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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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Understanding The Human Body: Designing For People of All Shapes and Sizes

05:00 - 22 January, 2019
Understanding The Human Body: Designing For People of All Shapes and Sizes, Sketches by Bill Stumpf, that show his desire to design a chair that works for all kinds of bodies. Image Courtesy of Herman Miller
Sketches by Bill Stumpf, that show his desire to design a chair that works for all kinds of bodies. Image Courtesy of Herman Miller

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.

How to Design Smart Homes: 8 Tips for Incorporating Domotics Into Architecture

05:00 - 8 January, 2019
How to Design Smart Homes: 8 Tips for Incorporating Domotics Into Architecture, Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & SPA. Image © Juergen Eheim
Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & SPA. Image © Juergen Eheim

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.

'Vista Santiago' Project, Santiago de Chile. Image © AVE Chile © AVE Chile © AVE Chile 'Vista Santiago' Project, Santiago de Chile. Image © AVE Chile + 19

Construction Details of Zaha Hadid Architects Projects

05:00 - 31 October, 2018
Construction Details of Zaha Hadid Architects Projects, Guangzhou Opera House / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan
Guangzhou Opera House / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan

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.

The Serpentine Sackler Gallery / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Luke Hayes MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Werner Huthmacher Library and Learning Centre University of Economics Vienna / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Roland Halbe + 29

Fiber Cement Facades in Architecture: 9 Notable Examples

05:00 - 29 October, 2018
Fiber Cement Facades in Architecture: 9 Notable Examples, Lighthouse / Room11 Architects. Image © Benjamin Hosking
Lighthouse / Room11 Architects. Image © Benjamin Hosking

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 Dancy Casa Hoffstad / Knut Hjeltnes. Image © Inger Marie Grini Villa GK / CORE Architects. Image © Alexander Bogorodskiy Casa GZ / Studio Cáceres Lazo. Image © Pablo Casals Aguirre + 25

6 Spanish Projects That Creatively Use Louvers and Shutters in Their Facades

08:00 - 29 August, 2018
 6 Spanish Projects That Creatively Use Louvers and Shutters in Their Facades, Cortesía de Gradhermetic
Cortesía de Gradhermetic

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. 

Ampliación del Hospital de Sabadell / Estudi PSP Arquitectura. Image © Jordi Canosa i Blajot Escuela Secundaria Honoré de Balzac / NBJ architectes. Image © Photoarchitecture Campus Universitario y Parque Científico-Tecnológico / CANVAS Arquitectos. Image Cortesía de CANVAS Arquitectos Campus Diagonal / Enrique Batlle i Durany y Joan Roig i Durán. Image Cortesía de Gradhermetic + 17

Diffused Light: How to Design 'Lantern Buildings' With Self-Supporting Glass Walls

05:30 - 10 August, 2018
Diffused Light: How to Design 'Lantern Buildings' With Self-Supporting Glass Walls, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art / Steven Holl Architects. Image © Andy Ryan
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art / Steven Holl Architects. Image © Andy Ryan

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. 

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art / Steven Holl Architects. Image © Andy Ryan C-Glass House / Deegan Day Design. Image © Taiyo Watanabe Magnolia Mound Visitors Center / Trahan Architects. Image © Timothy Hursley Nelson Atkins Museum of Art / Steven Holl. Image Cortesía de Bendheim + 28

Updating Antiquity: Using Modular Concrete to Create New Compositions

08:00 - 1 August, 2018
Updating Antiquity: Using Modular Concrete to Create New Compositions, © Madhava Kalmar
© Madhava Kalmar

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.

© Madhava Kalmar © Madhava Kalmar © Madhava Kalmar © Madhava Kalmar + 13

How to Calculate the Thermal Transmittance (U-Value) in the Envelope of a Building

08:00 - 29 July, 2018
© ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

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.

Keys to Implement BIM in Your Architecture Office

07:00 - 22 July, 2018
Keys to Implement BIM in Your Architecture Office, © Planbim
© Planbim

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.

