Architecture may have its roots in sheltering humans from the elements, but that is not to say that architecture is for humans alone. Around the world, there are numerous examples of buildings and shelters designed by architects for other species. Some of these can be whimsical, such as the Dogchitecture exhibit by 10 Mexican architecture firms back in 2013, or the series of BowWow Haus kennels designed by over 80 architects back in 2017, including Zaha Hadid Architects. But others are designed for a more direct impact.
When talking about energy efficiency in buildings, it is inevitable to mention thermal insulation. We rarely see it in a finished building and, even in the technical drawings, the insulating layer appears as a thin hatch. But this is an element that is of vital importance, as it acts as a barrier to the flow of heat, hindering the exchange of energy between the interior and the exterior, reducing the amount of heat that escapes in winter and the thermal energy that enters in the summer. In a building with good thermal insulation, there is less need for heating to keep the house at a pleasant temperature, also reducing its carbon footprint. Currently, there are many countries that require a minimum level of thermal insulation for buildings, with increasingly strict parameters. But how should this issue be dealt with in the near future, with the worrying climate crisis forecast?
We are starting to say goodbye to the year and after a review of all the contents developed, we find ourselves with a wide range of architectural advice that involves both interior and exterior spaces. Addressing issues from the domestic sphere to more technical and decisive questions, these are intended to serve as a guide and/or suggestions, rescuing those necessary considerations to take into account when planning our spaces, regardless of the use or the future they contemplate.
People spend hours at work every day. Offices still fail to recognise the difference lighting can make to their workspaces. Lighting is an important matter when talking about visual comfort and productivity. Optimized lighting can help to improve performance and there are determined practice guidelines on which lighting systems work best for your work environment.
Just before the global lockdowns began in response to the spread of the widely discussed COVID-19, we met with Saint Gobain experts at their new headquarters in Paris to discuss an extensive investigation conducted in 2019, with the aim of understanding the transformations that architecture and construction have experienced in recent years. After an interesting exchange of ideas, we chose the most relevant topics to be analyzed in depth by our team of editors, resulting in a series of articles that combined the trends identified with the unexpected events that occurred during 2020, connecting them directly to architectural design.
Now, entering an uncertain but promising 2021, we took the time to stop and reread these articles carefully. How many of these trends are still valid and how much have they evolved? What new trends are likely to develop in the coming years?