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.
Glass: The Latest Architecture and News
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.
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.
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.
For most people, modern living requires spending most of the day in interior spaces - in fact, according to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person spends around 90% of their life indoors. As a result, this implies missing out on health benefits associated with sunlight exposure, such as vitamin D absorption, regulation of circadian rhythms, higher energy levels and even improved mood. Thus, one option is to increase the amount of time we spend outdoors. But because most daily functions are carried out inside buildings, it is crucial to incorporate and prioritize natural lighting in interiors.
While glass is generally singled out as the weakest part of a building, it is not always true. With technological advances and the continuous innovations of the industry, there is glass that, even while allowing natural light to enter an environment, can protect the building from fire. Beyond fire, there are also other threats such as hot gases, smoke, and heat transmission, which put the safe evacuation of people and the protection of property at risk.
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.
In today's climate, energy and how we use it is a primary concern in the design of built spaces. Buildings currently contribute nearly 40% to global carbon emissions and with a projected growth of 230 billion square meters in construction before the end of 2060, the focus on construction decarbonization efforts should be paramount.