Wood, one of the oldest building materials, has been continuously reinvented throughout history. As contemporary architecture becomes more and more concerned with sustainability and environmental responsibility, the popularity of the material has also increased. As trees absorb carbon dioxide during their growth, their wood stores that carbon, keeping it out of the atmosphere. The materials derived from wood are thus associated with less greenhouse gas emissions on the condition of trees being harvested from sustainably managed forests. But in order to capture the full potential of this material, a plethora of techniques and modifications have evolved with the purpose of adapting and customizing wood’s characteristics to the demands of modern design and construction. From thermal modification to engineered wood or versatile particle boards, these methods not only enhance wood’s suitability for the rigors of contemporary architecture but also expand the usability of this sustainable material to an unprecedented scale.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to shape the future of architecture. As the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) industry rapidly evolves, AI matches the momentum. With these simultaneous evolutions, a burning question arises: will architects continue to be the primary creators of our built environment, or will AI dominate?
According to AIA, “90 percent of [architecture] firms anticipate they will be using or increasing usage of AI over the next three years.” This futuristic technology is now more than a subplot of science fiction, offering unprecedented capabilities for optimizing design and automating tasks. However, can the depth of an architect’s creativity and context outweigh machines?
Spanning over 3 millennia with one of the highest concentrations of architecture in the world, Rome is a transcendental influence on the world's culture. Often called “The Eternal City,” it developed as the capital and seat of power of the Roman Empire, regarded by many as the first Imperial city and among the first ancient metropolises. As a city continuously occupied for over 28 centuries, Rome has maintained its countless layers of history to become a perfect depiction of old meets new. Rich in history, academia, and art, the Italian capital is now one of the most visited cities in the world.
Rome's historic center, which stretches from Piazza del Popolo to Piazza Venezia and from the east bank of the Tiber up to Piazza di Spagna, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with its historical significance, the presence of renowned contemporary architects and designers in the city has made Rome an influential design destination. In 2019, it was the 14th most visited city in the world, welcoming over 8.6 million tourists seeking to discover the ways in which the history of the Ancient Romans blends with contemporary life, making it the third most visited city in Europe and the most popular tourist destination in Italy.
In 2020, Ahmadreza Schricker (ASA North) completed the Argo Contemporary Art Museum & Cultural Center design. Previously a 1920s beer distillery in the heart of Tehran, it has now been converted into a contemporary art center and is now the new home of the Pejman Foundation. In the summer of 2023, the foundation hosted an exhibition featuring selected works from ASA North while documenting the transformation of the Argo Factory. The exhibition explored the studio’s practice, developing a commentary on their projects and their self-awareness.
Colors have played an essential role in the history of modern architecture - from Le Corbusier's theory of polychromy to the aesthetic conceptions of the Bauhaus. However, we find ourselves at the beginning of an era where the interpretation and implementation of colors in architecture are undergoing a transformation based on their impact on the built environment.
Throughout the month, we conducted an open call to listen and learn from our readers, exploring their predictions and thoughts related to the future of colors in architecture. After reviewing an immense number of comments and opinions, it was surprising to discover commonalities regarding the importance of considering energy efficiency in color choices. Check out the main viewpoints below.
World War II left a profound influence on the evolution of society, introducing significant changes in the fields of urban planning and architecture. During the 1930s, the Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM) promoted modernism on an international scale. After the war, this architectural movement became firmly established as the dominant one, driven by the imperative of reconstruction and technological advancements. Influential figures like Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto spearheaded this movement.
In 1959, the same year as the final CIAM meeting, Japanese architects like Kenzō Tange, Kishō Kurokawa —the designer of the Nakagin Capsule Tower—, and Kiyonori Kikutake began to explore new approaches to urban design and architecture, known as the Metabolist movement. This exploration was particularly significant in the context of Tokyo's rapid repopulation after the war and the scarcity of resources for reconstruction. Innovative concepts such as Marine City, The City in the Air, and the 1960 plan for Tokyo emerged, which proposed the city as a constantly evolving organism and emphasized the relationship between humans and their built environment. These ideas shaped the concept of "megacities" and reflected Japan's creative response to its challenging postwar situation.
The window for solving climate change is narrowing; any solution must include embodied carbon. The Sixth Assessment Report published by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) concludes that the world can emit just 500 gigatonnes more of carbon dioxide, starting in January 2020, if we want a 50 percent chance of staying below 1.5 degrees. In 2021 alone, the world emitted about 36.3 gigatonnes of carbon, the highest amount ever recorded. We’re on track to blow through our carbon budget in the next several years. To quote the IPCC directly: “The choices and actions implemented in this decade will have impacts now and for thousands of years (high confidence).”
