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Materials: The Latest Architecture and News

Cardboard: From Industrial Workhouse to Shigeru Ban’s Master Material

12:00 - 24 March, 2019
Cardboard: From Industrial Workhouse to Shigeru Ban’s Master Material, © Bridgit Anderson
© Bridgit Anderson

Cardboard tubes are so commonplace that we may no longer even notice them. Yet they are everywhere: in a roll of toilet paper, in the packaging of the college diploma, in fireworks, and in the tissue and paper industries. And now, more and more, they can be found in unusual places, such as on the walls of houses and buildings. The material is part of modern life and is being produced for a multitude of industrial applications and consumer products. The vast majority are used as structural cores in winding operations. Immediately after manufacturing, paper, film or textiles are rolled directly onto cardboard tubes resulting in a stable roll that is easily stored and transported.

Cortesia de Voluntary Architects' Network © Michael Moran / OTTO © Michael Moran / OTTO © Bridgit Anderson + 8

This Off-Site Construction System Duplicates Floors in Barcelona Buildings in 3 Days

07:00 - 22 March, 2019
This Off-Site Construction System Duplicates Floors in Barcelona Buildings in 3 Days, © Albert Argiles / Otger Rius.
© Albert Argiles / Otger Rius.

La Casa por el Tejado, a company specializing in the construction of old buildings, duplicated both the living spaces and the number of floors of an apartment building on Avenida Meridiana in the El Clot neighborhood of Barcelona. The new residences were built off-site in 12-weeks time and in accordance with the building's original dimensions and characteristics.

Home Automation In Renovations: Is It Possible to Transform an Old Building into an Intelligent One?

07:00 - 20 March, 2019
Home Automation In Renovations: Is It Possible to Transform an Old Building into an Intelligent One?, © Qingshan Wu
© Qingshan Wu

Although the ability to install home automation in a practical way is associated with new projects, it is possible to adapt previously built buildings in a relatively simple way. In both small and large renovations projects these systems can deliver automated features that responds to the requirements and needs of its users. They can also improve the habitability and comfort of its spaces, increase their security and promote long-term energy and money savings. So, what considerations must be taken into account in order to transform an regular architecture project into an "intelligent" one?

© Eric Laignel © Zooey Brown © Adrià Goula Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & SPA / Simone Micheli, remodeled by AVE. Image © Juergen Eheim + 14

Let There be Light: Key Indicators to Describe and Design Visual Comfort

04:00 - 20 March, 2019
Let There be Light: Key Indicators to Describe and Design Visual Comfort, Atelier_142 / Atelier Wilda. Image © David Foessel
Atelier_142 / Atelier Wilda. Image © David Foessel

Architects are increasingly aware of our influence on the well-being and good health of the users of our projects. Natural lighting –and how it should be complemented with artificial lighting– is an essential factor to consider for the visual comfort of interior spaces. But, do we know how to handle it correctly?

Maison Kochi / Meister Varma Architects. Image © Praveen Mohandas The Heart in Ikast / C.F. Møller Architects. Image © Adam Mørk Scheune Minden / Architekten Stein Hemmes Wirtz. Image © Linda Blatzek Photography ‘Hope’ Lavan’s Studio Apartment / MMGS ARCHITECTS. Image © Ramitha Watareka + 13

30 Plans, Sections and Details for Sustainable Projects

07:00 - 19 March, 2019
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.

Storage Solution for Small Houses: Useful Examples

04:00 - 18 March, 2019
Storage Solution for Small Houses: Useful Examples, Cabin on the Border / SO? Architecture&Ideas. Image Cortesía de SO?
Cabin on the Border / SO? Architecture&Ideas. Image Cortesía de SO?

Dense cities mean small homes. With more and more frequency we are forced to adapt to spaces within which some elements simply do not fit. As architects, these restrictions actually provide us with opportunities and remind us that our goal is to give precise solutions to specific problems. Designing with infinite number square meters and/or an unlimited budget is practically unheard of.

What's the key to accommodating everything? Let's review some effective storage solutions for minimum, tight spaces.

END THE ROC / nook architects. Image © Yago Partal Bazillion / YCL Studio. Image © Leonas Garbačauskas HB6B / Karin Matz. Image Cortesía de Karin Matz Gorki / Ruetemple. Image Cortesía de Ruetemple + 33

These 13 Designs by IKEA Make Life Easier (and More Equitable) for Differently-Abled People

11:00 - 17 March, 2019
These 13 Designs by IKEA Make Life Easier (and More Equitable) for Differently-Abled People, ThisAbles Project. Image © IKEA / Milbat NGO / Access Israel
ThisAbles Project. Image © IKEA / Milbat NGO / Access Israel

Architects' general ignorance about the needs and requirements for people with special needs is worrisome. Beyond complying with mandatory regulations (different in each country), the quality of life for different-abled people depends on specific and daily factors that go beyond a railing or a ramp, and are often left in the hands of professionals who have never dealt with such issues.

