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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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Eco-Friendly Insulation Offers Thermal Performance, Sound Absorption and Fire Resistance at the Same Time

14:00 - 25 February, 2018
Eco-Friendly Insulation Offers Thermal Performance, Sound Absorption and Fire Resistance at the Same Time, Cortesía de Rootman SpA
Cortesía de Rootman SpA

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.

Cortesía de Rootman SpA Cortesía de Rootman SpA Cortesía de Rootman SpA Cortesía de Rootman SpA + 13

Deepen Your Understanding of Construction and Materials With These Online Courses

08:00 - 31 January, 2018
Deepen Your Understanding of Construction and Materials With These Online Courses, © ArchDaily | José Tomás Franco
© ArchDaily | José Tomás Franco

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.

How Did You Finance Your Model-Making and Printing Costs During Architecture School?

09:00 - 30 January, 2018
How Did You Finance Your Model-Making and Printing Costs During Architecture School?, © ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

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?

Universal Design and Accessibility Manuals from Latin America and Spain

08:00 - 29 January, 2018
Universal Design and Accessibility Manuals from Latin America and Spain, Guidelines and Requirements for Inclusive Architecture Projects. Image via Municipalidad de Rosario
Guidelines and Requirements for Inclusive Architecture Projects. Image via Municipalidad de Rosario

Last year we shared a guide to the United States' ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Given the article's success and the diversity of our audience, we're making available a collection of guideline documents from Latin America and Spain. Whether you're working on projects in these countries or you're looking to broaden your knowledge of universal design, these guides should come in handy.

These documents—published as PDFs—have been made available by institutions and organizations and refer to the requirements and laws of the indicated countries. 

Innovative 'Wooden Bricks' System Cuts Building Time to Just a Few Days

08:00 - 26 January, 2018

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.

© Brikawood © Brikawood © Brikawood © Brikawood + 5

Surprising Material Alert: The Black Bamboo

17:00 - 24 December, 2017
Surprising Material Alert: The Black Bamboo, © José Tomás Franco
© José Tomás Franco

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. 

© José Tomás Franco © José Tomás Franco © José Tomás Franco © José Tomás Franco + 17

How (And Why) to Integrate Earth and Bamboo Into Your Architectural Project

08:00 - 30 November, 2017
How (And Why) to Integrate Earth and Bamboo Into Your Architectural Project, © José Tomás Franco
© José Tomás Franco

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.

© José Tomás Franco © José Tomás Franco © José Tomás Franco © José Tomás Franco + 26

Why Are Architects Needed? 8 Speakers Give Their Answers During Rising Architecture Week 2017

16:00 - 22 October, 2017

With the objective of developing new solutions to the societal challenges of tomorrow, the RISING Architecture Week 2017—held in Aarhus, Denmark, between the 11th and 15th of September—consisted of a series of events, exhibitions, and the RISING Exchange Conference, focuses on how architecture and construction can help to rethink existing paradigms.

We had the opportunity to visit the city and to talk with Jan Gehl, Pauline Marchetti, Ruth Baumeister, Daan Roosegaarde, John Thackara, Jacques Ferrier, Stephan Petermann, and Shajay Bhooshan, some of the speakers who contributed their visions on these issues. Thinking about a future in which different actors will be relevant in the process of addressing such challenges, we took the opportunity to make them question themselves: Are architects really needed?

Every time you put any brick down anywhere, you manipulate the quality of life of people. (...) If you just make form, it's sculpture. But it becomes architecture if the interaction between form and life is successful.
– Jan Gehl.

Check all their answers in the video above, and see some pictures of their lectures in the Official Facebook of the event.

Design for a Modular House Proposes a Synergy Between Prefabrication and Carpentry

04:00 - 31 August, 2017
Cortesía de abarca+palma
Cortesía de abarca+palma

Seeking to connect the traditions of carpentry and the prefabrication industry, Chilean practice abarca+palma have developed a modular house proposal made up of 10 different types of module, capable of forming 5 different house layouts.

The house is constructed in pine wood—using composite beams and pillars—with prefabricated SIP panels.

Architects Urgently Need to Leave Their Desks to Work More on Site, According to Our Readers

08:30 - 18 August, 2017
Architects Urgently Need to Leave Their Desks to Work More on Site, According to Our Readers, © José Tomás Franco
© José Tomás Franco

Do Architects Learn Enough About Construction and Materials? We asked this question to spark a discussion among our readers, and the number of responses on our sites in English and Spanish was overwhelming.

