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Material: The Latest Architecture and News

30 Plans, Sections and Details for Sustainable Projects

The dramatic improvement in recent decades in our understanding of sustainable design has shown that designing sustainably doesn't have to be a compromise—it can instead be a benefit. When done correctly, sustainable design results in higher-performing, healthier buildings which contribute to their inhabitants' physical and mental well-being.

The benefits of incorporating vegetation in façades and in roofs, as well as materials and construction systems that take energy use and pollution into account, demonstrate that sustainable design has the potential to create buildings that improve living conditions and respect the natural environment.

Below we have compiled 30 plans, sections and construction details of projects that stand out for their approach to sustainability.

Venice Biennale’s ‘Lightbox’ Exhibition Explores Material Memory

The European Culture Center’s Time Space Exhibition during the Venice Biennale 2018 features a new short film depicting the spatial qualities of light in architectural design, both as a material and metaphor.

This collaboration between architect and professor Jorge L. Hernández and photographer Carlos Domenech explores their endeavors in providing a lighting-based design solution for the Williamsburg, Virginia courthouse. Battling the issues of security and privacy of the court with the need for natural daylight, Hernández recreated the cupola, a vernacular roof turret intended for ventilation for illumination instead. Light, entering the courtroom from above, transforms the previously dull space and becomes, “an allegory for justice”.

The Totora Cube Investigates the Techniques of Incan-Era Craftsmanship

Developed by the architects of the "think-act tank" Archquid, in connection with the indigenous community and other institutions of the parish of San Rafael de la Laguna (Otavalo, Ecuador), this project revolves around the material research of the totora plant, a subspecies of the giant bulrush sedge. The Totora Cube project deepens the understanding of the art and craft with which these fibers have been used since pre-Inca times.

Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner Courtesy of Archquid / Federico Lerner + 25

GTM Cenografia Uses Shipping Containers in Rio Olympic Pop-up Store for Nike

At the Rio 2016 Olympics, Studio GTM Cenografia developed a temporary installation for Nike. The space, inspired by containers and industrial sheds, occupies a total area of 600 square meters and was built in a metallic structure and wrapped in galvanized trapezoidal tiles. The cube used in the project is an installation from Brazilian artist and designer Muti Randolph, one of the pioneers of digital illustration in Brazil.

Our friends from ArchDaily Brasil talked with the architect Daltro Mendonça (GTM Cenografia) to find out more details on material choices and the execution of the project.

Kickstarter Campaign Produces Large Affordable CNC Cutting Machine

Young tech team (Bar Smith, Hannah Teagle, and Tom Beckett) has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Maslow, a four-by-eight-foot at home CNC cutting machine made to assist construction efforts by cutting user-specified shapes out of wood or any other flat material. Designed to be affordable—at under $500—easy to use, inclusive, and powerful, the project aims to share designs digitally so that you can build on the work of others or create your own from scratch.

Based on the design of the hanging plotter, Maslow “uses gear-reduced DC motors with encoders and a closed-loop feedback system to achieve high accuracy and high torque.”

Courtesy of Maslow CNC Courtesy of Maslow CNC Courtesy of Maslow CNC Courtesy of Maslow CNC + 6

16 Details of Impressive Brickwork

The wide range in which pieces of masonry can be arranged allows for multiple spatial configurations. Born in a furnace, the brick adorns and reinforces, protects and—to various degrees—brings natural light into spaces that need slight, natural illumination. 

Throughout history, traditional brick-laying consisted of predetermined arrangement of parts, and lines of rope to guide the consistency and placement of each individual brick. But there are many other ways to exploit this multi-faceted, timeless material, so we've selected 16 projects that demonstrate the potential of the humble brick. 

Below find 16 construction details from projects that use bricks in ingenious ways. 

Material Focus: Casa Mipibu by Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados

This article is part of our new "Material Focus" series, which asks architects to elaborate on the thought process behind their material choices and sheds light on the steps required to get buildings actually built.

The Mipibu House, designed by Brazilian firm Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados, measures 170 square meters, and uses exposed concrete blocks to complement an expansive layout. Located in an unusually sized site in Brazil, a key element of the architects' design involved the consideration of the possible - or rather the inevitable - verticalization of nearby buildings. In response to this challenge, they designed a compact, complex design that answers the needs of their customer with creativity in the selection and use of materials. We talked with architect Danilo Terra to learn more about the choices of materials and the challenges of the project.

This Spray-On Compound Can Protect Buildings During Disasters And Explosions

A game-changing protective coating from Line-X has the power to make buildings virtually impenetrable. The spray creates a thin barrier which is watertight, abrasion and impact resistant and can withstand high temperatures; all of which combine to make it almost indestructible. The concoction deemed "Paxcon®," is stronger than steel, and can protect buildings from explosions or natural disasters such as earthquakes or storms.