This Ables, a project developed by IKEA and the non-profit organizations Milbat and Access Israel, provides an excellent resource for how to create an equitable design in the smallest and simplest of details. From door handles that are can be opened with a forearm to a couch lift that enables users to sit down and get up easily, these 13 products are available to the general public on ThisAbles.com. Some products can even be 3D-printed independently.

See the video below for more details of the project.

30 Open Bathrooms: Incorporating Breeze and Nature in Private Space

10:00 - 16 March, 2019
30 Open Bathrooms: Incorporating Breeze and Nature in Private Space, Forest View House / Sinichi Ogawa & Associates. Image © Shinichi Ogawa & Associates
Forest View House / Sinichi Ogawa & Associates. Image © Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

The private space is usually associated with hiding what goes on inside, allowing people to have certain moments of intimacy. Habitually, bathrooms have been designed for this purpose, reducing openings to a minimum or — sometimes — eliminating them completely.

However, being such an important space within a building, bathrooms have become an object of new exploration for architects. By blurring the limits of privacy — without losing it completely — these spaces are open to the outdoors, allowing the breeze to enter. How does this new experience feel? Check out 30 open bathrooms that play with the feeling of exhibitionism, without fully revealing what is happening inside.

© Sean Fennessy © Luis Gordoa © Shannon McGrath TreeVilla at Forest Hills / Architecture BRIO. Image © Photographix + 37

CTBUH Names Norway's Mjøstårnet the Tallest Timber Building in the World

04:05 - 15 March, 2019
CTBUH Names Norway's Mjøstårnet the Tallest Timber Building in the World, Courtesy of CTBUH
Courtesy of CTBUH

The Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has announced that Norway's Mjøstårnet tower is, at 85.4 meters, officially the world's tallest timber building. Beyond the unique distinction, the tower is also Norway's tallest mixed-use structure and third tallest building.

Infinity Pools in 15 Architecture Projects

07:00 - 14 March, 2019
Infinity Pools in 15 Architecture Projects, © Photographix
© Photographix

There are few things that fascinate us more than the sea. Its contemplation arouses a sense of peace, while its colors, textures, movements and amplitude provide a scientifically proven effect of relaxation in our nervous system. Above all, it makes us realize how small we are in the universe. It is not by chance that a house facing the sea is a dream of consumption for many, let alone with a pool right in front of it. Infinity pools play with this feeling of infinite sea and sky. Through a well-elaborated set of levels and plans, they create an optical illusion that leaves everyone speechless, making pool water appear as if merged with the horizon, overflowing at one or more edges. But before you plan your photo on Instagram with a glass of sparkling wine in your hand, let's take a look at how these pools are built.

© Hiroyuki Oki © Àdria Goula © Àdria Goula © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG + 20

How To Recycle Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) To Turn it Into Paint

04:00 - 14 March, 2019
How To Recycle Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) To Turn it Into Paint, Cortesía de Idea-Tec
Cortesía de Idea-Tec

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a plastic material widely used for thermal insulation (and in some cases, acoustics) in building envelopes.

So is it possible to recycle it and apply it again in other construction processes? Yes, EPS can be crushed and compacted to be used in the manufacture of new plastic products. But it can also be recycled and live again in the construction of architectural and urban projects in the form of paints and coatings.

Cortesía de Idea-Tec Cortesía de Idea-Tec Cortesía de Idea-Tec Cortesía de Idea-Tec + 10

Sidewalk Labs Tests a 'Raincoat' for Buildings in Toronto

05:00 - 13 March, 2019
Sidewalk Labs Tests a 'Raincoat' for Buildings in Toronto, Building Raincoat Prototype. Image © David Pike
Building Raincoat Prototype. Image © David Pike

Alphabet-owned Sidewalk Labs is testing a "raincoat" for buildings, a prototype tensile structure that's made to make extreme weather more comfortable. Created as part of the Quayside smart city project in Toronto, the raincoat structure aims to help protect from wind and rain while lowering energy demands on buildings. Designed by Toronto-based RWDI and Partisans, the prototype debuted at Sidewalk's 307 office. Made from a thin plastic membrane, the raincoat will remain up for one year as teams test its performance.

Building Raincoat Prototype. Image © David Pike Building Raincoat Prototype. Image © David Pike Building Raincoat Prototype. Image © David Pike Building Raincoat Prototype. Image © David Pike + 19

Glass in Retail & Commercial Architecture: Texture, Brightness and Color

03:30 - 13 March, 2019
Glass in Retail & Commercial Architecture: Texture, Brightness and Color, Pier 17 South Street Seaport. Image Courtesy of Bendheim
Pier 17 South Street Seaport. Image Courtesy of Bendheim

Nowadays, new technologies for the treatment of glass provide new ways to use this material in architecture. Applied indoors, specifically in retail stores, glass in its different textures, colors, finishes and levels of transparency can allow the unobstructed view of certain products, hide more private areas without blocking the passage of light, and attract the attention of customers as focal points, among many other uses.

