutions despite measuring less than 100 square meters.
This question can be basic and you may know the answer, but it's always good to remember some elementary calculations that help us to streamline the design process.
As we know, a staircase consists basically of a series of steps, which in turn consist of a tread (the horizontal part, where the foot will rest) and a riser (the vertical part). Although it can vary in its design, each step must also have one or more landings, handrails, and a small nosing. The latter protrudes from the tread over the lower step, allowing to increase its size without adding centimeters to the overall dimensions of the staircase.
Check the effective formula developed by French architect François Blondel, which allows you to determine the correct dimensions of a comfortable and efficient staircase according to its use.
Uniting the material intelligence of vernacular crafts with the precision and flexibility provided by the new digital design and manufacturing technologies, the Robotic Fabrication LAB of The Faculty of Architecture of HKU has developed the CeramicINformation Pavilion, with the objective of finding suitable levels of automation to be used for emerging and transitioning economies.
Part of an evolving series, each of its 1,000 components is unique and relates specifically to its neighboring units. The elements are constructed through 3D printing and are made of terracotta brick, a material commonly used in modern Chinese construction.
In buildings where openness, brightness, and outward views are highly valued by the users of our projects, glass predominates as an exterior cladding in cities all around the world. This forces us to look for options that can manage the excess of solar radiation and maintain thermal comfort in all seasons, without obstructing the views or darkening the interior spaces.
Prefabricated metal meshes provide certain qualities and flexibility that can work well in conjunction with glass; here we present 8 tips to work with this material and take advantage of its potential.
Small spaces sometimes have to host essential functions. How can you incorporate the kitchen into your design in the best possible way when your floor space is limited? We have thoroughly reviewed our published projects to select 7 houses in which the architects have effectively solved this problem, using intelligent and innovative configurations.
These kitchens manage to appear larger than they really are when attached to neighboring spaces such as living rooms or dining rooms. In themselves, they are kitchens that occupy very small spaces, opting for a different approach to the traditional kitchen that normally occupies an independent and exclusive room.
As the profession becomes more aware of the variety of users who will use their architectural creations it is necessary to consider certain basic rules. In the end, the idea is that a building or space can be used comfortably, effectively and (if necessary) quickly by all users. Today the use of BIM technology encourages the incorporation of pre-modeled products in projects, which facilitates the processes. However, if pre-modeled products are not inclusively designed, there is an increased possibility of overlooking these accessible considerations–especially when their architects have no experience or are unaware of accessible design guidelines.
Bradley Corporation USA, a manufacturer of plumbing fixtures and bathroom accessories, has developed standard models of bathrooms for people with disabilities, delivering the basic requirements that must be incorporated according to the guidelines specified by organizations such as the ADA and the ANSI. Below we present an example of an accessible bathroom for a single person, incorporating, among other things, a touchless handwashing sink (all-in-one: soap, water, and hand dryer) and a series of safety bars. Before including it in your project, don't forget to check the local regulations of your country/region.
Concrete blocks are a prefabricated material mainly used to build walls. Like bricks, the blocks are stacked together and joined with a mortar, usually consisting of cement, sand, and water. The blocks are hollow inside to allow for steel bars and mortar filling.
These blocks come in a variety of dimensions and textures, from traditional smooth surfaces to fluted or rough finishes, as well as special units for corners or for beams with longitudinal reinforcements. The dimensions of these blocks range from the classic 8x8x16 inches (approx 19x19x39 cm) which is meant for structural use, to a size of 8x3.5x39 inches (approx 19x9x39 cm) for partitioning walls. How can we incorporate them creatively into our designs?
BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a methodology that allows architects to create digital design simulations to manage all the information associated with an architectural project.
While CAD creates 2- or 3-dimensional drawings that don't distinguish between their elements, BIM incorporates 4-D (time) and 5-D (costs). This allows users to manage information intelligently throughout the life cycle of a project, automating processes such as programming, conceptual design, detailed design, analysis, documentation, manufacturing, construction logistics, operation and maintenance, renovation and/or demolition.
In any design and construction project there are an unlimited number of participants, as well as infinite interactions between parties. The projects are multidisciplinary and include information that is not necessary to all involved. So who is responsible for what in each project? How far does my responsibility go and where does yours start? BIM helps to order the complexity of this process.
Wood is one of the oldest materials that man has used to build their homes and take refuge from the weather. Wood does not only fulfill a structural function -being highly resistant to earthquakes-, but it also provides interior thermal comfort, as well as adding a warm look and feel to a building, while easily adapting to natural environments.
Below find 21 construction sections for wood structures using the material in incredible ways.
With the aim of promoting more efficient ways to isolate and protect building envelopes, the Chilean team Rootman has developed Thermoroot; a biodegradable and 100% natural insulation made from roots without genetic modifications or chemical additives. These roots make up what the company is calling a Radicular Mattress which, in addition to thermally and acoustically insulating the walls, floors, and ceilings of buildings, it is fire resistant.
How much do you wish you knew about carpentry, solar energy or masonry? Leonardo Da Vinci said, "the noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding." Those who are open to learning and expanding their horizons are more likely improve their approach to design. If you've always wanted to understand more about construction processes, structures or materials, this list of online courses is for you.
We scoured MOOC platforms and databases to highlight a series of online courses related to construction and building materials. Many of the courses are permanently available and can be taken immediately; we've also provided information so that you may contact the universities or instructors to inquire about start dates, certificates, costs, course language and other relevant details.
Architecture is well-known as one of the more expensive professions to study given the high costs for supplies. The fast-paced rhythm of traditional studio courses requires students to present their design ideas using drawings, diagrams, renderings, and collages—usually plotted onto paper—adding to the already high cost of creating physical models. The price tag for studying and practicing architecture is a cost that the entire profession has assumed, for better or worse.
If you aren't one of the lucky few residing in a country or state in which education is free, or in which there are significant financial aid support systems, the constant extra cost of building models and printing presentation materials has a big impact. In the best case (and only in cases in which the family is in the fortunate position to do so) parents supplement the extra money need; but in many cases, students must work while studying. What else can you do when you're expected to produce a final project or thesis that can total hundreds or even thousands of dollars to produce?
Brikawood is an intuitive and logical construction system of wooden bricks that allows the rapid construction of an entire house without the use of nails, screws or adhesives.
Each unit is totally recyclable and consists of four pieces of wood –two lateral elements and two transversal spacers– which are assembled to the general frames of the building by interlocking, achieving total rigidity when working together. The resulting structure presents thermal, mechanical, acoustic and anti-seismic properties and is designed to be used without cladding or membranes, adding only an anti-return valve specific to Brikawood, in order to increase the performance and tightness of the construction.
As a construction material, bamboo is resistant, versatile, grows rapidly and is immensely friendly with its own ecosystem and its agroforestry environment. In addition, it presents a large number of species that deliver different diameters and heights. But are there also variations in its color?
We are truly impressed with the work of architects, builders, and artisans who use 'blond bamboo,' which moves between yellow and brown tones. These species are abundant and easy to harvest, and therefore are more common and accessible. However, there are a number of species that have a darker coloration and could revolutionize bamboo architecture in the future. Here we present black bamboo.
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 talked 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.
Earthen construction and bamboo are extremely compatible. They offer different capacities. They compliment each other beautifully. They both require the same conditions, like breathability.