Lilly Cao

ArchDaily's 2019 Summer Content Intern, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in History and Theory of Architecture at Columbia University


How Rammed Earth Walls are Built

Rammed earth has been used in construction for thousands of years, with evidence of its use dating as far back as the Neolithic Period. Commonly used especially in China, the technique was applied to both ancient monuments and vernacular architecture, with the Great Wall utilizing the technique. Though interest in rammed earth declined in the 20th century, some continue to advocate its use today, citing its sustainability in comparison to more modern construction methods. Most notably, rammed earth structures use local materials, meaning they have low embodied energy and produce little waste. Below, we describe how to build with this material.

Generating Water from Air Humidity to face Global Drought

As the climate crisis continues to unfold, professionals in architecture, engineering, and sustainable design have relentlessly searched for new ways to mitigate the negative effects of modern industrial production. One group of such innovators, Zero Mass Water, have contributed to this effort through their creation of ‘the world’s first and only hydropanel’ - an apparatus called SOURCE.

The Future of the Old: How Ancient Construction Techniques are Being Updated

While technology and construction have progressed rapidly in recent years, allowing structures to be built taller and faster than ever, remnants of colossal ancient monuments remind us that construction techniques from as long as hundreds of years ago had enormous merit as well. In fact, many of the innovations of antiquity serve as foundations of modern construction, with the Roman invention of concrete serving as a cogent example. Other essential ancient construction techniques, such as the arch and the dome, are now often considered stylistic flourishes, with designs like the Met Opera House reinterpreting classical typologies in a modern context. Yet perhaps the most relevant reinterpretations of ancient construction today are those that do so in the interest of sustainability, renouncing high-energy modern construction methods in favor of older, more natural techniques.

Open More Doors: Bjarke Ingels Group

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu + 21

Open More Doors is a section by ArchDaily and the MINI Clubman that takes you behind the scenes of the world’s most innovative offices through exciting video interviews and an exclusive photo gallery featuring each studio’s workspace.

In this installment of the series, we talked with Kai-Uwe Bergmann, a partner at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). Despite the size and fame of the firm – BIG has around 500 employees and maintains offices in Copenhagen, New York, Barcelona, and London – he emphasized camaraderie and connection as the most defining characteristics of the company. These traits are doubly emphasized in the open, nonhierarchical layouts of their offices.

How to Incorporate Gardens in Home Design

Indoor gardens can contribute important benefits to home living, ranging from aesthetic beauty to improved health and productivity. Research has shown that indoor plants help eliminate indoor air pollutants called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that emanate from adhesives, furnishings, clothing, and solvents, and are known to cause illnesses. They also increase subjective perceptions of concentration and satisfaction, as well as objective measures of productivity. Indoor gardens may even reduce energy use and costs because of the reduced need for air circulation. These benefits complement the obvious aesthetic advantages of a well-designed garden, making the indoor garden an attractive residential feature on several fronts.

Courtesy of TAA DESIGN © BK © Rafael Gamo Hydroponic gardening. Image © Needpix user naidokdin + 42

De Blasio's Glass Skyscraper Ban: What Alternative Materials Could Take its Place?

Last April, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced plans to introduce a bill that would ban the construction of new all-glass buildings. Part of a larger effort to reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by 30 percent, other initiatives included using clean energy to power city operations, mandatory organics recycling, and reducing single-use plastic and processed meat purchases. The announcement came on the heels of the city council passing the Climate Mobilization Act, a sweeping response to the Paris Climate Agreement that included required green roofs on new constructions and emissions reductions on existing buildings.

Innovative Uses of Water in Architecture

From playful indoor pools to tranquil exterior fountains to soaring waterfalls and grand lakes of enormous proportions, architecture throughout the centuries has engaged with water in endlessly innovative ways. Sometimes serving aesthetic purposes, but just as often acting as centers of activity or promoting sustainability, water features can take countless different forms and serve multiple different purposes. Below, we synthesize a series of water features espoused by innovative contemporary architectural projects, ranging from single-family residential homes to vast commercial complexes.

