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The Next Sustainability Crisis: Humans Are Using So Much Sand That We May Actually Run Out

09:30 - 16 April, 2018
Objects made of Finite, a material developed by students from Imperial College London using desert sand. Image Courtesy of Finite
Objects made of Finite, a material developed by students from Imperial College London using desert sand. Image Courtesy of Finite

Sand is the most-consumed natural resource in the world after water and air. Modern cities are built out of it. In the construction industry alone, it is estimated that 25 billion tons of sand and gravel are used every year. That may sound a lot, but it’s not a surprising figure when you consider how everything you’re surrounded with is probably made of the stuff.

But it’s running out.

This is a scary fact to think about once you realize that sand is required to make both concrete and asphalt, not to mention every single window on this planet. The United Nations Environment Programme found out that from 2011 to 2013, China alone used more cement than the United States had used in the entire 20th century and in 2012, the world used enough concrete to build a wall around the equator that would be 89 feet high and 89 feet thick (27 by 27 meters).

This Wooden Geodesic Dome Contains the World's Largest Planetarium

08:00 - 16 April, 2018
This Wooden Geodesic Dome Contains the World's Largest Planetarium, © Anastasia Ra, Daria Priroda, Olga Romanenko
© Anastasia Ra, Daria Priroda, Olga Romanenko

The project inscribed inside a gasholder in St. Petersburg, aims to transform an industrial area into an educational and scientific center with a large projection screen. The fun part? It is located in a large geodesic dome.

The geometric model is made up of mainly with wood and metal links for a light and resistant construction.

© Anastasia Ra, Daria Priroda, Olga Romanenko © Anastasia Ra, Daria Priroda, Olga Romanenko © Anastasia Ra, Daria Priroda, Olga Romanenko © Anastasia Ra, Daria Priroda, Olga Romanenko + 33

Steel Frame and Wood Frame: The Benefits of Dry Construction Systems

08:00 - 15 April, 2018

You have to consider many factors when designing an architectural project in order to ensure quality and value. The construction technique is in most cases the first item to be evaluated, because it is the one factor that properly materializes the proposed design and determines the efficiency of the project in terms of time, costs, labor, finishes and final quality.

In China, an Experimental Pavilion of Ceramic Bricks Fuses Craftsmanship and Digital Fabrication

08:00 - 14 April, 2018
In China, an Experimental Pavilion of Ceramic Bricks Fuses Craftsmanship and Digital Fabrication, © Christian J. Lange
© Christian J. Lange

Uniting the material intelligence of vernacular crafts with the precision and flexibility provided by the new digital design and manufacturing technologies, the Robotic Fabrication LAB of The Faculty of Architecture of HKU has developed the CeramicINformation Pavilion, with the objective of finding suitable levels of automation to be used for emerging and transitioning economies. 

Part of an evolving series, each of its 1,000 components is unique and relates specifically to its neighboring units. The elements are constructed through 3D printing and are made of terracotta brick, a material commonly used in modern Chinese construction.

© Christian J. Lange © Christian J. Lange © Christian J. Lange © Christian J. Lange + 36

Learn to Pre-Dimension a Reinforced Concrete Structure

04:00 - 9 April, 2018
Learn to Pre-Dimension a Reinforced Concrete Structure, Casa de fim de semana em São Paulo / spbr arquitetos. Image © Nelson Kon
Casa de fim de semana em São Paulo / spbr arquitetos. Image © Nelson Kon

It's fundamental that architects know about structures, not only to bring their designs to reality but also to be able to discuss their projects with engineers in order to find the best solutions for construction. Structural pre-dimensioning is crucial to the initial design of the structural components, revealing the restrictions and the possibilities of the spaces.

One of the main loads that a structure must support is its own weight, so it's essential to know this information so that the different parts of the building can be dimensioned. When starting a structural project, the engineer doesn't yet know the dimensions of the different pieces that make up the structure, and therefore, can't know their own weight. A paradox appears without a solution: to know the weight it's necessary to know the dimensions, but, to know the dimensions, it's necessary to know the weight.

During the development of the project the architect finds himself in the curious situation of having to design without necessarily knowing the size of each of the parts of the building (such as the size of the pillars, for example). These important elements directly affect functionality and aesthetics of the project.

