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Innovative Materials: The Latest Architecture and News

Wooden Decks in Public Spaces: Welcoming Floors for Collective Meeting

Sørenga Sjøbad / LPO arkitekter. Image © Tove LaulutenThe Floating Island / OBBA & Dertien12. Image © Kyungsub ShinBostanlı Footbridge & Sunset Lounge / Studio Evren Başbuğ. Image © ZM Yasa PhotographyPaprocany Lake Shore Redevelopment / RS + Robert Skitek. Image © Tomasz Zakrzewski+ 23

Wooden floors are know for their warm appearance, rich texture, and natural tones that vary according to the origin of the planks, changing with the weather and the passage of time. Outdoors, wooden surfaces are widely used for terraces and living areas, taking advantage of these inviting qualities to bring people together on warm and welcoming floors. Built with modular pieces, wooden decks can easily form artificial topographies, shaping creative and effective public spaces for rest, sports, games, and collective gathering.

What Are Refractory Bricks and What Are They For?

Ranging from yellow, to gray, to traditional red and orange, bricks are ubiquitous in many of our cities and widely used in construction. Briefly, the manufacturing process of traditional bricks involves molding clay and firing it in ovens, facilitating the creation of solid blocks, perforated blocks, cobogós, tiles, and other shapes. Ceramic bricks are inexpensive; easy to find; boast strong resistance, thermal inertia, and finish; and do not require such specialized labor for construction. But if the installation is done near sources of high heat, the common brick will end up cracking and breaking, making refractory bricks more suitable. But what does that mean?

Bamboo Formwork and Exposed Concrete in Architectural Projects

House for Trees / Vo Trong Nghia Architects. Image © Hiroyuki Oki
House for Trees / Vo Trong Nghia Architects. Image © Hiroyuki Oki

While concrete is without a doubt the world's go-to building material thanks to its durability, malleability, and ability to withstand a wide range of climates, it is also the principal source of CO2 emissions within the realm of construction. To combat this and reduce their creations' carbon footprint, many architects have begun experimenting and innovating in a bid to optimize concrete's technical qualities while diminishing its impact on the environment. Among these efforts, there are several projects that have explored the possibility of replacing traditional frameworks with more sustainable materials like bamboo, a resource that grows in abundance throughout many regions of the world and, along with having minimal environmental impact, renders high quality textured detailing on a variety of architectural surfaces.

Metal Profiles Coated with Wood Veneers: 7 Options for Applying them to Architecture

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For many, the aesthetics of wood are powerfully enchanting. With a huge diversity of species and innumerable variations in colors, weights, and textures, wood is one of the most highly appreciated materials of all time. But the unrestrained logging of forests for use in construction has had and will continue to have enormous environmental impacts if precautions such as sustainable management, legitimate certification, or reforestation are not taken. Being an organic material, when used for construction, wood tends to morph under conditions of humidity, heat, and loads, and its fibers eventually deform over time. In addition, wood is a material that does not respond well to environments where it is soaked and dried repeatedly, which can cause it to rot after some time if it is not adequately waterproofed. Therefore, there are some situations where using wood may not be a good idea.

AluProfile. Image Cortesia de TechnowoodAluSiding. Image Cortesia de TechnowoodAluSiding. Image Cortesia de TechnowoodGRP_Siding. Image Cortesia de Technowood+ 33

The Best Materials for Architectural Models

For centuries, physical modeling has been a staple of architectural education and practice. Allowing the designer and client to explore a scheme in plan, elevation, and perspective all at once, the physical model aims to simulate the spatial relationship between volumes and to understand constructive systems. 

Even in an age of ultra-high quality rendering, and virtual reality, physical material models represent a beloved, tried and tested method of conveying ideas both during the design process and at presentation stage. Whether through a rapid, five-minute volumetric test of paper models, or a carefully sculpted timber construction detail, careful choice of material can greatly assist the modeling process, allowing designers to remain abstract, or test physical properties of structural systems.

The Go-To Guide for Bamboo Construction

© Lucila Aguilar© Lucila Aguilar© Lucila Aguilar© Lucila Aguilar+ 8

Bamboo is an ancient building material that has been used in a variety of countries and building types. A sustainable material with a unique aesthetic, it is arguably one of the greatest architectural trends of the moment.

This material's structural and sustainable qualities demonstrate that bamboo can be three times more resistant than steel and grow about 4 feet (1.22 meter) in just one day.

16 CAD Files of Roof Windows and Light Tubes Available for Your Next Project

In the spirit of supporting our readers’ design work, the company Velux has shared a series of .DWG files with us of their different roofing windows models. The files can be downloaded directly from this article and include great amounts of detail and information.

Check the files below, separated into 'Pitched Roofs', 'Flat Roofs' and 'Light Tube'.

How Chilean Architects Are Helping Realize Ryue Nishizawa's Curving Concrete Cliffside House

The Ochoalcubo project, a pioneering experiment led by the entrepreneur and architecture lover Eduardo Godoy that seeks to unite leading Chilean and Japanese architecture practices with ground-breaking architecture, has started a new phase. Made up of 8 phases which involve 8 different architects, the first stage of this architecture laboratory took place in Marbella and included work from Christian de Groote, Mathias Klotz, Cristián Valdés, José Cruz, Teodoro Fernández, Cecilia Puga, Smiljan Radic and Sebastián Irarrázabal. Toyo Ito was the first international figure to participate in the project with the construction of the White O House in 2009.

ThyssenKrupp Brings Sideways-Moving Elevator Innovation To Reality

In their latest press release, elevator manufacturer ThyssenKrupp announced new information about their cable-free system that rethinks the movement of the 1853 invention. Allowing for both horizontal and vertical transportation, “MULTI” has the capacity to innovate tall building design through its elimination of architectural constraints such as vertical alignment and elevator shaft dimensions. First unveiled as a concept in 2014, MULTI reported this month that the elevator has been installed into a test building and is soon to be implemented publicly into new developments.

6 Timeless Details Using Stone

Stone is elemental to our built world. It is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) materials used in man-made habitats. The sense of timelessness in stone is attributed to its long and varied history alongside architecture. From ancient monoliths to cities to houses, the diversity of stone means that it can be used to convey a variety of expressions. Carved, polished, sedimented, stacked, preserved - the list can go on and on. The feeling stone conveys in contemporary projects usually brings with it a sense of place – a raw materiality when paired with timber or other natural materials. With that in mind, check out these 6 details of projects that stand out for their use of stone: