Recognized as the UK’s highest honor for architecture, the RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture is approved personally by Her Majesty The Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence "either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture.", according to the organization. In 2024, the recognition was awarded for the first time to an African Woman, to the Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic, and curator Lesley Lokko.
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?
Grafton Architects' Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, and Anna Wirz-Justice Receive the 2022 Daylight Award
On the occasion of UNESCO’s International Day of Light, The Daylight Award has announced the 2022 Laureates; Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects for their architecture, and Anna Wirz-Justice for her research. The winners were commended for their continuous exploration and prominent humanistic spirit regarding the celebration of daylight in their respective practices, allowing it to celebrate and enhance the quality of life.
Whether blending in or standing out, embodying transparency or solidity, expressing coarseness or softness, a façade is the medium through which we engage with architecture. It tells a story and can often set the tone for the rest of the interior. But apart from defining a purely visual experience, a building’s envelope must also be practical, durable and have the ability to properly manage natural lighting and ventilation needs. After all, by being the point of contact with the outside, it is responsible for mitigating sounds and providing protection from climatic conditions, such as wind, rain, heat and humidity. Therefore, when designing a facade, it is important to consider a balance between performance and a beautiful aesthetic. Of course, many materials successfully meet these criteria. But when it comes to creating a comforting, light-filled ambiance while ensuring resistance, ease of installation and versatility, the properties of translucent polycarbonate panels seem to be unparalleled.
Last September, the EU launched the New European Bauhaus, an initiative designed to transform the built environment into a more sustainable one with higher social value. The project, shaped through an unprecedented co-design process, is now calling for architects, students, specialists, and citizens to share ideas, examples and challenges to help define the movement's concrete steps.