When we think of concrete, the color gray generally comes to mind. The traditional mixture of concrete, which comprises cement, gravel, sand, and water may vary in color depending on elements and admixtures but naturally varies from light to dark gray. However, compounds that add pigment to the mixture are becoming increasingly prevalent and popular, as they infuse the concrete with hues more stable than paint. These shades result from the addition of oxides: yellow, red and their derivations (eg. brown) are obtained with the addition of iron oxide; chromium and cobalt oxide create the greens and blues, respectively. For black concrete, it is common to use black iron oxide and carbon oxide combined with pozzolanic cement.
Reframing Climate Change as a Local Problem of Global Proportion: 4 Ways Architects can Deliver Change
The latest UN special report on climate change, released in October 2018, was bleak - perhaps unsurprisingly after a year of recording breaking temperatures, wildfires, floods, and storms. The report, released by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reiterated the magnitude of climate change’s global impact, but shed new light on the problem’s depth and urgency. Climate change is a catastrophe for the world as we know it and will transform it into something that we don’t. And we have just 12 years to prevent it.
Zinc is a natural element extracted from ores. Its symbol, which appears in the dreaded Periodic Table, is Zn. Through a metallurgical process of burning its impurities (reducing zinc oxide and refining), it assumes a much more friendly appearance, and later becomes the sheets, coils, and rollers used in construction. The main characteristic of this material is its malleability, which allows it to be worked easily, allowing to cover complex forms in facades and roofs of buildings.
Architects are often bound by the will of their client, reluctantly sacrificing and compromising design choices in order to suit their needs. But what happens when architects become their own clients? When architects design for themselves, they have the potential to test their ideas freely, explore without creative restriction, and create spaces which wholly define who they are, how they design, and what they stand for. From iconic architect houses like the Gehry Residence in Santa Monica to private houses that double as a public-entry museum, here are 9 fascinating examples of how architects design when they only have themselves to answer to.
The mountains—one of the contexts that almost every architect would like to build in at least once. And yet even though it's an attractive setting, the associated challenges, including, but not limited to the sheer remoteness of mountain regions and their distance from basic services, make building in the mountains particularly demanding.
We've compiled a selection of 15 incredible works of architecture that maximize the breathtaking surroundings found in mountainous areas, featuring photographs from Felipe Camus, Janez Martincic, and Anze Cokl.
Patinated copper, also called oxidized, is a metal coat that "ages well" with excellent weathering resistance. Due to its capacity for transformation over time, when coming into contact with atmospheric conditions, the material does not require major maintenance, giving a unique aspect to the facades.
In addition to orange-colored plates, this material also gives off a blue / green appearance through a controlled chemical oxidation process. Its coloration is defined by the amount of crystals contained in the surface of the material. With the appearance of natural light, the panels display various shades and nuances of color.
As founder of the “Do Tank” firm ELEMENTAL, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena (born on June 22, 1967) is perhaps the most socially-engaged architect to receive the Pritzker Prize. Far from the usual aesthetically driven approach, Aravena explains that “We don’t think of ourselves as artists. Architects like to build things that are unique. But if something is unique it can’t be repeated, so in terms of it serving many people in many places, the value is close to zero.”  For Aravena, the architect’s primary goal is to improve people's way of life by assessing both social needs and human desires, as well as political, economic and environmental issues.
Two South American architects have been selected as the winners of The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal’s 2018 Women in Architecture awards. This year’s top prize, Architect of the Year, has been awarded to Peruvian architect Sandra Barclay, while Paraguayan architect Gloria Cabral has been selected as the winner of the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture, with both being recognized by the jury for their mastery of materials.
Designing for kids is certainly not child’s play. Whilst the design process is undertaken by adults, the end users are often children, such is the case in kindergarten, schools, and parks. Architects have a responsibility, therefore, to ensure that the built environment offers children the chance to play, explore, and learn in physical space, even in a digital age. With that in mind, here are 18 cool spaces designed especially for children – environments which may perhaps inspire the Fosters, Hadids, and Le Corbusiers of tomorrow.
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.
1. All black.
2. Black with a bit of grey.
3. Black with a bit of white.
4. Match different shades of black.
Done. Go home.
All jokes aside, there has never been a set uniform in the architecture profession. The truth is, there are a large variety of different architectural practices, and one’s attire to do architectural work often depends on each firm’s unique culture. There are corporate firms composed of hundreds of people in office blocks where “corporate” clothing is expected, or there are atelier style firms where jeans and a simple shirt are more appropriate for the design-build.
The architecture world is unique in that we are expected to be creative like artists, execute like engineers, negotiate like businessmen, and make like craftsmen but at the same time are asked to discover our own unique style and approach. Hybridity and improvisation abounds in architecture, which is definitely reflected in our fashion choices. In general though, the architect’s wardrobe is governed by four key words: eccentric, professional, relaxed and... well, still largely black. Here we’ve profiled a few tips on how to dress by these four qualities.