Translucent, Breathable Facades: 8 Tips for Incorporating Metal Meshes into Your Building

09:30 - 6 April, 2018
Translucent, Breathable Facades: 8 Tips for Incorporating Metal Meshes into Your Building, Pfaffenthal Lift / STEINMETZDEMEYER. Image © Boshua - Bohumil Kostohryz
Pfaffenthal Lift / STEINMETZDEMEYER. Image © Boshua - Bohumil Kostohryz

In buildings where openness, brightness, and outward views are highly valued by the users of our projects, glass predominates as an exterior cladding in cities all around the world. This forces us to look for options that can manage the excess of solar radiation and maintain thermal comfort in all seasons, without obstructing the views or darkening the interior spaces.

Prefabricated metal meshes provide certain qualities and flexibility that can work well in conjunction with glass; here we present 8 tips to work with this material and take advantage of its potential.

Car Park One / Elliott + Associates Architects. Image © Scott McDonald LAPD MTD + MSP / John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects. Image © Fotoworks Courtesy of HAVER & BOECKER The Gown / Archipelontwerpers. Image Courtesy of HAVER & BOECKER + 22

6 Tips for Designing and Building a Tiny House

09:30 - 2 April, 2018
6 Tips for Designing and Building a Tiny House, <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/420623/portable-house-aph80-abaton-arquitectura'>Portable House ÁPH80 / Ábaton Arquitectura</a>. Image © Juan Baraja
Portable House ÁPH80 / Ábaton Arquitectura. Image © Juan Baraja

Tiny houses have become popular in recent years as housing prices continue to soar. Whether as an off-the-grid retreat or a way to live more simply and economically, tiny homes offer a more flexible way to live. They are even being used by charity organizations such as the Tiny Homes Foundation in Australia as a way to tackle the issue of homelessness in cities and the need for social housing. As the popularity and need for tiny homes become ever more prevalent, knowing the necessary skills to design a tiny house for yourself or a client is a useful skill to have.

Below are 6 tips to keep in mind when designing and building a tiny house:

<a href='https://www.archdaily.com/790996/koda-kodasema'>KODA / Kodasema</a>. Image © Paul Kuimet <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/476916/minimod-mapa'>Minimod / MAPA</a>. Image © Leonardo Finotti <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/379927/micro-house-studio-liu-lubin'>Micro-house / Studio Liu Lubin</a>. Image Courtesy of Studio Liu Lubin <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/420623/portable-house-aph80-abaton-arquitectura'>Portable House ÁPH80 / Ábaton Arquitectura</a>. Image © Juan Baraja + 10

Design a Bathroom for People with Disabilities by Downloading this Basic Revit Sample Model

08:00 - 1 April, 2018
Design a Bathroom for People with Disabilities by Downloading this Basic Revit Sample Model, Cortesía de Bradley Corporation USA
Cortesía de Bradley Corporation USA

As the profession becomes more aware of the variety of users who will use their architectural creations it is necessary to consider certain basic rules. In the end, the idea is that a building or space can be used comfortably, effectively and (if necessary) quickly by all users. Today the use of BIM technology encourages the incorporation of pre-modeled products in projects, which facilitates the processes. However, if pre-modeled products are not inclusively designed, there is an increased possibility of overlooking these accessible considerations–especially when their architects have no experience or are unaware of accessible design guidelines

Bradley Corporation USA, a manufacturer of plumbing fixtures and bathroom accessories, has developed standard models of bathrooms for people with disabilities, delivering the basic requirements that must be incorporated according to the guidelines specified by organizations such as the ADA and the ANSI. Below we present an example of an accessible bathroom for a single person, incorporating, among other things, a touchless handwashing sink (all-in-one: soap, water, and hand dryer) and a series of safety bars. Before including it in your project, don't forget to check the local regulations of your country/region.

Smart Configurations for Small Kitchens

09:30 - 31 March, 2018
Smart Configurations for Small Kitchens, Smart Configurations for Small Kitchens
Smart Configurations for Small Kitchens

Small spaces sometimes have to host essential functions. How can you incorporate the kitchen into your design in the best possible way when your floor space is limited? We have thoroughly reviewed our published projects to select 7 houses in which the architects have effectively solved this problem, using intelligent and innovative configurations.

