As summer in the Northern Hemisphere is inching ever closer and nature is rapidly responding to the increase in temperature, our desire to spend time outside (by ourselves and collectively) is growing at an equally fast pace. And although public parks are a great option for those of us who live in urban centers, the luxury of having one's very own, at-home access to nature cannot be overstated.
For residential projects in particular, gardens are the most common way of connecting with the natural world in this way. But, as these four examples show, courtyards can provide an equally satisfying window into changing seasons – and, when viewed through glass by way of patio doors, skylights, or frameless windows, can give us a glimpse of greenery from the weatherproof comfort of almost any room in the house.
Richard Kelly illuminated some of the twentieth century’s most iconic buildings: the Glass House, Seagram Building and Kimbell Art Museum, to name a few. His design strategy was surprisingly simple but extremely successful.
Lighting for architecture has been and still often is dominated by an engineering viewpoint, resigned to determining sufficient illuminance levels for a safe and efficient working environment. With a background in stage lighting, Kelly introduced a scenographic perspective for architectural lighting. His point of view might look self-evident to today’s architectural community, but it was revolutionary for his time and has strongly influenced modern architecture.
Glass is one of the most important discoveries of mankind. Originally used as a cutting tool, it has been around for about 75,000 years. The first records of glass making, however, date back to the Egyptian and Mesopotamian. Since then, the mastery of the manufacturing technique has been developing in different civilizations and nations until the Industrial Revolution popularized the material and allowed its production on a large scale. In architecture, glass was first used as a sealing element around 100 AD.
Le Corbusier once described architecture as “a learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.” Natural light –and its accompanying shadow– plays a crucial role in shaping our perception of architecture, serving a long list of functions that define how users experience, engage and interact with buildings. From illuminating and accentuating to enhancing views and evoking warmth, the presence of daylight has the power to set a room’s tone and aesthetic language. It even has a significant impact on human health and well-being, including boosting mood and productivity, regulating circadian rhythms and reducing eyestrain and headaches –it makes our lives brighter, literally.
A home’s entry is often its first impression, and modern architects are using large scale glass to create impressions that are dramatic, surprising, and uniquely welcoming. See how six architects designed unique entries for homes, regardless of size and location.
The greenhouse is a commonplace architectural typology, a frequent fixture in a host of cities, built to shield plants from the elements — from excess heat or cold or to prolong the growing season of crops. Evidence of the presence of greenhouses in some form stretches as far back as the 1450s during the Korean Joseon dynasty, but it is in the 1700s that the greenhouse was born as a specific architectural form. Glassmaking improved, and thus the largely transparent, wide-span structures we know today were born. Nestled under the intricate iron metalwork of greenhouses are also wider stories — of control and undeserved wealth, and of resistance.
The world's oldest stained glass window (which is still standing) is conventionally believed to be in Augsburg Cathedral in the German state of Bavaria. Depicting the prophets David, Jonah, Daniel, Moses and Hosea, it is estimated to be nearly 1,000 years old, having undergone significant bombing during World War II. Long before that, however, mankind had been working with glass, and while today we have thin frames with crystalline sheets and a variety of properties, we had to come a long way to get here. In this article we will tell you a little about the evolution of glass windows and the technologies and possibilities that we have today.
When children first learn to draw a house, there are four basic components they illustrate: a wall, a pitched roof, a door and one or more windows. Along with the common structural elements, windows have always been considered to be indispensable architectural features for their multiple functions. While providing views, daylight and natural ventilation, these insulate from cold and heat, protect from external threats and enhance a facade’s appearance. They are also associated with a strong poetic or symbolic value; it is through them that we are able to connect with and enjoy our surroundings, be it a beautiful natural landscape or a dense urban environment. An expressive part of any building, windows serve as a visual bridge between the inside and outside, acting somewhat as a refreshing escape from our everyday routine.
Somewhere between 1914 and 1915, Le Corbusier designed the Maison Dom-Ino, a groundbreaking modular structure that replaced the heavy load-bearing walls with reinforced concrete columns and slabs. The open floor plan with minimal thin elements, coupled with large glass facades, would ensure healthy natural daylight for the interior spaces as well as desirable architectural transparency that could blur the boundaries between interior and exterior —at least metaphorically.
Windows serve multiple essential functions in any project, from framing views to providing daylight and natural ventilation. As human needs have shifted and technology has advanced significantly throughout the years, these have evolved in character, shape, and use of materials. What began as small arrow loops used for defense in medieval fortifications later transformed into wider openings that exemplified status and wealth. The Romans were the first to use glass, but it was considered a precious commodity for centuries. Intricate stained-glass panels adorned countless of medieval churches and cathedrals, while most home dwellers had to settle for covering their “windows” with wood, fur and other materials.
