For the opening of CAB 5, the 5th edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) presented an eco-friendly alternative to traditional concrete. Named the “Bio-Block Spiral,” the installation is at The Mews in Fulton Market in Chicago. The creation was developed with Prometheus Material, a materials company that provides sustainable building materials for a carbon-negative future.
Welcome to West Hollywood and to episode 9 of Opening up. Talking through his passion project is Denis Devin Donner from the Los Angeles-based company Rudin Donner Design. This transformation started with a mansion lacking a defined entrance and reached its culmination with a gate that frames a beautiful view.
The growth of the world's population has led to an increase in housing and building construction around the globe. Considering that today the construction industry is responsible for 40% of the planet's CO2 emissions, and according to the Chilean Chamber of Construction, by 2035, Chile will need housing for 2.6 million people, it is necessary to guide this sector toward an environmentally friendly alternative. The answer to this challenge can be found in nature itself, where there are various efficient and sustainable construction solutions. Such is the case with wood: a noble and renewable material capable of capturing CO2 and contributing to a better environmental future.
In the context of WWI and to address the massive housing shortage resulting from the conflict, the Dom-Ino modular structure, one of the most significant contributions of functionalism and designed by the Swiss designers Le Corbusier and Max Dubois, established concrete premises for a new vision of a lightweight structural model that optimizes the construction process. Thanks to the use of a reinforced concrete slab and column system, the Dom-Ino structure allowed for the flexible arrangement of elements in the floor plan and freed the facade from the limitations imposed by load-bearing walls.
When an architect conceives the opening of a space, the primary objective is to create a frame that enhances the views, optimizes the entry of natural light, and makes the most of the illumination it provides. In this context, we often seek to maximize the proportion of glass, reducing the presence of frames and profiles to a minimum, thus expressing the growing desire for perfect integration between indoor and outdoor environments. To adequately meet this demand, architects and manufacturers are constantly searching for solutions that minimize the visual obstruction caused by structures, pushing the boundaries of what is technically and statically feasible toward minimalist window frames and profiles.
Timber, harvested and prepared for construction, is a durable material known for its strength and versatility. It serves as an architectural element in structural systems, framing, cladding, decking, and flooring. Although it possesses a warm and natural character that creates an aesthetic appeal, the inherent humidity of timber can cause wood deformation, leading to bending, mold, and rot once the moisture content reaches 23%. However, with the development of new products and production techniques, Thermowood –also known as Thermally Modified Timber– has emerged as a method for creating natural, chemical-free solutions made from certified raw materials.
Arguably, kitchens are spaces in which the interplay of elements establishes a delicate balance in their composition; design, materials, and fittings, all of which collaboratively shape the interior environment. It is, therefore, not surprising that they often become the focus of ongoing discussions. The cultural and utilitarian role of kitchens in our lives is so important that their influence transcends mere architecture, becoming an object of artistic and historical exploration. In this way, both kitchens and the elements that comprise them have evolved and changed in style—from the robust kitchens of the 19th century to the innovations that originated in the Frankfurt kitchen in the 20th century.
Mass timber has emerged as a sustainable alternative to replace concrete components in construction, as the latter alone contributes to 8% of global CO2 emissions. With various examples across different scales and applications, the material has shown promise in revolutionizing the industry by enhancing efficiency, strength, and comfort. Even when dealing with highly standardized and efficient processes in the manufacturing of structural elements, there is always room for improvement and waste reduction. This is mainly because the traditional industrial process of cutting logs into parts can generate substantial waste.
In the world of interior design and architecture, lighting has evolved from a mere functional necessity into a powerful tool for creating pleasant environments, accentuating design elements, and setting the mood for occupants. Embedded lighting systems have been a game-changer in this regard, especially when combined with LED technology, offering countless possibilities to transform spaces. LED strips, in particular, have revolutionized lighting by providing energy efficiency, longevity, versatility, and customization that was previously challenging with traditional lamp-based lighting. They have fundamentally changed how we illuminate homes, offices, and businesses, ushering in a new era in lighting technology.
Glass has become a central element in modern architecture with the introduction of new strategies for designing and experiencing buildings. Its transparency and material composition allow for natural light to enter, while creating seamless connections between interior and exterior spaces. However, the prevalence of this material has meant that every year, billions of birds collide into glass structures.
Building envelopes create a physical boundary or shell integrated to the outer skin of a structure, separating indoor and outdoor environments. By assembling architectural components such as walls, roofs, windows and doors, the building is enclosed to provide protection and insulation, playing a determining role in the energy efficiency, comfort, structure, and durability of the project. Through multiple styles and shapes, they are key to giving character to a building, its visual appearance and integration with the surrounding environment.
With its range of colors, patterns, textures, and materials, integrating wallpapers can enhance the design strategy of a space. It accentuates walls, adding depth to a room, while also elevating its aesthetics and character.
How Might Buildings and Their Integrated Materials Systems Behave Like Organisms? In Conversation With Jenny E. Sabin
Why research and innovate in architecture? In a conversation with architectural designer Jenny E. Sabin, we delve into the critical link between research and practice in architecture. Seeking the development of a new model, her team incorporates an interdisciplinary approach that introduces connections between these areas, fostering collaboration with both scientists and engineers.
In the realm of architectural design and interior furnishings, achieving a balance between form and function is a daily challenge that designers encounter. This interplay between utility and aesthetics has not only evolved over time but also involves a constant exchange of styles and production methods. Frequently, this interchange leads to standardization and generic designs, potentially causing a depletion of authenticity in the design process.