You probably see brick on a daily basis, whether it’s structuring a building, paving the road, or perhaps serving as a fireplace or chimney. But do all these applications use the same type of brick? How are the bricks supporting or being supported? What are these bricks actually made of? Brick’s versatility and ubiquitous nature mean there’s more than one answer to these questions. Even among brick’s most common applications as a building facade and/or structural wall material, there are a variety of types and construction methods employed.
This past June we published a survey called "How do Architects and Industry Professionals Specify Materials and Products”. The objective was to better understand architects’ behaviors and needs during the specification stage of their design processes.
The window is the architectural element that satisfies our innate need to relate to the outside space, providing us with ventilation and light. The more extensive and clean the window is, the greater the sensation of "being outside". Consequently, opening up spaces to the outside has become a common requirement for people who want and need to inhabit flexible, adaptable spaces, in contact with the air and nature. There are many ways to do this, but not all of them allow an airtight enclosure to become fully open and continuous, clearing the boundaries between both spaces.
Yuval Noah Harari points out that, around 300 thousand years ago, Homo erectus, Neanderthals, and ancestors of Homo sapiens already used fire daily. According to the author of the international bestseller “Sapiens,” fire created the first significant gap between man and other animals. "By domesticating fire, humans gained control of an obedient and potentially limitless force." Some scholars even believe that there is a direct relationship between the advent of the habit of cooking food (possibly due to the domestication of fire) and the shortening of the intestinal tract and growth of the human brain, which allowed human beings to develop and create everything we now have.
In the Historic Center of Olinda, a Brazilian municipality in the state of Pernambuco, architecture borrows shapes and colors from nature; cobogós perforations on the balconies look like round leaves and fruits, while the railings spiral with a hint of twisted flowers. The colors of the earth and sky also reappear in the floors, backyards, kitchens, and rooms of colonial houses, coating them in shades of brown and blue.
“The whole hand will be the tenth part of the man; From the bottom of the chin to the top of the head is an eighth of its height; From the nipples to the top of the head it will be the fourth part of the height.” If you're still here without going to get a measuring tape, these phrases were written by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect who lived in the 1st century BC, who delineated them in his influential treatise “De Architectura Libri Decem” – Ten Books on Architecture. The data presented by Vitruvius was compiled and depicted visually around fifteen hundred years later by Leonardo Da Vinci in his famous work “Vitruvian Man,” which is reproduced in all different contexts today, from book covers to kitchen aprons.
Emmi Pikler was a Hungarian pediatrician who introduced, in the years after World War II, a new philosophy on early childhood care and learning for children up to the age of 3. It was after the birth of her first child that she began to question: what happens when a child is allowed to develop freely? The observed results culminated in the introduction of a new methodology.
Timber trusses are wooden structural frameworks used to support roofs or other heavy structures. Fabricated from a series of triangles linked by a ridge beam and purlins, wooden trusses are structurally advantageous due to their high strength-to-weight ratios and corresponding ability to support long spans. However, these structural components can also be used for aesthetic ends, and when left exposed, can complexify, beautify, and open an interior space.
Architects are known for returning from travel with more photos of buildings than people and for having an esoteric vocabulary of their own. Of course, these are clichés that are not always true. But something that unites most designers is the tendency to pay attention to each detail that makes up a project, be it the material that covers the facade, the junction between different floors, how the doors open, the type of window frame, how the forms were put together for concreting, and more. But a detail that often goes unnoticed – and that makes a huge difference in interior design – is baseboards.
The pillar has adorned many of the greatest monumental examples of Western architecture since antiquity, from the Doric columns of the Parthenon to the Corinthian capitals of the Pantheon portico. In the West, the legacies of these classical forms have permutated over the centuries and into modern times: the Doric columns of the Lincoln Memorial, the Ionic columns of the British museum portico, and the Villa Savoye’s pilotis are just a few examples of the classical column’s continued transformation and use over the last few centuries. Today, the round pillar continues to be used in modern design, both functionally and aesthetically. Below, we look into these elements in more detail, including their materials, construction, structural qualities, and several contemporary examples of their use.
Hydraulic tiles are tiles produced entirely by hand with cement-based raw materials. Created in the mid-1800s in Spain, and widely used in Europe and America, it is a versatile option that can not only be applied in public areas, such as squares and sidewalks, but also interiors, including floors, walls, and furniture. Their versatility stems from the fact that they are highly customizable, from their colors and patterns to their geometry and dimensions. Read below a mostly technical explanation of these tiles, their manufacture, and their installation.
Diversifying the materials of an interior space can greatly improve its depth and visual interest. At the same time, adding partitions or other delineations of internal space can help organize flow, circulation, and visibility. Polycarbonate, a type of lightweight, durable thermoplastic, is an excellent medium for both functions.