Wood: The Latest Architecture and News
Mass timber is an innovative construction solution that is gaining prominence worldwide due to its sustainability and technological benefits. In 2020, the opening of the first Dengo concept store, located in São Paulo, marked the debut of the brand's first interactive factory and the pioneering use of CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) in a high-rise building in Brazil. Developed by architecture firm Matheus Farah and Manoel Maia, the project faced several challenges precisely because of its use of this new technology, which was just beginning to emerge in the construction sector.
The choice of CLT as the project's main building material reflects a commitment to sustainability and to reducing its environmental impact, as it helps mitigate carbon in the atmosphere. In addition, its use allows for cleaner, lighter, and faster construction compared to traditional building methods. However, it is important to keep in mind that mass timber construction requires special care in the handling, storage, and assembly of materials, in order to preserve their integrity and aesthetic details throughout the construction process. Using the right methods is therefore essential to guarantee a high-quality result, which include practices such as not leaving the wood exposed to weather or using wedges to prevent the wood from coming into contact with the ground.
By December 1956, Mario Soto and Raúl Rivarola received the first prize to build four schools in the province of Misiones, Argentina. That was followed by the first prize for the construction of six hostels, the commissioning of the project for the Escuela Normal Superior N° 1 in Leandro N. Alem, and the first prize for the construction of the Instituto de Previsión Social y Hotel in the city of Posadas. Their works in Misiones, developed within the framework of the process of provincialization of the national territories that took place between 1951 and 1955, have provided the opportunity to study themes such as the link between the State and architecture, the connection between technique and politics, state architecture and avant-gardes, the dilemma of styles, among many others.
Nowadays, the cycles of change around society and architecture have generated new urban models, emerging technologies, and design trends that underline the need for constant adaptability in all areas. In this context, aspects such as flexibility, reliability, and simplicity emerge as distinctive elements, both in architecture and in the components that constitute it, including materials. This is why lines such as the EGGER Decorative Collection 24+, crafted from wood-derived materials, seek to redefine concepts through a rolling series, updated at most every two years. This dynamic enables a more agile response to new trends, influences, and product innovations that arise in the built environment.
In Norway, the Medieval Churches, known as "StavKirker" (in Norwegian, "Stav" refers to a type of wooden column, and "Kirker" means church), stand out as iconic structures. They emerged in the 11th century following the country's conversion to Christianity, reflecting Norwegian expertise in ship carpentry inherited from the Vikings. This expertise transformed wooden construction, innovating woodcraft techniques and turning these buildings into aesthetically significant compositions.
It's fascinating to observe the current state of wood in the world of architecture. The material, once seemingly forgotten by modernity, has resurged with full force, facing significant challenges but also revealing promising opportunities. The aesthetic and architectural appeal of engineered wood, coupled with its intrinsic association with sustainability, has been a catalyst for the increase in wood-centric projects around the world.
Due to technological advancements and research into the limits and possibilities of this material, there has been a significant leap in the development of wood in construction. Buildings around the world are being erected with wooden structures, driven by the increasing interest in sustainable solutions based on renewable resources, a demand from both the public and architects and their clients.
Contemporary Japanese interiors incorporate elements both of tradition and modernity to embody the country's innovative spirit while maintaining a profound respect for its history and cultural heritage. Though traditional materials like wood, paper, and bamboo continue to hold significance, modern Japanese interiors also often feature a fusion of glass, steel, concrete, and metals. The juxtaposition of smoother, sleeker textures and finishes with warmer and more organic ones reflects a dynamic synthesis of old and new, and results in visually striking and functional spaces that honor the essence of the country's design principles.
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.
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.
The ArchDaily projects library is managed by our curators who constantly seek to populate our stream with the most interesting global works, showcasing evolving focuses and criteria. While we usually share our reader’s top 100 favorites, this year, we also decided to initiate our editor’s picks on the ArchDaily Instagram account, where our curators highlight some projects that include interesting themes and unique traits.
The 3rd edition of Shaping the City, a forum on sustainable urban development, took place in Venice between November 24-25, following successful events in Chicago and New Orleans. Organized by the European Cultural Centre, this forum was running in parallel to the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennial exhibition, Time Space Existence. The event, hosted at Palazzo Michiel del Brusà in Cannaregio, brings together global urban planners, architects, academics, and politicians. Notably, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma was among the experts invited to explore the intersection of nature and the built environment in Japanese architecture.
Over two days, the conference set out to explore crucial themes such as education, urban commons, displacement, nature integration, and the future of architecture media, a subject discussed during a panel talk attended by ArchDaily’s managing editor, Christele Harrouk. While on-site in Venice, the ArchDaily team sat down with Kengo Kuma to discuss his unique approach to nature-inspired and site-specific designs.
When it comes to windows, we can see how much the industry's technology has evolved over time. While the first versions of windows were small and not very transparent, today we can find large sheets of glass that blur the boundaries between the inside and outside, and can create virtually translucent façades. And this doesn't have to be limited to fixed glass. These days, we can use huge glazed surfaces that can be easily handled, thanks to a great deal of research and experimentation by manufacturers to improve components and raw materials. To create a large frame, for example, larger furnaces are needed for tempering, and strict technical control is required, demanding precision and high-quality standards, along with structural bonding using modified silicones and silyl-based polymers.
Trends always come and go in the ever-evolving, somewhat cyclical landscape of interior architecture. Whether it’s a new aesthetic, an innovative wall treatment or the latest viral color, certain design features rise to prominence all the time in this dynamic industry. Some fade as quickly as they emerge or resurface in new forms years later, while others endure and stand the test of time through continuous reinvention –often thanks to their versatile and adaptable nature. Ribbed paneling is a clear example of the latter. With its ability to add texture and visual allure to various design styles, it has been a popular cladding choice for bedrooms, kitchens and living spaces in recent decades. And now more than ever, fitting with current preferences that lean towards sleek, tactile and structured elements, it has consolidated its presence in contemporary residential interiors.
OMA, Studio A Kwadraat, and Circlewood Win Amsterdam School Competition with Modular Wood Construction System
As part of the Schools by Circlewood consortium, OMA’s David Gianotten and Michael den Otter, together with Studio A Kwadraat, represented by Jimmy van der Aa, have won the competition to design the Wisperweide school in Weesp. This will become the first school to be built using Schools by Circlewood’s prefabricated wooden modular system, developed in collaboration with OMA. The system has earlier been chosen by the administration of Amsterdam to be employed across the city to provide flexible and sustainable elementary schools.
When Old Meets New: JK-AR's Reinvention of the Traditional East Asian Bracket System through Digital Carpentry
By imagining an alternative reality and rediscovering his cultural background, architect Jae Kyung Kim of JK-AR established his identity as an architect when creating his practice, selected as one of ArchDaily’s New Practices 2023. After studying and working in South Korea and the US, he’d noticed an absence of traditional Asian architecture, which had peaked his interest. He began to thoroughly look at a possibility where the traditional timber buildings of East Asia had still been relevant and continued to evolve.