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Megan Schires

I entered the professional world of architecture in 2016 after finishing my M.Arch at Iowa State University. My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Design in Architecture with a minor in Housing Studies from the University of Minnesota. Throughout my academic career my focus has been on the human factor in design and I'm particularly interested in how the built environment affects the people who inhabit it and vice versa. I love to travel and try to make as many pilgrimages as I can to architectural landmarks all over the world!

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Hempcrete: Creating Holistic Sustainability With Plant-Based Building Materials

Hemp is one of the oldest crops domesticated by humans. With its wide variety of uses and applications, it’s easy to understand why it’s been a desirable product throughout history. Hemp seeds and flowers are used in health foods, medicines, and organic beauty products; the fibers and stalks of the hemp plant are used in clothing, paper, and biofuel. Today even a waste product of hemp fiber processing, so-called hemp shives, is being utilized to create sustainable building materials like hempcrete.

Conserve Resources and Plan for Demolition With Digital Construction

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The construction industry is traditionally one of the most resource-intensive sectors, but with rigorous planning and digital tools, the construction process can instead make an active contribution to environmental protection. Energy, resources, and materials can be intentionally saved during the construction process to widen the conversation from simply sustainable buildings as an end product, but sustainable construction as a process. Digital solutions can play a decisive role, yet the industry has so far made too little use of the numerous possibilities that are available. Below, the experts from the Nemetschek Group present some of the opportunities they provide.

The New Cool in Parking Garage Design

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Parking garages present an aesthetic challenge to even the most creative design minds. Their vast scale and monotonous appearance are necessitated by function, but result in the difficulty of making the garages visually interesting instead of simply overbearing. Cladding a parking garage in a unique material can add visual interest and texture to achieve a more human connection. However, this in turn creates concerns about still bringing light and air into the garage.

The Future of Multifamily Housing and the Associated Security Challenges

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Multifamily housing in urban environments provides social, economic, and environmental benefits to both individual residents and cities as a whole. Kicked into overdrive after the 2008 financial crisis, demand for multifamily housing has since continued to rise and remains strong today. Generations Y and Z are the youngest urbanized group of adults and these young professionals are fueling much of the demand for compact living in city centers. Though the younger generations are the ones driving the changes, the result is expected to be more secure, convenient living for everyone.

Final Call: Submit Your Design for the A' Design Awards 2021

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If you've been debating whether to submit your work to the 2021 A’ Design Award Competition, now is the time! This is your last chance to enter your design, because the final call for entries ends February 28th, 2021. The international A' Design Awards give designers an opportunity to showcase their work to a global audience, whether you're a designer, architect, or an innovator from any other design field. Among other design competitions and awards, the A' Design Award stands out for its exceptional scale with over 100 design categories.

Solar Skywalks / Peter Kuczia. Image Courtesy of A' Design AwardsRyad Private Garden / Fernando Pozuelo. Image Courtesy of A' Design AwardsPlatinum A' Design Award in Interior Space and Exhibition Design 2019  Navigator Sales Center / Kris Lin. Image Courtesy of A' Design AwardsZhuhai Shizimen CBD Phase 1 / Zhuhai Huafa Group Co. Ltd.. Image Courtesy of A' Design Awards+ 24

Last Chance: Enter Your Work in the A' Design Awards

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If you’ve been procrastinating, now is your last chance to enter your design for an A’ Design Award before the deadline on February 28. The international competition was "born out of the desire to underline the best designs and well-designed products" of designers, architects, and innovators from all design fields. Among other design competitions and awards, the A' Design Award stands out for its exceptional scale with over 100 design categories.

Feiliyundi Sales Center / Weimo Feng. Image Courtesy of A' Design AwardsLight Portal Future Rail City / QUAD Studio. Image Courtesy of A' Design AwardsAoxin Holiday Hotel / Shaun Lee. Image Courtesy of A' Design AwardsFineland Heshan Community Center / Fineland Architecture and Studio Revo. Image Courtesy of A' Design Awards+ 23

Pipe and Fittings: a Modular Kit to Shape Structures for Social Distancing

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The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to adapt quickly to new ways of living: new ways of working, communicating, buying groceries, and so much more. That adaptability is the key to navigating our changing world. Modular and flexible building systems can help us adapt our physical spaces to the new realities of social distancing or even to the need for rapidly deploying field hospitals.

A' Design Awards Announce World Design Rankings 2020

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The A’ Design Award is an international award whose aim is to provide designers, architects, and innovators from all design fields with a competitive platform to showcase their work and products to a global audience. Among the design world's many awards, the A' Design Award stands out for its exceptional scale and breadth, including over 100 award categories and having honored over 12,000 designers with an award over its 11-year lifetime.

