Sodium chloride, most commonly known as salt, is everywhere. Ancient in its uses and abundant in nature, it preserves local ecosystems, de-ices roads, is vital in a variety of industrial processes, and is likely sitting on your kitchen table as a seasoning for your meals. Today, it is attributed relatively little value –considering it used to be as worthy as gold–, and unlike other nature-derived alternatives such as algae or mycelium, there doesn’t seem to be enough research and interest around all of its physical, mechanical or aesthetic properties. And yet it is a material with infinite, extraordinary potential. Apart from its life-supporting qualities, salt is affordable, easily available, antibacterial, resistant to fire, can store humidity and heat, and is great at reflecting and diffusing light.
Nature: The Latest Architecture and News
After Yang is a science fiction film written, directed, and edited by Kogonada - a South Korean-born American filmmaker known for his video essays on audiovisual content analysis. The main plot of the film follows the story of a family trying to repair their damaged artificial intelligence in a post-apocalyptic world connected by technology and nature.
Alexandra Schaller, in charge of production design and the appearance of the sets, imagined a future that translates these considerations: From the family house that recovers the original design by Joseph Eichler of the 1960s, going through the importance of outdoor space and vegetation, to each of the materials that had to be non-disposable, renewable or biodegradable.
Largely driven by rural migration to cities and overall population growth, 68% of people worldwide will live in urban areas by 2050. By doing so, many will benefit from greater access to basic services, proximity to public transportation, and better education and employment opportunities. But the pursuit of living urbanized lives also leads to isolation from the outdoors –be it a forest, a meadow or the mountains– that can negatively impact our physical and mental health. Exposure to nature has long been proven to reduce stress levels, boost mood, foster productivity and, above all, enhance well-being. So, considering we typically spend around 93% of our time indoors (and that the pandemic has magnified that statistic), now more than ever we find ourselves seeking a connection with the outdoors and all its inherent benefits. Architects thus face the important challenge of bringing nature in, which is precisely where biophilic design comes into play.
AkzoNobel selects "Wild Wonder" as the Color of the Year 2023, Inspired by Nature and Harvested Crops
Inspired by the warm tones of harvested crops, Wild Wonder was selected as Color of the Year 2023 by AkzoNobel. Extensive research conducted by AkzoNobel, including color experts and international design professionals, identified the "Wonders of the Natural" swatch at the heart of global social and design. This trend is inspired by nature as people are re-evaluating their relationship with the environment as the source of everything in their lives. # d0c599, or pale yellow/ olive green, captures the moment's mood and conveys serenity and positivity after these recent years of uncertainty and despair.
Living in the Amazon in the 21st Century: A Planning and Urban Design Guide for Cities in the Peruvian Lowland Rainforest
Addressing the universe of the world's largest tropical forest, the book 'Living in the Amazon in the 21st Century: A Guide to Urban Planning and Design for Cities in the Peruvian lowland rainforest', has been selected as a finalist in the category of publications at the 12th Ibero-American Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism. The issue, published in 2019 as part of the PUCP Architecture Publications, in the framework of the CASA (Self-Sustainable Amazonian Cities) project of the Climate Resilient Cities initiative of IDRC, FFLA and CDKN, focuses its research on the department of Loreto, presenting itself as "a guide for architecture and urban design, for settlements in the Amazon forest, including the social processes to be considered".
Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa once said that "architecture is essentially an extension of nature into the man-made realm, providing the ground for perception and the horizon of experiencing and understanding the world."
In the constant hustle and bustle of the modern surroundings, it is more than needed to take a step back and listen to the sounds of something as calmly powerful as nature. Moreover, listening to the beautiful harmonies created by birds chirping and sound waves can make our inner voice louder as well.
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
There are extraordinary connections between the natural world and the capacity for creativity in human beings. In his book Last Child in the Woods, journalist and author Richard Louv observes: “Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses. Given a chance, a child will bring the confusion of the world to the woods, wash it in a creek, turn it over to see what lives on the unseen side of that confusion.” He concludes that in nature, “a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace.” The architect Frank Harmon likewise wrote touchingly about the outdoors, woods, and water as perfect settings for cultivating a thirst for learning and discovery: “Children raised by creeks are never bored. Creek children don’t know about learning by rote, neither are they conditioned to working nine to five. Berries are their first discoveries, and birds’ nests, and watching the stars come out. Later they discover books. To creek children, learning is discovery, not instruction.”
Nature is often used as an inspirational source for architecture. Whether from its shapes, the extraction and use of its materials, or even the incorporation of physical and chemical processes in the technologies used, it is always relevant to look for relations between the built environment and the natural environment. Of the many ecosystems present on planet Earth, the oceans represent most of the surface and hold stories, mystiques, symbols and shapes that can be referenced in architecture.
What role do forests play in our daily lives? In what ways can they be converted into living spaces? What strategies can be implemented to reduce the environmental impact of our buildings? On the International Day of Forests, which is celebrated every 21st of March, this year we propose to raise awareness of the links between forests and our daily lives. Even though deforestation continues to advance, forests represent a source of great economic, social and ecological benefits.
Writers in film and animation, specifically pertaining to the genre of anime, endeavor to incorporate varied architectural backdrops to assist them in telling their stories, with influences ranging from medieval villages to futuristic metropolises. Architecture as a subject includes a wide array of elements to study, with each architectural era further inferring its context and history through its design alone. However, in film and anime, all of the contexts behind a building’s design can be condensed into a single frame, powerful enough to tell a thousand stories.
Transcendentalist philosophers have long shared the idea that humans and nature are equal forces that should coexist in harmony. The notion has since expanded to the architecture world, with Frank Lloyd Wright shedding light on the term “organic architecture” as early as the 1900s. In recent years, driven by an increased interest in living closer to nature, architects continue to delve into the concept of integrating interior and exterior, blurring out visual and physical boundaries to bring landscapes indoors.
In Sky-Frame’s latest film, part of the series “My point of view”, a conversation with architect Dara Huang explores this notion, questioning how architecture can merge nature, sustainability and lifestyle within its form, without relying on more technology or materials to do so.