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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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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:

It Is Possible to Add a Bathroom Anywhere: How Does a Macerator Work?

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We have written a lot about the adaptive reuse of buildings and how this should become an even more important activity for architects in the future. Focusing on interiors, it consists of adapting spaces to new demands, promoting quality and comfort, and often incorporating new technologies into a space. Whether adding a new bedroom, organizing a home office, or transforming a historical building into an office, the architects' creativity allows them to create interesting environments without the need for demolishing. But one thing that tends to make designers scratch their heads in concern is how to include bathrooms and all the complication that it entails. This is because adding a simple toilet usually requires breaking slabs, walls, and floors, working with thick plumbing, and, above all, spending a lot of money and time. There is, however, the possibility of using a macerating pump system - a straightforward, affordable solution for creating a complete or half bathroom practically anywhere.

Angled Metal Panels for Modular, Creative and Sustainable Façades

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Blending in with its urban context or standing out to draw attention, a façade tells a building’s story. It is an expressive medium through which we engage with architecture, defining first impressions and setting the tone for the interior by experimenting with transparency, movement, texture and color, among other aesthetic possibilities. Of course, the envelope also plays a crucial functional role, acting as a protective barrier against extreme weather conditions and directly impacting light transmittance, energy efficiency and acoustic comfort. Architects therefore face an important challenge: to achieve a balance between an attractive look and performance. To do so, it is pivotal to specify the right materials during the design stage.

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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Materials and Construction Techniques of Brazilian Indigenous Peoples as a Future for Architecture

“We should admit nature as an immense multitude of forms, including each part of us, who are part of everything”, says Ailton Krenak, renowned indigenous leader, in his book Ideas to Postpone the End of the World. The culture of native peoples does not understand humanity and the environment as things that are separate or superior to each other, but rather as parts of a whole. Through this particular understanding of the universe, these peoples are led to a sensitive appropriation of the territory, with structuring beliefs that are also reflected in their architecture, raising the very concept of sustainability to another level, since nature is not seen as a resource to be used, it is thought of as part of the community.

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MAD Architects Reveals Latest Details of the Floating Structure Aranya "Cloud Center" in China

Nearly to be completed and opened in 2023, MAD Architects reveals the construction details that made it possible for the Aranya "Cloud Center" to appear floating above the rolling landscape surrounding it. Located in Qinhuangdao, 160 miles away from the east of Beijing, China, the 2,500-square meters Center will be a public art space for the vibrant artistic seaside community that, from the outside, will mark the center of a sculptural landscape that MAD had conceptualized as a "white stone garden."

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Technology Isn't Trend, It's Timeless

“Hope for Architecture” is the calling of Clay Chapman and described by him as “a building initiative to address the challenges of an uncertain future.” In truth, “Hope for Architecture” is a masonry and timber technology, reinvented and adapted from antiquity for this moment. Clay and his young family moved to Carleton Landing, Oklahoma fifteen years ago to fulfill a mission: creating a community and explore that technology.

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Femingas: Participatory Construction with a Gender Perspective in Ecuador

In the field of design and construction, the question of gender is a point of conflict: who has the possibility of building? What are the alternatives for us architecture professionals? These are the questions that Taller General (re)think about. It is from these questions that Femingas, a participatory construction conference with a gender perspective, arose. These are manifested as an alternative to the construction of "mingas", days of joint work between the members of a community to achieve a common good.

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Ceramic Flooring That Can Be Installed 8 Times Faster Than Conventional Tiling

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Flooring can either make or break a space. With the proper design, it can enhance a room’s design, mark a good first impression and positively impact user experience. However, because floors must withstand damaging conditions such as exposure to moisture and heat, constant foot traffic and heavy furniture movement, it is only natural for them to degrade over time. As a result, renovating floors is crucial to maintain interiors in a good state, especially those with a lot of use.

While selecting a new material to replace the old surface, building owners, architects and designers must consider many key factors, such as comfort, durability and aesthetics. But when it comes to buildings where daily functions are carried out and thus cannot be closed for long periods of time – like supermarkets, offices and restaurants –, speed of installation often becomes the top priority. Ultimately, as the old saying goes, “time is money.”

"Form Freedom with Mass Customization": Technical Challenges in 3D Printing

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.

"Traditional Construction Is Doomed To Disappear:" Interview With the Portuguese Office Summary

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.

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Built to Not Last: The Japanese Trend of Replacing Homes Every 30 Years

In most countries around the world, value is placed on older buildings. There’s something about the history, originality, and charm of an older home that causes their value to sometimes be higher than newly constructed projects. But in Japan, the opposite is almost always the preference. Newly-built homes are the crux of a housing market where homes are almost never sold and the obsession with razing and rebuilding is as much a cultural thing as it is a safety concern, bringing 30-year-old homes to a valueless market.