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Lilly Cao

External Editor at ArchDaily since 2019. Student at Columbia University.


How to Design Functional and Multipurpose Kitchen Islands

Islands are an essential part of any larger kitchen layout, increasing counter space, storage space, and eating space as well as offering a visual focal point for the kitchen area. Serving a variety of functions, they can be designed in a variety of different ways, with some incorporating stools or chairs, sinks, drawers, or even dishwashers and microwaves. To determine which elements to include and how to arrange them, designers must determine the main purpose or focus of the island. Will it primarily serve as a breakfast bar, a space to entertain guests, an extension of the kitchen, or as something else? And with this function in mind, how should it enhance the kitchen workflow vis-à-vis the rest of the area? These considerations, combined with basic accessibility requirements, necessitate that the design of the island be carefully thought out. Below, we enumerate some of the essential factors of kitchen island design.

© Haruo Mikami© Joana Franca© Ketsiree Wongwan© Hey! Cheese+ 27

How Can Architecture Combat Flooding? 9 Practical Solutions

Flooding is a significant problem for buildings all around the world, including architectural treasures like the Farnsworth House that have been plagued by the issue time and time again. In particular, one-third of the entire continental U.S. are at risk of flooding this spring, especially the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, and Deep South. In April of 2019, deadly floods decimated parts of Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Iran as well, resulting in a low estimate of 1,000 deaths while tens of thousands more were displaced. While architecture cannot solve or even fully protect from the most deadly floods, it is possible – and necessary – to take several protective measures that could mitigate damage and consequently save lives.

Flood in St Mark’s Square, Venice. Image © Mclein / Shutterstock"Fold&Float" is formed of a light, foldable steel structure specifically designed for emergency situations. Image © So?© Flickr user benjamin73frDomino Park / James Corner Field Operations. Image © Barrett Doherty+ 14

The Continuous Wood Ceilings Trend: Warmth and Texture Indoors and Outdoors

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Many practitioners and theorists of modern architecture favored large open plans, looming glass windows, and through both of these means, an unencumbered connection to nature. To do so, many iconic modernist buildings would use cantilevered roofs extending over glass curtainwalls, including Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House #22. In the years since this trend was popularized, however, a seemingly niche yet cumbersome problem would present itself: the problem of continuous wood ceilings.

How to Design and Install Seamless Translucent Polycarbonate Facades

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Translucent polycarbonate panels boast unique and striking aesthetics while simultaneously maintaining efficient functionality. They can add depth and color to a façade and may adapt to meet a wide range of performance requirements, from temperature resistance to impact resistance to UV protection and more. Rodeca, a leading company in the polycarbonate panel industry, offers high-quality products with high customizability vis-à-vis colors, transparency levels, treatments, profiles, sizes, joint systems, and more. Below is a detailed list of these many options, accompanied by diagrams and installation steps. We also discuss several case studies where polycarbonate facades have been used to great success, taking full advantage of the options available alongside the intrinsic aesthetic qualities of the translucent panels to complement and elevate their designs.

How to Properly Design Circular Plans

Often, when people think of buildings, they default to imagining rectangular structures—or at the very least, structures with orthogonal floor plans and hard angles, certainly not buildings with circular plans. The rarity of the circular plan comes in part from the fact that poor design choices can lead to wasted space and awkward interior arrangements, especially if furniture and appliances are rectangular in shape. However, strongly designed circular planes can have a dramatic effect, generating extraordinary spatial configurations that meet a variety of aesthetic and functional needs, while challenging the material specification process. Below, we list 18 buildings with circular plans, considering their varying strategies of design.

New Affordable Living in the Bronx, Chooses a Luxury Hot Water System

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Rooftop water tanks are a familiar part of the New York City skyline, persisting through generations of the city's rapid growth. Yet despite their nostalgic affect and somehow endearing states of relative decay, their decrepit outward appearances may belie their water's quality. In 2014, it was found that many of these weathered containers had actually built up layers of grime and that some even contained E. coli. In 2019, the city finally passed legislation mandating annual inspection reports for all drinking water tanks, though these changes are still nascent.

Passive Ventilation, Shade, and Unique Aesthetics: 3 Case Studies of Perforated Enclosures

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American AG Credit / TLCD Architecture. Image © David Wakely PhotographyThe Shops at Clearfork / Nelsen Partners. Image Courtesy of Dri-DesignThe Wellness and Aquatic Center at Southwestern College / Gensler. Image Courtesy of Dri-DesignThe Shops at Clearfork / Nelsen Partners. Image Courtesy of Dri-Design+ 16

Perforated wall panels offer a variety of benefits: they can provide passive ventilation, shade, and unique aesthetics to any façade. In the case of companies like Dri-Design, which specializes in customizable and sustainable metal wall panels, perforated panels can be produced according to a wide variety of specifications, including different colors, materials, sizes, textures, shapes, and styles of perforation. Dri-Design’s perforated imaging series even allows architects to apply images onto their facades by varying the size, location, and density of the perforations.

