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Materials

Understanding The Human Body: Designing For People of All Shapes and Sizes

05:00 - 22 January, 2019
Understanding The Human Body: Designing For People of All Shapes and Sizes, Sketches by Bill Stumpf, that show his desire to design a chair that works for all kinds of bodies. Image Courtesy of Herman Miller
Sketches by Bill Stumpf, that show his desire to design a chair that works for all kinds of bodies. Image Courtesy of Herman Miller

It's common sense: a good design is based on people and what they really need. As architects, are we deepening enough to give the correct answers to the requirements we face in each project?

Herman Miller is a great example of this understanding. Founded in 1905 by Dirk Jan De Pree, the American company produces equipment and furnishings for offices and housing, including a high level of research to understand the human body and the way we inhabit our daily spaces. These investigations, supported by usability testing and multidisciplinary work, results in a large number of furniture pieces and spatial designs that are now used by people around the world.

We had the opportunity to visit their headquarters in Zeeland, Michigan to understand how these studies have been carried out for several decades.

12 Online Courses for Architects and Students

08:00 - 20 January, 2019
12 Online Courses for Architects and Students, <a href="https://www.Vecteezy.com">Vecteezy!</a>
Vecteezy!

Online courses have gained more and more recognition in the past couple of years. In addition to the flexibility and convenience of learning wherever and whenever you want, they provide access to content from well-respected professors and colleges. In the field of architecture and construction, online courses have grown exponentially. Last year, we compiled a list that focused mainly on constructive and material techniques. This time we selected 15 online courses covering a range of subjects. We hope this selection of courses can help you with your next project.

Solar Car Port: Renewable Energy to Charge Your E-Car

04:00 - 16 January, 2019
Solar Car Port: Renewable Energy to Charge Your E-Car, Courtesy of MDT-Tex
Courtesy of MDT-Tex

In recent years, solar energy has become a very popular method to power electric vehicles. This emerging technology has motivated the development of new architectural typologies. An evident evolution of traditional gas stations, it could be foreseen that solar-powered charging stations will begin to significantly grow in numbers in our cities in both public and private spaces.

Copper Projects: Architecture’s Original Bling

05:00 - 10 January, 2019
© Adam Mørk
© Adam Mørk

© Thomas Ott © David Foessel © Joan Bracco & Cécile Septet © Adam Mørk + 18

Since its discovery in 8700 B.C., copper has been one of the most used metals in the history of humankind. It has a variety of uses from coins and weapons to statues and even architecture. One of its first architectural uses was in Ancient Egypt for the massive doors of the temple to Amen-Re at Karnak in 300 B.C.

The versatility of the material continues in architecture to this day, allowing for a variety of unique designs and uses. The innovative, efficient, and lightweight material is versatile in its use, ranging from facades to roofs, interior applications, and high tech solutions. Sustainable in its natural form, the material is 100% recycled. As the state of architecture becomes more focused on sustainability, copper becomes the ideal material for the buildings of today.

Below, we’ve selected 7 projects that use architecture's original bling.

How to Design Smart Homes: 8 Tips for Incorporating Domotics Into Architecture

04:00 - 8 January, 2019
How to Design Smart Homes: 8 Tips for Incorporating Domotics Into Architecture, Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & SPA. Image © Juergen Eheim
Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & SPA. Image © Juergen Eheim

Home automation has long been associated with high costs, a burdening assembly time, and a cumbersome process that impelled us to discard the idea of automating projects. However, these days are long gone. 

With lower costs and easier assembly, today, developing a new project without home automation seems somewhat absurd. Below, with the help of AVE Chile, we've compiled a series of tips to help you incorporate domotics into your next project.

'Vista Santiago' Project, Santiago de Chile. Image © AVE Chile © AVE Chile © AVE Chile 'Vista Santiago' Project, Santiago de Chile. Image © AVE Chile + 19

California Approves Rule Requiring Solar Panels on New Homes

13:00 - 28 December, 2018
California Approves Rule Requiring Solar Panels on New Homes, via Creative Commons
via Creative Commons

The California Building Standards Commission has approved a new rule starting in 2020 that requires all new homes built in the state to include solar panels. As the first of its kind in the United States, the new rule includes an incentive for homeowners to add a high-capacity battery to their electrical system. The move hopes to help meet the state's goal of sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions while drawing all electricity from renewable energy sources.