These kitchens manage to appear larger than they really are when attached to neighboring spaces such as living rooms or dining rooms. In themselves, they are kitchens that occupy very small spaces, opting for a different approach to the traditional kitchen that normally occupies an independent and exclusive room.

Casa na Rua Faria Guimarães / Fala Atelier Curtain Cottage / Apparte Studio 097 • Yojigen Poketto / elii Restauración Old Town / Habitan Architecture + 31

6 Materials That Age Beautifully

09:30 - 26 March, 2018
6 Materials That Age Beautifully, © Rory Gardiner
© Rory Gardiner

Often as architects we neglect how the buildings we design will develop once we hand them over to the elements. We spend so much time understanding how people will use the building that we may forget how it will be used and battered by the weather. It is an inevitable and uncertain process that raises the question of when is a building actually complete; when the final piece of furniture is moved in, when the final roof tile is placed or when it has spent years out in the open letting nature take its course?

Rather than detracting from the building, natural forces can add to the material’s integrity, softening its stark, characterless initial appearance. This continuation of the building process is an important one to consider in order to create a structure that will only grow in beauty over time. To help you achieve an ever-growing building, we have collated six different materials below that age with grace.

Tensile Structures: How Do They Work and What Are the Different Types?

08:00 - 18 March, 2018
Tensile Structures: How Do They Work and What Are the Different Types?, Munich Olympic Stadium / Behnisch and Partners & Frei Otto. Image <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Munich_-_Frei_Otto_Tensed_structures_-_5244.jpg'>© Jorge Royan via Wikimedia </a> License CC BY-SA 3.0
Munich Olympic Stadium / Behnisch and Partners & Frei Otto. Image © Jorge Royan via Wikimedia License CC BY-SA 3.0

Historically inspired by some of the first man-made shelters—such as the black tents first developed using camel leather by the nomads of the Sahara Desert, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, as well as the structures used by Native American tribes—tensile structures offer a range of positive benefits compared to other structural models.

Tensile structure is the term usually used to refer to the construction of roofs using a membrane held in place on steel cables. Their main characteristics are the way in which they work under stress tensile, their ease of pre-fabrication, their ability to cover large spans, and their malleability. This structural system calls for a small amount of material thanks to the use of thin canvases, which when stretched using steel cables, create surfaces capable of overcoming the forces imposed upon them.

Concrete Blocks in Architecture: How to Build With This Modular and Low-Cost Material

09:00 - 12 March, 2018
Concrete Blocks in Architecture: How to Build With This Modular and Low-Cost Material, Mipibu House / Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados. Image © Nelson Kon
Mipibu House / Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados. Image © Nelson Kon

Concrete blocks are a prefabricated material mainly used to build walls. Like bricks, the blocks are stacked together and joined with a mortar, usually consisting of cement, sand, and water. The blocks are hollow inside to allow for steel bars and mortar filling. 

These blocks come in a variety of dimensions and textures, from traditional smooth surfaces to fluted or rough finishes, as well as special units for corners or for beams with longitudinal reinforcements. The dimensions of these blocks range from the classic 8x8x16 inches (approx 19x19x39 cm) which is meant for structural use, to a size of 8x3.5x39 inches (approx 19x9x39 cm) for partitioning walls. How can we incorporate them creatively into our designs?

Vila Matilde House / Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados. Image © Pedro Kok Casa + Estudio / Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados. Image © Pedro Kok Silent house / Takao Shiotsuka Atelier. Image © Takao Shiotsuka Atelier Casa entre Bloques / Natura Futura Arquitectura. Image © JAG Studio + 24

What is BIM and Why Does it Seem to be Fundamental in the Current Architectural Design?

08:00 - 10 March, 2018
What is BIM and Why Does it Seem to be Fundamental in the Current Architectural Design?, Cortesía de Gonzalo De la Parra
Cortesía de Gonzalo De la Parra

BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a methodology that allows architects to create digital design simulations to manage all the information associated with an architectural project.

