Mass timber has been hailed as the solution to architecture’s notorious sustainability problem – that buildings account for nearly 40% of global energy use is by now a worn and overcited fact. But timber isn’t the world’s only renewable material, and architects and engineers have begun looking elsewhere for other possible steel and concrete replacements. One such possibility that has recently come to light is engineered or laminated bamboo, a highly sustainable and structurally impressive material. Below, we investigate how laminated bamboo is made, what its primary qualities are, and how it compares to timber.
José Tomás Franco
Human economic activities are naturally dependent on the global ecosystem, and possibilities for economic growth may be limited by the lack of raw materials to supply factory and trade stocks. While for some resources there are still untapped stocks, such as certain metals and minerals, there are others, such as fossil fuels and even water, with serious availability issues in many locations.
As wood is one of the most widely-used materials in the world, architects are accustomed to being able to easily obtain sawn wood at a nearby store. However, many of us know little about its manufacturing process and all the operations that determine its appearance, dimensions, and other important aspects of its performance.
The lumber we use to build is extracted from the trunks of more than 2000 tree species worldwide, each with different densities and humidity levels. In addition to these factors, the way in which the trunk is cut establishes the functionality and final characteristics of each wood section. Let's review the most-used cuts.
Nikos Salingaros: 'Contemporary Public Spaces Are Designed For Lifeless Beings, Without Any Sex Or Sexual Desire'
Within the framework of Espacios Oscuros research project, focused on observing and analyzing the experience of sexual diversity in public spaces of Santiago de Chile, architects María González and José Tomás Franco spoke with Nikos Salingaros, a mathematician and thinker known for his alternative theoretical approach to architecture and urbanism. Salingaros promotes design focused on human needs and aspirations, combining rigorous scientific analysis with a deep intuitive experience.
Our cities are, for the most part, hostile to the sensibilities of their citizens. (...) Almost everything has been aligned, standardized, emptied. So, how to meet different people, and how to expect a mix between strangers?
In this interview, Salingaros not only questions the way in which architects are designing the private and public spaces of our cities, ignoring –perhaps unconsciously– the human being in its diversity, but also suggests the emergence of a series of private community spaces that would be supplying the needs of expression and appropriation of all the inhabitants of the city.
Back in 2008, ArchDaily embarked on a challenging mission: to provide inspiration, knowledge, and tools to the architects tasked with designing cities. In an effort to further align our strategy with these challenges, we recently introduced monthly themes in order to dig deeper into topics we find relevant in today’s architectural discourse. From architects who don't design to reframing climate change as a global issue, we are celebrating our 11th birthday by asking 11 editors and curators to choose ArchDaily's most inspiring articles.
Materials, products, and construction systems are constantly evolving and following new technologies, discoveries, and market trends. The question is: are we, as architects, evolving with them? We have heard about robots working on construction sites, responsive and intelligent materials and the continued rise of 3D printing, but is it all white noise at the moment of starting a new design? More importantly, could these new systems continue to progress without sensitively and effectively taking people's quality of life into account?
How should we use materials—both in their traditional forms and in their future conceptions—so that our projects are making relevant contributions to the way we are inhabiting our planet?
In order to evolve, we have to know how, so it’ s worth beginning a discussion around these issues.
As always, this year’s edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale is brimming with exhibitions and installations—the result of thousands upon thousands of hours of research and work. When arriving at the Arsenale or Giardini, the overwhelming amount of "things to see" are neatly tucked into the national pavilions, or, in the case of the Arsenale, hidden on the sides of the sweeping corridor. In the likely event that you have limited time to enjoy all that FREESPACE has to offer, ArchDaily's editors have selected our favorite works displayed at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition.
Here, presented in no particular order, are some of our top suggestions from across the Biennale sites.
As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage, we present the completed Argentinian Pavilion. Below, the curatorial team describes the exhibition in their own words.
Horizontal Vertigo, Argentinian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2018, delves into the notions of humanity and democratic spirit as proposed by Freespace, by establishing a cross-cutting dialog between geography, place, and architecture.
The exhibition, curated by the architects Javier Mendiondo, Pablo Anzilutti, Francisco Garrido and Federico Cairoli, is an invitation to rethink our territory as a collective construction and discover architecture in its capacity to convey unexpected generosity in every project.
As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage, we present the completed Spanish Pavilion. Below, the curatorial team describes the exhibition in their own words.
Becoming, the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2018, seeks to respond to the general theme of the event through the proposals and research being developed in the different learning environments within the country, placing special emphasis on the architect's new multidisciplinary profile.
The exhibition, curated by the architect Atxu Amann, has occupied most of its budget in restoring the building in which it is located, "tattooing" its interior walls to load them with 143 proposals that are unified through 52 relevant concepts to our discipline today.
This question can be basic and you may know the answer, but it's always good to remember some elementary calculations that help us to streamline the design process.
As we know, a staircase consists basically of a series of steps, which in turn consist of a tread (the horizontal part, where the foot will rest) and a riser (the vertical part). Although it can vary in its design, each step must also have one or more landings, handrails, and a small nosing. The latter protrudes from the tread over the lower step, allowing to increase its size without adding centimeters to the overall dimensions of the staircase.
Check the effective formula developed by French architect François Blondel, which allows you to determine the correct dimensions of a comfortable and efficient staircase according to its use.
Concrete blocks are a prefabricated material mainly used to build walls. Like bricks, the blocks are stacked together and joined with a mortar, usually consisting of cement, sand, and water. The blocks are hollow inside to allow for steel bars and mortar filling.
These blocks come in a variety of dimensions and textures, from traditional smooth surfaces to fluted or rough finishes, as well as special units for corners or for beams with longitudinal reinforcements. The dimensions of these blocks range from the classic 8x8x16 inches (approx 19x19x39 cm) which is meant for structural use, to a size of 8x3.5x39 inches (approx 19x9x39 cm) for partitioning walls. How can we incorporate them creatively into our designs?
Architecture as Experiential Marketing: The Surprisingly Bright Vantablack Olympic Pavilion in PyeongChang
Much has been said about the darkest building in the world, designed by Asif Khan, for Hyundai's Winter Olympic pavilion this year. What’s more surprising about this blackest-of-black pavilion is really how bright it is inside. The imposing facade of Vantablack VBx2 encloses a series of radiant, playful rooms and the entire project is part of a joint effort by Hyundai and Asif Khan to use architecture and design principles to bring delight to Olympic visitors in Pyeongchang this year.
After years of publishing projects and articles related to bamboo, we are strongly aware of its qualities as a construction material. But is it really an option that you would use into your next project? Despite widespread appreciation, bamboo seems to be a material that is rarely considered for use in everyday designs.
The team of Manasaram Architects and CGBMT asked themselves the same question. Together they are seeking to understand the current perceptions of bamboo and to discover its potential as a commonly-used material in the construction sector. To help in this pursuit, they have shared a survey with us which seeks to evaluate how often architects and building professionals use bamboo, the problems they face, and how informed they are about the material.
We would like to invite our readers to spare 10 minutes of their time to help us expand knowledge about the use of bamboo using the survey below. The results will be shared on ArchDaily once the study is complete.
As a construction material, bamboo is resistant, versatile, grows rapidly and is immensely friendly with its own ecosystem and its agroforestry environment. In addition, it presents a large number of species that deliver different diameters and heights. But are there also variations in its color?
We are truly impressed with the work of architects, builders, and artisans who use 'blond bamboo,' which moves between yellow and brown tones. These species are abundant and easy to harvest, and therefore are more common and accessible. However, there are a number of species that have a darker coloration and could revolutionize bamboo architecture in the future. Here we present black bamboo.