“Two brains are better than one,” goes the old saying. And with good reason. As the social beings that we are, humans thrive through interpersonal interactions and the dynamic exchange of ideas. It is these collective thoughts that tend to flourish, evolve and reach their full potential, fueled by a diversity of perspectives and experiences. That is precisely why teamwork stands as one of the most valued pillars of any working environment, and also explains why office workers spend an average of 37% of their time every week sitting in meetings. It’s no surprise then that modern office settings embrace meeting rooms as designated spaces for collaborative ideation and decision-making. But not in the way many might imagine. Gone are the days of bland conference rooms with nothing but a large table, uncomfortable chairs and white walls, giving way to new, more innovative models that respond to a shifting paradigm.
Materials Junior Editor at ArchDaily. Architect and Master's in Urban Project from Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (2021). Based in Santiago, Chile.
Trends always come and go in the ever-evolving, somewhat cyclical landscape of interior architecture. Whether it’s a new aesthetic, an innovative wall treatment or the latest viral color, certain design features rise to prominence all the time in this dynamic industry. Some fade as quickly as they emerge or resurface in new forms years later, while others endure and stand the test of time through continuous reinvention –often thanks to their versatile and adaptable nature. Ribbed paneling is a clear example of the latter. With its ability to add texture and visual allure to various design styles, it has been a popular cladding choice for bedrooms, kitchens and living spaces in recent decades. And now more than ever, fitting with current preferences that lean towards sleek, tactile and structured elements, it has consolidated its presence in contemporary residential interiors.
Recent statistics suggest that if someone lives until they are 80, around 72 of those years will be spent inside buildings. This makes sense if we bear in mind that, when not at home, humans are working, learning or engaging in fun activities mostly in enclosed, built settings. Contemplating current events, however, this number is expected to grow. In an increasingly chaotic and uncertain world, marked by the ongoing effects of climate change and the global pandemic, the desire to stay indoors in a protected, controlled and peaceful environment is stronger than ever. Architects face an important challenge: to create comfortable, productive and healthy interiors with well-regulated parameters, considering factors like indoor air quality, daylighting and biophilic features from the initial stages of design. Of course, this involves choosing materials sensitively and accordingly, whether it be by avoiding certain health-harming components or by integrating non-toxic products that soothe and promote wellness.
There’s something about the saturated hues of blossoming springtime flowers and the fiery, warm tones of a sunset descending upon a cityscape that brings us joy. Humans crave color. In fact, we’ve been fascinated by them since the beginning of our existence. So much so that everything from the color of our clothes to the brightly illuminated pixels on this screen is an attempt to recreate –and enhance– the vibrant shades present in nature, finding in them a source of inspiration and vitality. Our brains are wired to link colors with sensations and experiences: the lush greens of a forest evoke feelings of tranquility and renewal, while the deep blues of the ocean stir a sense of mystery and adventure. It is this ability to elicit emotion that makes colors an invaluable tool for architects and designers –and which also explains why trends are moving away from the once-reigning neutral minimalism towards a more maximalist aesthetic that embraces pops of color, dimension and playful texture.
Similar to a chameleon that changes color to blend in with its environment, architecture must constantly evolve and adapt to changing demands. A few decades ago, homes used to be associated solely with private life and rest, while workspaces were exclusively designed for just that: work. It was common for each use to be separated into its own room, making enclosed, rigid spaces the standard norm for architects to follow. That is, of course, until new living and working patterns blurred these boundaries to respond to contemporary trends.
How can a building be more efficient? It is a concern that architects face on a daily basis, as they try to keep up with the demands of an industry that is increasingly aware of its environmental impact. Today more than ever, there is an effort to design buildings that integrate sustainability, efficiency and thermal comfort, which are fundamental pillars of a healthier built environment.
Having an effective solar control strategy is crucial to achieving a more efficient architecture. In addition to providing solar protection and economic savings, these strategies also carry benefits in terms of aesthetics, acoustics, thermal comfort, durability and maintenance.
What will cities of the future look like? Or rather, what should cities of the future look like? The classic sci-fi, Star Trek-inspired movies many of us grew up watching painted a picture of flying cars, grotesque steel skyscrapers and urban fabrics far too vast and dense for the human scale. It’s safe to say, however, that the ideal for today’s and tomorrow’s cities has taken a 180-degree turn. New, modern urbanism promotes diverse, mixed-use cities with walkable blocks, sustainable transport and accessible public spaces. Copenhagen, with its pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streets, idyllic water canals, iconic buildings and overall happy residents, ticks many of those boxes. No wonder the Danish capital has been designated as UNESCO’s World Capital of Architecture for 2023; another testament to the city’s position as a laboratory for innovative contemporary architecture and human-centered urban planning.
