José Tomás Franco

Architect from Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (2012). Interested in the debate on efficiency, materials, and the importance of connecting with the user during the design process. @josetomasfr


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.

Architecture With SIPs: Fast-Build, High-Performance Prefabricated Homes

SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) are self-supporting panels composed of a rigid foam core that is located between two structural coverings, usually OSB boards. Resistant and lightweight, the panels are manufactured in a controlled manner in the factory and then transferred to the construction site, allowing for the rapid assembly of floors, walls, and ceilings, and generating a hermetic thermal and acoustic envelope. The thickness of the panel will correspond to the sum of the thickness of each of its components, and its weight should not exceed 20 kg per square meter.

Building Complex Elements in Concrete with 3D Printed Foam Formworks

With the aim of generating a significant impact on the responsible and sustainable consumption of resources and energy in the construction industry, ETH Zürich in collaboration with FenX AG is using foam 3D printing (F3DP) to manufacture geometrically complex formwork for the construction of special elements in concrete.

Offices with Integrated Greenery: 7 Notable Examples

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Offices have evolved tremendously in recent years. They are becoming more and more like a domestic space, incorporating new color palettes, flexible furnishings, warm textures, and even greenery as part of the design. In the latter case, it is not simply an aesthetic addition, but the greenery is integrated in such a way that it completely transforms and enhances the work experience of the people inside. How can plants become protagonists of the workspace? Let's review 7 cases that creatively integrate them in favor of the well-being of users.

The Bathroom Behind the Bed: 8 Bedrooms With Integrated Bathrooms

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Unlike classical architecture, characterized by a series of rooms with very defined functions and spaces, the current architectural design seeks to integrate spaces to achieve high degrees of adaptability and flexibility. In this way, the boundaries of the enclosures are blurred and new solutions appear that are worth analyzing. In the case of bedrooms, bathrooms are often no longer a small and secluded adjoining room – instead, they are now integrated to form a multifunctional space that is subtly concealed. Just like Mies van der Rohe, who used to group services in strategic areas to create open floors, let's review some cases that have adopted the specific solution of the hidden bathroom just behind the bed.

Sauna Construction Details: Examples of Small-Scale Wooden Architecture

Due to its specific characteristics, the architecture of the sauna is interesting because it gives us lessons related to efficiency and the beauty of simplicity. These are generally very basic structures with a clear function, created to contain different levels of heat and humidity. Thanks to this steam bath, people can release toxins and improve their blood circulation. In addition, they are widely used in cold climates, in close proximity to nature and utilizing the presence of water.

To function, these normally airtight spaces contain a series of internal benches with different dimensions and a heat source that must reach temperatures between 80 and 90°C, including, if necessary, a chimney to expel the smoke. Wood is the material par excellence for saunas, using in most cases native species that maintain their rustic appearance and natural texture. Next, we review 9 saunas designed by architects, including some of their construction details.

Comfort & Sustainability in Architecture: Trends 2021

Just before the global lockdowns began in response to the spread of the widely discussed COVID-19, we met with Saint Gobain experts at their new headquarters in Paris to discuss an extensive investigation conducted in 2019, with the aim of understanding the transformations that architecture and construction have experienced in recent years. After an interesting exchange of ideas, we chose the most relevant topics to be analyzed in depth by our team of editors, resulting in a series of articles that combined the trends identified with the unexpected events that occurred during 2020, connecting them directly to architectural design.

Now, entering an uncertain but promising 2021, we took the time to stop and reread these articles carefully. How many of these trends are still valid and how much have they evolved? What new trends are likely to develop in the coming years?

Husos Architects: "We Don't Want to Contribute to the Homogenization of the World Around Us"

Husos Architects' work advances in an ongoing dialogue between design and research. Founded in 2003 between Spain and Colombia, the architecture and urban planning office stands out for addressing different scales, from the micro to the global, responding to the requirements of specific users but weaving deep contextual networks with the environment and beyond. How do they effectively approach this complexity, in turn promoting social transformation? We spoke with Diego Barajas and Camilo García Barona about their processes of approaching users and other agents involved –not only humans–, about how they address the colonization of the biosphere that has caused climate change, and about their inquiry into activism from a series of battlefields habitually neglected in traditional discourses of architecture.

Round Houses of Raw Earth: 3D Printing Sustainable Homes in 200 Hours

A recent collaboration between the team of Mario Cucinella Architects (MC A) and WASP, specialists in 3D Printing in Italy, has resulted in the first 3D-printed construction of a fully natural, recyclable, and carbon-neutral material: raw earth. The circular housing prototype is called TECLA and it was built in Massa Lombarda (Ravenna, Italy) using multiple 3D printers synchronized to work at the same time.

3D Printing a 2-Meter-High Column in 30 Minutes: What's Next With This Technology?

There's no question that 3D printing is here to stay. However, it is still a developing technology that raises certain questions: is it really effective for massive and large-scale construction? How sustainable is it? Will it go from being an option to becoming the norm in the construction industry? To help clarify the broader picture of 3D printing's place in architecture and construction, we spoke with Alain Guillen, Managing Director and Co-founder of XtreeE, a platform that allows architects to bring their designs to reality through advanced large-scale 3D printing, generating quick and precise shapes without material waste. See below how he and his team see the future of robotics in architecture and why architects should prepare to embrace this new technology, heading for a more efficient but equally creative future.

Rem Koolhaas Explores the Sensory Quality of Materials at the Prada FW21 Menswear Showspace

Responding to the challenge of designing a space for the launch of the Prada FW Menswear 2021 Collection by Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, Rem Koolhaas and AMO have designed four connected geometric rooms that allow for the continuous circulation of the models showcasing their different garments. The general theme of the design centers sensory stimulation. Like the designs presented, the materials used and their distribution throughout the space speak of a more intimate connection with our surroundings, reminding us that fashion and architecture are more than just a functional container; they are an opportunity to actively excite and provoke our senses.