Applying Material Innovation: Does Architecture Have What It Takes?

There is a slide I like to show at the beginning of the architecture courses I teach that provides an overview of the last hundred years or so in design and technology. In the left column, a car from the beginning of the 20th Century (a Ford Model T) is poised over a contemporary car (a Tesla). The middle column contains a similar juxtaposition, showing a WWI-era biplane and a modern-day stealth fighter (an F-117A). In the right column, Walter Gropius’s 1926 Bauhaus Dessau building is seen next to an up-to-date urban mixed-use building. The punch line, of course, is that the two buildings—separated by roughly 100 years—look basically the same, whereas the cars and planes separated by the same timespan seem worlds apart. What is the reason for this?

Why It’s Effective To Wrap Architecture In Zinc

A lightweight material par excellence, Zinc is a non-ferrous metal that provides an effective solution for coating buildings exposed to adverse weather condition while simultaneously delivering a creative response to the requirements of the program and the users of the project.

Solar Lighting for An Affordable, Sustainable Future

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Today, the image of solar power is evolving from an alternative to traditional energy sources to being viewed as a cost-effective solution. Installation of solar-powered lighting does not require the complicated infrastructure, trenching, and wiring expenses necessary for electrical hookups. Long-term maintenance and operational costs are reduced through the use of easy-to-clean panels, electronic components, LED luminaires, and recyclable batteries.

Tips for Using Rainwater in Architectural Projects

The total amount of water on our planet has, theoretically, stayed the same since earth's formation. It's possible that the glass of water you drank earlier contains particles that once ran down the Ganges River, passed through the digestive system of a dinosaur, or even cooled a nuclear reactor. Of course, before it quenched your thirst, this water evaporated and fell as rain millions of times. Water can be polluted or misused, but never created or destroyed. According to a UNESCO study, it is estimated that the Earth contains about 1386 million cubic kilometers of water. However, 97.5% of this amount is saline water and only 2.5% is fresh water. Of this fresh water, most (68.7%) takes the form of permanent ice and snow in Antarctica, the Arctic, and in mountainous regions. Another 29.9% exists as groundwater. Ultimately, only 0.26% of the total amount of fresh water on Earth is available in lakes, reservoirs, and watersheds, where it is easily accessible for the world's economic and vital needs. With the population steadily increasing, especially in urban areas, several countries have already had severe problems with providing the necessary amount of drinking water to their populations.

How Are Construction Materials Produced and How Does This Contribute to the Climate Crisis? Our Readers Answered

How does architecture contribute to the current climate crisis? 

How to Choose Glass that Prevents Birds from Colliding with Buildings

Did you know that World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated in the second week of May?

What Are Decibels? (Or How Noises Affect Our Health)

Noisy environments can significantly and negatively effect our bodies, and are a great villain to concentration, learning, and productivity in classrooms and offices. Headaches are one momentary symptom of noise. But staying exposed to very noisy places can bring greater problems such as hearing loss, lower concentration, high blood pressure, and even poor digestion. It can also trigger high levels of stress, sleep disturbances, mood changes, increased heart rate, and ringing in the ears. This is an invisible enemy and is often neglected in big cities with the noise of heavy traffic, demolition. and noisy equipment, such as generators and air conditioners. However, effective measures can be taken to avoid this unnecessary noise.

5 Alternative Materials for Building Emergency Shelters

Earthquakes, pandemics, conflicts, and environmental disasters are some of the events that have challenged architects, planners, designers, and engineers. The goal is to find ways of creating structures and infrastructure more quickly, easily, efficiently, suiting both the circumstances and the location in which they will be implemented. When searching for materials that meet the requirements for each situation, those considered "alternative" or unusual - at least in the context of emergency shelters - can offer great opportunities for experimentation and applicability for emergency structures. Containers and tensioned fabrics always come to mind when discussing temporary constructions. However, there are other highly available materials with good mechanical properties that can achieve relief purposes.

How to Design Partitions for Healthcare Architecture: 9 Details of High-Performance Walls

Concerns about the hygiene, durability, and healthiness of interior spaces have increased considerably in recent years, drawing extreme attention to hospital and health-related projects. Consequently, the choice of materials becomes essential from the conception of each project, guaranteeing that each space performs effectively on all fronts, from resistance and safety to environmental comfort and aesthetics.

In particular, the enclosures in hospitals and health centers must conform to a series of predetermined guidelines and dimensions, which respond to the standardized sizes of different types of equipment and to the needs of each medical procedure. Within the robust framework of the structural walls, the partitions – which are essential for subdividing the space – must be especially resistant to impact, fire, and humidity, in addition to effectively mediating the acoustics between rooms and inside each one of them.

How Can Architecture Combat Flooding? 9 Practical Solutions

Flooding is a significant problem for buildings all around the world, including architectural treasures like the Farnsworth House that have been plagued by the issue time and time again. In particular, one-third of the entire continental U.S. are at risk of flooding this spring, especially the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, and Deep South. Last April, deadly floods decimated parts of Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Iran as well, resulting in a low estimate of 1,000 deaths while tens of thousands more were displaced. While architecture cannot solve or even fully protect from the most deadly floods, it is possible – and necessary – to take several protective measures that could mitigate damage and consequently save lives.

The Versatility of OSB Panels in 12 Projects

OSB (Oriented Strand Board) can be easily recognized for its distinctive appearance. This material consists of cross-oriented layers of wood strands compressed and bonded together with resin, applied under high pressure and temperature. As a result, the standardized panels have great stiffness, strength, and stability, and are often used as wall cladding attached to the steel frame of a building or as partitions. Also, they have good soundproofing capabilities, since the panels are uniform and have no internal gaps or voids. It is also worth mentioning that OSB can be fully recycled, thereby being considered eco-friendly.

Which Materials are Easiest to Recycle?

The construction industry is responsible for 75% of the consumption of earth's natural resources. Stone, sand, iron, and many other finite resources are extracted in huge quantities to supply the markets. Additionally, construction sites themselves generate enormous quantities of waste, whether through construction, demolition, or remodeling. In Brazil, for example, construction waste can represent between 50% and 70% of the total mass of municipal solid waste [1]. This waste often ends up in landfills and dumps rather than being properly disposed of, overwhelming municipal sanitation systems and creating informal disposal sites.

Possibilities of Forms for Molding Exposed Concrete

Peter Zumthor, in one of his most emblematic works, gives concrete an almost sacred dimension. The work in question is the small Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, located in a small village in Germany, a construction that is both robust and sensitive. Built with white cement, which was mixed with stones and sand from the region, the chapel is composed of 24 layers of concrete that were poured day after day by local labor, and compressed in an unusual way. The building's flat and smooth exterior contrasts with its interior, which was initially made of inclined wooden logs forming a triangular void. To remove these internal forms, the logs were set on fire in a controlled process, reducing them to ash and creating a carbonized interior that varied between black and gray and retained the texture of the negatives of the logs. The result is a masterpiece of architecture, a space for reflection and transformation, in which the same material appears in diametrically opposing ways.

From Red to Green: The Contradictory Aesthetics of Oxidized Facades

For a small child, understanding the concept of time and its passage is very difficult. As a result, children are often impatient when expecting something or confused when trying to remember something from the past. They live in the present, and learn the notion of time only little by little. But accepting the passage of time, and the reality of aging, is something that plagues us even as adults. The lucrative cosmetic and plastic surgery industries show how humanity seeks to control or deny the passage of time, an urge that has proved to be relentless.

Architectonic & Structural Possibilities of Log Wood

The world of architecture and construction has observed, with increasing attention, technological innovations involving wood. Although it is a material that has been widely used for thousands of years, recent research involving industrial manufacturing and machining technologies has provided even greater quality control and an increased diversity of uses, causing it to be described by many as the material of the future. To this end, common myths including wood's lack of resistance to fire and the implausibility of using it to structure tall buildings have been debunked.

How to Optimize Small Spaces: 9 Folding and Sliding Beds

As the number of smaller and more compact apartments grows, architects and interior designers are challenged to create multifunctional solutions and systems capable of optimizing spaces, in a way that every inch seems to make a difference. As a result, it is increasingly common for professionals to focus on designing creative furniture solutions that allow the space to transform completely in a few seconds.