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Materials: The Latest Architecture and News

Walk-in Showers Without Doors or Curtains: Design Tips and Examples

04:00 - 19 September, 2019
Walk-in Showers Without Doors or Curtains: Design Tips and Examples, House for a Stationer / Architecture for London. Image © Christian Brailey
House for a Stationer / Architecture for London. Image © Christian Brailey

Because it doesn't include a bathtub, or require doors, screens, or curtains, the walk-in shower often makes bathrooms appear larger, cleaner, and more minimalist. 

However, some precautions must be taken when designing them. Most importantly, the shower cannot be left completely open, even if it appears to be at first glance. Most designs incorporate a tempered glass that prevents water from "bouncing" out of the shower space, subtly closing the area. When this transparent division doesn't have a frame, the appearance of fungi due to accumulation of water and moisture becomes less likely.

Casa de monte / TACO taller de arquitectura contextual. Image © Leo Espinosa Fagerstrom House / Claesson Koivisto Rune. Image © Åke E:son Lindman AUTOHAUS / Matt Fajkus Architecture. Image © Charles Davis Smith Pombal / AZO. Sequeira Arquitectos Associados. Image © Nelson Garrido + 28

The AJ Specification Awards Entry Deadline Extended to 11 October

Sponsored Article
The AJ Specification Awards Entry Deadline Extended to 11 October

When great products meet great design...

The Architects’ Journal's AJ Specification Awards returns for a 2nd year, celebrating successful collaborations between suppliers, manufacturers, and architects.
The awards celebrate how exceptional working relationships between architects and suppliers and manufacturers lead to successful projects, showcasing standout examples of the creative use of products and materials in making great buildings.
Be it to find solutions to particular design challenge, or simply to bring joy to a project, the intelligent integration of products into the design process – from the taps in a bathroom to the finishes on a façade – is an aspect of architecture that the AJ has long championed.

Fire Doors: How to Incorporate Them Into an Architecture Project

07:45 - 10 September, 2019
Fire Doors: How to Incorporate Them Into an Architecture Project, Estación de Bomberos #5 / STGM Architectes + CCM2 Architectes. Image © Alexandre Guérin
Estación de Bomberos #5 / STGM Architectes + CCM2 Architectes. Image © Alexandre Guérin

Fire doors are doors that meet fire resistance standards and can prevent fire (or smoke) from spreading through the floors or living spaces of a building, allowing people to evacuate safely from a fire.

Cortesia de Pexels Cortesia de Pexels Sede Instituto BioCruces / IDOM. Image © Aitor Ortiz via Shutterstock, User: Pair Srinrat + 11

How Will Home Automation Affect our Future?

07:45 - 9 September, 2019
How Will Home Automation Affect our Future?, Casa Três Pátios / extrastudio. Image © Francisco Nogueira
Casa Três Pátios / extrastudio. Image © Francisco Nogueira

Once restricted to luxury or super-tech buildings, home automation is proving to be an increasingly fundamental and affordable addition to architectural projects, whether to new buildings or renovations. While understanding how they operate can be extremely complex, the primary purpose of technology is to make life simpler, safer, and easier. By definition, home automation seeks to be globally intelligent, functioning as a system that facilitates processes without unnecessarily complicating the user's life. The idea is to connect devices, which in turn connect and talk through a centralized control unit, accessible by computers, tablets, and mobile phones. These include lights, appliances, electrical outlets, and heating and cooling systems, but also alarms, doors, windows, smoke detectors, surveillance cameras, and many other sensors and devices.

How to Choose Kitchen Countertops: Advantages, Disadvantages and Inspiration

07:45 - 6 September, 2019
How to Choose Kitchen Countertops: Advantages, Disadvantages and Inspiration, © Martina Gemmola. ImageCasa de Gatos / WOWOWA Architects
© Martina Gemmola. ImageCasa de Gatos / WOWOWA Architects

One of the most practical and functional spaces of any residential project is the kitchen. Its artificial surfaces – be it countertops, kitchen benches, or coverings – contain most of the space's equipment. Thus, it’s essential to build kitchens with the most resistant and hygienic materials. Aside from these requirements, it's also important to pay attention to aesthetics and profitability, while adapting the space to the dynamics of each family. 