Design Accessible Bathrooms for All With This ADA Restroom Guide

14:15 - 19 July, 2018
Design Accessible Bathrooms for All With This ADA Restroom Guide, ADA Design Guide / Washrooms & Showers. Image Courtesy of Bradley Corporation USA
ADA Design Guide / Washrooms & Showers. Image Courtesy of Bradley Corporation USA

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.

Online Revit Courses for Beginners and Experts

08:00 - 17 July, 2018
Online Revit Courses for Beginners and Experts, Course: "Revit 2019: Essential Training for Architecture (Imperial)". Image © Lynda.com
Course: "Revit 2019: Essential Training for Architecture (Imperial)". Image © Lynda.com

As one of the most-used BIM software products around the world, there are a large number of tutorials and online courses that help us to get started in using Revit, or to become an advanced user and take advantage of its many tools. Do you just want to become familiar with its interface so that you can start using it in your projects? Do you need to learn how to link it with AutoCAD or 3ds Max? Don't know how to render or present the results of your models? These courses promise to teach you how.

Design an Efficient Kitchen by Downloading These BIM Objects

08:00 - 1 July, 2018

The requirements for the use of BIM files in architectural projects are getting increasingly stricter. Currently, there are mandates that will require the use of these tools for the development of public projects. It is also likely that these norms will also be replicated in private projects.

Earlier this year, we published the guide 'How to Correctly Design and Build a Kitchen;' today, we present the second installment on how to use the BIM format to design the kitchen of your project quickly and efficiently. The modules are part of a library of elements which can be varied in a large number of formats and styles through the different models of Melamine boards.

The advantage of applying these modules is dependent on your design. You must consider the best possible optimization of a board, avoiding waste of material and money, and reducing the problems when building each piece of furniture.

9 Inventive Large-Scale Stadiums and Their Constructive Details

08:00 - 27 June, 2018
9 Inventive Large-Scale Stadiums and Their Constructive Details, © Tomaz Gregoric
© Tomaz Gregoric

Stadiums —new or remodeled— provide excellent and innovative examples of architecture on a large scale; they are required to shelter thousands of people, including the athletes of the games they host. In addition to the technical aspects and considerations related to sports, these structures apply interesting cladding systems, with some stadiums even generating the energy needed to function.

Read on for more about stadiums and their structures in detail.

Basketball Stadium in Dongguan / gmp architekten. Image © Christian Gahl Mineirão Sports Complex / BCMF Arquitetos. Image © Leonardo Finotti Arena da Baixada / carlosarcosarquite(c)tura. Image © Leonardo Finotti Arena Tele2 / White arkitekter . Image © Åke E:son Lindman + 29

What is CI and How to Design a Continuous Insulation System

08:00 - 26 June, 2018
Courtesy of STO
Courtesy of STO

CI (Continuous Insulation System) is an insulated facade system for walls and ventilated slabs that works through the superposition of 5 skins: fixation, insulation, waterproofing (open to the diffusion of the vapor and resistant to impact), and an outer cladding layer.

How are these components installed, and how do they work? Is it a system for new projects or can it be incorporated into existing buildings (retrofit)? How to design an CI correctly for my architecture project? Find these and other answers, below.

Atxu Amann's Spanish Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale Looks to Give Space to Young Architects Who Haven't Built Yet

16:00 - 30 May, 2018

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.

How Tree Trunks Are Cut to Produce Wood With Different Appearances and Uses

08:00 - 21 May, 2018
How Tree Trunks Are Cut to Produce Wood With Different Appearances and Uses, © José Tomás Franco
© José Tomás Franco

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.

House Plans Under 100 Square Meters: 30 Useful Examples

05:00 - 25 April, 2018
House Plans Under 100 Square Meters: 30 Useful Examples, © ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

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.

How to Calculate Staircase Dimensions and Designs

08:00 - 23 April, 2018
© José Tomás Franco
© José Tomás Franco

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.