The Architecture Project recently invited us to visit the city of Aarhus, Denmark as part of a press tour related to health and architecture (Better Health Press Tour 2015), with the aim of seeing the latest "healing" projects that are arising in the city.
Overshadowed for years by Copenhagen, Aarhus is a port city that seeks to reinvent itself and shine once again -- and it is succeeding. The pleasant surprise is that it is the architects who have driven this change. Architecture has invaded all of the city's spaces, from the forgotten industrial port to the downtown areas full of historical buildings.
This visit has taught us some important lessons: "healing architecture" isn't only about hospital projects, but rather about encouraging people, about creating friendly spaces to live and coexist, and about getting as connected as possible with users to give them what they really need.
Check out some of the strategies used to achieve these goals after the break.
With the goal of harnessing and exploring the benefits of clay as a raw material, which is characteristic of Colombia's Cúcuta region, Architects Miguel Niño and Johanna Navarro created Sumart Diseño y Arquitectura SAS, a studio that designs and develops sustainable architectural solutions.
One of their most successful projects is the Bloque Termodisipador BT, a ceramic block designed with an irregular cross section that allows ventilation to pass through the brick, reducing the amount of heat that enters the interior of the building.
"Within humanitarian responses, programmatically, children often become invisible." (Marc Sommers)
The Syrian crisis has forced thousands of families to leave their homes in search of safe places to continue with their lives. Many families have moved to Lebanon, where the UN has raised a series of informal settlements. While effective in providing shelter, they don't provide specific solutions for children, many of whom have had their studies interrupted and don't have public spaces equipped to play sports and interact with other kids.
In response to this situation, the architects of CatalyticAction have designed and built a playground in one of the schools developed by The Kayany Foundation and American University of Beirut's Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service, involving children throughout the entire process and allowing the structure to be easily disassembled, transported and either reassembled or repurposed.
Using an innovative method of casting concrete in lightweight fabric molds, the architects of Orkidstudio -- along with StructureMode -- teamed up with a group of Khmer women in Sihanoukville, Cambodia to rebuild a community centre in the city’s urban heart.
The construction technique was developed and tested by engineers from StructureMode using a combination of physical testing and computer analysis software, Oasys GSA Suite, to predict the stretch of a particular fabric when concrete is poured inside. Through three-dimensional sketches the seamstresses and building teamcould understand the construction sequence of the form, completing the entire project in just eight weeks.
Inspired by the mass production of the automotive and aerospace industries, Spanish architects [baragaño], in collaboration with ArcelorMittal, have designed a housing model that can be completely constructed in a factory. Once completed, the house is transported to the site and installed.
The basic model [#bh01] is 39 square meters, composed of two volumes and can be easily expanded both horizontally and vertically in the future. According to the architects, it’s a method that “makes construction easier, generates less waste than traditional systems and increases the safety of personnel involved in the assembly work.”
Continuing with our coverage of Espacios de Paz 2015 (Spaces for Peace) in Venezuela, Plataforma Arquitectura Editor José Tomás Franco reflects on the crisis of the architect who approaches his work abstractly -- without taking into consideration the unique problems and issues of the territory -- and on the strengthening of a collective architecture, that is honest and efficient, not only benefitting the affected communities but also, indirectly, revolutionizing the way we architects do our jobs.
In times of crisis, the need for progress forces us into action. While pressing issues in Latin America generate instances to improve the quality of life in the most vulnerable neighborhoods, architects, which are plentiful in the region, seem pressured to broaden their scope and search for new fertile spaces to work in. This meeting of forces not only translates into a real contribution to a particular community, but also subtly reveals a change in the way in which we practice architecture.
Faced with the highly complex task of meeting the urgent needs of people with limited resources, Latin American architects have been obliged to work based on efficiency and teamwork, recovering key skills and using them to help other human beings. Skills that are essential for showing that our work is fundamental, and not only in the cities' forgotten neighborhoods.
Why do Latin American architects seem to be returning to their roots?
In 1994, after the death of its main investor and a national banking crisis that left Venezuela's economy stagnated, the construction of Caracas' Centro Financiero Confinanzas - known popularly as the Tower of David - was paralyzed, leaving the building completely abandoned and on 70 percent complete.
Neglected for more than a decade, the 45-story, 190-meter-tall skyscraper became the makeshift home for a community of more than 800 families, becoming the world's tallest "vertically organized favela," with basic services to the 22nd floor and including even barber shops, kindergartens and dentists.
