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Articles: The Latest Architecture and News

Are We Air Conditioning our Planet to Death?

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

This summer the federal government released an astonishing statistic: 87% of American homes are now equipped with air conditioning. Since the world is getting undeniably warmer, I suppose this isn’t all that surprising, but keep in mind that robust number of mechanically cooled homes include residences in some fairly temperate climates. So my question is a simple one: When did air conditioning in the U.S. became a requirement, rather than an add-on? 

SAGA Space Architects Design Simulated Mars Habitat in Israeli Desert

In the Negev Desert of Israel, SAGA Space Architects are collaborating with D-MARS to build a Mars Lab Habitat that will simulate the conditions of living in a confined space on the hazardous surface of the red planet. The laboratory structure they’ve designed is an addition to D-MARS' existing Mars simulation habitat and will be part of a larger experiment. This habitat will serve as a prototype for a longer mission scheduled for 2020.

Exterior. Image © Edi Cliff Ent Interior. Image © Edi Cliff Ent Structure. Image © Edi Cliff Ent Algae ceiling. Image © Edi Cliff Ent + 21

Ian McHarg's Legacy Spurs "Design With Nature Now" Initiative 50 Years Later

Fifty years have passed since the publication of influential landscape architect Ian McHarg’s book, Design With Nature in 1969. Throughout the United States, an environmental movement was taking place, into the center of which McHarg’s book was thrust. The 1970s and ‘80s were a time of much landmark legislation surrounding ecological concerns, and McHarg argued that landscape architecture alone was able to integrate all the disparate fields involved.

Urban Agency Designs a "Student Castle" in Ireland

In their new student housing project, Walshe's Yard, Urban Agency has placed incredible importance on blending the building into its context while also providing a high quality of living for students. Located in Carlow, Ireland, the building is situated on the threshold between the looser urban periphery and the denser historic center of the town. The 3800 square meter project will include 125 bedspaces arranged into 32 “student houses” of either 3, 6, or 8 students, plus graduate studios on the top floor.

© Urban Agency © Urban Agency © Urban Agency © Urban Agency + 16

Explore Boullée's Unrealized World Through Film "Lux in Tenebris"

Etienne-Louis Boullée, though regarded as one of the most visionary and influential architects in French neoclassicism, saw none of his most extraordinary designs come to life. Throughout the late 1700s Boullée taught, theorized, and practiced architecture in a characteristic style consisting of geometric forms on an enormous scale, an excision of unnecessary ornamentation, and repetition of columns and other similar elements.

SCALA Architecture Playing Cards Highlight a Collection of Contemporary Architecture

Now is your chance to build a house of cards from cards of houses with the Kickstarter campaign for the updated second edition of SCALA Architecture Playing Cards. "Arquitectura a Contrapelo", an architecture and design team based in Seville, Spain, are hoping to release a sequel to their previous successful deck of architecture-themed cards. The new edition keeps the collection current with additions of the most relevant contemporary architecture, as well as providing some upgrades and improvements from the previous deck.

Saint-Gobain Announces Winners of International Student Design Competition

Competing in this year’s 15th annual Multi Comfort Student Contest, Saint-Gobain had over 2,200 students from 199 universities worldwide. The final was narrowed down to 60 competing teams from 34 countries, all of whom traveled to Milan to present their designs to an international panel of experts from the Municipality of Milan. This year’s brief was to design a project to rehabilitate and reconnect the urban area around Crescenzago subway station in Milan in line with the city’s #milano2030 development plan. The competition also focuses on Saint-Gobain’s concept of Multi Comfort: thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort, as well as good indoor air quality.

"Urban Villa" - Exterior view. Image Courtesy of Saint-Gobain "Induction" - Exterior view. Image Courtesy of Saint-Gobain "Diversity in Regularity" - 3D Model. Image Courtesy of Saint-Gobain "Social Canopy" - Exterior view. Image Courtesy of Saint-Gobain + 21

Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Helps Visualize Design Concepts

Drawing as an architectural tool serves not only as a means of communication, but through drawing we can also gain a deeper understanding of the subject. To this purpose, Alessandro Luporino has created the Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture. The series of beautiful and evocative illustrations serve as companions for the book “Dictionary of Architecture,” by Nikolaus Pevsner, John Fleming, and Hugh Honor.

© Alessandro Luporino © Alessandro Luporino © Alessandro Luporino © Alessandro Luporino + 43

Material Artistry Meets Modern Forms with SO-IL

As a firm which has already won major awards, worked on culturally significant projects on a large scale, and generally achieved substantial success and recognition in just over 10 years, SO-IL seem to straddle a line between being an “emerging” and an “established” practice. Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu founded SO-IL (Solid Objectives-Idenburg Liu) in 2008 and have since gained a reputation for modern, clean-lined designs, but often with a unique material twist.

MINI LIVING - Breathe, SO-IL. Image Courtesy of SO-IL Kukje Gallery. Image © Iwan Baan Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, SO-IL. Image © Iwan Baan The 30-foot-tall glass tubes in the CTF facade. Image Courtesy of SO-IL + 5

John Pawson on Making Calm, Simple Spaces

This article was made in partnership with Design Indaba, a website and annual festival that uncovers innovation for good. Click here to learn more about the annual event.

It took a few years and multiple failed career attempts for renowned minimalist designer John Pawson to truly enter the world of architecture. Though he’d cultivated an interest in design from a young age, he’d initially shied away due to his beliefs that he needed to be good at math and that design was an innate skill rather than something that could be taught.

Fernando Higueras’ La Corona de Espinas Through the Lens of Zisko Gómez

Madrid-based architectural photographer Zisko Gómez captures the recently-growing interest in Spanish architect Fernando Higueras with his photo series of Higueras’ “La Corona de Espinas,” or “The Crown of Thorns.” The building is currently headquarters to the Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute and contemporary art foundation ICO recently organized an exhibition in Madrid of Higueras’ work.

© Zisko Gómez © Zisko Gómez © Zisko Gómez © Zisko Gómez + 42

Add Delight to Your Drawings with The Lightbook

Though many designers today spend their working hours immersed in computer drawing programs, few would deny that hand-drawn work still holds a unique beauty. The traditional lightbox as a drafting tool has become sadly scarce in the modern architectural practice, but architecture graduate Tom Williams hopes to encourage more people to utilize them once again with his free monthly zine, The Lightbook.

Courtesy of Tom Williams Courtesy of Tom Williams Courtesy of Tom Williams Courtesy of Tom Williams + 16

Mola Structural Kit 3 Launches on Kickstarter

Following the popularity of their first two structural modeling kits, today Mola Model launches their Kickstarter campaign for Mola Structural Kit 3. Mola3 introduces cable structures to the system of hands-on structural learning, integrating seamlessly with the previous two kits. Because the Mola kits are designed as a single modular system, the new kit can be combined with the previous two, all connected via magnets, to model iconic structures like the Sydney Harbor Bridge or London’s Stansted Airport with the help of the bilingual instruction booklet.