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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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.

Wooden Decks in Public Spaces: Welcoming Floors for Collective Meeting

Sørenga Sjøbad / LPO arkitekter. Image © Tove LaulutenThe Floating Island / OBBA & Dertien12. Image © Kyungsub ShinBostanlı Footbridge & Sunset Lounge / Studio Evren Başbuğ. Image © ZM Yasa PhotographyPaprocany Lake Shore Redevelopment / RS + Robert Skitek. Image © Tomasz Zakrzewski+ 23

Wooden floors are know for their warm appearance, rich texture, and natural tones that vary according to the origin of the planks, changing with the weather and the passage of time. Outdoors, wooden surfaces are widely used for terraces and living areas, taking advantage of these inviting qualities to bring people together on warm and welcoming floors. Built with modular pieces, wooden decks can easily form artificial topographies, shaping creative and effective public spaces for rest, sports, games, and collective gathering.

The Laundry Room as an Unnecessary Luxury (or Where to Place the Washer in the Modern Home?)

In residential architecture, there have always been central, indispensable spaces and peripheral spaces more easy to ignore. When designing a home, the task of the architect is essentially to configure, connect, and integrate different functions in the most efficient way possible, necessarily prioritizing some spaces over others. And although today many are designing in ways that are increasingly fluid and indeterminate, we could say that the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen are the fundamental nucleus of every house, facilitating rest, food preparation, and personal hygiene. Then meeting spaces and other service areas appear, and with them lobbies, corridors, and stairs to connect them. Each space guides new functions, allowing its inhabitants to perform them in an easier and more comfortable way.

However, fewer square meters in the bathroom could mean more space for the living room. Or, eliminating some seemingly expendable spaces could give more room for more important needs. In an overpopulated world with increasingly dense cities, what functions have we been discarding to give more space to the essentials? Here, we analyze the case of the laundry room, which is often reduced and integrated into other areas of the house to give space for other functions.

How to Design Partitions for Healthcare Architecture: 9 Details of High-Performance Walls

Concerns about the hygiene, durability, and healthiness of interior spaces have increased considerably in recent years, drawing extreme attention to hospital and health-related projects. Consequently, the choice of materials becomes essential from the conception of each project, guaranteeing that each space performs effectively on all fronts, from resistance and safety to environmental comfort and aesthetics.

In particular, the enclosures in hospitals and health centers must conform to a series of predetermined guidelines and dimensions, which respond to the standardized sizes of different types of equipment and to the needs of each medical procedure. Within the robust framework of the structural walls, the partitions – which are essential for subdividing the space – must be especially resistant to impact, fire, and humidity, in addition to effectively mediating the acoustics between rooms and inside each one of them.

Tabique F-60 / Zona Húmeda-Seca. Image Cortesía de Etex Chile / RomeralTabique F-60 / Zona Húmeda. Image Cortesía de Etex Chile / RomeralTabique F-60 / Zona Seca. Image Cortesía de Etex Chile / RomeralTabique F-120 / Zona Húmeda. Image Cortesía de Etex Chile / Romeral+ 25

The Importance of Antibacterial Surfaces in Healthcare Architecture

HU – Strasbourg / S&AA. Image Cortesía de Porcelanosa Grupo
HU – Strasbourg / S&AA. Image Cortesía de Porcelanosa Grupo

Although any architectural project must ensure the safety and well-being of its occupants, this goal is especially pertinent for healthcare spaces, whose primary occupants are those prone to getting sick or worsening their initial condition. For this reason, its design must not only support medical procedures in their optimal conditions, but also ensure that the environment is kept sterile and clean at all times.

How do materials that fight the growth of pathogenic bacteria work? Is it possible to improve the hygiene and healthiness of an environment without neglecting the aesthetics of the space? We address this question by reviewing the case of Krion® solid surfaces, widely used in the healthcare sector but also in residential, commercial and office projects.

HU – Strasbourg / S&AA. Image Cortesía de Porcelanosa GrupoHospital Universitario A Coruña (CHUAC) / CASA SOLO Arquitectos. Image Cortesía de Porcelanosa GrupoSuperficie sólida antibacteriana Krion® K-Life - Terrazo. Image Cortesía de Porcelanosa GrupoVivienda en Hasselt, Bélgica / Studio Lijnen & Partners. Image Cortesía de Porcelanosa Grupo+ 15

Curtains as Room Dividers: Towards a Fluid and Adaptable Architecture

Over the past few decades, interior spaces have become increasingly open and versatile. From the thick walls and multiple subdivisions of Palladian villas, for example, to today's free-standing and multi-functional plans, architecture attempts to combat obsolescence by providing consistently efficient environments for everyday life, considering both present and future use. And while Palladio's old villas can still accommodate a wide variety of functions and lifestyles, re-adapting their use without changing an inch of their original design, today, flexibility seems to be the recipe for extending the useful life of buildings as far as possible.

How, then, can we design spaces neutral and flexible enough to adapt to the evolving human being, while still accomplishing the needs that each person requires today? An ancient element could help redefine the way we conceive and inhabit space: curtains.

Emperor Qianmen Hotel / asap. Image © Jonathan LeijonhufvudReady-made Apartment / azab. Image © Luis Diaz DiazPURE / Sílvia Rocio + Mariana Póvoa + esse studio. Image © Francisco NogueiraJL Madeira Office / Metro Arquitetos Associados. Image © Ilana Bessler+ 48

Adaptive Environments: Shaping Space Through Light & Color

With the aim of creating immersive environmental experiences in interior spaces, the design studio Aqua Creations has developed Manta Ray Light, a lighting installation built with responsive RGB LED technology that mixes the colors red, green, and blue to generate more than 16 million light tones. By presetting its color spectrum, offering a range of brightness settings on a scale of 0.1 to 100%, and even loading images and videos into its internal memory, the system allows its user to add color and movement to expressive spaces, or deliver a feeling of warmth and concentration to intimate and private rooms.

Manta Ray Light from Aqua Creations. Image © Ross Belfer (Xhibition)Manta Ray Light from Aqua Creations. Image © Ross Belfer (Xhibition)Manta Ray Light from Aqua Creations. Image © Ross Belfer (Xhibition)Manta Ray Light from Aqua Creations. Image © Ross Belfer (Xhibition)+ 6

What Type of Glass Most Effectively Resists Fire?

Insufficiently regulated in much of the world, the fire resistance of glass is an important issue that is often poorly resolved, endangering people's lives. What characteristics must a glass have to resist a fire? What options are there to choose from? We talked with the experts of Cristales Dialum to investigate these essential questions.

Storage Solution for Small Houses: Useful Examples

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.

END THE ROC / nook architects. Image © Yago PartalBazillion / YCL Studio. Image © Leonas GarbačauskasHB6B / Karin Matz. Image Cortesía de Karin MatzGorki / Ruetemple. Image © Ruetemple+ 33

Structural and Light Pieces of Wood Based on Natural Intelligence of Trees

The global climate crisis is not only forcing us to rethink architectural design and the way we live, but also the materials and products that shape our built environment, starting from its origins and manufacture. Toward this end, wood has become an efficient alternative to steel and concrete – materials with high levels of embodied energy – and has led to some important architectural innovations that may culminate in its more widespread use worldwide.

Inspired by the efficiency of nature, Strong By Form has developed Woodflow, a technology that generates wood panels of high structural performance, "combining the optimization of their shape, the orientation of their fibers in relation to the direction of stressors, and the variation in their density for better compression or traction," as explained by its creators. In addition, all of their products are developed in a controlled process through parametric software, integrated into BIM platforms and CNC manufacturing systems.

We talked with Jorge Christie, CTO of Strong By Form, to learn more about this new technology.

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 GuillaumeCanoeing Training Base / PSBA + INOONI. Image © Bartosz DworskiHälleskogsbrännan Visitor Center / pS Arkitektur. Image © Jason Strong PhotographyLa 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.

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.

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 DancyCasa Hoffstad / Knut Hjeltnes. Image © Inger Marie GriniVilla GK / CORE Architects. Image © Alexander BogorodskiyCasa GZ / Studio Cáceres Lazo. Image © Pablo Casals Aguirre+ 25