© Nikole Ramsay. ImageBluebird Townhouses / Altereco Design © Oliver Smith. ImageCreative Kitchen Designs and Their Details: The Best Photos of the Week © Josefotoinmo. ImageGAS House / OOIIO Arquitectura © Dmitry Tsyrencshikov. ImageStudio11 Minsk Office / Studio11 + 38

Gothic Construction Techniques Inspire ETH Zurich's Lightweight Concrete Floor Slabs

07:30 - 5 September, 2019
Gothic Construction Techniques Inspire ETH Zurich's Lightweight Concrete Floor Slabs , © ETH Zurich / Peter Rüegg.
© ETH Zurich / Peter Rüegg.

With the intention of maximizing available space and avoiding steep construction costs, researchers from ETH Zurich’s Department of Architecture have devised a concrete floor slab that with a thickness of a mere 2cm, remains load bearing and simultaneously sustainable. Inspired by the construction of Catalan vaults, this new floor system swaps reinforced steel bars for narrow vertical ribs, thus significantly reducing the weight of construction and ensuring stability to counter uneven distributions on its surface.

As opposed to traditional concrete floors that are evidently flat, these slabs are designed to arch to support major loads, reminiscent of the vaulted ceilings found in Gothic cathedrals. Without the need for steel reinforcing and with less concrete, the production of CO2 is minimized and the resulting 2cm floors are 70% lighter than their typical concrete counterparts.

via Block Research Group via Block Research Group via Block Research Group via Block Research Group + 5

How to Design Safe Bathrooms for the Elderly

07:00 - 5 September, 2019
How to Design Safe Bathrooms for the Elderly, © Eduardo Souza
© Eduardo Souza

There exist frequent reports of toilet accidents, as they are often located in tight and slippery places. Although no one is immune to a slip after bathing, it is the elderly who suffer most from falls, and can often suffer serious injuries, sequelae, and functional limitations. Due to the natural reduction of reflexes and muscle mass, the higher the age group, the more prone to falls we become.

To provide more comfortable living conditions as users grow older, the environment must adapt to the new physical capabilities of its occupants. Making toilets safer is critical to reducing the risk of accidents and decreasing response time in the event of a fall. Here are some things to keep in mind when designing toilets for older people:

Residencia para Mayores en Mota del Cuervo (Cuenca) / GEED Arquitectos. Image © Alfredo Prados Covarrubias Residencia geriàtrica Mas Piteu / Estudi PSP Arquitectura. Image © Francisco Urrutia Residencia para Mayores en Mota del Cuervo (Cuenca) / GEED Arquitectos. Image © Alfredo Prados Covarrubias Housing for Elderly People in Huningue / Dominique Coulon & associés. Image © Eugene Pons + 11

How to Design Comfortable and Efficient Offices: Individual Workspaces

04:00 - 3 September, 2019
How to Design Comfortable and Efficient Offices: Individual Workspaces, Cortesia de Herman Miller
Cortesia de Herman Miller

The way of working has changed, but most offices remain the same.

However, innovating does not necessarily mean breaking down all the walls and creating a play space; the design of an office must take into account the needs and details of each work separately. Of course, for each function, there are better and worse ways to organize the spaces, and some configurations work better for certain activities. The important thing is that the place allows interactions while providing places for concentration and focus.

Clubhouse. Image Cortesia de Herman Miller Workshop. Image Cortesia de Herman Miller Haven. Image Cortesia de Herman Miller Jump Space. Image Cortesia de Herman Miller + 26

What Materials Keep Buildings Cool?

04:00 - 26 August, 2019
What Materials Keep Buildings Cool?, © Valentin Jeck
© Valentin Jeck

Air-conditioning isn’t just expensive; it’s also terrible for the environment. Accounting for 10% of global energy consumption today, space cooling in 2016 alone was responsible for 1045 metric tons of CO2 emissions. This number is only expected to increase, with the International Energy Agency estimating that cooling will reach 37% of the world’s total energy demand by 2050.

Renzo Piano's California Academy of Sciences. Image © Tim Griffith A-cero's Concrete House II. Image © Luis H. Segovia Ambrosi I Etchegaray's Spa Querétaro is a contemporary example of a centralized water feature and courtyard. Image © Luis Gordoa Cooper Scaife Architects' Leura Lane, which features a reflective and lightly-colored skillion roof designed for summer shade. Image © John Wilson + 10

What Do The Cracks in Concrete Structures Mean?

07:30 - 22 August, 2019

Cracks, which could be classified according to their thickness as fissures or fractures, are serious problems in the construction industry that can negatively affect aesthetics, durability and, most importantly, the structural characteristics of a project. They can happen anywhere, but occur especially in walls, beams, columns, and slabs, and usually, are caused by strains not considered in the design.

How Do Double-Skin Façades Work?

