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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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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

Modular Units Create a Raised Garden Screen in this Structure in Spain

07:00 - 15 February, 2017
Modular Units Create a Raised Garden Screen in this Structure in Spain, © Marcos Morilla
© Marcos Morilla

This project, by Spanish architects Longo + Roldán, turned out to be a great solution for an unused space that was unexpectedly getting a lot of attention in the interior of a quarry.

Instead of building new buildings or remodeling existing cabins they designed an intricate metal lattice structure that forms a web of planters of different depths, containing various species of plants. This solution not only revitalizes the space but also protects existing buildings from the sun, improving their thermal conditions.

© Marcos Morilla © Marcos Morilla © Marcos Morilla © Marcos Morilla + 43

10 Project Details That Show How to Make Stunning Storage Spaces

08:00 - 22 January, 2017
10 Project Details That Show How to Make Stunning Storage Spaces

One of the hallmarks of architectural sensibility is a clean, clutter-free space – "a place for everything and everything in its place." Every project requires some element where things can be neatly stored away, whether it be books, kitchen appliances, or entire furniture pieces. Solutions for these storage needs can range from invisible and out of the way, to stunning, textural centerpieces – either way adding necessary functionality to our most-used spaces.

Check out this selection of ten brilliant storage spaces.

13 Stunning Inner Courtyards

12:00 - 15 January, 2017
13 Stunning Inner Courtyards

We would like to take a second to focus on the wonderful, yet often overlooked, inner courtyard. The inner courtyard is essentially a "contained outside space" made up of transparent walls, and a well thought-out drainage system is a must. Other elements such as furnishings, decks, vegetation, stairs, water are then added, complicating the space created. The inner courtyard also plays a role in the building's layout; in most cases it functions as the central point from which the other rooms and functions of the project are organized, giving them air and light when the façade openings are not enough.

Here is our selection of 13 stunning inner courtyards of houses and buildings that we have previously published on our site.

The Spaniard Who Spent 50 Years Building a Cathedral With His Own Hands

08:00 - 14 January, 2017
The Spaniard Who Spent 50 Years Building a Cathedral With His Own Hands , © Flickr user: santiago lopez-pastor, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
© Flickr user: santiago lopez-pastor, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

A huge cathedral with tall towers and a magnificent dome rises slowly in the municipality of Mejorada del Campo, 20 kilometers from Madrid. It seems like a common occurrence, but it is not. The building has been under construction for 50 years - brick by brick - by one man: Justo Gallego Martínez, farmer, ex-monk and a self-taught architect of 91 years of age.

Learn about his life's work (literally) after the break.

© Wikipedia user: JMPerez, licensed under Public Domain © Wikipedia user: Javier Carro, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 © Flickr user: santiago lopez-pastor, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 © Flickr user: santiago lopez-pastor, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 + 10

The Totora Cube Investigates the Techniques of Incan-Era Craftsmanship

12:00 - 28 December, 2016
The Totora Cube Investigates the Techniques of Incan-Era Craftsmanship, Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner
Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner

Developed by the architects of the "think-act tank" Archquid, in connection with the indigenous community and other institutions of the parish of San Rafael de la Laguna (Otavalo, Ecuador), this project revolves around the material research of the totora plant, a subspecies of the giant bulrush sedge. The Totora Cube project deepens the understanding of the art and craft with which these fibers have been used since pre-Inca times.

Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner + 25

ARoS Art Museum Expansion Project: SHL Architects and James Turrell will Raise an Impressive Semi-Subterranean Dome in Aarhus

16:00 - 16 November, 2016
ARoS Art Museum Expansion Project: SHL Architects and James Turrell will Raise an Impressive Semi-Subterranean Dome in Aarhus, Rising Sun. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Rising Sun. Image Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

With the aim of creating a new civic experience at a central point in the city of Aarhus, Denmark, the 'Next Level' project by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects expands the interior capacity of the ARoS Art Museum through a 1,200 square meter subterranean gallery and a huge semi-subterranean dome. The €40 million expansion plan was born from a collaboration with renowned American artist James Turrell, generating a unique experience of color and light.

The horizontal underground space will extend 120 meters below the surface, allowing the visitors to pass through a string of galleries and exhibition spaces before arriving at the Dome. "With its 40 meter diameter, the Dome will form one of the most spectacular spaces ever built into an art museum," explain the architects.

Watch How These South American Architects Construct a Brickless Brick Wall

06:00 - 1 November, 2016

Using concrete and bricks made of raw mud, architects Solanito Benitez, Solano Benitez, Gloria Cabral, Maria Rovea and Ricardo Sargiotti built a wall able to be constructed by the two materials working in tandem. Once the concrete dries, the bricks are washed away, returning the mud back to its natural state, leaving spaces in the lines of concrete, like a kind of negative.

