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Technology: The Latest Architecture and News

Sunscreen Facades: From Ceramic Textile Systems to Double Skin Glass

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The duality of sunlight in the field of architectural design presents fascinating contrasts, especially when addressing the question of how to interact with it through the built environment and the materials that define architecture. The sun's influence in this discipline has become an essential part of the cultural heritage of some countries, as evidenced by Spanish architecture, where the interaction with sunlight manifests through elements such as lattices. These lattices are recognizable on the facades of buildings from the Middle Ages, exemplified by structures like the Alhambra, to 20th-century constructions such as Casa Gomis, considered historical monuments.

The facade, being the skin of the building, is the architectural component that is usually directly exposed to sunlight. Based on this premise, we seek to establish a dialogue between openness to the environment and the need for protection, thus creating a synergy between functionality and aesthetics. In this context, sunscreen facades have been developed through various approaches, standing out for their ability to address this design condition. For this reason, we have selected solar control solutions from Spanish brands, distinguished by their technical characteristics and materiality through various approaches.

How to Create a Smart Home: A Complete Guide for Beginners in Home Automation

Smart homes leverage technology to provide residents with increased convenience, savings, comfort, and security. With automated environments, household routines are streamlined. What once seemed like a distant future is now within reach as smart devices have become more accessible. They enable a new level of interaction between the home and its inhabitants through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.

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Does AI Correlate Materiality with Contemporary Architecture? An Experiment with Six Building Materials

As AI has become more accessible, we have witnessed examples illustrating its diverse applications. Prominent among these are generative AIs, which excel in their ability to “create” images through prompts, many distinguished by their composition and vividness. These AI systems are neural networks with billions of parameters, trained to create images from natural language, using a dataset of text–image pairs. Thus, although the initial question posed by Turing in the 1950s, “Can machines think?” still recurs today, the generation of images and text is grounded in existing information, limiting their capabilities.

What has surprised many is the increasingly apparent closeness to overcoming the Turing test and the growing similarity, in terms of visualizations, to what an architect with skills in this field can achieve. In this context, while the debate persists in the architectural community about whether AI can process architectural concepts, this article explores how it interprets materials to develop these visual representations. With that in mind, a single prompt was developed for this experiment (with materiality as its variable) to delve into the obtained results.

Prompting Creativity: The Role of AI in Visualization and Design Tools for Architects

Nowadays, architectural work is closely linked to technology and the advances that emerge in this field. In that sense, various aspects of artificial intelligence have been widely discussed. The reality is that, rather than plunging into a competition of capabilities between Architects vs AI, —with nuances that could evoke some aspects of the ideology of 19th-century English Luddites— advances in this field can be seen as tools to optimize processes and open new perspectives within the profession.

In this context, architecture often spans various stages, from early phases where data decisively shapes built environments to later ones where generative design tools for spaces play a fundamental role in spatial configuration. In this process, visualization plays the crucial role of graphically understanding the expression of what is being designed. Thus, iterating on the visualization and evaluating each of the results is vital not only to express ideas but also to use those visualizations to interpret aesthetic elements.

Sustainable Building Models: An Eco-Friendly Structure in Natural Slate Within a Multi-Ecological Neighborhood

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Moving towards modernity implies questioning established concepts. Today, we are witnessing several projects and approaches in architecture that explore alternatives to energy-intensive building systems, materials, and technologies commonly used in today's construction. These projects, far from adopting approaches that reject technology, seek to promote conscious architectural practices. They aim to go back to basics through passive strategies, using natural materials and a contextual understanding to develop sustainable architecture.

To boost sustainable architecture, it is crucial to have building models and materials that become recognizable icons in their immediate context, thus setting a precedent for the development of future proposals. One such example can be found in Spain, with the "Impulso Verde" project carried out in the city of Lugo which stands out for its construction model based on passive strategies and regional materials. In this project, using natural slate as cladding for the ventilated facade system and employing local resources in the structure was essential for the building's ecological footprint. Additionally, these elements strengthen the building's identity by connecting it to the surrounding landscape.

Mottled and Timeless: Why do Architects and Designers Specify Epoxy Terrazzo?

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Initially conceived as a way to use fragments from marble construction waste, terrazzo is a material widely used around the world, with its modern roots dating back centuries to Venice, Italy. Its aesthetic is unmistakable, characterized by mottled patterns and a wide range of colors poured onto the floor. It is not surprising that this material is widely appreciated by architects in various types of projects due to its unique appearance. A notable example of the use of terrazzo is the Guggenheim Museum in New York, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Upon discovering it during one of his trips, Wright recognized that thanks to its aesthetic appeal and versatility, it would endure as the museum's interior finish.

The evolution of construction materials has transformed terrazzo from the traditional mixture used by Wright, which included concrete as a binder, to a version that incorporates an epoxy matrix, enhancing its iconic aesthetic and integrating additional technical capabilities. Today, Terrazzo & Marble empowers contemporary designers to create distinctive patterns and vibrant color palettes that seamlessly align with the context of modern architecture. This is accomplished through four leading principles that guide architects in specifying epoxy terrazzo.

The Second Studio Podcast: Interview with Mark Bullivant

The Second Studio (formerly The Midnight Charette) is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by Architects David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features different creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions.

A variety of subjects are covered with honesty and humor: some episodes are interviews, while others are tips for fellow designers, reviews of buildings and other projects, or casual explorations of everyday life and design. The Second Studio is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

This week David and Marina of FAME Architecture & Design are joined by Architect Mark Bullivant, Principal of SAOTA to discuss his background; attending architecture school in South Africa; working on projects across continents; the differing roles of contractors in different areas of the work; their collaborative approach; leadership and management of a large office; the various types of projects they work on; and more!

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Digital Art and Architecture: Beyond Billboards and Spheres

In July, Las Vegas unveiled an extravagant spectacle - a colossal LED-wrapped spherical structure, standing 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide. This entertainment event venue instantly captured the public's gaze, becoming a local landmark and attracting global attention through extensive news coverage. Similar spherical concepts have been proposed in London and at a smaller scale in Los Angeles. These massive display structures open up questions about facades as digital canvases. What role can architecture take as an urban canvas other than as a billboard? And what are different ways for architecture to engage the public through digital art besides gigantic LED spheres?

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Hands-In to Hands-Through: A New Generation of Hygienic and Aesthetic Hand Dryers

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Although considered common practice today, the concept of hand hygiene was not initially deeply ingrained in society. It wasn't until 1847 when the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis, supported by scientific evidence, proposed that hand washing was a hygienic measure with a direct impact on people's health. From this point on, the rest is history. Hand hygiene has become a widespread practice, ranging from washing to drying, accompanied by various accessories that play specific roles in the process.

In contemporary environments, especially in the context of collective well-being, public restrooms have become a focal point. This shift in focus is, in part, a response to the post-pandemic emphasis on hygiene and the role of restroom accessories in these settings. Among the accessories available, hand dryers have garnered significant importance, even transcending their primary function. In light of this, Mediclinics has innovated by introducing a new hand dryer concept that places a strong emphasis on enhancing the user experience while offering innovative restroom equipment with a distinctive U-shaped design.

Ecological, Lightweight, and Slender: Energy-Efficient Architecture with Translucent Polycarbonate

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In the contemporary context, global warming has marked a turning point in the way we think about architecture. We are witnessing record temperatures on our planet and a challenging panorama in many large cities, characterized by heatwaves and, in some cases, more severe winters. These circumstances have triggered a cycle in which the demand for heating and cooling systems increases, which, in turn, translates into higher energy and operating costs for buildings.

Given this situation, it becomes imperative to design energy-efficient buildings to reduce both the environmental impact and the associated costs. One of the strategies to achieve this is to properly plan the facade, which, serving a function similar to the building's skin, can help reduce the energy required for heating and cooling. In this context, the polycarbonate panels developed by Rodeca contribute to the energy efficiency of buildings, in addition to their lightweight, slender construction, and translucent aesthetics.