07:00 - 20 August, 2019
How Do Double-Skin Façades Work? , © ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

Double skin façades. Almost a self-explanatory name for façade systems consisting of two layers, usually glass, wherein air flows through the intermediate cavity. This space (which can vary from 20 cm to a few meters) acts as insulation against extreme temperatures, winds, and sound, improving the building's thermal efficiency for both high and low temperatures. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of double-skin facades is Foster+Partners' 30 St Mary Ax Building, "The Gherkin."

The airflow through the intermediate cavity can occur naturally or be mechanically driven, and the two glass layers may include sun protection devices.

© Cemal Emden © Martin Van der Wal © Sergio Grazia © Cemal Emden + 11

Is Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) the Concrete of the Future?

06:30 - 19 August, 2019
Is Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) the Concrete of the Future? , Wood Innovation Design Centre / Michael Green Architecture. Image © Ema Peter
Wood Innovation Design Centre / Michael Green Architecture. Image © Ema Peter

Concrete, an essential building material, has for decades offered us the possibility of shaping our cities quickly and effectively, allowing them to rapidly expand into urban peripheries and reach heights previously unimagined by mankind. Today, new timber technologies are beginning to deliver similar opportunities – and even superior ones – through materials like Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT).

To better understand the properties and benefits of CLT, we talked with Jorge Calderón, Industrial Designer and CRULAMM Manager. He discusses some of the promising opportunities that CLT could provide architecture in the future. 

"KITERASU" Edificio modelo en CLT en la estación Kuse / ofa. Image © Ken'ichi Suzuki MINIMOD Catuçaba / MAPA. Image © Leonardo Finotti Capilla Sacromonte Landscape Hotel / MAPA Arquitetos. Image © Leonardo Finotti Cortesía de Jorge Calderón + 21

What are Kinetic Facades in Architecture?

07:00 - 14 August, 2019
What are Kinetic Facades in Architecture?, Illuminated facade of Galleria Centercity. Image © UNStudio. Photographed by Kim Jong-Kwan
Illuminated facade of Galleria Centercity. Image © UNStudio. Photographed by Kim Jong-Kwan

For most of the history of architecture, interesting facades were achieved through materiality or ornamentation. From the elaborately painted friezes of the Parthenon to the glass exteriors of modern skyscrapers, architecture was primarily static, only ‘changing’ as the environment would change and affect the material of the façade in differing ways, be it rain, light, rust, etc.

Al Bahar Towers facade panels. Image © Aedas Galleria Centercity facade. Image © UNStudio. Photographed by Christian Richters Shading panels of the Kiefer Technic Showroom. Image Courtesy of Ernst Giselbrecht + Partner Kinetic facade of Brisbane Domestic Terminal Carpark . Image Courtesy of Urban Art Projects + 18

8 Urban Elevators That Bring Connectivity and Continuity to Cities

06:30 - 14 August, 2019
8 Urban Elevators That Bring Connectivity and Continuity to Cities

When working in an urban area with a complex topography, one of the biggest challenges is urban integration. Worldwide, many socially deprived neighborhoods are situated in complicated geographical locations surrounded by steep slopes. Such areas complicate mobility for pedestrians, cyclists, and the elderly, with a lack of accessibility often excluding them from taking part in city life effectively.

In this context, urban elevators can be a novel solution which combine elements of both functional connectivity and sculpture. With some rising up to 30 meters in height, they become urban and touristic landmarks, creating new viewpoints and walkways. Additionally, in many cases, they can help to uphold the historic legacy of the city.

Below we have collected some interesting examples of urban elevators that have been key in the spatial planning of the urban environment.

How To Calculate How Much Wallpaper You Need

04:00 - 13 August, 2019
Utopicus Clementina cowork / Izaskun Chinchilla Architects. Image © Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)
Utopicus Clementina cowork / Izaskun Chinchilla Architects. Image © Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)

Once the construction of an architecture project is finished, it's time to install the claddings that will make up the visible faces of the interior spaces. Wallpaper –an efficient way to bring color and design into rooms – is generally specified according to the square meters we want to cover, so we must start by calculating the area of each surface with great precision.

This task can be easy on clear walls with standard dimensions, but it can generate mishaps or unnecessary expenses in more complex designs. We present some tips to make an estimate as accurate and efficient as possible.

Modern Sampran Wangprom Office / Apostrophy's. Image © Sitthisak Namkham Ancestry / Rapt Studio. Image © Jeremy Bitterman Utopicus Clementina cowork / Izaskun Chinchilla Architects. Image © Imagen Subliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero) Snow Hotel / 1990 uao + Archigroup MA. Image © Sun Namgoong + 18