By the year 2025, the urban population in Sub-Saharan Africa is predicated to increase by almost 70% -- a rapid urbanization that will inevitably affect the construction sector.
To address this expected growth and to help lay the foundations for a sustainable urban and social development, students from the Institute of Experimental Architecture at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and EiABC (Ethiopian Institute of Architecture Building Construction and City Development) worked together to build three residential prototypes at a 1:1 scale for Addis Ababa: the capital of Ethiopia and the heart of hyper-urbanization. See all of the project details, below.
This week marked 50 years since the death of Le Corbusier, and to commemorate his 78-year career we’ve rounded up a selection of videos and documentaries on the architect. In a myriad of languages, the films cover everything from the historical context of his era to how the Villa Savoye is preserved, and his work in Argentina.
The Solar Bytes pavilion, designed by assistant professor at Kent State UniversityBrian Peters, is a temporary structure which highlights the potential of new techniques available to architecture: robotic arms, 3D printing, smart technologies such as lighting sensors, and solar energy.
Leveraging the strength and range of motion of a robotic arm, the pavilion was printed in three dimensions with an experimental extruder, resulting in a structure composed of 94 unique modules that capture energy during the day, and shine at night. After their initial function, the plastic modules making up the pavilion will be completely crushed and reused in a new structure.
Designed and developed by Pilosio Building Peace, RE:BUILD is a construction system for building refugee camps and facilities for emergency assistance. The temporary modular structures can be used as houses, schools, clinics, dining areas or any other space that is urgently needed.
The system, which is easy and fast to assemble, combines scaffolding with natural materials that are easy to find, such as gravel, sand or earth, providing thermal insulation. Containers to channel and reuse rainwater are also incorporated. Watch the timelapse video above to see RE:BUILD in action and learn more about how it was used to build schools for refugee children in Jordan here.
Using the ground “beneath your feet,” the Pilosio Building Peace organization, along with architects Pouya Khazaeli and Cameron Sinclair, have developed RE:BUILD, an incredible constructive system for building safe and comfortable structures in refugee camps. The system allows for the construction of temporary buildings of high quality through the use of wall panels formed with scaffolding and grids, which are then assembled and filled with gravel, sand or earth, creating well insulated interiors at a low cost.
Although the structures can be used for hospitals, housing, and other functions on this occasion we present two schools constructed using this system in Jordan.
Spanish architect Josep Lluís Mateo of Mateo Arquitectura has launched the “BCN Architecture Guide,” a free application to help travelers and architecture lovers explore Barcelona. The app guides users to both highlights of the city’s built environment as well as its natural environment, including some “places to experience nature in tension with the city, places to be rather than objects to look at.”
Born in 1957 in Moscow, artist Nikolay Polissky creates impressive, handcrafted structures in the middle of Russia's vast landscapes. Mostly carried out in the town of Nikola Lenivets -- located 200 km from the Russian capital -- his works are built entirely by the area's residents, using local materials, such as branches, trunks and wooden tables. Traditional construction techniques are used as a starting point for the projects.
His work is inspiring not only because of its imposing form, but also because he managed to re-activate a semi-abandoned village through art and architecture, involving residents in the creative process and transforming the region into a sort of open cultural center. Since 2003, his work has been part of Archstoyanie, the largest Land-Art festival in Russia.
In The Chemical Brothers’ “Go” music video, seven women carrying two poles march through Paris’ Front-de-Seine neighborhood in perfectly synchronized choreography by Michel Gondry. The area is located in the 15th district, beside the Seine river, and is characterized by its Brutalist buildings, the result of an urban project in the 1970s that rehabilitated the former industrial area through the construction of 20 towers nearly 100 meters high.
The buildings were designed by Henri Pottier and Raymond Jules Lopez, and rise around an elevated platform, which features a series of geometric patterns that are best seen from the top of the towers. The video not only highlights several of these buildings, but also integrates the choreography into the remarkable urban setting.
Developed by architects from Colectivo bma in Barranca de Huentitán, Guadalajara, Mexico, this new building for the Mexican Institute for Community Development (IMDEC) was built in just four days with the help of 100 volunteers.
The new facility includes both housing and meeting space, and was constructed using local building techniques and materials. Built with a concrete base, the walls were made using bahareque (reed frames and mud) and woven reed lattices that cover most of the building’s exterior.
Learn more about the construction process after the break.