Having read and collected all these comments, it is clear that most of our readers agree that what is currently taught about materials and building processes is not enough. The vast majority of them admit that they have acquired this knowledge through fieldwork, years after having graduated. So once again we ask: if material knowledge is so important for the development of our profession, why is it not a fundamental part of the programs in universities around the world?

However, some of our readers contest this view, stating that architects don't have to know everything, and that we can't sacrifice good design to the constraints that impact the construction process. They base their arguments on the presence of specialists, to whom we should go whenever necessary, in a cohesive and collaborative process between the different disciplines.

Review the best comments received and join the discussion below.

This Cantilevered Wooden Staircase is Constructed Without the Use of Fixings

06:00 - 2 August, 2017
This Cantilevered Wooden Staircase is Constructed Without the Use of Fixings, © Gustavo Frittegotto
© Gustavo Frittegotto

Designed by architect Rafael Iglesia for the home of the Del Grande family in Rosario, Argentina, this staircase is the result of a system of counteracting forces. The structure's wooden elements are held in place only by the friction and pressure that is produced between the pieces of wood that make up the system.

Custom Bamboo Skylight Illuminates the Interior of a Historic Building in China

06:00 - 21 July, 2017
Custom Bamboo Skylight Illuminates the Interior of a Historic Building in China, Cortesía de Atelier Archmixing
Cortesía de Atelier Archmixing

In response to the overwhelming growth of cities and neighborhoods in China, architects from Atelier Archmixing’s Shanghai office, have developed a series of proposals that seek to return value to sensitive interior spaces and improve the user’s quality of life through design.

The project consists of an interesting light fixture; a bamboo structure similar in shape to an umbrella, that lets natural light and fresh air into the building.

From Foundations to Roofs: 10 Detailed Wood Construction Solutions in 3D and 2D

08:00 - 27 June, 2017
From Foundations to Roofs: 10 Detailed Wood Construction Solutions in 3D and 2D, Cortesía de POLOMADERA
Cortesía de POLOMADERA

Developed by the POLOMADERA Program at the University of Concepción, the 3D Building Construction Solutions Catalog is a free tool that helps users design construction details for lightweight wooden structural systems.

Though created with the intention of meeting new standards soon to be implemented nationally in Chile (and therefore in Spanish), the catalog was developed jointly with international experts from the Wood Construction Institute at the Holzbau Institut in Germany, and thus incorporates best practices that are applicable around the world.

The catalog allows users to find and download different construction solutions in wood, with details categorized under Foundations, Mezzanines, Doors and Windows, Partitions, Roofs, and Terraces.

Cortesía de Polo Madera Cortesía de Polo Madera Cortesía de Polo Madera Cortesía de Polo Madera + 25

This Magnetic Drill Screws Through Wood Leaving No Visible Holes

08:00 - 24 June, 2017

Invis Mx2 is a device that allows you to connect screws and bolts easily without leaving any holes. Its cordless screwdriver works through a MiniMag rotary magnetic field, which adapts to any conventional drill, allowing to generate detachable connections with a tensile force of 250 kg per connector.

The system is designed to be applied to wooden elements and ceramic materials, allowing the construction of furniture, railings, coatings, stairs, among others. 

© Invis Mx2 / Lamello © Invis Mx2 / Lamello © Invis Mx2 / Lamello © Invis Mx2 / Lamello + 5

The Construction Details of ELEMENTAL's Incremental Housing

08:00 - 18 June, 2017
The Construction Details of ELEMENTAL's Incremental Housing, Quinta Monroy, Section © ELEMENTAL
Quinta Monroy, Section © ELEMENTAL

Good location, harmonious growth over time, concern for urban design, and the delivery of a structure that has "middle-class DNA" are the key points of the ABC of incremental housing, developed in detail by the Chilean architects ELEMENTAL. It's a question of ensuring a balance between "low-rise high-density, without overcrowding, with the possibility of expansion (from social housing to middle-class dwelling)."

Following this line of action, the office has released the drawings of four of the projects carried out under these principles, to serve as good examples of design which have already been implemented and proven in reality. However, despite making them available for free consultation and download, the architects emphasize that these designs must be adjusted to comply with the regulations and structural codes of each locality, using relevant building materials.

15 Rarely Seen Details Of The Parthenon

06:00 - 5 June, 2017
15 Rarely Seen Details Of The Parthenon, Metopes. Corner of the western frieze of the Parthenon. Image © Wikipedia User: Thermos. Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.5
Metopes. Corner of the western frieze of the Parthenon. Image © Wikipedia User: Thermos. Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.5

The Parthenon, unquestionably the most iconic of the Ancient Greeks' Doric temples, was built between 447 and 432 BC. Located on the Acropolis in Athens, for many architects, it is one of the first buildings we analyzed when beginning our studies. Designed by Ictino and Calícrates, it displays a unique repertoire of architectural elements that can be fully appreciated individually, or for the role they play in forming a complete and magnificent whole.

Simply described, the 69.5 x 30.9-meter building is erected on a stylobate of three steps, with a gabled roof raised upon a post and lintel structure formed by Doric columns—17 on its sides and 8 on each end—which support an entablature composed of an architrave, a frieze, and a cornice. On each gable were triangular pediments with sculptures that represent the "Birth of Athena" on the East and the "Contest Between Athena and Poseidon" on the West.

Take a look at some of these elements in detail, through this set of high-resolution images.

Chapiteau. Image © Wikipedia User: Codex. Licensed Under CC BY-SA 3.0 Sculptured Horse Head. Eastern Pediment. Image © Wikipedia User: Guillaume Piolle. Licensed Under CC BY-SA 3.0 Eastern pediment. Image © Wikipedia User: Dimitris Kamaras. Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.0 Ionic Frieze behind the Outer Peristyle. Image © Wikipedia User: Marcus Cyron. Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.0 + 15

"Architecture of the Portrait": Illustrations by Francisca Álvarez Ainzúa

06:00 - 3 April, 2017
"Architecture of the Portrait": Illustrations by Francisca Álvarez Ainzúa, Óscar Niemeyer. Image © Francisca Álvarez Ainzúa
Óscar Niemeyer. Image © Francisca Álvarez Ainzúa

Chilean architect and illustrator Francisca Álvarez Ainzúa created "Architecture of the Portrait": a series of illustrations of renowned architects drawn with the precision and accuracy of a fineliner. In order to choose the protagonists of her geometrical analyses, the architect states a preference for strong character and the presence of imperfections, which imparts a certain richness to the representation.

The architectural construction of the face is done using lines to create a hatch effect. Next, she adds color that pays tribute to the traditional default CAD shades: yellow, cyan and magenta.

Tadao Ando. Image © Francisca Álvarez Ainzúa Zaha Hadid. Image © Francisca Álvarez Ainzúa Teodoro Fernández. Image © Francisca Álvarez Ainzúa Mies Van Der Rohe. Image © Francisca Álvarez Ainzúa + 6

Does it Pay to Invest in Good Architecture? The Case of 'The Iceberg' in Aarhus, Denmark

07:00 - 27 February, 2017
Does it Pay to Invest in Good Architecture? The Case of 'The Iceberg' in Aarhus, Denmark, The Iceberg / CEBRA + JDS + SeARCH + Louis Paillard Architects. Image © José Tomás Franco
The Iceberg / CEBRA + JDS + SeARCH + Louis Paillard Architects. Image © José Tomás Franco

It is often said that architecture only makes projects more expensive. That architects only add a series of arbitrary and capricious complexities that could be avoided in order to lower their costs, and that the project could still work exactly the same without them. Is this true in all cases?

Although they are more profitable economically, human beings don't seem to be happy inhabiting cold concrete boxes without receiving sunlight or a breeze everynow and then, or in an unsafe neighborhood where there's no possibility to meet your friends and family outdoors. Quality in architecture is a value that sooner or later will deliver something in return. 

Balance is key, and a good design will never be complete if it's not economically efficient. How do we achieve this ideal? We reviewed the design process for 'The Iceberg' in Aarhus, Denmark. A project that managed to convince the authorities and investors when proposing a high-impact and tight-budget design, which in its form seeks to respond to the objective of guaranteeing the quality of life of its users and their neighbors.

The Iceberg, Model. Image © José Tomás Franco Mikkel Frost, Founding Partner of CEBRA, explaining us 'The Iceberg' during the Press Tour of The Architecture Project. Image © José Tomás Franco The Iceberg / CEBRA + JDS + SeARCH + Louis Paillard Architects. Image © José Tomás Franco The Iceberg / CEBRA + JDS + SeARCH + Louis Paillard Architects. Image © José Tomás Franco + 15