The total amount of water on our planet has, theoretically, stayed the same since earth's formation. It's possible that the glass of water you drank earlier contains particles that once ran down the Ganges River, passed through the digestive system of a dinosaur, or even cooled a nuclear reactor. Of course, before it quenched your thirst, this water evaporated and fell as rain millions of times. Water can be polluted or misused, but never created or destroyed. According to a UNESCO study, it is estimated that the Earth contains about 1386 million cubic kilometers of water. However, 97.5% of this amount is saline water and only 2.5% is fresh water. Of this fresh water, most (68.7%) takes the form of permanent ice and snow in Antarctica, the Arctic, and in mountainous regions. Another 29.9% exists as groundwater. Ultimately, only 0.26% of the total amount of fresh water on Earth is available in lakes, reservoirs, and watersheds, where it is easily accessible for the world's economic and vital needs. With the population steadily increasing, especially in urban areas, several countries have already had severe problems with providing the necessary amount of drinking water to their populations.
Flooding is a significant problem for buildings all around the world, including architectural treasures like the Farnsworth House that have been plagued by the issue time and time again. In particular, one-third of the entire continental U.S. are at risk of flooding this spring, especially the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, and Deep South. Last April, deadly floods decimated parts of Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Iran as well, resulting in a low estimate of 1,000 deaths while tens of thousands more were displaced. While architecture cannot solve or even fully protect from the most deadly floods, it is possible – and necessary – to take several protective measures that could mitigate damage and consequently save lives.
Few cities have a growing design culture like Austin, Texas. Ranked as one of the best places to live in the United States, the city is experiencing a building boom in recent years. With a wide variety of residential styles, architects are continuing a legacy of modernist design. With an emphasis on craft and detailing, these new homes use simple geometry and forms as they open up to hills, lakes and the urban fabric.
In a predominately urban world that constantly has to deal with complex problems such as waste generation, water scarcity, natural disasters, air pollution, and even the spread of disease, it is impossible to ignore the impact of human activity on the environment. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and it is urgent that we find ways to slow down the process, at the very least. Toward this end, our production, consumption, and construction habits will have to change, or climate change and environmental degradation will continue to diminish the quality and duration of our lives and that of future generations.
Although they seem intangible and distant, these various energy inefficiencies and waste issues are much closer than we can imagine, present in the buildings we use on a daily basis. As architects, this problem is further amplified as we deal daily with design decisions and material specifications. In other words, our decisions really do have a global impact. How can we use design to create a healthier future for our world?
Because it doesn't include a bathtub, or require doors, screens, or curtains, the walk-in shower often makes bathrooms appear larger, cleaner, and more minimalist.
However, some precautions must be taken when designing them. Most importantly, the shower cannot be left completely open, even if it appears to be at first glance. Most designs incorporate a tempered glass that prevents water from "bouncing" out of the shower space, subtly closing the area. When this transparent division doesn't have a frame, the appearance of fungi due to accumulation of water and moisture becomes less likely.
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The key to successfully designing or recovering public spaces is to achieve a series of ingredients that enhance their use as meeting places. Regardless of their scale, some important tips are designing for people's needs, the human scale, a mix of uses, multifunctionality and flexibility, comfort and safety, and integration to the urban fabric.
To give you some ideas on how to design urban furniture, bus stops, lookouts, bridges, playgrounds, squares, sports spaces, small parks and urban parks, check out these 100 notable public spaces.
The dramatic improvement in recent decades in our understanding of sustainable design has shown that designing sustainably doesn't have to be a compromise—it can instead be a benefit. When done correctly, sustainable design results in higher-performing, healthier buildings which contribute to their inhabitants' physical and mental well-being.
The benefits of incorporating vegetation in façades and in roofs, as well as materials and construction systems that take energy use and pollution into account, demonstrate that sustainable design has the potential to create buildings that improve living conditions and respect the natural environment.
Below we have compiled 30 plans, sections and construction details of projects that stand out for their approach to sustainability.
The American Institute of Architects has selected nine projects for its 2019 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture. The award program celebrates the best contemporary architecture and highlights the many ways buildings and spaces can improve lives. AIA’s five-member jury selects submissions that demonstrate design achievement, including a sense of place and purpose, ecology, environmental sustainability and history.
Nine projects have been recognized this year by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in the 2019 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture. A five-member jury evaluated entries’ sense of place and purpose, ecology and environmental sustainability, and history to choose this year’s most innovative interior spaces.