Below, we examine three case studies of buildings using different perforated panels, considering each of their panel specifications and overall aesthetic effect on the buildings.

Could Tall Wood Construction Be the Future of High-Rise Buildings?

Across the globe, tall wood structures have begun transforming the world of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, ushering in an important shift to an architectural practice that has traditionally been dominated by steel and concrete. Typically defined as wood-constructed buildings over 14 stories or 50 meters high, the past six years have seen over 44 tall wood buildings built or underway around the world. Notable examples include Michael Green Architecture and DLR Group’s T3 and Team V Architectuur’s upcoming 73 meter residential tower HAUT.

Holography: How It Could Change Architectural Space

Although holograms have been a possibility for decades—the first hologram was developed in the early 1960’s following the development of laser technology—many might still associate them more with science fiction, the term conjuring up images of high-tech superhero gadgets and spaceships in the distant future. Yet as we inch closer to the reality of a hyper-technologized future, and a variety of industries—including architecture and construction— begin to embrace new forms of increasingly advanced technology, holography, too, has a chance of completely reshaping the way we conceptualize and experience architecture. While it is impossible to predict exactly how holographic technology will be used in the future, below, we list several examples of existing projects that use holograms and other types of holography to create atmospheric environments, fantastical scenes, and practical visualizations. These examples move beyond the use of holograms to visualize structures and sites during the design phase; they utilize holography to shape the completed architectural space itself, completely altering the sensory and spatial experience of their environment.

Integrating Solar Technology into Facades, Skylights, Roofing, and Other Building Elements

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Climate change remains a foremost concern in global politics, economics, and scientific research, particularly as it pertains to the architecture and construction industries. This heightened culpability for the field of architecture stems from the fact that the construction industry contributes to 40% of global emissions, and the demand in the building sector is only projected to increase by 70% by 2050. Renewable energy is part of a 21st-century sustainability paradigm that responds to climate change and environmental degradation, strengthening the momentum for global energy transformation. Renewable energy production strategies are necessary to mitigate future energy security issues as traditional sources of fuel become increasingly scarce, and an indispensable part of designing for sustainability in architecture.

How Did Materials Shape the Case Study Houses?

The Case Study Houses (1945-1966), sponsored by the Arts & Architecture Magazine and immortalized by Julius Shulman’s iconic black-and-white photographs, may be some of the most famous examples of modern American architecture in history. Designed to address the postwar housing crisis with quick construction and inexpensive materials, while simultaneously embracing the tenets of modernist design and advanced contemporary technology, the Case Study Houses were molded by their central focus on materials and structural design. While each of the homes were designed by different architects for a range of clients, these shared aims unified the many case study homes around several core aesthetic and structural strategies: open plans, simple volumes, panoramic windows, steel frames, and more. Although some of the Case Study Houses’ materials and strategies would become outdated in the following decades, these unique products and features would come to define a historic era of architectural design in the United States.

More Daylight but Less Glare & Heat: How Does Automatically Tintable Glass Work?

In a 2016 survey of 400 employees in the U.S., Saint-Gobain found that office building occupants commonly complained about poor lighting, temperature, noise, and air quality, leading the company to deduce a need for improved lighting and thermal comfort in buildings while also maintaining low energy consumption and freedom of design for architects and clients. Their solution was SageGlass, an innovative glass created first in 1989 and developed over the course of the past three decades. The glass, which features dynamic glazing protecting from solar heat and glare, simultaneously optimizes natural light intake. A sustainable and aesthetic solution, SageGlass’ adaptability to external conditions dispels the need for shutters or blinds.

Meet the Winners for the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Mosul's Al Nouri Complex

Last November, UNESCO, the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, and the Iraqi Sunni Endowment jointly announced an international design competition for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the historical Al Nouri Complex in Mosul. One of the oldest cities in the world, Mosul ("the linking point" in Arabic) is beginning a recovery process following years of conflict, guided by an initiative aptly titled "Revive the Spirit of Mosul." The rehabilitation of the Al Nouri Complex, which dates originally to the twelfth century and has constituted a core facet of city life since, is a central part of this initiative, and is intended to signal the city's resilience, hope, social cohesion, and reconciliation in the aftermath of the conflicts. Six months after the competition was originally announced, winners have finally been chosen.