Despite a year-long postponement and strict pandemic regulations, the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia has finally come to an end with over 300,000 visitors, exceeding the previous edition. Titled "How Will We Live Together", the 2021 edition of the event featured 112 participants and 60 national participations hailing from 46 countries, displayed across the Giardini, Arsenale, and the streets of Venice from May 22nd to November 21st, 2021. UAE's Wetland by curators Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto took home the Golden Lion for Best National Participation, for presenting an innovative contextual alternative to cement, one of the key emitters of the world's carbon dioxide.
Before fossil-fuel powered air-conditioning became widely available, people living in harsh climates had nothing but natural means to ventilate their spaces and control the interior temperature. To do so, they took into account several external factors such as their location, orientation with respect to the sun and wind, their area's climate conditions, and local materials. In this article, we explore how ancient civilizations in Western Asia and North Africa have used windcatchers to adapt to the region's harsh climate and provide passive cooling solutions that are still being used in contemporary architecture, proving that local approaches to climate adaptability are fundamental to the development of today's built environment.
At COP26 Architects Plan on Urging Decision Makers to Establish Tangible Action Against Climate Change
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) debuted yesterday in Glasgow, bringing together more than 190 world leaders, with the aim of accelerating action to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement and UN's Convention on Climate Change. Leading architecture organizations and figures are attending the two-week summit to show the AEC's industry's commitment to reduce carbon emissions and urge decision-makers to implement clear targets to achieve global climate goals.
The Royal Institute of British Architects has announced the 54 winners of the 2021 RIBA National Awards, highlighting the UK's best new architecture. Ranging from single homes and housing schemes to educational facilities, cultural buildings, sports venues and medical centres, this year's projects illustrate a growing preoccupation with restoration and adaptive reuse, as well as a significant investment in education and culture. Inaugurated in 1966, the awards provide insight into UK's architectural environment and the economic trends shaping the AEC industry.
Researchers credit the Hanging Gardens of Babylon as the first examples of green roofs. Although there is no proof of its exact location and very little literature on the structure, the most accepted theory is that King Nebuchadnezzar II built a series of elevated, ascending terraces with varied species as a gift to his wife, who missed the forests and mountains of Persia, their local land. According to Wolf Schneider  the gardens were supported by brick vaults, and under them, there were shaded halls cooled by artificial irrigation of the gardens, with a much milder temperature than the outside, in the plains of Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). Since then, examples of green roofs have appeared all over the world, from Rome to Scandinavia, in the most diverse climates and types.
Nevertheless, inserting plants on roofs is still viewed with suspicion by many, as they are thought to be costly and difficult to maintain. Others, however, argue that the high implementation costs are quickly offset with savings in air conditioning and especially that occupying the building's fifth façade with vegetation is, above all, a rational solution. In any case, the question remains as to how green roofs can really help with climate change.
After a year of absence in light of the pandemic, Milan Design Week, one of the most anticipated design events to take place in Italy, will finally open its doors to visitors. From the 5th to the 10th of September, more than 350,000 architects, designers, artists, and craftsmen from all around the world will have the chance to explore new design innovations and exchange ideas about the interior design, furniture, and lighting. During the week-long event, Salone del Mobile, the awaited furniture and interior design event of the year, will be hosting local and international exhibitors at the Fiera Milano, Rho, along with interventions by world-renowned architects across the city.
ArchDaily will be attending the Salone del Mobile so stay tuned for exclusive interviews and collaborations, and read on to discover what to expect during the week-long exhibition and how architects are taking part of the event.
Beyond "experience tourism" and light entertainment, temporary architecture is a fertile ground for testing ideas, examining places, popularizing new concepts and technologies. Taking a wide array of forms, from disaster relief projects and utilitarian structures to design experiments, architectural statements and playful installations, transient structures showcase alternative visions for the built environment, opening up new possibilities and questioning established norms. As temporary architecture now seems at odds with sustainability imperatives, the following discusses the value of temporary architecture as a vehicle of experimentation, advancing design and engaging communities.
In May, aec+tech hosted an event on Clubhouse discussing how architects are using generative design in architecture firms today and towards the future. Five guest speakers from reputable architecture and tech start-ups —Zaha Hadid Architects, BIG, Outer Labs, 7fold, and RK Architects— joined the session to share their experiences and insights.
Invited to participate in the 17th International Venice Architecture Biennale, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) exhibits Life Beyond Earth, a vision for a Moon Village. Developed together with the European Space Agency (ESA), the installation presents a proposal for a sustainable ecosystem that would support human presence on the Moon, exploring the opportunity of expanding the scope of architecture. The project reaffirms the importance of space exploration while also highlighting its potential to advance knowledge that would help address issues on Earth.
7 National Pavilions at the 2021 Venice Biennale that Explore Migration and its Impact on Built Environments
Several recurring qualities and topics were explored at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, answering curator Hashim Sarkis' question of "How Will We Live Together". Sarkis called upon architects “to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together”, spaces that are unbound by spatial or social contracts, and are flexible enough to welcome individuals and make them find a sense of belonging in an entirely different habitat. Unlike decades ago, migration today is no longer considered as relocating from rural areas to cities, where people needed to be in proximity to their workplaces. Technological advancements, new work modules, and most notably the pandemic altered the way people perceive spaces, making it possible to complete at least 85% of day-to-day responsibilities from practically anywhere in the world. What we have learned from previous cases, and what we are observing now, is that the built environment needs to be flexible.
Highlighting an untapped spatial resource, MVRDV has recently produced a catalogue of 130 innovative ideas to make use of Rotterdam's empty flat roofs, showcasing a potential new phase in the city's development. Commissioned by the City of Rotterdam and developed together with Rotterdam Rooftop Days, the Rooftop Catalogueillustrates how reprogramming rooftops can help with issues such as land scarcity and climate change while also addressing the practical side of repurposing these spaces in terms of construction options and suitable sites.