This artistic intervention arose from an invitation to participate in an art exhibition in Unquillo MUVA, Cordoba, Argentina from April 11 to May 3, 2014.

More information and images below.

Cortesía de Ricardo Sargiotti Cortesía de Ricardo Sargiotti Cortesía de Ricardo Sargiotti Cortesía de Ricardo Sargiotti + 17

The Key Architectural Elements Required to Design Yoga and Meditation Spaces

07:00 - 18 October, 2016
The Key Architectural Elements Required to Design Yoga and Meditation Spaces, AYC / DX Arquitectos. Santiago de Chile. Image © Pablo Blanco
AYC / DX Arquitectos. Santiago de Chile. Image © Pablo Blanco

For several decades, a set of oriental practices and techniques have strongly infiltrated the western world. A new program that, as architects, we must start solving more often, and that poses interesting challenges from the point of functional, environmental, and aesthetic.

These disciplines are completely focused on the human being, as they seek to work and satisfy their physical, psychological and spiritual needs, and that's why it seems important to analyze how these needs are being met spatially by architects. Many of the operations taken in these spaces create enabling environments for reflection, introspection, healing, and therefore could also be applied in other relevant programs, such as housing, educational, hospital, and even office spaces.

This article seeks to draw lessons from some projects already published on our site, in order to perform a kind of guide for designs that helps our community of readers to find inspiration more effectively.

Estudio Para Yoga-Kamadhenu / Carolina Echevarri + Alberto Burckhardt. Cundinamarca, Colombia. Image © Juan Cristobal Cobo AYC / DX Arquitectos. Santiago de Chile. Image © Pablo Blanco Centro Holístico Punto Zero / Dio Sustentable. Putaendo, Chile. Image © Jean Pierre Marchant y Fernando J. Romero Ritual House of Yoga / goCstudio. Seattle, United States. Image © Kevin Scott + 29

Kazuyo Sejima Explains the Influence of Light and the Color White in SANAA's Work

06:00 - 28 September, 2016

Thanks to the invitation we received from the team at The Architecture Project, we had the opportunity to travel to the city of Aarhus, Denmark, and meet with Kazuyo Sejima during the Aarhus School of Architecture conference in August 2016.

Winner of the 2010 Pritzker Prize and founder of SANAA (Sejima + Nishizawa and Associates), Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima talks to us about the importance of white in their designs, with the intention of bringing and diffusing natural light to all the spaces. Sejima also describes how their buildings are able to integrate and bring people together through open spaces that connect, in an almost extreme way, the interiors and exteriors.

5 Emblematic Buildings by Giuseppe Terragni

08:00 - 6 September, 2016
5 Emblematic Buildings by Giuseppe Terragni, © José Tomás Franco
© José Tomás Franco

With a short career of only thirteen years, Italian architect Giuseppe Terragni (1904-1943) left an important legacy of built works that are now used as classic references of modern and rationalist architecture.

We traveled to Como and Milan to visit Terragni's emblematic works that clearly reflect his style. These projects are based on the organized configuration of architectural elements that individually appear clean, pure, and expressive, but together also form a harmonious whole.

These are: Novocomum, Casa Rustici, Asilo Sant'Elia, Casa Giuliani Frigerio and Casa Lavezzari. 

© José Tomás Franco © José Tomás Franco © José Tomás Franco © José Tomás Franco + 58

How to Integrate the 12 Principles of Permaculture to Design a Truly Sustainable Project

07:00 - 22 August, 2016
How to Integrate the 12 Principles of Permaculture to Design a Truly Sustainable Project, © José Tomás Franco
© José Tomás Franco

The 12 principles published here are explained in detail in the book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, by David Holmgren.

In 1978, Australian ecologists David Holmgren and Bill Mollison coined for the first time the concept of permaculture as a systematic method. For Mollison, "permaculture is the philosophy of working with and not against nature, after a long and thoughtful observation." [1] Meanwhile, Holmgren defines the term as "those consciously designed landscapes which simulate or mimic the patterns and relationships observed in natural ecosystems." [2]

In 2002, Holmgren published the book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, defining 12 design principles that can be used as a guide when generating sustainable systems. These principles can be applied to all daily processes in order to humanize those processes, increase efficiency, and in the long term ensure the survival of mankind.

What if we apply them to the design process of an architectural project?

Shigeru Ban to Help With Disaster Relief Following Ecuador Earthquake

08:00 - 26 April, 2016
Shigeru Ban to Help With Disaster Relief Following Ecuador Earthquake, Shigeru Ban levantando una estructura de cartón en Haití. Image via Flickr. Autor: Forgemind ArchiMedia. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Shigeru Ban levantando una estructura de cartón en Haití. Image via Flickr. Autor: Forgemind ArchiMedia. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Japanese architect and 2014 Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban will visit Ecuador on April 30 to help with disaster relief following the recent earthquake, according to a press release from the College of Ecuadorian Architects – Pichincha Province (CAE Pichincha). Known for bringing innovative and high quality design to the people that need it the most, Ban has developed successful responses to disasters in Asia, Africa, Europe and Central America.

