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ArchDaily Topic 2022 What is Good Architecture?: The Latest Architecture and News

Demolished and Rebuilt: The Identity of Architectural Replicas

The rights to reconstruct Kisho Kurokawa's iconic Nakagin Capsule Tower are currently sold on one of the largest NFT sites. While the tower’s demolition has begun earlier this year, the auction sells the right to rebuild the structure, in both the metaverse and in real space. The idea of recreating the Metabolic building in a virtual space seems natural. It could allow a larger community to explore an iconic piece of architecture and encourage them to experiment with it, an initiative in line with Metabolist ideals. On the other hand, the idea of reconstructing a demolished historical building in the physical world raises a different set of conflicting emotions. Architectural replicas are not the norm, but their existence raises questions regarding the identity and authenticity of works of architecture.

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What Materials Can Promote Health in Interior Architecture?

Recent statistics suggest that if someone lives until they are 80, around 72 of those years will be spent inside buildings. This makes sense if we bear in mind that, when not at home, humans are working, learning or engaging in fun activities mostly in enclosed, built settings. Contemplating current events, however, this number is expected to grow. In an increasingly chaotic and uncertain world, marked by the ongoing effects of climate change and the global pandemic, the desire to stay indoors in a protected, controlled and peaceful environment is stronger than ever. Architects face an important challenge: to create comfortable, productive and healthy interiors with well-regulated parameters, considering factors like indoor air quality, daylighting and biophilic features from the initial stages of design. Of course, this involves choosing materials sensitively and accordingly, whether it be by avoiding certain health-harming components or by integrating non-toxic products that soothe and promote wellness.

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What is a Good Interior Design?

The world's recent shift towards prioritizing wellness has influenced people to seek healthier lifestyles by understanding the body and the mind collectively. External factors such as the geographic location, the environment, the community, financial status, and the relationships with friends and family have all shown to have considerable impacts on an individual's health. However, it became evident that ensuring physical and mental health was not limited to having access to medical facilities and professional treatments, but was also determined by several factors related to the quality of the built environment. 

Architects have a choice to design better and consequently, help people make better choices. So what is considered a good interior design, and what are the factors that make any interior space a good one? In this interior focus, we will explore this "good" side of design, looking at how architects ensured the needs of users by acknowledging accessibility, demographic diversity, economy, and the environment, regardless of aesthetic.

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The ArchDaily Guide to Good Architecture

Dear community,

As your trusted companion along the journey of constant learning and inspiration, we are very excited to share a new format by announcing our first book ever: The ArchDaily Guide to Good Architecture.

In partnership with renowned international publisher gestalten, we have taken a pause to look back on the more than 40,000 projects curated over the past 15 years, to distill their contributions and answer the bold question of what is good architecture. The sheer scale of ArchDaily is a reflection of how important architecture is today, as the deepening complexity of our world places increasing pressure and demands upon our built environment. To deal with issues such as the climate crisis, energy scarcity, population density, social inequality, housing shortages, fast-moving urbanization, diminished local identity, and a lack of diversity, architecture needs to open itself.

To answer this challenging question the book spotlights the most innovative built environments of our age—those paving the way for a better, more sustainable future. Centered around ArchDaily’s 10 principles of good architecture developed by our team, the book showcases a rich variety of projects—both built and planned—from a sunken restaurant with subterranean views to a Mediterranean cave transformed into a remarkable residence. Reflecting a global community of world-shapers, it celebrates the most visionary architects, and introduces bold new talent. It explores the key topics and trends redefining the built environment, marking the forefront of architectural thought and practice today, with an eye on tomorrow.

What is Good Architecture?

Exploring materiality, contextuality, and approach, our editors developed thought-provoking articles seeking to question and describe some of the aspects that make any Architecture, a good one.

Discover in this piece a selection of editorial writings that aim to answer this interrogation, grouped under the themes of cities, materials, history, context, and Interior Spaces. Moreover, find at the end an excerpt from the ArchDaily book.

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Good Architecture is Considerate

This text was originally published in The ArchDaily Guide to Good Architecture, our first-ever book currently available for purchase.

Besides denoting a show of careful thought, in architectural terms, the word ‘considerate' also suggests an emotional and perhaps even empathetic approach. And why shouldn't it? 

Good architecture can and should be considerate—in all the varied ways the word embodies. While it could start off with the motivation to do good and require an initial moral approach, this sensibility, combined with a meticulous knowledge of individual/communal needs and transparent communication, generates a well-adapted, and accessible built environment that can promote growth. 

Aging at Home: Preparing Architecture for an Elderly Population

Aging means learning to live with dependence - physical, social, or spatial - and in this long process, which cannot even be measured in years, it is increasingly understood that aging is closely related to genetics, lifestyle, location, and socioeconomic group. Therefore, this very diverse process varies according to each individual, to different interests as well as abilities and preferences in the way of life.

Poetics of Space and Mental Health: How Architecture Can Help Prevent Suicides

According to the latest survey carried out by the World Health Organization - WHO, in 2019 there were more than 700,000 suicides worldwide. In Brazil, records approach 14,000 cases per year, that is, on average 38 people commit suicide per day. In this context, “Yellow September” was created in Brazil, the largest anti-stigma campaign in the world that encourages everyone to actively act in the awareness and prevention of suicide, a topic that is still seen as taboo.

