For much of the world, this past year was spent within the confines of our homes, undoubtedly blurring the lines between our public, professional, and private lives and transforming our living spaces into places of work and productivity. This transformation of spaces and how they are used is nothing new in the world of architecture as countless spaces take on various roles beyond what they were originally designed for--a fact reflected in their layout, design, and the materials used within them.
Educational architecture is crucial for creating spaces that, not only nurture and mold the minds of the future generations, but also provide spaces for the wider public to come and share knowledge and ideas.
On November 20, the 2020 Panamerican Architecture Biennial of Quito (BAQ 2020) announced the winners of the present edition. Every other year, the BAQ "invites to discuss contemporary production of the built environment, aiming to improve the practice of our profession" in the Americas.
Children's furniture is all furniture –fixed or mobile– that is designed according to the ergonomic guidelines and anatomical dimensions of children specifically. Following this definition, we can identify two types of furniture: (1) those that facilitate a relationship between the caregiver and the child, and (2) those that allow the child to use them independently.
The big difference between these two types is that the first has dimensions that mainly adapt to the ergonomics of the adult, while the second is designed to meet the ergonomic needs of the child at each stage of their development. Since the growth of children occurs relatively quickly, it is common for the furniture of this second group to be multifunctional or even extendable.
The focus of buildings should ultimately be the well-being of the people using them. When we think of our experiences in hospitals, clinics, the dentist's office, and other medical facilities, the feeling is rarely pleasant. Perhaps it's the smells, the dull, monotone colors, or the sound of medical gadgets working away on some unlucky patient.
In countries where architecture adapts to the seasons, projects must respond so that they are comfortable for the users, both in the hot summer temperatures and in the cold winter. Tropical countries, such as Colombia, are a bit luckier. The temperature of construction sites depends less on the seasons and more on where they are located geographically according to the altitude above sea level; the closer they are to the sea, the warmer it is. For this reason, it is not essential to seal or insulate the interior spaces. On the contrary, the good management of constant ventilation creates a more permeable and contextual architecture.
We have put together a series of projects with different architectural programs: local markets, health facilities, cultural, education and housing projects. They show that with different construction techniques, you can begin to control the permeability, air flow, privacy or solar heat gain. Explore each of these projects below.
Brick is one of the most widely used materials in Colombia, making the architectural designs in its capital city, Bogotá, stand out worldwide. Due to the excellent quality of the clay found in some regions of the country, brick is used in all aspects of construction, from adobe floor slabs to exterior facades.
Nothing is more rational than using the wind, a natural, free, renewable and healthy resource, to improve the thermal comfort of our projects. The awareness of the finiteness of the resources and the demand for the reduction in the energy consumption has removed air-conditioning systems as the protagonist of any project. Architects and engineers are turning to this more passive system to improve thermal comfort. It is evident that there are extreme climates in which there is no escape, or else the use of artificial systems, but in a large part of the terrestrial surface it is possible to provide a pleasant flow of air through the environments by means of passive systems, especially if the actions are considered during the project stage.
This is a highly complex theme, but we have approached some of the concepts exemplifying them with built projects. A series of ventilation systems can help in the projects: natural cross ventilation, natural induced ventilation, chimney effect and evaporative cooling, which combined with the correct use of constructive elements allows improvement in thermal comfort and decrease in energy consumption.
With the high population density of cities and voracious appetite of the market for every square meter, it is not uncommon for urban vegetation to be forgotten. For this reason, forests, vegetable gardens, and vertical gardens have aroused much interest and figured into a variety of different innovative proposals. Using the vertical plane to maintain plants in an urban setting is a coherent and common-sense solution, especially when there is little possibility of bringing green to the level of the people on the streets.
Due to its ability to mold and create different shapes, concrete is one of architecture's most popular materials. While one of its most common uses is as a humble foundation, its plasticity means that it is also used in almost all types of construction, from housing to museums, presenting a variety of details of work that deserves special attention.
Check out this collection of 40 projects that highlight the use of concrete. Impressive!
Countries that are part of the so-called “global south” have undergone many transformations in their cities and urban contexts in recent years due to the economic and social challenges they face. Urban growth, sustainable development, quality of life and health in emerging cities, and the development of their own cultural identity have been some of the issues that local architecture had to incorporate.
Young architects have understood the importance of making an architecture that is deeply rooted in their own territory while giving this architecture a clear local identity. By generating new typologies and using their own resources and materials, they have presented innovative, site-specific and, above all, solutions with a new fresh focus towards what represents them as creators of this architecture.