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Facade Design: The Latest Architecture and News

Minimalist Windows: Erasing the Boundary Between Indoors and Outdoors

Like a beautiful painting, windows showcase interiors and frame landscapes that connect users to the outside world, directing our eyes to what really matters. But besides framing views and facilitating visual communication, windows serve multiple essential functions that make them vital components in any project. They illuminate homes with sunrays, provide natural ventilation, filter light, insulate from cold and heat, block water and ensure protection. As most design professionals would agree, glazing also plays a crucial aesthetic role; its materials, style and dimensions certainly make a significant difference in the appearance of facades and spaces.

Metal Façades: How to Unite Aesthetics, Performance and Safety?

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Metal façades give buildings an air of sophistication and modernity. They also bring a cleanness to the façade, due to their precise fabrication and well-resolved connections between other materials and building elements. There are currently multiple product options available for coatings, offering extensive colour options, including metallics, with different levels of durability (natural aging and corrosion). One of the main issues when approaching metal façades is the risk of corrosion, which can create points of weakness in the material and interfere with the aesthetics of the building. So, with this in mind, what do architects need to focus on to ensure that building envelopes age gracefully, while maintaining aesthetics and performance over time?

Colored Aluminium Struts for Paris’s Newest Skyscraper

Overtaking the Tour First skyscraper, the 48-story, 220-meter HEKLA Tower will be the tallest building in Paris’s La Défense business district, as well as the second tallest building in all of France. Currently under construction and designed by Pritzker prize-winning Jean Nouvel, it is set to become a powerful architectural statement. Due to complete this 2022 in the midst of the sector’s redevelopment program, the futuristic skyscraper spreads over 76,000 sqm of floor area distributed in offices, services, lobbies, an amphitheater, projection rooms, performance halls, restaurants, bars, gyms and loggias. All of this with the aim of providing a unique user experience with vast, flexible workspaces that promote interaction and well-being.

The Sobriety of Untreated Wood Facades: Tips and Inspiring Examples

The moment a tree is cut down and its biological processes are interrupted, it can be said that the deterioration process of wood also begins. Steps such as the correct cutting of the trunk, drying and storage or the precise specification of the best species for each use will determine its durability. Composed basically of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, each wood species has a certain natural durability, also influenced by the environmental conditions of where it is inserted, such as temperature, humidity, oxygen content, and the microorganisms and insects present there. Generally, surface treatments are used to increase the protection of different parts, such as varnishes, oils and other chemical processes. But there are situations in which untreated wood can be used outdoors, achieving a gray and sober aesthetic that blends into the exterior and brings personality to the building.

The Versatility of HPL Panels for Interior Spaces

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Roof extension of Sylvana Hospital / 2b architectes. Image © Matthieu Gafsou
Roof extension of Sylvana Hospital / 2b architectes. Image © Matthieu Gafsou

HPL (High Pressure Laminate) panels are made of Kraft paper impregnated with phenolic resins, subjected to heat and pressure. A decorative layer with synthetic polymer allows the sheets to have numerous color and texture options, providing an extremely high strength and durability. This is why HPL is widely used in façades, but it is also increasingly being considered for interior wall cladding, for partitions and lockers, as well as for furniture. It is a material that can be used outdoors and indoors, and even on horizontal surfaces.

Durability and Aesthetics of Slate Façades in 5 Projects

Slate is a metamorphic rock formed from the transformation of clay under high pressure and temperature. Very homogeneous and sober, with shades ranging from dark gray to black, it is commonly used in floors and roofs due to its durability and appearance. Slate also works very well for façades, combining the aesthetics of natural stone, shaped by nature for over 500 million years, with the thermal comfort and ease of installation of ventilated façades.

How to Incorporate Steel Railings Into the Design

Railings play two roles in architectural projects, both as a support and safety component in a building, which involves a great deal of technical detailing and accessibility standards, and as an accent element in the design. In this article, we will explore the different ways in which these elements can be used in a project.

Family School / ARKITITO Arquitetura + Oficina umauma + Luiza Gottschalk. Image © Carolina LacazPinto Bessa Apartments / depA architects. Image © José CamposHouse in Fontainhas / fala. Image © Ricardo LoureiroHotel Siro / MOUNT FUJI ARCHITECTS STUDIO. Image © Ryota Atarashi+ 15

"The Art of Pattern is the Legacy of our Grandparents": Koen Mulder on the Brick Bond as a Composition Tool

"Welcome to this strange book. With all the drawings, it might appear like a manual, but it isn't. The book is as much about joints as it is about pieces. Above all, it seeks the order that is inherent in things". These words are part of the introduction to Koen Mulder's book, "The lively surface: Masonry associations as a pattern art and tool of composition". Available in German, the 160-page manual, rigorously illustrated, presents a universe of possible pattern variations that can be created when you start designing.

We interviewed Koen to find out what inspired him to talk about this topic and to understand how he managed to gather all this information, while also figuring out the impact that this type of study can have on architecture students and architects.

