Architects are increasingly aware of our influence on the well-being and good health of the users of our projects. Natural lighting –and how it should be complemented with artificial lighting– is an essential factor to consider for the visual comfort of interior spaces. But, do we know how to handle it correctly?
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
Dense cities mean small homes. With more and more frequency we are forced to adapt to spaces within which some elements simply do not fit. As architects, these restrictions actually provide us with opportunities and remind us that our goal is to give precise solutions to specific problems. Designing with infinite number square meters and/or an unlimited budget is practically unheard of.
What's the key to accommodating everything? Let's review some effective storage solutions for minimum, tight spaces.
Architects' general ignorance about the needs and requirements for people with special needs is worrisome. Beyond complying with mandatory regulations (different in each country), the quality of life for different-abled people depends on specific and daily factors that go beyond a railing or a ramp, and are often left in the hands of professionals who have never dealt with such issues.
This Ables, a project developed by IKEA and the non-profit organizations Milbat and Access Israel, provides an excellent resource for how to create an equitable design in the smallest and simplest of details. From door handles that are can be opened with a forearm to a couch lift that enables users to sit down and get up easily, these 13 products are available to the general public on ThisAbles.com. Some products can even be 3D-printed independently.
See the video below for more details of the project.
In May 1985, an old theater and concert hall opened its doors to the public for the opening of a brand new nightclub in New York City. Located on 126 East 14th Street, the project was commissioned by entrepreneurs Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, owners of the also famous club Studio 54, and was conceived as a vibrant and luminous independent structure arranged inside a rather classic shell, which appears as a beautiful backdrop behind the clean geometry of Isozaki.
As The New York Times pointed out in its May 20, 1985 edition: 'Arata Isozaki is at once a great eminence of Japanese architecture and a source of some of its freshest thinking. And all sides of Mr. Isozaki are visible in the Palladium'.
Most of the materials that we use in the construction of our projects have shapes and dimensions that seek to facilitate their storage, transfer, and installation, being constituted in its majority by orthogonal modulations. These straight angles don't always fit with the irregularity of our designs, nor do they coincide exactly when encountering more organic materials or other specific elements such as ducts, pillars, or furniture.
This simple tool allows you to copy, duplicate, and measure complex contours so that the materials adapt perfectly to other elements. Its mobile 'teeth' must be pressed against the profile to obtain a mold of its shape, generating templates that will allow cutting and adjusting the original material with precision. Thus, the tool could even be useful for replicating or repairing unique details in restorations or refurbishments.
Argentine firm Estudio Arzubialde and Chilean architect Verónica Arcos led a Material Experimentation Workshop in Rosario, Argentina, during which six different groups of students designed and built projects using a variety of brick laying techniques.
Each project used different brick patterns based on simple rules, resulting in a structure with a certain degree of geometric complexity.
Fusing augmented reality with the physical space, Fologram seeks to facilitate the construction of complex designs (for example, parametric designs that require a series of measurements, verification, and specific care) through digital instructions that are virtually superimposed into the workspace, directing a step-by-step guide for bricklayers during the construction process.
'Research institutions and large companies are working with industrial robots to automate these challenging construction tasks. However, robots aren’t well-suited for unpredictable construction environments, and even the most sophisticated computer vision algorithms cannot match the intuition and skill of a trained bricklayer,' stated their creators.
LocationDiego Silva Henríquez 1107, Recoleta, Región Metropolitana, Chile
AEscala ArchitectsDanae Santibáñez, José Tomás Franco
AEscala Philosopher and EducatorMaría Jesús Montecinos
AEscala PsychologistLucas Sánchez
PhotographyMaría González, José Tomás Franco, Courtesy of Danae Santibáñez
It's common sense: a good design is based on people and what they really need. As architects, are we deepening enough to give the correct answers to the requirements we face in each project?
Herman Miller is a great example of this understanding. Founded in 1905 by Dirk Jan De Pree, the American company produces equipment and furnishings for offices and housing, including a high level of research to understand the human body and the way we inhabit our daily spaces. These investigations, supported by usability testing and multidisciplinary work, results in a large number of furniture pieces and spatial designs that are now used by people around the world.
We had the opportunity to visit their headquarters in Zeeland, Michigan to understand how these studies have been carried out for several decades.
Home automation has long been associated with high costs, a burdening assembly time, and a cumbersome process that impelled us to discard the idea of automating projects. However, these days are long gone.
With lower costs and easier assembly, today, developing a new project without home automation seems somewhat absurd. Below, with the help of AVE Chile, we've compiled a series of tips to help you incorporate domotics into your next project.
Surely every architect has wondered how the fluid but complex forms of the architecture of Zaha Hadid Architects are brought to reality. And it's beautiful to see how an initial conceptual idea –probably drawn as a quick sketch– materializes in precise and detailed planimetric drawings.
We have compiled a series of construction details from 9 projects developed by Zaha Hadid Architects that give insight into her distinct style and approach, showing us that, with a little ingenuity and a lot of expertise, even the most impossible-seeming dreams can be built.
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.
During warm summer months, buildings must maintain an adequate and comfortable temperature for the users of the space. Blinds or solar screens are an effective solution in projects that have large glazed surfaces, thus reducing the temperatures generated by direct sunlight.
Below, we have selected 6 Spanish projects that creatively use louvers and shutters in their facades.
Recurrently we see how architects opt for translucent facades to create the envelopes of their buildings, promoting the entry of a large amount of natural light, while simultaneously controlling it during the day. Illuminated during the night, many of these projects can be seen in the dark, appearing as lanterns or lighthouses for their neighbors and community. Being exposed to changing conditions – day or night – to choose the right material, it's necessary to study in detail the orientation and location of the building, the pre-existing context, and the configuration of the interior spaces.
We present a system of glass panels that allow buildings with this type of façade –spanning from floor to ceiling without interruptions – with minimal frames and different colors, textures, thermal and acoustic performances.
Inspired by two of the oldest techniques in architecture, fluting, and reeding, Brooklyn-based GRT Architects have developed a series of modular concrete pieces that update the Greek tradition, varying its classic composition.
When designing the envelope of projects, we must pay special attention to each of the elements that comprise it, since each of these layers has specific qualities that will be decisive in the thermal behavior of our building as a whole.
If we divide 1 m2 of our envelope by the temperature difference between its faces, we will obtain a value that corresponds to the thermal transmittance, also called U-Value. This value tells us a building's level of thermal insulation in relation to the percentage of energy that passes through it; if the resulting number is low we will have a well-isolated surface and, on the contrary, a high number alerts us of a thermally deficient surface.
After noticing a huge inefficiency and disarticulation in their processes (working separately in design, modeling, and documentation), David Miller Architects (DMA) decided to immerse his company into the BIM (Building Information Modeling) world in 2008. Despite their success, this experience of trial and error gave them a series of lessons that are important to consider when rethinking the way we do architecture.
'BIM gave us an opportunity to reimagine the practice, in a much more structured and organized way. Then, it allowed us to have more quality control, [and be] more organized and thorough, which is really important for a small practice trying to grow. And that really increased the confidence in some of our clients,' says David Miller.
We spoke with the British architect at a conference in June 2018 in Santiago, Chile, which included the seminar "Why Implement BIM in 2020" organized by Planbim. This seminar identified 7 key points that can facilitate the implementation of this paradigm in an architecture office.
In this article, we provide you with the tools to design more inclusive architecture. Although each region and country has its own accessibility guidelines which you should review in depth before starting a project, the material presented below, based on the ADA and ANSI standards, will help you design comfortable and efficient spaces for all its users.
Read on for detailed diagrams with the recommended measures to design an accessible bathroom.