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Reading Architecture as a Book

The standards for classifying good or terrible architecture are usefulness and beauty, or what we commonly refer to as practicality and aesthetics. However, practicality might quickly direct us toward functionalism, which is the only viable option, or toward the design of sculptural structures. The architect Le Corbusier once stated, "If you create a house with stone, wood, and concrete, that's just a building; if you touch my heart, that's architecture." However, perhaps the readability of architecture might serve as a criterion for good architecture: Reading architecture as a book with complete words and sentences that stand up to careful consideration.

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Classics and Good Architecture: Modern Housing on the American Continent 1930-1960

Much of the production of modern architecture on the American continent was based on the model of European architects who, with their works, projected the fundamental premises and ideas for modern living. These pillars of architecture were transferred and consequently adapted to the American territory, introducing, at the same time, their own characteristics according to the territorial, socio-cultural and economic context. 

We understand that good architecture is that which serves as a model for solving problems inherent to the discipline of architecture in general. This is why certain references that we consider today as "classics" are examples of good architectural practices that have been appropriated by other architects, taking the pertinent and necessary elements to achieve a result in accordance with the particular context. 

The Use of Indigenous and Locally Sourced Materials in Philippines Architecture

The Philippines' history and cultural background are continually reflected in the architectural landscape throughout the country, with its structures and dwellings harboring a handful of influences from the nations that once purveyed the island.

When we talk about the topic of Filipino architecture and dwellings, more often than not, we may think of the first known Filipino home: Bahay Kubo. The Bahay Kubo is a small hut comprising nipa, bamboo, and other indigenous materials. It is often times that many citizens still choose to adopt this style of habitation, however, over time, the concept of the nipa hut has evolved into a more modern structure.

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The Fight Against Urban Sprawl and the Principles of New Urbanism

How we plan our cities, suburbs, and rural communities is a constantly evolving set of goals essential for creating sustainable cities. Not only do we need to consider what lies within these areas, but we also need to effectively design the boundaries between each, where urban meets suburban, and where suburban meets the small town. In recent years, urbanists have paid close attention to urban sprawl, or what sometimes happens when towns rapidly grow outwardly from city centers. What happens when cities seem to “sprawl” out of control, and are the design principals behind New Urbanism able to turn urban sprawl into equitable communities?

Repurposing Existing Buildings into Residential Projects by Innovating with Materials

Considering the time, energy, and environmental impact of a construction process, architecture must explore different methodologies that work with the existing built environment. For example: how to give life to a forgotten building? Adaptive reuse gives new opportunities to abandoned buildings, following the idea that good architecture must be durable, innovative and recyclable.

Architects should not design just for the present, but should also think of how to adapt buildings for the future. In view of the world’s current situation regarding the climate crisis and available natural resources, adaptive reuse explores strategies for sustainability and design innovation, working to reduce energy consumption, minimal carbon impact and positive social impact.

Learnings from Collective Housing in India

In almost every Indian language, a colloquial term for “family” - ghar wale in Hindi, for example - literally translates to “the ones in (my) house”. Traditionally, Indian homes would shelter generations of a family together under one roof, forming close-knit neighborhoods of relatives and friends. The residential architecture was therefore influenced by the needs of the joint family system. Spaces for social interaction are pivotal in collective housing, apart from structures that adapt to the changing needs of each family. The nuanced relationship between culture, traditions, and architecture beautifully manifests in the spatial syntax of Indian housing. 

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Best Practices for Materials and Constructive Techniques

When developing a project, an architect needs to deal with numerous decisions: Does the building correspond with the client's requirements? Can the contractors build it without problems? Are the costs what were initially expected? Does the project have a good relationship with its surroundings? How will it age? To figure all of this out, the professional must take into account several issues that will both influence each other and directly affect the final product. Among these, the chosen materials and constructive techniques play an essential role, as these elements are what give shape to the designer's vision and can influence factors such as the accessibility or the environmental impact of a building.

However, being well-versed in all the options, advantages and disadvantages of each decision is a herculean task that demands resources, research and time - factors that are usually scarce in our profession. Under the motto “What is good architecture”, we have compiled a series of articles that exemplify best practices in the use of constructive materials and techniques, seeking to cover as much ground as possible for all types of questions:

Reading Between the Skylines

Cities have been, and will always be multi-faceted, elastic sites. They are settlements in continuous evolution, molded by proximity to natural resources, by migrating populations, and by capital. Despite the diversity in the urban character of disparate cities, it has been said that cities look alike now more than ever before, a uniformity that means a glass-and-steel tower in Singapore would not look out of place in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex.

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Is Good Architecture Synonymous with Beauty?

Architecture is not simply building. Over 2,000 years ago, Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio defined two base realities in building: “Firmness” (Safety) and “Commodity” (Use) and then offered what turns building into architecture: “Delight” (Beauty).

“Firmness” has been recoined in this century as “Resilience”. After being unscathed in five hurricanes over thirty years, does this building have “Delight” beyond its “Firmness”? The property of “Commodity” is found in any design’s usefulness and fit: is this archive, in constant use, have “Delight” beyond its “Commodity”?

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