Using Wood Outdoors Without Worrying About Fire Hazards

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Wood is an extremely versatile material. It allows for the construction of robust and strong structures, while it can also be used as the raw material for delicate objects such as musical instruments. Understanding all its particularities, properties, and behavior is a journey of knowledge that could take a lifetime. Basically, wood is made up of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and mineral elements, and each species has its own unique characteristics. The history of Stradivarius violins, for example, is interesting to mention: they are still worth fortunes and experts argue that luthiers have never been able to replicate their timbre on newer instruments. Researchers point out that the differentiated sound is due to the wood in the body and arm, which went through a submersion process with a mineral solution that increased the decomposition of hemicellulose. The treatment made the wood absorb less moisture, making the sound brighter and more pleasant.

This shows how complex it is to work with a living material like wood. It can swell or shrink depending on weather conditions, how the tree grew or was cut down, etc. And, varying between wet and dry states, it can end up rotting. Such factors must be understood when we work with a natural material, but it can also be a nuisance when we look for the aesthetic appearance of wood while lacking technical precision and maintenance capabilities.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Columbia Business School Carves Out a Niche with Crystalline Curves

Columbia University’s Manhattanville Campus expansion has ushered in a crystalline district of glass-clad buildings amid the masonry vernacular architecture of Harlem. The latest additions to the 17-acre, $6.3 billion campus, which was master-planned by SOM, are two buildings designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) in collaboration with FXCollaborative that provide a new home for the Columbia Business School. Set to open in early 2022, Henry R. Kravis Hall and the East Building rise 11 and 8 stories, respectively, and provide 492,000 square feet of classrooms, public space, and faculty offices.

© Timothy Schenck© Timothy Schenck© Timothy Schenck© DBOX+ 6

Textured Fiber Cement: A More Sensory Architectural Experience

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Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh used the impasto technique extensively in their paintings. Both applied thick layers of oil paint over the canvas, usually one shade at a time, and it was up to the viewer's brain to mix the colors and create the desired effects. When dry, the paint forms reliefs and textures on the canvas, evoking a sense of movement. Even without being able to touch the screen, the texture of the brushstrokes gives a three-dimensionality to the painting, something that can only be fully observed by seeing the artwork live, looking at it from more than one angle and actually experiencing it.

In his famous book “The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses,” Juhani Pallasmaa points to "a predilection in favor of vision and in detriment of the other senses in the way architecture was conceived, taught and criticized, as well as the consequent disappearance of sensory and sensual characteristics in arts and architecture." According to the author, "an architectural work is not experienced as a series of isolated retinal images, but in its fully integrated material, corporeal, and spiritual essence."

C+S Architects and Citizenstudio to Redefine The Architectural Image of Moscow's Metrogorodok Area

C+S Architects and Citizenstudio are among the winners of the Face of Renovation competition, an initiative to redesign the architectural image of housing stock across 31 sites in Moscow. The competition sought to improve the experience of the urban environment through the renovation of urban blocks, fostering a sense of identity through individuality. In redesigning the Metrogorodok area (lot no. 13), the two architecture studios focused on overcoming the uniformity and repetitiveness of the prefab housing estate while also enriching the public space through the plasticity of the facades, the use of colours and the creation of intermediate spaces.

Courtesy of C+S ArchitectsCourtesy of C+S ArchitectsCourtesy of C+S ArchitectsCourtesy of C+S Architects+ 17

H House / G+ Architects

© Quang Tran
© Quang Tran

© Quang Tran© Quang Tran© Quang Tran© Quang Tran+ 30

Vũng Tàu, Vietnam
  • Architects: G+ Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area :  68
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year :  2020

Cartier Shinsaibashi Façade / Klein Dytham architecture

Courtesy of CartierCourtesy of CartierCourtesy of CartierCourtesy of Cartier+ 16

Osaka, Japan

Adam Nathaniel Furman: “Buildings Always Embody the Values of Their Creators”

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Stefan Fuchs & Raphael Dillhof interview Adam Nathaniel Furman and discuss the role and importance of facades in today's urban fabric, "in the context of a broader range of social, economic, and political issues". Part of a more in-depth study examining the role of facades in the 21st century, this discussion also raises the question of why buildings always embody the values of their creators.

Tube Houses: 15 Projects Reinterpreting the Narrow Vietnamese Residences

Walking down the streets of cities like Hanoi and Saigon in Vietnam, you might encounter houses with surprisingly narrow facades in contrast to the stacking of three to five floors, with windows for ventilation and natural light only on the front facade. These are the famous traditional Tube Houses. According to ancient popular culture, this type of housing emerged due to property taxes being based on the width of the facade, but the true reason is to optimize land use, allowing a larger number of plots in the same square.

However, this legacy is now being recreated in contemporary designs by Vietnamese architects. Old facades give way to innovative solutions featuring atriums for natural lighting and ventilation, courtyards and interior gardens, greenery incorporated into different environments, split-levels, etc., allowing for high-quality spaces. With that in mind, we have put together a selection of Tube Houses, together with their respective section drawings. Check out below: