Mexico's Valle de Bravo region, to the southeast of Mexico City, is characterized by the Presa Miguel Alemán lake, created in 1947 as a reservoir for Mexico City and Toluca's water supply. Thanks to its proximity to the capital, Valle de Bravo is a popular weekend destination for residents of surrounding cities. This in turn has sparked the interest of various architects, who have aimed to create projects that enhance visitors' experience such as offering an optimal view of the lake, or an immersive experience in the surrounding forest.
Cooking shows have never been more popular around the world than they are now. Whether from recipes, reality shows, or documentaries, writer Michael Pollan points out that it is not uncommon to spend more time watching than preparing our own food. This is a very curious phenomenon, as we can only imagine the tastes and smells on the other side of the screen, which the presenters often like to remind us. At the same time, when we watch something about the Middle Ages, polluted rivers, or nuclear disasters, we are relieved that there is no technology to transmit smells across the screen. In fact, when dealing with odors (more specifically the bad ones), we know how unpleasant it is to be in a space that doesn't smell good. When dealing with buildings, what are the main sources of bad smells and how can this affect our health and well-being?
The architecture of golf is directly tied to the landscape. As one of the few sports with no standardized playing area, its clubhouses and structures are usually unique to each course. Prioritizing views and access, golf architecture tends to be exclusive, especially when many courses are not open to the public. Clubhouses make room for players and spectators to gather and socialize while they overlook the course from multiple angles.
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.
Timber trusses are wooden structural frameworks used to support roofs or other heavy structures. Fabricated from a series of triangles linked by a ridge beam and purlins, wooden trusses are structurally advantageous due to their high strength-to-weight ratios and corresponding ability to support long spans. However, these structural components can also be used for aesthetic ends, and when left exposed, can complexify, beautify, and open an interior space.
Architects are known for returning from travel with more photos of buildings than people and for having an esoteric vocabulary of their own. Of course, these are clichés that are not always true. But something that unites most designers is the tendency to pay attention to each detail that makes up a project, be it the material that covers the facade, the junction between different floors, how the doors open, the type of window frame, how the forms were put together for concreting, and more. But a detail that often goes unnoticed – and that makes a huge difference in interior design – is baseboards.
The use of brick plays a very important role in the architectural history of the United Kingdom. Construction techniques that involve brick and stone have been in constant progress. In fact, brick production improved over time, making the material the most popular one in the construction industry. From the 18th century onwards, brickwork was predominantly used in domestic and industrial architecture, but later on, it was introduced to the structure of warehouses and factories, as well as other various forms of infrastructure.
While many of these buildings are still operating to this day, it comes as no surprise. Refurbishment and reuse are highly recommended techniques, and in many cases, the only methods to maintain densely populated European cities. Therefore, the challenge lays in reusing these buildings and recycling the materials available, always trying to retain as much of the original structure as possible.
Humans have used mirrors since as early as 600 BCE, employing highly polished obsidian as a basic reflective surface. Over time, people began to use small pieces of gold, silver, and aluminum in a similar manner, both for their reflective properties and for decoration. By the 1st century CE, people had started using glass to make mirrors, but it was only during the European Renaissance that Venetian manufacturers began making mirrors by applying metallic backings to glass sheets, remaining the most common general method of mirror manufacturing today. Since then, mirrors have continued to play both a decorative and functional role in architecture, serving a clean, modern aesthetic despite its ancient origins. Below, we investigate how mirrors are made, provide a brief history of mirrors in architecture, and offer several tips for architects looking to use mirrors in their designs.
Peter Zumthor, in one of his most emblematic works, gives concrete an almost sacred dimension. The work in question is the small Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, located in a small village in Germany, a construction that is both robust and sensitive. Built with white cement, which was mixed with stones and sand from the region, the chapel is composed of 24 layers of concrete that were poured day after day by local labor, and compressed in an unusual way. The building's flat and smooth exterior contrasts with its interior, which was initially made of inclined wooden logs forming a triangular void. To remove these internal forms, the logs were set on fire in a controlled process, reducing them to ash and creating a carbonized interior that varied between black and gray and retained the texture of the negatives of the logs. The result is a masterpiece of architecture, a space for reflection and transformation, in which the same material appears in diametrically opposing ways.
For a small child, understanding the concept of time and its passage is very difficult. As a result, children are often impatient when expecting something or confused when trying to remember something from the past. They live in the present, and learn the notion of time only little by little. But accepting the passage of time, and the reality of aging, is something that plagues us even as adults. The lucrative cosmetic and plastic surgery industries show how humanity seeks to control or deny the passage of time, an urge that has proved to be relentless.