San Francisco is a city defined by its relationship to housing. Since the 90s it has faced an affordable housing shortage, and now, has some of the highest rents of any major US city. As planners and policy makers work to move beyond the city's past and find new paths forward, architects and designers are testing out diverse housing models. From dense residential towers to multi-unit developments, modern housing aims to strike a balance between economy and urbanity.
Light is a key feature in architecture. Centuries ago, the sun and fire were the only sources of illumination, but in today's technology-driven world, artificial lighting and cutting-edge optical technologies have found ways to mimic the qualities of natural light, making it possible to have a naturally-lit-looking space within four walls. LED technologies have even made it possible to embed lighting in furniture, interior surfaces, and facades, altering with their intensities and hues to make light a main feature in the architecture's storytelling.
If used effectively, lighting can become a lot more than just an illuminator; it becomes a mood setter, a symbol to a specific emotion the architect is trying to convey. For instance, indirect lighting becomes a floater, levitating the walls from the ground and making the space seem lighter in weight, whereas orange light manipulates the space's temperature, creating the illusion that the users are walking into an intense, overheated room.
Few places have embraced sustainable design practices like California. Experiencing dramatic droughts, wildfires and environmental issues, the state has started to create new policies and initiatives to promote environmentally-conscious design solutions. From eco-districts and water management strategies to net-zero building projects, the Golden State is making strides to reshape its future. Forming long-term visions and procedures through the lens of physical resource consumption, California is working to better integrate its economic development plans with sustainable building methods.
Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks with American architect Rick Joy about his early inclinations towards architecture, what kind of architecture he likes to visit, and about designing his buildings as instruments.
Francis D. K. Ching  characterizes a chimney as an “incombustible vertical structure, which contains a duct through which smoke and gases from a fire or furnace are pushed outwards and through which an air current is created.” While its pipes can be hidden in walls or other structures, the chimney top usually remains prominent in order to transfer dangerous gases from the inside out without dirtying the interior or harming the health of the occupants. Being vertical elements, there are chimneys that become major landmarks in the urban landscape, especially in industrial projects. At the time of drawing, deciding on the “weight” that the chimney will have in a project is essential. At Casa Milá, for example, Gaudí crowns the building in sinuous and curvy sculptural chimneys. In other cases, the solemnity of the building aesthetic is mirrored in its chimney, whereas in others, the architects render the chimney as hidden as possible. Recently, too, many chimneys have been refurbished for new uses or to accommodate new cleaner technologies. Whether it takes a prominent role or is hidden from view, see below some chimney design tips and possibilities of use.
The American Institute of Architects California (AIA CA) has announced the recipients of the 2020 Residential Design Awards. With nearly 100 projects submitted, the jury recognized ten projects with honor, merit and leading edge awards. As AIA California states, the jury took many aspects into consideration, looking for "exceptional design" that represents all that California architecture has to offer.
Climate is one of the key factors to take into consideration when designing a space. Of course, this can present a challenge, especially when dealing with extreme climates and the need for insulating materials that are able to adapt to a wide range of conditions. Luckily, for architects operating in Mexico, the country's privileged climate facilitates the creation of microclimates and spaces that blur the line between interior and exterior.