Cross Ventilation, the Chimney Effect and Other Concepts of Natural Ventilation

02:30 - 20 December, 2018
Sarah Kubitschek Hospital Salvador / João Filgueiras Lima. Image © Nelson Kon
Sarah Kubitschek Hospital Salvador / João Filgueiras Lima. Image © Nelson Kon

Nothing is more rational than using the wind, a natural, free, renewable and healthy resource, to improve the thermal comfort of our projects. The awareness of the finiteness of the resources and the demand for the reduction in the energy consumption has removed air-conditioning systems as the protagonist of any project. Architects and engineers are turning to this more passive system to improve thermal comfort. It is evident that there are extreme climates in which there is no escape, or else the use of artificial systems, but in a large part of the terrestrial surface it is possible to provide a pleasant flow of air through the environments by means of passive systems, especially if the actions are considered during the project stage.

This is a highly complex theme, but we have approached some of the concepts exemplifying them with built projects. A series of ventilation systems can help in the projects: natural cross ventilation, natural induced ventilation, chimney effect and evaporative cooling, which combined with the correct use of constructive elements allows improvement in thermal comfort and decrease in energy consumption.

10 Bathrooms To Match Your Favorite Bathbomb

12:00 - 16 December, 2018
© Peter Clarke
© Peter Clarke

With the right configuration of materials and shapes, small enclosure, such as bathrooms, have unending design potential. Progressively, architects and designers are striving to make washrooms more welcoming and attractive places for its users. Often times we will hear clients ask for their bathroom to be somewhat of a personal spa. This week we have compiled 10 compelling images of bathrooms from all over the world. Bathrooms whose materials, patterns, colors, shapes, and textures begin to tell a story. Below, photographs by Peter Clarke, José Hevia, and Erieta Attali.

© Justin Alexander © Erieta Attali © Photographix © Ralph Feiner + 12

Sliding Room Dividers: Flexible Spaces Made of Metal Mesh

05:00 - 3 December, 2018
Sliding Room Dividers: Flexible Spaces Made of Metal Mesh, Cortesía de Cascade Architectural
Cortesía de Cascade Architectural

Using coiled wire fabric to divide interior spaces allows for both open and non-invasive partitioned areas. The installations add texture but maintain a soft, semi-opaque appearance. These functional room dividers are composed of coiled wire fabric woven into different thicknesses, which provide a flexible design and moldability. 

Today we will highlight its use as an operable room divider, but coiled wire fabric can also be used as a ceiling treatment, exhibit and retail displays, wall coverings, artistic elements, and much more.

Cortesía de Cascade Architectural © Mikiko Kikuyama © Andy Tinucci Cortesía de Cascade Architectural + 47

How To Improve Acoustic Comfort with Perforated Cardboard Plasterboards

06:00 - 25 November, 2018
How To Improve Acoustic Comfort with Perforated Cardboard Plasterboards, Cortesía de Romeral
Cortesía de Romeral

There are many ways to solve the acoustic comfort of the interior spaces we design, using materials and solutions of different prices and appearances. Perforated cardboard gypsum boards are an economical and efficient option to incorporate into projects, absorbing the sound and reducing the noise level generated by the reverberation through different patterns and shapes.

Applied mainly in schools, offices, shopping centers, restaurants, lobbies, and hospitals, gypsum boards are easy to install and can deliver high-quality aesthetic results in ceilings and coatings.

Universidad Andrés Bello. Image Cortesía de Romeral Universidad Andrés Bello. Image Cortesía de Romeral Cortesía de Romeral Cortesía de Romeral + 15

The Tallest Timber Tower in Australia Opens in Brisbane

09:00 - 23 November, 2018
The Tallest Timber Tower in Australia Opens in Brisbane, © Tom Roe
© Tom Roe

Australia’s largest engineered timber commercial building has opened in Brisbane, designed by Bates Smart. At 10 stories, and 45 meters in height, the “25 King” open plan office complex is the tallest timber structure in Australia, and “establishes new frontiers in the design of commercial buildings.

The scheme’s aesthetic is centered on the goal of “bringing a clear expression of its exposed timber structure to the building’s transparent envelope and promoting a warmer, more natural workplace environment of the future.”

© Tom Roe © Tom Roe © Tom Roe © Tom Roe + 13

Smart Homes That Use Domotics To Improve Quality of Life

04:00 - 22 November, 2018
© Paul Finkel
© Paul Finkel

Home automation, or Domotics, is a set of technologies applied to a residence to control lighting, climate, entertainment systems, and appliances. Its systems allow for efficient management of energy consumption, security, accessibility, and the general comfort of the building, becoming an important issue to consider when designing, building, and living.

Domotic systems are based on the collection of data by sensors, which are then processed to issue precise orders to the executors, varying the environmental quality of each enclosure according to the needs of the user. The pace of current life and the technological advances we have experienced in recent years have led to new ways of living, motivating the design of homes and more human, multifunctional and flexible buildings. What was once a luxury is now a feasible and effective solution for all types of projects.

In this article, we've compiled a collection of smart homes where domotics have been used.