Flexibility has been an increasingly appreciated characteristic in the field of architecture. In the extremely dynamic societies and spaces that we inhabit, it makes sense for buildings to have the ability to continuously adapt their spatial layout and even their structure to changing needs. Providing a space that can be adaptable and not completely static is a priority in today's world and can extend to many different types of projects, from domestic to public. In offices and convention centers, for example, having the opportunity to create reserved rooms when needed makes these large open spaces much more versatile.
Movable partitions, whether sliding or on pulleys, are particularly useful solutions in these cases, but they can also get in the way and often do not perform well acoustically. Skyfold specializes in developing vertically retractable walls, which are completely hidden in the ceiling when closed, therefore solving some of the aforementioned issues regarding movable partitions. Their newest product, Prisma, adds total transparency, clean lines and a lightweight structure to this functionality.
Used by artisans across the globe for thousands of years, colored glass is one of the oldest art forms. Its origins date back as early as the 7th century, when stained windows began adorning churches, cathedrals and convents – often representing religious symbols and Biblical stories. These expanded to Islamic mosques and palaces during the 8th century, and by the Middle Ages could be found in countless churches across Europe. The intricate glass work reached maximum splendor in the monumental buildings of the Gothic period, resulting in giant, elaborate windows with extremely complex figures, patterns and geometries. However, gone are the days when this was reserved exclusively for prominent places of worship or ancient structures. Hand in hand with innovative production methods and new technologies, colored glass has made a comeback in contemporary architecture, enhancing countless buildings with its bold, lively hues.
Mies Van der Rohe and Lilly Reich’s German Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition is known as the most written-about modern building. But no matter how many times the pavilion is redrawn for analysis, there are always new angles from which to interpret it. Identifying its capacity to redefine the German image, while genuinely introducing new strategies that continue present in contemporary architecture projects are two key elements of the architects’ intentions behind their design strategy.
'We have to get away from the coldness of functionalism. It is a mistake to believe that to understand the problem of modern architecture it is enough to recognize a necessity for rational solutions. Beauty in architecture, which is a necessity and finality for our time as for past periods, cannot be attained unless we can see beyond simple utility when we build.' – Mies Van der Rohe
Interior courtyards can be found in various types of traditional architectures around the world, especially in warmer climates. They can be classified as introverted, safe, and even sacred spaces in some cultures. They can also be gathering places and, above all, provide greater contact with nature while providing light and ventilation to home interiors. To properly design these spaces and create a functional relationship between the inside of a house and its courtyard, it is important to use appropriate doors and openings. In this article we highlight 5 projects that use sliding glass doors for the seamless integration of both spaces.
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."
If you’ve been avoiding some of the latest news recently, here’s a quick update; European and North American countries have been facing one of the hottest recorded summers in modern history. Discussions over the climate crises have therefore been reignited and so has the role of the design and construction industry in providing solutions that would mitigate the experienced heat effects in our daily lives. While passive cooling solutions have always been used in some parts of the world, where local resources and vernacular builds are adapted to high temperatures, other regions are looking to technological and innovative manufacturing means that would maintain human comfort, aesthetic values, and energy efficiency/ cost.
Although early modernism with its signature high-rises and glass houses had made us think that glass enveloped buildings are mostly uncomfortable, over-exposed, and overheating settings; nowadays glass manufacturers are proving that glass, if well treated and well-placed, can be as versatile and efficient a material as one could want without compromising the visual comfort or the dwellers.
The total energy demand from buildings has risen dramatically in recent years. Driven by improved access in developing countries, greater ownership of energy-consuming devices and increasing urban densities, today it accounts for over one-third of global energy consumption and nearly 15% of direct CO2 emissions. As the climate crisis aggravates and its consequences are more visible than ever, the architecture and construction industry must respond accordingly. It must take responsibility for its environmental impact and give priority to reducing energy consumption, whether through design decisions, construction techniques or innovative products. The key lies, however, in not sacrificing aesthetics and comfort in the process.
Few other materials can convey architectural atmosphere as well as the glass. A to-go choice for the modernists, due to its transparent nature, glass still holds a solid place within the material palette for architects around the globe. Such unique element is the subject of Archiving Flux / Stasis, a photographic exhibition by Erieta Attali hosted by the Greek Ministry of Culture in Casa Romana, Kos Island, Greece, set to open its doors in July 21st.