Simplified Digital Infrastructure for Smart Buildings: JUNG HOME

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Representing a fusion of innovation and convenience, a smart home can be defined as an environment in which one or more devices are connected and can be controlled remotely, either through a smartphone or voice commands. Automation, or home automation, is an advanced technology that has become increasingly accessible and popular. It enables tasks ranging from efficiently controlling lighting and room temperature to managing security devices, entertainment systems, and voice-activated personal assistants. Smart homes empower residents with continuous and user-friendly control over their environment. This dynamic synergy of automation and connectivity not only promotes efficiency and resource conservation but also opens new horizons in customization and comfort, envisioning a future where homes adapt to the needs and preferences of their occupants, making life simpler and more enjoyable. However, these systems often require the installation of new cables and wiring to build the necessary infrastructure, as well as the hiring of highly specialized labor, which can often make their implementation impractical.

BIM and the Future of Architecture: Accelerating Design Processes with Archicad 27

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Architecture is a unique field that combines equally constant aesthetic and functional needs, while immersed in dynamic technological environments. At this juncture, design processes and buildings are becoming increasingly intricate, requiring architects to manage projects efficiently while fostering multidisciplinary and multi-level collaboration throughout workflows. Additionally, the new technologies and tools we employ in the process must evolve at the same pace —sometimes even faster— by embracing aspects such as sustainability and efficiency, all while keeping an eye on the future.

The tools available in the multidisciplinary architectural environment have evolved significantly quickly. Both students and experienced architects have now nearly completely transitioned from manual methods to computer-aided drafting software. Today, we find ourselves immersed in the era of architecture driven by technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), artificial intelligence, and digital processes. At the same time, the fundamentals of BIM and its historical background trace back to the early days of computing, research, and new technologies, which sparked a rapid evolution within the AEC industry and among its professionals.

Eskew+Dumez+Ripple Reveals Design for New Academic Center in Georgia Tech, Atlanta

EskewDumezRipple has just revealed the designs for a new academic building for the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Embedded into the new “Technology Square,” this expansive project marks phase 3 of Georgia Tech’s growth initiative. Designed to facilitate the development of technology leaders and enhance the human condition of Georgia Tech students and faculty, the scheme creates a vibrant intellectual environment filled with inspiration.

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A Glimpse into the Evolution of Insulation Materials in Architecture

Although more related to evolutionary aspects than to architecture itself, the inherent physical fragility of human beings has required, since prehistoric times, that we protect our bodies and our buildings from external elements. As an example, beginning with the primitive huts used in the earliest forms of domestic architecture, furs were employed as an exterior covering to restrict the flow of air and, consequently, regulate the interior environment.

Subsequently, we have observed an evolution that clearly shows advances in insulation techniques, going from vernacular materials such as adobe to an increase in the thickness of walls using stone or brick, finally reaching the cavity walls developed in the 19th century, which left a small air chamber between an exterior and an interior face of the wall. Its later popularization led to the introduction of insulation between both faces, a system that is widely recognized and used today and has laid the foundations for further developments in this field.

How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint Through Architecture? Three Approaches Across the Building Lifecycle

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Architecture encompasses multiple processes, starting with identifying needs and transforming them into habitable structures through thoughtful design. Historically, construction-related processes like resource extraction and end-of-life disposal were often overlooked. However, it is essential to recognize that buildings have a lifecycle with significant impacts on carbon emissions. Emphasizing sustainable practices is vital to minimize our ecological footprint and positively impact the planet.

The Beachside House: A Case Study of Vernacular-Inspired Architecture Using Modern Materials

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Each architectural style intrinsically relates to a specific context, period, or place. An illustrative example is the region of the United States, which was strongly influenced by the period of British colonization in the Americas (17th-18th centuries). In this context, dwellings emerged that adopted a distinctive architectural language. Moreover, the large distances between major cities in many areas of the country had a significant impact on the configuration of domestic architecture, resulting in the inclusion of barns and other structures that served various functions in addition to housing. This architectural style is characterized by its rectangular floor plan, two-story structures, gable roofs, and wooden cladding on the facade. These elements constitute an integral part of the vernacular expression of the houses from that time.

Speaking specifically of gable roofs, they are the feature most associated with the traditional aesthetic of dwellings developed between the 17th and 19th centuries, as well as later ones. One example is the Beachside House, which is a contemporary project documented in Swisspearl Architecture Magazine. This settlement is located on the shore of Long Island Sound, which divides Connecticut from Long Island, New York. With its four gable-roofed structures, covered with light-toned fiber cement panels, it seeks to be an abstraction of New England vernacular architecture.