Cádiz Castle Restoration: Interesting Interpretation or Harmful to Heritage?

06:00 - 16 March, 2016
Cádiz Castle Restoration: Interesting Interpretation or Harmful to Heritage?, Before and After. Image via Leandro Cabello | Carquero Arquitectura
Before and After. Image via Leandro Cabello | Carquero Arquitectura

In 2011, after the partial collapse of the Matrera Castle in Cádiz, Spain (dating back to the 9th century) the city decided to restore the remaining tower, with the aim of preventing its collapse and protecting the few elements that were still standing.

The challenge fell into the hands of Spanish architect Carlos Quevedo Rojas, whose design received the approval of the Regional Government of Andalucía, in compliance with the Historical Heritage law 13/2007, which prohibits mimetic reconstructions and requires the use of materials that are distinct from the originals.

In the words of the architect: “This intervention sought to achieve three basic objectives: to structurally consolidate the elements that were at risk; to differentiate the additions from the original structure (avoiding the mimetic reconstructions that our law prohibits) and to recover the volume, texture and tonality that the tower originally had. The essence of the project is not intended to be, therefore, an image of the future, but rather a reflection of its own past, its own origin.”

The polemical restoration has provoked a broad international discussion about heritage restoration, and the Izquierda Unida group has said it will bring the case to the Andalusian Parliament’s Culture committee to see if the restoration was the result expected by the Ministry of Culture. On the other hand, while the building had previously received only sporadic visits, it has now become a new tourist attraction in the area.

Why has a restoration based on the anastylosis technique – which exists around the world – caused so much controversy? It is it really a “heritage massacre” as the media has said? Do you think it could have been carried out in a better way?

Join the debate and leave your comments after the break.

How Schønherr is Transforming Aarhus with Experimental Urban Interventions

09:00 - 30 January, 2016
How Schønherr is Transforming Aarhus with Experimental Urban Interventions, The City Park / Schønherr. Image © Martin Dam Kristensen for Aarhus Festival
The City Park / Schønherr. Image © Martin Dam Kristensen for Aarhus Festival

Since 2010, the Danish architects from Schønherr have been developing a series of large-scale urban interventions for the Aarhus Festival, the largest cultural festival in Denmark. These temporary projects have transformed the streets and parks into extraordinary public spaces, changing the natural topography of the city to attract citizens and bring them together.

We present their last four projects: "The Forest" (2010), "The City Park" (2012), "The Plaza" (2014) and "Bishops Square" (to be completed this 2016).

The City Park / Schønherr. Image © Martin Dam Kristensen for Aarhus Festival The Plaza / Schønherr. Image © Martin Schubert The City Park / Schønherr. Image © Martin Dam Kristensen for Aarhus Festival The Plaza / Schønherr. Image © Martin Schubert + 49

Alejandro Aravena Wins 2016 Pritzker Prize

09:10 - 13 January, 2016
Alejandro Aravena Wins 2016 Pritzker Prize

Alejandro Aravena has been named as the winner of the 2016 Pritzker Prize. Highlighting his dedication to improve urban environments and to address the global housing crisis, the Pritzker Prize jury praised the way in which the Chilean architect has "risen to the demands of practicing architecture as an artful endeavor, as well as meeting today's social and economic challenges." Aravena is the 41st Pritzker Prize laureate and the first Chilean to receive the award.

At 48 years of age, Aravena has a large portfolio of private, public and educational projects in Chile, the USA, Mexico, China and Switzerland. But perhaps more notably, through his “Do Tank” firm ELEMENTAL he has managed to build 2,500 units of social housing, engaging in the public housing policies of governments where he works and taking an opportunistic approach to market forces to generate a powerful impact on lower-income communities.

"Alejandro Aravena epitomizes the revival of a more socially engaged architect, especially in his long-term commitment to tackling the global housing crisis and fighting for a better urban environment for all,” explained the Jury in their citation. “He has a deep understanding of both architecture and civil society, as is reflected in his writing, his activism and his designs. The role of the architect is now being challenged to serve greater social and humanitarian needs, and Alejandro Aravena has clearly, generously and fully responded to this challenge."

UC Innovation Center – Anacleto Angelini, San Joaquín Campus, Universidad Católica de Chile. Santiago, Chile 2014. Image © Nina Vidic Monterrey Housing. Monterrey, Mexico 2010. Image © Ramiro Ramirez Medical School, Universidad Católica de Chile. Santiago, Chile 2004. Image © Roland Halbe Siamese Towers, San Joaquín Campus, Universidad Católica de Chile. Santiago, Chile 2005. Image © Cristobal Palma + 23