When an architect conceives the opening of a space, the primary objective is to create a frame that enhances the views, optimizes the entry of natural light, and makes the most of the illumination it provides. In this context, we often seek to maximize the proportion of glass, reducing the presence of frames and profiles to a minimum, thus expressing the growing desire for perfect integration between indoor and outdoor environments. To adequately meet this demand, architects and manufacturers are constantly searching for solutions that minimize the visual obstruction caused by structures, pushing the boundaries of what is technically and statically feasible toward minimalist window frames and profiles.
"We Have Abdicated as a Profession Our Responsibility Towards the Planet:" In Conversation with Yasmeen Lari
While attending the 2023 UIA World Congress of Architecture in Copenhagen, ArchDaily had the chance to discuss with Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan’s first female architect and the winner of the 2023 RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. Yasmeen Lari gained international recognition for her heritage conservation and humanitarian activism efforts, demonstrating the possibilities of practicing architecture within disadvantaged communities. Her innovative and socially conscious approach, a concept known as ‘barefoot social architecture,’ has had a significant impact both in her home country and internationally. By designing for resilient communities, her work also aligns with the intentions behind the UIA World Congress of Architects and the ways in which architecture can contribute to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On Wednesday, October 4, the fifteenth edition of the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR) will start. The program involves an extensive list with almost 100 films about architecture and the city, with prominent figures like Rem Koolhaas, Inez Weski, and Martin Koolhoven joining as guests. The festival includes film premiers, classic screenings, masterclasses, excursions, and short programs. Combining the film and built environment worlds, the event will be taking place from 4 to 8 October 2023.
Nowadays, when we imagine enclosed spaces, concrete slab roofs often come to mind. However, the use of concrete in construction now raises concerns due to its documented contributions to climate change and environmental harm. In response, it is necessary to incorporate vernacular and traditional techniques into our architectural toolkit. In this context, natural coverings emerge as an excellent solution. Despite their alignment with numerous desirable project attributes, these materials, which have sheltered humans for centuries, are still underutilized in contemporary construction. Natural roofs offer biodegradable materials, making them a more sustainable option with an aesthetic appeal and enhanced thermal comfort.
Through a statement from Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico, it has been announced that the Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena will construct a new facility on the Monterrey campus, named "Aulas 10." This facility will house the School of Architecture, Art, and Design (EAAD) with the goal of becoming a space that fosters creativity and knowledge.
Almost half of Brazil is covered in forest, producing nearly 150 million cubic meters a year. Thanks to the large country’s wide range of tree species, Brazilian designers looking for natural, locally sourced materials have a lot of wood to choose from. Unsurprisingly, wood is a common feature in both traditional and contemporary Brazilian homes, both in construction and when creating decorative surfaces.
The aesthetic beauty of wood’s grain pattern, combined with the warm, rich, and varying color palettes on offer, means that while achieving the strength and stability required for flooring and construction, wood is also a perfect material to form interior surfaces. Its natural color and aesthetic allow for a simple, minimalist form, giving spaces a timeless mid-century feel.
“It’s Not About What Makes Good Design, but What Makes Good Design for Wellbeing”: Alex Depledge on Resi
What is architecture? Is it grand designs with complex structures, defying the laws of physics? Is it simple, everyday buildings that, when put together, create the urban fabric? In the mid-18th century, Laugier introduced the concept of the Primitive Hut, a structure, essentially a home, designed and built to meet the primitive man’s basic needs: shelter from the elements and nature. Any structure that meets these requirements would be considered authentic architecture. However, since then, our needs have evolved and are much more elaborate, especially when it comes to our homes. They need to provide shelter, security, thermal comfort, and space. Our homes have to be economical, environmentally friendly, and have access to the internet, among many other prerequisites. So what would the ideal modern human’s home, and thus true architecture, look like?
The Science of a Happy Home Report, carried out by Resi first in 2020 and then again in post-pandemic 2023, sought to discover exactly what elements people believed made up the ultimate happy home. The results were six prominent qualities: a home that is adaptable to meet our changing needs, a home that allows us to connect and build relationships, a home that mirrors our personality and values, a nourishing home that provides the conditions we need to thrive (i.e. air quality), a home that helps us relax, and a home that offers security and makes us feel safe. These needs, however, aren't being met for the majority of UK homes, and that's where Resi comes in.
Timber, harvested and prepared for construction, is a durable material known for its strength and versatility. It serves as an architectural element in structural systems, framing, cladding, decking, and flooring. Although it possesses a warm and natural character that creates an aesthetic appeal, the inherent humidity of timber can cause wood deformation, leading to bending, mold, and rot once the moisture content reaches 23%. However, with the development of new products and production techniques, Thermowood –also known as Thermally Modified Timber– has emerged as a method for creating natural, chemical-free solutions made from certified raw materials.
By reducing moisture content, it does not rot or mold, it experiences no longitudinal shrinking, and ensures high dimensional stability, resulting in a minimum biological life span of 25 years. After analyzing how to apply these solutions in architecture and design, we will showcase indoor and outdoor spaces featuring Tantimber’s Thermowood products.
Clad in Translucent Marble Slabs, The Perelman Performing Arts Center Opens in New York’s Ground Zero
After over two decades in the making, the Perelman Performing Arts Center opened to the public on September 19, 2023. The luminous cube-shaped building was designed by the architecture firm REX, led by Joshua Ramus, to become one of New York City’s cultural keystones and the final piece in the 2023 Master Plan for the rebuilding of the 16-acre World Trade Center site. The inaugural season will feature commissions, world premieres, co-productions, and collaborative work across theater, dance, music, opera, film, and more. While only eight stories high, the venue stands out due to its monolithic façade composed of translucent veined Portuguese marble.
The history of architecture is marked by a rich array of styles and expressions, each of which reflects the specific environment it was created in. Numerous unique narratives have emerged, giving rise to various architectural traditions. The notion of a single, universal tradition is quickly debunked when one explores the pages of any architectural history book.
While contemporary architectural movements may share common principles, it's important to note that this doesn't necessarily result in a uniform appearance. However, when we consider the diversity of historical architectural styles and traditions, it becomes evident that specific regions have distinct architectural identities. Portugal has a well-defined architecture, and Carlos Castanheira is one of its notable representatives.
When you’ve made a mess, it’s often easier to hold up your hands and start again from scratch. But while it might be a harder way to do it, adaptive reuse – when architecture takes something old and broken and brings it back to life – can have benefits all around.
When planning much-needed social and cultural buildings for public use, instead of using new, virgin materials (or even recycled materials that need to be collected, stripped, reformatted, and transported), there are plenty of pre-made sites already in place. All we have to do is see them.
These adaptive reuse projects take disused buildings, forgotten projects, and unloved environments and transform them into something new, bringing life, positivity, and purpose.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen inequalities laid bare, especially when it pertains to the unequal allotment of architectural resources to people. The start of the pandemic saw Europeans who could afford it, for example, leaving the urban metropolises they lived in and going away to their second homes in the countryside. We’ve also seen how poorer people in places like New York, for example, do not have adequate access to green spaces – a critical part of human well-being. Within this conversation is also the issue of social housing - known by multiple names around the world - and how the social housing that gets designed in the present and in the future should respond to ever-changing global needs.
In the realm of media architecture and its role in supporting struggles for social justice, the recent Media Architecture Biennale 2023 (MAB23) in Toronto, Canada, shed light on a captivating aspect: The rapid and vast propagation of solidarity lighting in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The synchronized illuminations, infused with activism and global art projects, became a powerful emblem of worldwide support for Ukraine during its time of crisis. Two emphatic female political leaders in Europe initiated the lighting solidarity message. Surprisingly, the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag illumination on iconic buildings worldwide defined an image of solidarity even faster in the press than large crowds of people in anti-war protests the weekend after the war began.
Arguably, kitchens are spaces in which the interplay of elements establishes a delicate balance in their composition; design, materials, and fittings, all of which collaboratively shape the interior environment. It is, therefore, not surprising that they often become the focus of ongoing discussions. The cultural and utilitarian role of kitchens in our lives is so important that their influence transcends mere architecture, becoming an object of artistic and historical exploration. In this way, both kitchens and the elements that comprise them have evolved and changed in style—from the robust kitchens of the 19th century to the innovations that originated in the Frankfurt kitchen in the 20th century.
The domestic landscape can transform on a daily basis, and fittings are no exception as they adapt to changing stylistic influences and needs. Today, kitchens incorporate both, traditional and contemporary elements within the same space, creating a language that connects and seamlessly transitions between these influences, thereby enhancing one another. In this context, Dornbracht has conceived VAIA, a series of fittings developed by Sieger Design, which fuses tradition and modernity in contemporary kitchens through fine lines, stylized silhouettes, and flowing transitions.