Perhaps the most surprising thing about bamboo - besides being an entirely natural, sustainable material with the tensile strength of steel that can grow up to 900 millimeters (3 feet) in just 24 hours - is that it's not more widely recognized as a fantastic construction material. Like many traditional building materials, bamboo no longer has the architectural currency that it once did across Asia and the pacific, but the efforts of Elora Hardy may help put it back into the vernacular. Heading up Ibuku, a design firm that uses bamboo almost exclusively, Hardy's recent TED Talk is an excellent run through of bamboo's graces and virtues in construction, showing off sinuous private homes and handbuilt school buildings.
With our annual Building of the Year Awards, over 30,000 readers narrowed down over 3,000 projects, selecting just 14 as the best examples of architecture that ArchDaily has published in the past year. The results have been celebrated and widely shared, of course, usually in the form of images of each project. But what is often forgotten in this flurry of image sharing is that every one of these 14 projects has a backstory of significance which adds to our understanding of their architectural quality.
Some of these projects are intelligent responses to pressing social issues, others are twists on a well-established typology. Others still are simply supreme examples of architectural dexterity. In order that we don't forget the tremendous amount of effort that goes into creating each of these architectural masterpieces, continue reading after the break for the 14 stories that defined this year's Building of the Year Awards.
Architects are notorious for working long, consecutive hours. So, in an attempt to remind you to take a break, we've compiled the top 12 most re-pinned images of inviting, well-designed outdoor spaces from our Pinterest. Take a look, after the break, then step away from the screen and go outside for some much needed fresh air.
On August 18 Al Jazeera will launch “Rebel Architecture,” a new series featuring architects who use design as a form of resistance and activism. By designing for the majority rather than the elite, the architects in “Rebel Architecture” are tackling the world’s urban, environmental and social problems. Through six, half-hour documentaries the series will highlight architects working in Vietnam, Nigeria, Spain, Pakistan, the Occupied West Bank and Brazil.
“In contemporary architecture, people are always concerned with ‘what a beautiful building’; or ‘what a pretty project’ – architecture should be about something more,” said Spanish architect Santi Cirugeda, who will be featured in the series’ first episode. Cirugeda works in Seville reclaiming abandoned urban spaces for the public, despite the fact that self-building is illegal in Spain.
Vietnamese Practice Vo Trong Nghia Architects has taken home the top honor at the Architects Regional Council Asia (ARCASIA) 2014 awards. The Dailai Bamboo Complex, consisting of the 2009 Bamboo Wing and the 2012 Dailai Conference Hall, was selected out of 276 entries to win Building of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious prizes in Asian architecture.
More on the Dailai Bamboo Complex after the break
The winners of the 2014 AR House Awards have been announced, celebrating excellence and innovation in the design of a one-off house. This year, the jury consisted of AR Editor Catherine Slessor, Ben van Berkel (UNStudio), Yvonne Farrell (Grafton Architects), William Mann (Witherford Watson Mann Architects) and Abraham Thomas (Director, Sir John Soane's Museum).
Read on after the break for the full list of winners