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Materials: The Latest Architecture and News

Solve Complex Architectural Details With This 'Contour Duplicator Gauge'

05:00 - 19 February, 2019

Most of the materials that we use in the construction of our projects have shapes and dimensions that seek to facilitate their storage, transfer, and installation, being constituted in its majority by orthogonal modulations. These straight angles don't always fit with the irregularity of our designs, nor do they coincide exactly when encountering more organic materials or other specific elements such as ducts, pillars, or furniture.

This simple tool allows you to copy, duplicate, and measure complex contours so that the materials adapt perfectly to other elements. Its mobile 'teeth' must be pressed against the profile to obtain a mold of its shape, generating templates that will allow cutting and adjusting the original material with precision. Thus, the tool could even be useful for replicating or repairing unique details in restorations or refurbishments.

The Possibilities of Pigmented Concrete: 18 Buildings Infused With Color

04:00 - 18 February, 2019
The Possibilities of Pigmented Concrete: 18 Buildings Infused With Color, Center for Interpretation of The Battle of Atoleiros / Gonçalo Byrne Arquitectos + Oficina Ideias em Linha. Image © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG
Center for Interpretation of The Battle of Atoleiros / Gonçalo Byrne Arquitectos + Oficina Ideias em Linha. Image © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

When we think of concrete, the color gray generally comes to mind. The traditional mixture of concrete, which comprises cement, gravel, sand, and water may vary in color depending on elements and admixtures but naturally varies from light to dark gray. However, compounds that add pigment to the mixture are becoming increasingly prevalent and popular,  as they infuse the concrete with hues more stable than paint. These shades result from the addition of oxides:  yellow, red and their derivations (eg. brown) are obtained with the addition of iron oxide; chromium and cobalt oxide create the greens and blues, respectively. For black concrete, it is common to use black iron oxide and carbon oxide combined with pozzolanic cement.

Centro Cultural Comunitário Teotitlán del Valle / PRODUCTORA. Image © Luis Gallardo - LGM Studio Museu Cais do Sertão / Brasil Arquitetura. Image © Nelson Kon Residência Montagnola / Attilio Panzeri & Partners. Image © Giorgio Marafioti Galería Solar S. Roque / Manuel Maia Gomes. Image © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG + 19

Green Roofs: How to Detail Waterproofing Using Liquid Membranes

12:00 - 17 February, 2019
Green Roofs: How to Detail Waterproofing Using Liquid Membranes, House M / Plan:b arquitectos
House M / Plan:b arquitectos

Green roofs are composed of a series of layers that allow vegetation to grow correctly, avoiding leaks that may cause damage to the structure of the building. Although there is a wide variety of options to build them, we're presenting a system composed of a mortar base, a layer of asphalt emulsion, two waterproof asphalt membranes, a drainage layer, and the substrate that will allow the growth of plant species.

To waterproof the areas of parapets and other 'critical' points, the system includes a liquid polyurethane membrane, which allows the entire system to be sealed. Below, you can see some application keys of the different components of a green roof, and the benefits of this liquid impermeable layer.

Cortesía de Sika Hotchkiss Biomass Power Plant / Centerbrook Architects and Planners. Image © David Sundberg/Esto Cortesía de Sika Cortesía de Sika + 11

Slender Strength: The Mighty Grace of the Stainless Steel AIRTable

10:00 - 17 February, 2019
Slender Strength: The Mighty Grace of the Stainless Steel AIRTable, © Carlos Banon
© Carlos Banon

A sturdy featherweight table? Sounds... contrary to reason. But this contradiction was the very impetus for the design. Created for a research center that’s pushing the boundaries of design and manufacturing using technology and science, the designers--AIRLab, in collaboration with DManD-- sought to dematerialise the typical structure of a table, creating a sense of instability with the visual counterpoint of a solid surface.

© Aurelia Chan © Carlos Banon © Carlos Banon © Carlos Banon + 12

Do You Think About How Your Architecture Project Will Age? We Want to Hear from You!

10:00 - 16 February, 2019
Do You Think About How Your Architecture Project Will Age? We Want to Hear from You!, Historical photo: Courtesy of Retrieve the Ariston, Flickr user: ladyandrux. ImageArador Ariston / Marcel Breuer
Historical photo: Courtesy of Retrieve the Ariston, Flickr user: ladyandrux. ImageArador Ariston / Marcel Breuer

When the work finally comes to an end, the cleaning is done and preparations for the opening are underway, everything looks perfect. Coatings are all in their proper place, shining and with the intended color; wood surfaces are as yet unmarked and there is even a feeling of freshness and new life. Photographs mean that, for many, this vision of perfection is all that will ever be seen. 

But this perfection can be superficial. Failing to consider the damaging power of time during design and specification stages means can hasten the appearance of inevitable imperfections. Small fissures, stains, and scuffs among many other problems (that we have all dealt with at some point) begin to appear. The beautiful wood frame, so lovingly chosen, starts to look greyish. The paint fades where the sun hits the strongest. Boards begin to warp and fall  from the facade.

Chilean Houses And Their Kitchens In Detail

11:00 - 7 February, 2019
Chilean Houses And Their Kitchens In Detail

Traditionally, Chilean housing has used the kitchen as a central space in their designs, from which all other venues are deployed. Being a focal point within each project, it's important to deepen its design and occupy every available square meter in favor of its effective use. Today, we review 7 kitchens designed specifically in Chilean homes; each one with particular details and distributions, and different combinations of materials, furniture, and equipment.

Casa Zille / Gonzalo Mardones V Arquitectos. Image © Xilofor Casa Málaga / Prietoschaffer arquitectos. Image © Roland Halbe Casa Rocas / Studio MK27 + 57STUDIO. Image © Xilofor Los Halcones / FG Arquitectos + Demaria. Image © Xilofor + 48

The Unbearable Lightness of Fiber-Cement Furniture

05:00 - 31 January, 2019
Cortesia de Swisspearl
Cortesia de Swisspearl

The idea of turning cold, raw materials into elegant shapes has always fascinated artists, architects, and designers. In the Carrara marble sculptures of Lorenzo Berdini and Michelangelo, human forms were carved from heavy blocks of stones with great detail and precision. There is no difference in architecture: from taking a light volume off the floor, to leaving a small indentation between a structure and a fence, to altering the lining of a block, there are several devices to make buildings visually lighter.

Cortesia de Swisspearl Cortesia de Swisspearl Cortesia de Swisspearl Cortesia de Swisspearl + 21

How to Design for Optimal Thermal Comfort (And Why it Matters)

04:00 - 31 January, 2019
How to Design for Optimal Thermal Comfort (And Why it Matters), ZEB Pilot House - Pilot Project / Snøhetta. Image © Bruce Damonte
ZEB Pilot House - Pilot Project / Snøhetta. Image © Bruce Damonte

Have you ever found yourself losing a good night’s sleep due to an overly warm room? Or wearing four jackets and a scarf just to tolerate your office’s frigid air conditioning? Truth be told, you can’t please everyone when it comes to adjusting an indoor climate, and there is always that one unfortunate individual who ends up sacrificing their own comfort for the sake of others.

Evidently, there are no ‘universal standards’ or ‘recommended comfort ranges’ in designing building systems, since athletes training in a gym in Mexico will not feel comfortable in an interior with the same building systems of a nursing home in Denmark, for instance. Which is why, if we were to briefly define ‘thermal comfort’, it is the creation of building systems that are adapted to the local environment and functions of the space, cooperatively.

So how can we design for optimum thermal comfort?

© Saint-Gobain / illustration by Elise Géhin © Saint-Gobain / illustration by Elise Géhin © Saint-Gobain / illustration by Elise Géhin Diagram by Snøhetta + 24

This is How a Complex Brick Wall is Built Using Augmented Reality

05:00 - 25 January, 2019
This is How a Complex Brick Wall is Built Using Augmented Reality, Cortesía de Fologram
Cortesía de Fologram

Fusing augmented reality with the physical space, Fologram seeks to facilitate the construction of complex designs (for example, parametric designs that require a series of measurements, verification, and specific care) through digital instructions that are virtually superimposed into the workspace, directing a step-by-step guide for bricklayers during the construction process.

'Research institutions and large companies are working with industrial robots to automate these challenging construction tasks. However, robots aren’t well-suited for unpredictable construction environments, and even the most sophisticated computer vision algorithms cannot match the intuition and skill of a trained bricklayer,' stated their creators.

Cortesía de Fologram Cortesía de Fologram Cortesía de Fologram Cortesía de Fologram + 9

Zinc-Coated Buildings: 20 Recyclable and Durable Facades

04:00 - 23 January, 2019
Zinc-Coated Buildings: 20 Recyclable and Durable Facades, Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Brown University / Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image © Iwan Baan
Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Brown University / Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image © Iwan Baan

Zinc is a natural element extracted from ores. Its symbol, which appears in the dreaded Periodic Table, is Zn. Through a metallurgical process of burning its impurities (reducing zinc oxide and refining), it assumes a much more friendly appearance, and later becomes the sheets, coils, and rollers used in construction. The main characteristic of this material is its malleability, which allows it to be worked easily, allowing to cover complex forms in facades and roofs of buildings.

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.

Zero Waste Lab 3D Prints Street Furniture from Household Plastic Waste 

13:00 - 16 January, 2019
Zero Waste Lab 3D Prints Street Furniture from Household Plastic Waste , Print Your City. Image © Stefanos Tsakiris
Print Your City. Image © Stefanos Tsakiris

The New Raw has launched the Zero Waste Lab in Thessaloniki, a research initiative where Greek citizens can upcycle plastic waste into urban furniture. Part of the larger Print Your City project, the project utilizes a robotic arm and recycling facilitates to create custom furniture pieces that close the plastic waste loop. The initiative aims to use flakes from recycled products to redesign public spaces within the cities.

Print Your City. Image © Stefanos Tsakiris Print Your City. Image © Stefanos Tsakiris Print Your City. Image © Stefanos Tsakiris Print Your City. Image © Stefanos Tsakiris + 26

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.