Review below a selection of applications in commercial projects.

Copper Cladding: A Glittering Room With Baroque Twists

12:00 - 10 March, 2019
Copper Cladding: A Glittering Room With Baroque Twists, Courtesy of Peter Ebner
Courtesy of Peter Ebner

This renovation project by Peter Ebner and friends ZT GmbH is about the history of a place and changing tastes and times. It is about not needing a large scale to radically improve the space around. It is about the beauty and character of the city with its reflected sparkling life, gloomy evening sky, raindrops and lights of passing cars. It is about people who are mostly in a hurry, but who still sometimes stop for a few seconds to take note of a special, glittering room.

© Paul Ott © Paul Ott © Paul Ott © Paul Ott + 21

Sun-Filled Spaces Created By Skylights In 20 Architectural Projects

07:00 - 6 March, 2019
Sun-Filled Spaces Created By Skylights In 20 Architectural Projects, © Adam Mork
© Adam Mork

Perhaps the most renowned 'skylight' ever built is the Pantheon of Rome commissioned by Marco Vipsanius Agrippa during the reign of Emperor Augustus (27 BC-14 AD) and rebuilt by Hadrian (117-118) around 126 AD. At the highest point of its dome (in this case, the oculus) the sunlight shines, casting its beams over the various statues of planetary deities that occupy the niches on the walls. The light that enters the space symbolizes a cosmic, sacred dimension. In projects around the world, natural light continues to fulfill this scenic role, especially in religious projects.

It is characterized as zenithal illumination as that which comes from above, from the sky (zenith). Very useful for large spaces that can not be adequately lit by windows, skylights are a widely used device for providing a pleasant, diffuse light. Generally, care is taken to prevent direct entry of sunlight; the openings must be well designed so that they do not overheat the space of allow water infiltration. Below is a collection of projects that make good use of this technique.

© Mathias Kestel © Hufton + Crow © Christian Richters © Andrew Lee + 44

Coolest White: A Painting to Reduce the Urban Heat Islands

05:00 - 1 March, 2019
Coolest White: A Painting to Reduce the Urban Heat Islands, Cortesia de UNStudio and Monopol Colors
Cortesia de UNStudio and Monopol Colors

The increasing use of air conditioning is causing many cities to hit record energy consumption levels during brutally hot summer months. In populous countries like India, China, Indonesia, Brazil, and Mexico, large urban centers function like ovens: buildings absorb heat that is re-released back into the environment, further increasing the local temperature. More heat outside means more air conditioning inside, which not only raises energy consumption, but also increases the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

With this vicious cycle in mind, a paint was created to protect buildings and urban structures from excessive solar radiation, diminishing the effect of the urban heat island. The innovation came from the partnership of UNStudio, a Dutch architectural firm, and Monopol Color, a Swiss paint specialist. The dark-colored materials that are used to construct the buildings in our cities are one of the main causes of heat accumulation in urban areas. While darker materials absorb up to 95% of the sun’s rays and release them straight back into the atmosphere, this value can be reduced to 25% with a normal white surface. Now, with ‘The Coolest White’, it is possible to reduce absorption and emission to 12%.

6 Thoughts On Materials and Construction: Decisions That Improve People's Quality Of Life

07:00 - 28 February, 2019
6 Thoughts On Materials and Construction: Decisions That Improve People's Quality Of Life, © José Tomás Franco
© José Tomás Franco

Materials, products, and construction systems are constantly evolving and following new technologies, discoveries, and market trends. The question is: are we, as architects, evolving with them? We have heard about robots working on construction sites, responsive and intelligent materials and the continued rise of 3D printing, but is it all white noise at the moment of starting a new design? More importantly, could these new systems continue to progress without sensitively and effectively taking people's quality of life into account?

How should we use materials—both in their traditional forms and in their future conceptions—so that our projects are making relevant contributions to the way we are inhabiting our planet?

In order to evolve, we have to know how, so it’ s worth beginning a discussion around these issues.

Sidewalks That Generate Energy Through The Steps

09:00 - 27 February, 2019
Sidewalks That Generate Energy Through The Steps, Cortesia de Pavegen
Cortesia de Pavegen

When we think of energy from renewable sources, the first that probably come to mind are solar and wind. And decentralizing power generation is something that has inspired engineers and inventors from all over the world.

So what about turning the mechanical energy generated when people walk into electrical energy? It can be done thanks to technology developed by Laurence Kemball-Cook,founder of Pavegen. Using platforms inserted within sidewalks Pavegen converts steps into electric power (while also generating data and even rewards). But before you go out there feeling like Michael Jackson in Billie Jean, you should understand how this system works.

Cortesia de Pavegen Cortesia de Pavegen Cortesia de Pavegen Cortesia de Pavegen + 9