Flooding is a significant problem for buildings all around the world, including architectural treasures like the Farnsworth House that have been plagued by the issue time and time again. In particular, one-third of the entire continental U.S. are at risk of flooding this spring, especially the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, and Deep South. Last April, deadly floods decimated parts of Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Iran as well, resulting in a low estimate of 1,000 deaths while tens of thousands more were displaced. While architecture cannot solve or even fully protect from the most deadly floods, it is possible – and necessary – to take several protective measures that could mitigate damage and consequently save lives.
OSB (Oriented Strand Board) can be easily recognized for its distinctive appearance. This material consists of cross-oriented layers of wood strands compressed and bonded together with resin, applied under high pressure and temperature. As a result, the standardized panels have great stiffness, strength, and stability, and are often used as wall cladding attached to the steel frame of a building or as partitions. Also, they have good soundproofing capabilities, since the panels are uniform and have no internal gaps or voids. It is also worth mentioning that OSB can be fully recycled, thereby being considered eco-friendly.
The construction industry is responsible for 75% of the consumption of earth's natural resources. Stone, sand, iron, and many other finite resources are extracted in huge quantities to supply the markets. Additionally, construction sites themselves generate enormous quantities of waste, whether through construction, demolition, or remodeling. In Brazil, for example, construction waste can represent between 50% and 70% of the total mass of municipal solid waste . This waste often ends up in landfills and dumps rather than being properly disposed of, overwhelming municipal sanitation systems and creating informal disposal sites.
Peter Zumthor, in one of his most emblematic works, gives concrete an almost sacred dimension. The work in question is the small Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, located in a small village in Germany, a construction that is both robust and sensitive. Built with white cement, which was mixed with stones and sand from the region, the chapel is composed of 24 layers of concrete that were poured day after day by local labor, and compressed in an unusual way. The building's flat and smooth exterior contrasts with its interior, which was initially made of inclined wooden logs forming a triangular void. To remove these internal forms, the logs were set on fire in a controlled process, reducing them to ash and creating a carbonized interior that varied between black and gray and retained the texture of the negatives of the logs. The result is a masterpiece of architecture, a space for reflection and transformation, in which the same material appears in diametrically opposing ways.
For a small child, understanding the concept of time and its passage is very difficult. As a result, children are often impatient when expecting something or confused when trying to remember something from the past. They live in the present, and learn the notion of time only little by little. But accepting the passage of time, and the reality of aging, is something that plagues us even as adults. The lucrative cosmetic and plastic surgery industries show how humanity seeks to control or deny the passage of time, an urge that has proved to be relentless.
The world of architecture and construction has observed, with increasing attention, technological innovations involving wood. Although it is a material that has been widely used for thousands of years, recent research involving industrial manufacturing and machining technologies has provided even greater quality control and an increased diversity of uses, causing it to be described by many as the material of the future. To this end, common myths including wood's lack of resistance to fire and the implausibility of using it to structure tall buildings have been debunked.
As the number of smaller and more compact apartments grows, architects and interior designers are challenged to create multifunctional solutions and systems capable of optimizing spaces, in a way that every inch seems to make a difference. As a result, it is increasingly common for professionals to focus on designing creative furniture solutions that allow the space to transform completely in a few seconds.
AI in the architecture industry has provoked much debate in recent years - yet it seems like very few of us know exactly what it is or why it has created this storm of emotions. There are professionals researching AI who know more about the field than I do, but I have hands-on experience using AI and algorithms in my design over the past 10 years through various projects. This is one of the challenges that our field faces. How can we make practical use of these new tools?
If quarantine has brought something positive into the lives of many people around the world, it is the opportunity to change up our daily routines and dive into new activities that we did not have time or energy for beforehand. Learning and delving into topics that interest us or that are related to our work is one of them.
Dissociating architecture from furniture is almost impossible. As Le Corbusier parking contemporary cars in his project photos suggests, the objects that decorate a domestic space demonstrate the wealth and lifestyle of the user who lives in it. From the moment that humanity ceased to be nomadic, there has existed records of rudimentary furniture. In an excavated site dating from 3,100 to 2,500 BCE, a variety of stone furniture was discovered, from cabinets and beds to stone shelves and seats. Since these early examples, furniture has always been used to express ideas: be it the exclusive and luxurious furniture of Ancient Egypt, meant to demonstrate the power and wealth of the empire, to the functional and simplified designs of the Bauhaus, meant to reconstruct rationality in the world, studying the evolution of furniture design is instrumental to understanding architectural styles.
It is a student's right to be educated in a safe, healthy, and even aesthetically appealing environment, especially young students for whom these factors are even more important. For example, it has been shown that when the ergonomics of chairs are inadequate, they can greatly affect levels of concentration and the development of skills such as calligraphy. At the same time, the effectiveness of traditional teaching methods is increasingly being questioned and the quality of alternative methodologies increasingly being considered. In other articles, we discussed in more detail the design of Montessori schools and the atmosphere of Waldorf interiors.
In a predominately urban world that constantly has to deal with complex problems such as waste generation, water scarcity, natural disasters, air pollution, and even the spread of disease, it is impossible to ignore the impact of human activity on the environment. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and it is urgent that we find ways to slow down the process, at the very least. Toward this end, our production, consumption, and construction habits will have to change, or climate change and environmental degradation will continue to diminish the quality and duration of our lives and that of future generations.
Fifty percent of landfill waste in New Zealand is construction and demolition waste. The demand for homes in the coming years and decades is rapidly outstripping any possible supply we could provide with our current construction methods. PhD student Ged Finch discusses the problems with the home building industry and practices in New Zealand and proposes an alternative to what he terms the "disposable model" of building. Today's homes are not built to last, and can make us sick in the time they are here. Finch's research focuses instead on a completely reimagined, zero waste model for construction. Utilizing today's digital fabrication technologies, we can create a set of building parts that are optimized and reusable from naturally durable materials. But the technical solution is only one part, states Finch. The real key is human ambition.
Although any architectural project must ensure the safety and well-being of its occupants, this goal is especially pertinent for healthcare spaces, whose primary occupants are those prone to getting sick or worsening their initial condition. For this reason, its design must not only support medical procedures in their optimal conditions, but also ensure that the environment is kept sterile and clean at all times.
How do materials that fight the growth of pathogenic bacteria work? Is it possible to improve the hygiene and healthiness of an environment without neglecting the aesthetics of the space? We address this question by reviewing the case of Krion® solid surfaces, widely used in the healthcare sector but also in residential, commercial and office projects.