The Winery at VIK / Smiljan Radic. Image © Cristobal Palma Jellyfish House / Wiel Arets Architects. Image © Jan Bitter Jewel Changi Airport / Safdie Architects. Image Courtesy of Peter Walkner Partners Landscape Architects Moses Bridge / RO&AD Architecten. Image © RO&AD Architecten + 34

Open More Doors: O-Office

Open More Doors is a section by ArchDaily and the MINI Clubman that takes you behind the scenes of the world’s most innovative offices through exciting video interviews and an exclusive photo gallery featuring each studio’s workspace.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu + 20

Why is Building Maintenance Important?

For companies or leasers that own large buildings, building maintenance can seem daunting, costly, or even superfluous, particularly when building functions appear to be running smoothly. But proper and consistent building maintenance is imperative for a number of reasons. Buildings inherently function less effectively over time due to natural causes such as climate, daily occupant use, mechanical obsolescence, and more. When left unresolved, these issues can devalue user experiences, create dangerous and unhealthy environments, and even incur costs higher and more sudden than consistent building maintenance costs.

Putting Wood on a Pedestal: The Rise of Mid-Rise Podium Design

Podium construction – alternately known as platform or pedestal construction – is a building typology characterized by a horizontal division between a lower ‘podium’ and an upper tower. The podium, which is typically made of concrete or steel, is crowned by multiple light wood-frame stories. Often, the lighter upper structure contains four to five stories of residential units, while the podium houses retail, commercial, or office spaces and above- or below-grade parking. An alternative configuration sports six to seven residential stories (including the podium) and subterranean parking. Some visible examples of this podium construction style include the amenity-rich Stella residences designed by DesignArc; an attractive yet cost-effective student housing project for the University of Washington by Mahlum Architects; and the warm, modern University House Arena District also designed by Mahlum Architects in Eugene, Oregon.

MoDA's Attabotics Headquarters is Inspired by Ant Colonies

Rendering. Image Courtesy of Modern Office of Design + Architecture Rendering. Image Courtesy of Modern Office of Design + Architecture Rendering. Image Courtesy of Modern Office of Design + Architecture Rendering. Image Courtesy of Modern Office of Design + Architecture + 25

Calgary’s upcoming Attabotics Headquarters, designed by the Modern Office of Design + Architecture, physicalizes complex circulatory systems into a structure that is simultaneously aesthetically pleasing and programmatically successful. The client, a robotics manufacturer, was initially inspired by the spatial organization of ant colonies in their design for their emblematic robotic storage and retrieval system. This attribute consequently embeds itself in the new design for their headquarters, which navigates height restrictions, views, programming, and sustainability within this already intricate system of organization.  

Rubber Skin Buildings: A Malleable, Seamless Architecture

For the most part, rubber isn’t considered a conventional building material – at least not to the same extent that materials like wood, concrete, or glass are. But rubber is commonly used in interiors for flooring of extraordinary color or brightness, and even more unexpectedly for exterior facades with unique aspects or upholstery effects. This functionality is motivated by unique advantages such as smoothness, elasticity, durability, and color consistency.

Dapstudio’s Music Center Theater Teca. Image © Filippo Romano Benthem Crouwel Architects’ Rubber Holiday Home. Image © Jannes Linders Lenne Office / Kamp Arhitektid. Image © Terje Ugandi Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Stefan Tuchila + 18

JKMM's Dance House Helsinki is Designed to Advance the Performing Arts

Courtesy of JKMM & ILO Courtesy of JKMM & ILO Courtesy of JKMM & ILO Courtesy of JKMM & ILO + 8

Finnish practice JKMM’s newest project, The Dance House Helsinki, is set to become Finland’s first venue dedicated primarily to dance and the performing arts. Offering rehearsal and performance spaces for artists, Dance House forms an extension to Cable Factory, the largest existing cultural center in Finland.

Robin Leroy's Timeless Photographs of New Créteil

© Robin Leroy © Robin Leroy © Robin Leroy © Robin Leroy + 16

The “New Créteil” was an urbanization program carried out in the seventies. It was intended to provide the city of Créteil, which is located around 6 km southeast of Paris, new apartment buildings and public facilities such as a town hall, prefecture, hospital, and courthouse. In a series called “See the New Créteil,” photographer Robin Leroy documents a city considered transcendent of the traditional clichés of modern architecture.