Climatic conditions are changing around the world, and with more extreme temperatures and limited resources, architectural and urban solutions must also change. How could our homes look and function effectively in a post-climate change scenario? Analyzing in detail the forecasts of these climatic variations, the architects of W-LAB have developed a Low-Tech habitat proposal for humid, hot, and arid climates, incorporating bio-materials, transportable solutions, and configurations that promote life in small and resilient communities.
Modular: The Latest Architecture and News
Lego China has teamed up with CAA Architects to create a vision for a modular city in space. Designed by Liu Haowi, the city is made with a spacecraft below and a larger urban center above surrounded by an artificial gravitational field controlled by AI. Called "Crystal Space City", the project is constructed by modules and combines a city, oasis and an energy power system all together.
Buildings are static. They serve the purpose they have been designed for. But when cities grow and the needs of the community change, this becomes a problem. Modular construction with engineered wood products like Kerto LVL are the solution, because they enable adaptable, sustainable and cost competitive designs. It is time to provide solutions to the changing needs of our cities. Time to create an urban adaptation.
Global design practice Skidmore, Owings & Merrill have created a modular pop-up classroom in response to COVID-19. Called School/House, it was inspired by its traditional single-room namesake and responds to the key challenges of density, air circulation, and flexibility in schools. The rapidly deployable classroom system addresses social distancing, health, and safety during the pandemic while also provides learning space during renovations or rapid growth.
Despite all the news of re-openings, lifted restrictions, al fresco options dining, and a return to something more closely resembling “normal,” COVID-19 is still very much with us. And despite the defeatist/downplayed/nothing to see here stance embraced by the current presidential administration, the United States is still in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis. In some states, both new reported cases and hospitalizations have now reached record highs.
This being said, the need for accessible, easy to fabricate, and quick-to-deploy testing facility solutions are still in great need, particularly in dense urban areas, at large institutions and workplaces, and in underserved communities where coronavirus testing might come as a luxury, not a basic necessity. In terms of testing availability, all bases need to and must be covered.
Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects have broken ground on a modular design for supportive housing in South Los Angeles. Dubbed Isla Intersections, the project is part of a triangular parcel of land next to the freeway being developed as LA’s first shared street. Designed with open public space and 54 homes for some of LA's most vulnerable residents, the project was made to explore the future of housing.
La Casa por el Tejado, a company specializing in the construction of old buildings, duplicated both the living spaces and the number of floors of an apartment building on Avenida Meridiana in the El Clot neighborhood of Barcelona. The new residences were built off-site in 12-weeks time and in accordance with the building's original dimensions and characteristics.
This article was originally published in Autodesk's Redshift publication as "How Building Modular Homes can Help Fill the Affordable Housing Gap."
“Modular” isn’t a construction product; it’s a construction process. This is according to Tom Hardiman, executive director of the Modular Building Institute (MBI), whose members include more than 350 companies involved in the manufacturing and distribution of modular buildings, including multifamily homes.
French architects USUS Architectes reinvent the typical campground by designing a modular multipurpose structure as an ecological bivouac along the trekking routes in Massif Central, France. Together, the Association of Natural Parks of the Massif Central (IPAMAC), PNR Livradois-Forez, PNR Millevaches in Limousin, and the International Center for Art and Landscape (CIAP) wanted to tackle the lack of suitable accommodation along the trails. After deliberating from over 64 proposals, the agencies ultimately selected Peaks + Simon BOUDVIN and USUS + Zebra3 as project co-laureates of the competition.
Florian Marquet, an architect based in Shanghai, recently released a proposal to rethink urban life through autonomous mobile living spaces. Dubbed 'the org’, his project aims to reconsider the housing market's status quo and provide a more balanced model for urban living across ages. The modular system would respond to user needs with a range of programs, from green farming and kitchen units to flexible work areas and sleeping quarters. Made for easy fabrication, the units could be ordered instantly via an app.
“Self-build”: no mention of an architect, or anyone else for that matter. Maybe it’s a prehistoric urge that makes this idea so enticing; our earliest ancestors constructed their primitive huts to suit their unique needs and reflect their status or style. “Self-build” promises to physically re-connect people to the homes they live in.
However, the romantic notion of "self-build" housing is rarely compatible with the modern reality we live in. Building has become increasingly clouded by the difficulty of procuring land, excessive governmental red-tape, and an increase in building complexity. While self-build remains the purest form of this dream, there are now a series of nuanced processes that can help us achieve similar results. As a new generation of communities that encourage this dream emerges, we must look at the role the architect plays within them.
Appreciated within the industry but often maligned by the general public, brutalism came to define post-war architecture in the UK, as well as many countries around the world. In his 1955 article The New Brutalism, Reyner Banham states it must have “1, Formal legibility of plan; 2, clear exhibition of structure, and 3, valuation of materials for their inherent qualities as found.”
One Kemble Street, a 16-story cylindrical office block originally named "Space House" and designed by George Marsh and Richard Seifert, clearly exhibits all of these characteristics, creating a landmark in the heart of London that remains as striking today as it was upon its completion in 1968. Photographing the Grade-II listed building throughout the day, photographer Ste Murray manages to beautifully capture the building’s essence, celebrating its 50 year anniversary while also highlighting the intrigue of its form in a way that suggests parallels to contrasting ideologies.
Recently shortlisted for the 2018 Design Challenge "Design the Next-Generation Facade" by Metals in Construction Magazine, this "Pixel Facade" system is an adaptive, scalable and repeatable building system that can be applied to various building typologies. The system draws inspiration from our innate desire for nature, also known as "biophilia." The "Pixel Facade" system merges a contemporary office environment with biophilic environments to create the next generation of office design.