The Petroperú building, jointly designed by architects Walter Weberhofer and Daniel Arana Ríos, was the result of a state competition held by the military government of Velasco Alvarado in the early 1970s. The building, strategically located in the capital of Peru, within the prosperous district of San Isidro, was designed to house the recently created state company in charge of the whole petroleum process of the country (Petroperú S.A.). The monumental building, built and inaugurated in 1973, became the symbol of the newly installed regime.
Concrete: The Latest Architecture and News
When browsing the 3D printing tag on ArchDaily, it is clear that this technology has developed at an incredibly fast pace. If in the early years we observed the concept as a distant possibility for the future or with small-scale examples, in recent years we have observed entire printed buildings and increasingly complex volumes being produced. Developed by reading a computer file, the fabrication is carried out through additive manufacturing with concrete - or other construction materials - and presents numerous difficulties in providing an efficient process that enables the constructive technique to become widespread. The pavilion printed by the Huizenprinters consortium, for example, illustrates this process well.
Contemporary challenges and developments in technology inevitably trigger changes in the way we design and build our cities. SUMMARY, one of ArchDaily's Best New Practices of 2021, is a Portuguese architecture studio focused on the development of prefabricated and modular building systems. Striking a balance between pragmatism and experimentalism, the firm develops prefabricated solutions in order to respond to a driving challenge of contemporary architecture—to speed up and simplify the construction process. Founded in 2015 by the architect Samuel Gonçalves, a graduate of the School of Architecture of the University of Porto, the studio has presented at prominent events such as the 2016 Venice Biennale. We talked with Samuel about the firm's practical experience in prefabrication and modulation, as well as their experiments and forays into research.
Seen as one of the great promises for the future of construction, carbon concrete mixes strength, lightness and flexibility. In addition, at a time marked by a serious environmental crisis that puts the construction methods of the industry in check, carbon concrete emerges as an alternative that approaches the guidelines of sustainability.
After water, concrete is the second most-consumed material on the planet and its production is substantially growing, expected to increase from 4.4 billion tons, reaching production up to 5.5 billion tons by 2050. Unfortunately, this comes at a huge environmental cost, accounting for almost eight percent of the global carbon emissions. With this estimated expected growth, stakeholders in the construction industry must work on integrating sustainable building materials and innovative processes.
For centuries and centuries we’ve built – and the diversity in our global built environment is a testament to that. The many different cultures around the globe have had different ways of building throughout history, adapting locally found materials to construct their structures. Today, in our globalized present, building materials are transported across the globe far from their origins, a situation that means two buildings on completely opposites sides of the world can be more or less identical.
Take a second to imagine a building or a room. Chances are you are envisioning flat rectangular surfaces and straight lines. Whether it be walls, beams or windows, most architectural elements come in standard and extremely practical orthogonal shapes. However, the pandemic has shed light on designs that are not only functional, but also that improve our mood and well-being. In that sense, the power of curved, free-flowing surfaces is unmatched, which explains why they have been making a comeback as a modern design trend. Adopting beautiful nature-inspired shapes, organic curls and bends energize rooms and make users feel good. In fact, neuroscientists have shown that this affection is hard-wired into the brain; in a 2013 study, they found that participants were most likely to consider a space beautiful if it was curvilinear instead of rectilinear. In short, humans love curves.
The history of architecture shows that the use of raw materials has always been somewhat common, whether in ancient vernacular techniques or within the Brutalist movement, to name a few. It is evident that the language of a project is often linked to its material, as various sensations and the perception of space are directed by the aesthetic and physical quality of the given element. For this reason, we have gathered ten buildings that highlight the quality of their materials, whether to make a statement, reinterpret a technique from the past, or to re-signify the potency of some of these elements.
Dübendorf, Switzerland is something of hallowed ground for architectural technologists. There, on the shared academic campus of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, public university ETH Zurich has conducted nearly a decade of engineering and construction experimentation at the ever-evolving NEST research building. In August, ETH Zürich unveiled its latest extension of the building, HiLo (short for high performance-low emissions)—a two-story modular addition to the chameleon structure that harnesses medieval building principles and contemporary digital methods to raise the bar for more sustainable applications of concrete.
Concrete is not purely a structural element. As we demonstrated in an article about kitchen projects using concrete countertops, the material is gaining significant traction in the world of residential furnishings and fixtures. To further exemplify this, we have curated a list of several projects that use concrete benches to create beautiful moments inside and outside the home.
Much has been said about circularity in the construction industry. Inspired by nature, the circular economy works in a continuous process of production, resorption and recycling, self-managing and naturally regulating itself, where waste can turn into supplies for the production of new products. It is a very interesting concept, but it faces some practical difficulties in everyday life, whether in the demolition / disassembly process, or in the correct disposal of materials and waste; but mostly due to the lack of technologies available to recycle or give new use to construction materials. About 40% of all waste generated on Planet Earth comes from civil construction, and a good part of it could be recycled. Concrete is an especially important material because of its large carbon footprint in production, its ubiquity and massive use, and also because of the difficulty of recycling or reusing it.
With the aim of generating a significant impact on the responsible and sustainable consumption of resources and energy in the construction industry, ETH Zürich in collaboration with FenX AG is using foam 3D printing (F3DP) to manufacture geometrically complex formwork for the construction of special elements in concrete.
As 2021 comes to an end, we look back at how this year introduced new normals and raised questions about what the future of the built environment could look like. In retrospect, not much has changed in regards to where people are spending most of their time. Following constant changes in commuting restrictions and the continuation of the pandemic, people acknowledged that most of their time will be spent indoors, so they adapted their living and working spaces accordingly.
These sudden lifestyle changes forced people to become well aware of the fact that the space they inhabit has great influence on their physical and mental wellbeing, so they began opting for features that promote sensitivity, calmness, optimism, and playfulness, emotions that counter the inconsistent and troublesome events taking place in the outside world and offer an implied sense of escapism.
Concrete and sustainability are two words that are often considered incompatible. Used as early as the Roman era, concrete has shaped much of our built environment, being the most widely used manufactured material in the planet thanks to its resistance, versatility, cost-effectiveness, and accessibility, among other inherent benefits. Its popular use in buildings and infrastructure forms the foundations of cities, connects communities, and will continue to play a vital role in providing solutions to the challenges of the future – especially as cities must respond to a growing global population. But with cement as its key ingredient, it also comes with several environmental costs, being responsible for at least 8% of the world’s carbon emissions in a climate-change context. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. With the rise of innovative technologies and products, there are many ways to make concrete greener.