While CAD creates 2- or 3-dimensional drawings that don't distinguish between their elements, BIM incorporates 4-D (time) and 5-D (costs). This allows users to manage information intelligently throughout the life cycle of a project, automating processes such as programming, conceptual design, detailed design, analysis, documentation, manufacturing, construction logistics, operation and maintenance, renovation and/or demolition. 

In any design and construction project there are an unlimited number of participants, as well as infinite interactions between parties. The projects are multidisciplinary and include information that is not necessary to all involved. So who is responsible for what in each project? How far does my responsibility go and where does yours start? BIM helps to order the complexity of this process. 

Trespa Meteon cladding, modeled in Revit What is BIM and Why Does it Seem to be Fundamental in the Current Architectural Design? Trespa Meteon cladding, modeled in Revit Trespa Meteon cladding, modeled in Revit + 7

ARCHITECT's 12th Annual R+D Awards

14:22 - 7 March, 2018
ARCHITECT's 12th Annual R+D Awards

ARCHITECT magazine is now accepting entries for its 12th Annual R+D Awards! We would be grateful if you could share the competition details below with your network. The winners will published in ARCHITECT’s July 2018 issue and on our website. As with previous years, full-time students and faculty are eligible for a reduced registration fee!

Lightweight Wooden Deployable Structure Aims for Large Social Impact Without Leaving a Mark

06:00 - 7 March, 2018
Lightweight Wooden Deployable Structure Aims for Large Social Impact Without Leaving a Mark, © Lorenzo Tugnoli
© Lorenzo Tugnoli

Architecture students of the American University of Beirut used an ephemeral design to approach the lack of awareness of marine biodiversity and responsible use of the coast of Tyre. The proposal consists of a lightweight and deployable structure constituting a programmatic point of meeting and information on the sand.

The project materialized with wood, metal ties and ropes, approach the possible application of light and temporary systems to generate a large social impact and at the same time minimum physical impact on the site.

Will Carbon Fiber Revolutionize Architecture as Steel Did in the 19th Century?

09:30 - 5 March, 2018
Will Carbon Fiber Revolutionize Architecture as Steel Did in the 19th Century?, Carbon fiber's light weight and unique properties make it an exciting potential building material, say researchers at Autodesk BUILD Space. Image Courtesy of University of Stuttgart
Carbon fiber's light weight and unique properties make it an exciting potential building material, say researchers at Autodesk BUILD Space. Image Courtesy of University of Stuttgart

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Could Carbon Fiber Be the Superhero of Building Materials?"

On any weekday, Chicago’s downtown business district, the Loop, teems with harried humans crossing the street like herds of wild antelope fleeing a predator. Most scurry past the Field Building without considering its significance—or that of the historic building demolished in 1931 on the same site: the Home Insurance Building. Built in 1884, it was the first tall building erected on a frame made of structural steel—a light, affordable, and durable material that allowed structures to be built taller, stronger, and faster than those made of wood or stone.

21 Detailed Construction Sections for Wood Structures

08:00 - 4 March, 2018
21 Detailed Construction Sections for Wood Structures, © Cristobal Palma / Estudio Palma
© Cristobal Palma / Estudio Palma

Wood is one of the oldest materials that man has used to build their homes and take refuge from the weather. Wood does not only fulfill a structural function -being highly resistant to earthquakes-, but it also provides interior thermal comfort, as well as adding a warm look and feel to a building, while easily adapting to natural environments.

Below find 21 construction sections for wood structures using the material in incredible ways.

Kengo Kuma Transforms Shanghai Shipyard Into Multi-Use Complex

04:00 - 2 March, 2018
Kengo Kuma Transforms Shanghai Shipyard Into Multi-Use Complex, © Julien Lanoo
© Julien Lanoo

In the Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, ShanghaiKengo Kuma has reimagined a 1972 shipyard into a new 9,000-square-meter multi-use complex, named Shipyard 1862. Behind original, rugged brick walls, the old shipyard was once defined by a 12 by 30-meter grid, which allowed for massive interior spaces to hold ships. In this industrial-style adaptive reuse project, Kuma was careful to preserve the building’s structural and material integrity. These photographs provided by Julien Lanoo show how the industrial shell has been transformed by the refurbishment project.