© Kingkien © Beer Singnoi © Kingkien © Günther Richard Wett + 25

Brazilian Houses: 20 Concrete Projects in Plan and Section

06:00 - 10 November, 2018
Brazilian Houses: 20 Concrete Projects in Plan and Section, © Nelson Kon
© Nelson Kon

Concrete may be the material most associated with modern Brazilian architecture; high resistance to compression and, when armed, capable of assuming various forms. Its plasticity has made it a favorite material for some of Brazil's most expressive architects of the last century.

Today, it is still widely explored in the architectural production of Brazil, either for its structural robustness, ease of maintenance, or aesthetic value.

How to Make Earth Plaster in 5 Easy-to-Follow Steps

04:00 - 9 November, 2018
How to Make Earth Plaster in 5 Easy-to-Follow Steps, © Rafael Loschiavo | Ecoeficientes
© Rafael Loschiavo | Ecoeficientes

The use of earth plaster is very common in natural buildings; it is the same mixture used in adobe. Though easily made, its use is not widely known. Rafael Loschiavo, from Ecoeficientes, teaches the step-by-step method for bringing a new life to a run-down wall without the need for major renovations.

Polycarbonate in Architecture: 10 Translucent Solutions

04:00 - 7 November, 2018
Polycarbonate in Architecture: 10 Translucent Solutions, © Brett Boardman
© Brett Boardman

Composed of microcell panels, polycarbonate offers various solutions for the use of natural lighting in architectural enclosures. Whether applied to facades, interior spaces or roofs, the benefits of polycarbonate, such as lightness, clean lines, colored panels, and light effects, offer a wide range of design freedom. Microcell panel technology reduces the need for artificial light and favors uniformity in the diffusion of natural light, achieving energy efficient facades and the illusion of spaciousness in interior spaces. Below, we've selected 10 projects that have used polycarbonate as a wrapping material.

© Ben Hosking © Imagen Subliminal Cortesía de Danpal Cortesía de Danpal + 33

Construction Details of Zaha Hadid Architects Projects

05:00 - 31 October, 2018
Construction Details of Zaha Hadid Architects Projects, Guangzhou Opera House / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan
Guangzhou Opera House / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan

Surely every architect has wondered how the fluid but complex forms of the architecture of Zaha Hadid Architects are brought to reality. And it's beautiful to see how an initial conceptual idea –probably drawn as a quick sketch– materializes in precise and detailed planimetric drawings.

We have compiled a series of construction details from 9 projects developed by Zaha Hadid Architects that give insight into her distinct style and approach, showing us that, with a little ingenuity and a lot of expertise, even the most impossible-seeming dreams can be built.

The Serpentine Sackler Gallery / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Luke Hayes MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan Messner Mountain Museum Corones / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Werner Huthmacher Library and Learning Centre University of Economics Vienna / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Roland Halbe + 29

Fiber Cement Facades in Architecture: 9 Notable Examples

05:00 - 29 October, 2018
Fiber Cement Facades in Architecture: 9 Notable Examples, Lighthouse / Room11 Architects. Image © Benjamin Hosking
Lighthouse / Room11 Architects. Image © Benjamin Hosking

Interested in building light and modular facades with a rustic and monolithic appearance?

Composed of cement, cellulose, and mineral materials, fiber cement allows us to clad walls in a light, non-combustible, and rain-resistant way, generating facades with different textures, colors, and tones. Its panels are easily manageable, perforable, and can configure ventilated facades when installed with a certain separation between the rear wall. Check after the break for 9 projects that have cleverly used fiber cement as the primary material in facades.

24 Housing Units / Zanon + Bourbon Architects. Image © Olivier Dancy Casa Hoffstad / Knut Hjeltnes. Image © Inger Marie Grini Villa GK / CORE Architects. Image © Alexander Bogorodskiy Casa GZ / Studio Cáceres Lazo. Image © Pablo Casals Aguirre + 25

Brazilian Houses: 15 Steel Projects in Plan and Section

08:00 - 27 October, 2018
Brazilian Houses: 15 Steel Projects in Plan and Section, Casa Claudios / Arquitetura Nacional. Image © Pedro Kok
Casa Claudios / Arquitetura Nacional. Image © Pedro Kok

Metallic elements have been used in architecture and civil construction for hundreds of years, either as decorative elements, coverings or even to reinforce masonry structures. However, it is only in the second half of the eighteenth century that the first bridges emerge whose structure was entirely made of cast iron. A century later, iron was replaced by a more resistant and malleable alloy, still used today in architecture: steel.

Denser than concrete, the strength of steel subverts its weight and provides greater stiffness with less material - allowing for lighter and thinner structures than those made from other materials, such as wood or concrete. It is by no means the most used material in residential architecture, however, its use has made it possible to construct some interesting - and beautiful - examples of contemporary houses: