Michelangelo's sculptures. The ancient Greek temples. Castle interiors and palaces. The iconic Barcelona Pavilion of Mies van der Rohe. When we approach the history of architecture and sculpture, it is inevitable that we speak of marble. Originating from a chemical reaction in limestone when exposed to high pressures and temperatures for thousands of years, this notable material is a metamorphic rock generally found in regions where volcanic activity has occurred. Its extraction, by itself, is already a spectacle.
Marble: The Latest Architecture and News
One of the most practical and functional spaces of any residential project is the kitchen. Its artificial surfaces – be it countertops, kitchen benches, or coverings – contain most of the space's equipment. Thus, it’s essential to build kitchens with the most resistant and hygienic materials. Aside from these requirements, it's also important to pay attention to aesthetics and profitability, while adapting the space to the dynamics of each family.
In this video from NOWNESS, an excerpt from Yuri Ancarani's documentary "Il Capo" (The Chief), the filmmaker captures the mesmerizing business of Marble extraction in the hills of Northwest Italy. The prized delicacy of the Carrara stone's surface is juxtaposed against the dramatic size and weight of the blocks they are removing, which eventually fall with an earth-shattering thud. Similarly the rugged power of the excavators is in marked contrast to the precise, understated gestures of the chief himself, who directs his workers with a complex series of predetermined hand signals.
"Marble quarries are places so unbelievable and striking, they almost feel like they are big theaters or sets," explains Yuri Ancarani. "I was so taken by the chief, watching him work. How he can move gigantic marble blocks using enormous excavators, but his own movements are light, precise and determined."
This article was originally published on February 25, 2015.
For those with $145,000 hidden down the side of their sofa, Zaha Hadid Architects has designed and released Lapella Chair, continuing their “investigations in structure and fabrication-aware tectonics by reinterpreting the iconic 1963 lounge chair by Hans J. Wegner."
Created from Italian marble, Lapella retains the proportions, scale, and recline of the original chair while introducing “contemporary stone tooling and carbon fiber composites.”
Often as architects we neglect how the buildings we design will develop once we hand them over to the elements. We spend so much time understanding how people will use the building that we may forget how it will be used and battered by the weather. It is an inevitable and uncertain process that raises the question of when is a building actually complete; when the final piece of furniture is moved in, when the final roof tile is placed or when it has spent years out in the open letting nature take its course?
Rather than detracting from the building, natural forces can add to the material’s integrity, softening its stark, characterless initial appearance. This continuation of the building process is an important one to consider in order to create a structure that will only grow in beauty over time. To help you achieve an ever-growing building, we have collated six different materials below that age with grace.
This video is part of a conference held every two years by the Rob|Arch Conference series, developed by the Association for Robots in Architecture and related to robotic fabrication in architecture, art, and design.
'Carrara Robotics' was presented in 2014 by Jelle Feringa (Odico) and Lucas Terhall (Hyperbody), and shows a robot that is able to cut through marble with such flexibility and freedom of movement that it generates uniquely beautiful forms. The robot occupies the technology of abrasive cutting and -through a software- it cuts marble, as well as different types of foam, delivering pieces of high geometric complexity as a result.
Through a revisiting of Zaha Hadid's MAXXI Museum of Art in Rome and Heyder Aliyev Center in Baku, as well as the practice’s exploration of materiality and composition, Boffi_Code Kitchen is a custom kitchen island created by Zaha Hadid Design and Boffi, an Italian furniture company founded in 1934.
“Boffi_code offers customization to the highest standards, tailoring individual solutions with selected materials, finishes and cabinetry,” explains Zaha Hadid Design. “The Boffi_Code Kitchen by Zaha Hadid Design marries exceptional detailing and design with functionality, carefully chosen materials, and traditional craftsmanship.”
Rediscover a natural, unique and original material, with multiple applications for current architecture and design immovable over time, granite is a jewel of nature capable of providing exclusivity to any contemporary construction or finish. Its wide range of varieties and the incorporation of new cutting technologies and those giving a surface finish, provide us with infinite design possibilities.
Researchers at Princeton University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have discovered that hydroxyapatite, the primary compound found in human teeth and bones, can be used to help preserve the condition of marble, which is prone to cracking and deteriorating as a result of the effects of pollution and the weather.
It is unsurprising that Athens, the city widely considered to be the cradle of Western civilization, would have made as celebrated a contribution to architecture as it has to countless other human pursuits. Built on a hilltop above the contemporary city, the weathered marble complex known as the Acropolis stands as a faded remnant from the former city-state’s ancient glory years, surrounded by the products of the centuries that followed. The greatest of these landmarks, the Parthenon, captures an age long past when Athens was the wealthiest and most powerful city-state in Greece and beyond.
How To Architecture! is a design competition which invites students to reflect on contemporary culture and to do it with architecture. Leafing through headlines, lists, captions, zooming in and out of feeds, bold fonts, and articles made of images: we participate in the age of the listicle. Culture flashes before us—an extension of ourselves: the superabundant reel. As the cycle of consumption whirs on, architecture still stands. What does architecture say; how does it feed you? Tell us what you think! Tell us
Matthew Simmonds, an art historian and architectural stone carver based in Copenhagen, is known as the creator of exceptionally beautiful miniature spaces hewn from stone – a number of which have been previously featured on ArchDaily. Drawing on the formal language and philosophy of architecture, his work "explores themes of positive and negative form, the significance of light and darkness and the relationship between nature and human endeavour." Here he shares four recent projects: Ringrone (Faxe Limestone, 2016, 61cm tall), Corona (Faxe Limestone, 2016, 30cm tall), Ararat: Study II (Faxe Limestone, 2016, 20cm tall), and Tetraconch (Limestone, 2015, 31cm tall).
Sitting on the northern bank of Venice's Grand Canal is a great house whose ornately carved marble facade only hints at its original splendor. The Palazzo Santa Sofia—or the Ca D’Oro (House of Gold), as it is also known—is one of the most notable examples of late Venetian Gothic architecture, which combined the existing threads of Gothic, Moorish, and Byzantine architecture into a unique aesthetic that symbolized the Venetian Republic’s cosmopolitan mercantile empire. Built to serve as the grand residence of wealthy Venetian businessman and politician Marin Contarini, the palazzo has seen a number of owners and renovations over its lifetime before ultimately coming to serve as a museum for medieval painting and sculpture.
Matthew Simmonds, an art historian and architectural stone carver based in Italy, has created a collection of exceptionally beautiful miniature spaces carved from stone. Having worked on a number of restoration projects in the UK - from Westminster Abbey to Ely Cathedral - his skills have been transferred into work of a much smaller, if not more intricate, scale. Hewn from large stone blocks (some of marble), the level of intricacy Simmonds has achieved in the architectural detailing is almost incredible. Capitals, vaults and surfaces all distort and reflect light in a very beguiling way.
Casa del Fascio which sits in front of Como Cathedral is the work of the Italian Fascist architect Giuseppe Terragni. Built as the headquarters of the local Fascist Party, it was renamed Casa del Popolo after the war and has since served a number of civic agencies, including a Caribinieri station and a tax office.