For many years, often spoken in tones of anticipation and excitement, we have heard that 3D printing will revolutionize the architecture industry as we know it. But if we stop for a moment, reflect on the present and look back at the past, it becomes evident that the technology has long been reshaping the field, continuously undergoing profound transformations and ushering in new eras of design, construction and spatial creativity. Operating as a layer-by-layer additive manufacturing process, 3D printing uses digital models to create customized three-dimensional objects with a remarkable level of precision and efficiency, saving time, generating zero waste, reducing labor costs and opening avenues for rapid prototyping and iterative design. It enables architects to explore creative opportunities and regain autonomy by designing complex, non-standardized elements within an industrial and mass-customized process.
Just as fashion designers use pins, needles and textiles to bring their creations to life, architects rely on materials to shape our built environment. From steel and glass to wood and concrete, these form the artistic palette that transforms blueprints into tangible structures, bridging the gap between imagination and reality. It’s as simple, yet as complex as that. But with so many materials –and countless shapes, finishes, textures and colors– available in this day and age, making the correct choices for a particular project can be quite challenging. Several questions naturally arise: How do architects navigate the endless possibilities to handpick the elements that will breathe life into their designs? What does the material specification process entail? Where does one begin?
The complexity of our world is constantly increasing, and with it, the pressure and demands placed upon our built environment. Architects are faced with a monumental task: to translate society’s ever-changing needs into tangible, effective and sustainable solutions. Pressing issues such as the climate crisis, rapid urbanization, population density and housing shortages call for a new architecture –one that isn’t afraid to question the traditional way of working and is prepared to take on the challenge. Today the industry must adapt, evolve and innovate to cope with these challenges. The availability of data is changing the game, and as technology continues to advance, it will open new ways of thinking, creating and engaging with the built environment.
In this article, we delve into the effects of the digital transformation, how it is reshaping the industry and the questions it raises about the future role of architects.
As true spatial orchestrators, architects’ expertise extends beyond the mere construction of buildings, often transcending the physical realm of design. They possess the unique ability to craft spaces that are not only visually appealing, but that also feel welcoming, harmonious, and, above all, functional. Embracing this vital role involves careful consideration of all the bits and pieces that make up a project; from a building’s foundations to a sofa, architects must ensure that all the elements, in every scale, tie together in a way that is cohesive and positively influences our everyday lives.
In architecture, choosing the right construction materials is crucial to improve efficiency, ensure structural integrity and maximize performance, ultimately setting the standard for the finished product. But because any building – from its outer skin to its framing system – consists of many layers and parts, understanding how these fit and work can be just as important during design and manufacture. Technical specification of materials and constructive systems plays a key role in conveying this information, providing all of the necessary knowledge, properties and characteristics for any successful project. After all, the more you know about what lies between walls and behind finishes, the better your architecture will be.
Fueled by pressing issues such as the climate crisis, population density and rapid urbanization, the built environment has become increasingly complex. Architecture and design professionals are faced with a challenging, yet fundamental task: to translate society’s ever-evolving needs into tangible and future-oriented solutions. In pursuit of this goal, they must embrace the countless tools, materials and technologies emerging every day in the construction field –from AI to virtual reality software and smart home systems. After all, to remain at the forefront in an industry where change is the norm, the ability to adapt and evolve is crucial for success.
Le Corbusier once described architecture as “a learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.” Natural light –and its accompanying shadow– plays a crucial role in shaping our perception of architecture, serving a long list of functions that define how users experience, engage and interact with buildings. From illuminating and accentuating to enhancing views and evoking warmth, the presence of daylight has the power to set a room’s tone and aesthetic language. It even has a significant impact on human health and well-being, including boosting mood and productivity, regulating circadian rhythms and reducing eyestrain and headaches –it makes our lives brighter, literally.
Two decades in the making, the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Cairo is one of the most anticipated cultural buildings, set to be an architectural marvel and a leading scientific, historical and archeological study center. The vast, billion-dollar mega-project occupies a site of around 500,000 square meters adjacent to the Pyramids UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Giza Plateau. Within its halls, what will soon be the world’s largest archeological museum will showcase 3,500 years of ancient Egyptian history, revealed through a collection of more than 100,000 artifacts –many of which will be displayed for the first time.
Every day, architects and designers tackle an ambitious task: crafting spaces that not only captivate the eye but that also nurture the health and well-being of those who inhabit them. A key part of this mission involves implementing design strategies that foster a pleasant indoor climate, as temperature, humidity and air quality all have a significant impact on users’ mood, productivity and overall health. Humans simply operate better if they are comfortable and content in their home or working environment. Although air-conditioning, ventilation and heating systems have conventionally served as popular solutions to regulate indoor climate, they often carry with them undesirable consequences –the presence of dust and bacteria, the need for regular maintenance and a cluttered, unappealing look. There is, however, an alternative solution.