Researchers point out that "proto-greenhouses" arose to fulfill the desire of the Roman Emperor Tiberius (42 BC to 37 AD) to eat cucumbers every day of the year. Since it was impossible to grow the vegetable on the island of Capri in winter, his gardeners developed beds mounted on wheels that they would move into the sun when possible, while on winter days they would place them under translucent covers made of Selenite (a type of gypsum with a glassy appearance). But the production of large-scale greenhouses only became possible after the Industrial Revolution with the availability of mass-produced glass sheets. Since then, they have been used to grow food and flowers, forming a microclimate suitable for plant species even in places with severe climates. But in some cases, these artificial growing conditions can also form interesting living spaces. The recent Lacaton & Vassal awards rekindled this interest. How is it possible to create greenhouses that can be good for both humans and plants?
According to the UN, more than 7000 extreme weather events have been recorded since 2000. Just this year, wildfires raged across Australia and the west coast of the U.S.; Siberia charted record high temperatures, reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit before Dallas or Houston; and globally, this September was the world’s hottest September on record. As the effects of the climate crisis manifest in these increasingly dire ways, it is the prerogative of the building industry – currently responsible for 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions – to do its part by committing to genuine and sweeping change in its approach to sustainability.
One of the most challenging aspects of this change will be to meet mounting cooling demands in an eco-friendly way. Cooling is innately more difficult than heating: any form of energy can become heat, and our bodies and machines naturally generate heat even in the absence of active heating systems. Cooling does not benefit equally from spontaneous generation, making it often more difficult, more costly, or less efficient to implement. Global warming and its very tangible heating effects only exacerbate this reality, intensifying an already accelerating demand for artificial cooling systems. As it stands, many of these systems require large amounts of electricity and rely heavily on fossil fuels to function. The buildings sector must find ways to meet mounting demand for cooling that simultaneously elides these unsustainable effects.
The rise of co-living has begun to radically shape interior design. In residential projects and commercial developments, co-living is tied to the emergence of the Kitchenless Home idea. Began by Spanish architect Anna Puigjaner, this idea is tied to a range of innovations in interior design and co-living that have been built over the last five years. In turn, these new interiors began to tell a story of housing and spatial experience rooted in modern life.
Last week, the Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI) released Designing Streets for Kids to set a new global baseline for designing urban streets. Designing Streets for Kids builds upon the approach of putting people first, with a focus on the specific needs of babies, children, and their caregivers as pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users in urban streets around the world.
Islands are an essential part of any larger kitchen layout, increasing counter space, storage space, and eating space as well as offering a visual focal point for the kitchen area. Serving a variety of functions, they can be designed in a variety of different ways, with some incorporating stools or chairs, sinks, drawers, or even dishwashers and microwaves. To determine which elements to include and how to arrange them, designers must determine the main purpose or focus of the island. Will it primarily serve as a breakfast bar, a space to entertain guests, an extension of the kitchen, or as something else? And with this function in mind, how should it enhance the kitchen workflow vis-à-vis the rest of the area? These considerations, combined with basic accessibility requirements, necessitate that the design of the island be carefully thought out. Below, we enumerate some of the essential factors of kitchen island design.
Momoyo Kaijima and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto of Atelier Bow-Wow and Elizabeth Diller are this year’s Architecture laureates of the Wolf Prize, an annual award highlighting scientists and artists for “their achievements in the interest of mankind”. One of Israel’s most prestigious international awards, the prize’s art categories include painting and sculpting, music and architecture, accompanied by the scientific categories of medicine, agriculture, mathematics, chemistry and physics. The jury commended the three architects’ notable work at the confluence of research, pedagogy and practice, influential for advancing the practice of architecture.
Agrotopia Research Center for Urban Food Production / van Bergen Kolpa architects + META architectuurbureau
The concept of upcycling refers to taking an item that would be considered waste and improving it in order to make it useful again, adding value and new functionality to it. This is a common word in several industries, such as fashion and furniture. In civil construction, this concept can also be incorporated, making the waste generated by the industry itself recirculate or even bringing what would be discarded from other industries to be processed and incorporated into constructions. This is the case of transforming agricultural waste into building materials, bringing a new use to discards, reducing the use of raw materials and creating products with excellent characteristics.
The European Commission and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation have announced the 40 shortlisted works that will compete for the 2022 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award. The shortlist featured projects built across 18 different European countries, with Spain, Austria, and France topping the list with 5 entries each. The winners will be announced in April 2022 and the Award ceremony will take place in May 2022.