When reading about the work of Alejandro Aravena, it can sometimes seem like two distinct discussions: one about his widely praised social housing innovations, and another about his impressive (albeit more conventional in scope) buildings for universities and municipalities. In this post originally shared on his Facebook page Hashim Sarkis, the Dean of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, connects the two apparently separate threads of Aravena's architecture, discovering the underlying beliefs that guide this year's Pritzker Prize winner.
Much of the work of Alejandro Aravena, whether designed alone or with the group ELEMENTAL, embodies a eureka moment, a moment where after a careful interrogation of the program with the client, the architect comes up with a counterintuitive but simple response to the charge. (For the computer center at the Catholic University, the labs have to be both dark and well-lit. For the social housing in Iquique, instead of a full good house that you cannot afford, you get a half good house that you can). In turn, these simple equations are embodied in buildings that usually acquire similarly simple forms. The clients and occupants repeat the “aha” with Aravena’s same tone and realization. “If I cannot convincingly convey the design idea over the phone, then I know it is a bad idea,” he says.
Alejandro Aravena has been named as the winner of the 2016 Pritzker Prize. Highlighting his dedication to improve urban environments and to address the global housing crisis, the Pritzker Prize jury praised the way in which the Chilean architect has "risen to the demands of practicing architecture as an artful endeavor, as well as meeting today's social and economic challenges." Aravena is the 41st Pritzker Prize laureate and the first Chilean to receive the award.
At 48 years of age, Aravena has a large portfolio of private, public and educational projects in Chile, the USA, Mexico, China and Switzerland. But perhaps more notably, through his “Do Tank” firm ELEMENTAL he has managed to build 2,500 units of social housing, engaging in the public housing policies of governments where he works and taking an opportunistic approach to market forces to generate a powerful impact on lower-income communities.
"Alejandro Aravena epitomizes the revival of a more socially engaged architect, especially in his long-term commitment to tackling the global housing crisis and fighting for a better urban environment for all,” explained the Jury in their citation. “He has a deep understanding of both architecture and civil society, as is reflected in his writing, his activism and his designs. The role of the architect is now being challenged to serve greater social and humanitarian needs, and Alejandro Aravena has clearly, generously and fully responded to this challenge."
Justin McGuirk's book Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture is fast becoming a seminal text in the architecture world. Coming off the back of his Golden-Lion-winning entry to the 2012 Venice Biennale, created with Urban Think Tank and Iwan Baan, McGuirk's work has become a touchstone for the architecture world's recent interest in both low-cost housing solutions and in Latin America. This review of Radical Cities by Joshua K Leon was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Finding Radical Alternatives in Slums, Exurbs, and Enclaves."
Justin McGuirk’s Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture should be required reading for anyone looking for ways out of the bleak social inequality we’re stuck in. There were 40 million more slum dwellers worldwide in 2012 than there were in 2010, according to the UN. Private markets clearly can’t provide universal housing in any way approaching efficiency, and governments are often hostile to the poor. The only alternative is collective action at the grassroots level, and I’ve never read more vivid reporting on the subject.
What happens when eight world-renowned architects are given carte blanche to design holiday homes on a dream site in Spain? This is precisely what French developer Christian Bourdais set out to discover with the launch of the Solo House project in 2010, and now, you can find out for yourself. Just two years after the completion of Solo Pezo, by Chilean architect Pezo von Ellrichshausen, the second of twelve houses is now emerging for tours and site visits. Solo OFFICE, by Office Kersten Geers David van Severen, will open its doors to visitors this week, October 9 through 11, as it nears fruition.
As both crowdsourcing and crowdfunding gather momentum in the architecture world, they also gather criticism. The crowdsourcing design website Arcbazar, for example, has recently attracted critics who label it as “the worst thing to happen to architecture since the internet started.” A few months ago, I myself strongly criticized the 17John apartment-hotel in New York for stretching the definition of "crowdfunding" to the point where it lost validity, essentially becoming a meaningless buzzword.
In response to this criticism, I spoke to Rodrigo Nino, the founder of Prodigy Network, the company behind 17 John, who offered to counter my argument. Read on after the break for his take on the benefits of tapping into the 'wisdom of crowds.'
Latrobe City Council is pushing an initiative that would put “wood first.” If implemented, the “Wood Encouragement Policy” would educate architects and industry professionals about the structural and environmental benefits of wood in an effort to promote the local timber industry and use of sustainable building materials. Following the lead of the United States and New Zealand, both of which recently established “wood encouragement” policies, the council hopes that this will set a precedent that can be applied throughout the rest of Australia.
Cristobal Palma from Estudio Palma presents his latest video of Ambient 30 60, UMWELT's pavilion for Yap_Constructo 2014 in Chile. The video aptly captures the spirit of the Young Architects Program (YAP) -- an annual collaboration between the MoMA and MoMA PS1 that takes place in Istanbul, New York, Rome and Santiago.