China: Zhongnan Mansion Clubhouse / Kris Lin and Jiayu Yang. Image Courtesy of A' Design AwardChina: Wuhan Wushang Mall Cinema 9F / Ajax Law and Virginia Lung. Image Courtesy of A' Design AwardJapan: Randen Arashiyama Station Railway station / GLAMOROUS co., ltd.. Image Courtesy of A' Design AwardUnited States: Exhale Public Plaza / Mikyoung Kim. Image Courtesy of A' Design Award+ 15

The Evolution of BIM: The Case of the Morin BIM Configurator

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Over the past decade, Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been widely adopted and become integrated to varying degrees into every aspect of the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings. But this isn’t where BIM stops, the future of BIM incorporates altered/virtual reality (AR/VR) and has the potential to go as far as automated and intelligent lifecycle management of assets. The concept of creating a “digital twin” to a physical building or system with the aim of making that real-world entity safer, more efficient, and more resilient begins by making our way towards fully-integrated BIM.

The Importance of Fire Doors for Creating Safe Buildings

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Building design today, and throughout the 20th century, has been significantly shaped by fire safety considerations. Architects today are familiar with the wide range of code requirements for a building to be compliant, from materials, to fire extinguisher locations, to fire-rated walls and doors. As buildings have become better-equipped to withstand fire emergencies, however, modern life has simultaneously increased the amount of fire hazards we live with.

Architectural Wire Mesh Provides Versatile Shading Solutions

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Now that we’re all spending much more time inside due to the pandemic, we’ve had a chance to truly understand and appreciate the significant impact that windows can have on a space. Views, sun angles, and orientation of windows are all important considerations when designing a new building - and as pleasant as it is to have a connection to the outdoors, windows can also cause issues like glare and heat gain. Of course no one wants a building with windows only on one side or to have the blinds shut constantly to be able to see their computer screen, so one versatile architectural solution is to shade windows using architectural wire mesh.

How Do Insulated Panels Work? Technical Diagrams on Sustainable Building Envelopes

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A building’s envelope is the first thing you notice - its defining feature, before even setting foot inside. While indisputably important, there’s much more going on than just aesthetics when designing one. There are unseen aspects and qualities that make the interior of the building safe and comfortable, which architects are constantly balancing with the visual appearance of the exterior.

Building envelopes keep out the weather, contribute to thermal and acoustic comfort, affect fire safety, and the choice of one system over another has economic, sustainability, constructability, and longevity implications to consider. In addition, there are multiple aesthetic factors a building envelope needs to address: context, color, texture, visual comfort, and overall design intent to name just a few.

Beyond Face Value of Face Brick: Thin Brick, Fire Resistance, and Aesthetics

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You probably see brick on a daily basis, whether it’s structuring a building, paving the road, or perhaps serving as a fireplace or chimney. But do all these applications use the same type of brick? How are the bricks supporting or being supported? What are these bricks actually made of? Brick’s versatility and ubiquitous nature mean there’s more than one answer to these questions. Even among brick’s most common applications as a building facade and/or structural wall material, there are a variety of types and construction methods employed.

The Many Faces of Award-Winning Architectural Design

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The international A' Design Award competition was "born out of the desire to underline the best designs and well-designed products" of designers, architects, and innovators from all design fields. Entries each year are judged by A' Design Award's jury of hundreds of experts from around the globe including scholars, professionals, and media members. If you are selected as a winner, you'll receive a host of prizes and benefits, in addition to international prestige and recognition. Entries are being accepted now until February 28th, 2021 and a selection of winners will be featured in a post on ArchDaily after they're announced on April 15th, so register your design today for a chance to be included.

Da Chang Muslim Cultural Center / Hejingtang Studio. Image Courtesy of A' Design AwardsShimao Loong Palace Residential Landscape / Shimao Group. Image Courtesy of A' Design Awardserception Cafe / Haejun Jung - Feelament. Image Courtesy of A' Design AwardsAmerican International School of GZ School / Vantree Design and Pearl River Design. Image Courtesy of A' Design Awards+ 19

Beyond Photorealism: Conveying Emotion and Sense of Place Through Rendering

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Photorealistic renderings today are the standard. They can be done quickly, cheaply, and clients expect them. But are these renderings truly accomplishing what they set out to do? Those on the forefront of new 3D design techniques argue that, as an industry, we’ve gotten stuck on conveying information, when what we should really bring to the table is emotion. Now that the playing field has evened in terms of technological capability and hyper-realism, what’s the next step? By introducing an emotional layer and creating a sense of place, renderings can provide even more value to a project, firm, client, and community.

Brick Ceilings Create New Architectural Possibilities

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Cuisine, culture, sightseeing, and engaging with the locals are all reasons people like to travel. The common factor that draws us to explore new places, however, is simply the chance to experience cities and landscapes unlike our own familiar surroundings. For example, when Chinese tourists can again visit Copenhagen, they may admire the waterside capital’s winding bike paths, lush green parks, and the Scandinavian brick traditions on display in Nyhavn. Likewise, a Danish tourist would surely be blown away by the breathtaking scale of Beijing, with it’s 9 million+ bicycles and the display of ancient Chinese culture juxtaposed with modern society.