This Proposed Music Center Honors the Unique Birthplace of Polish Composer Frédéric Chopin

1 day 3 hours ago

Located in a small village in Poland, this proposed music center honors the birthplace of famous Polish composer and pianist, Frédéric Chopin. Designed by ELEMENT as a part of an international competition, the Chopin Music Center captures the picturesque landscape of endless forests through "leisure and relaxation."

The Center integrates with the park through window views of Frédéric Chopin's birth house and the surrounding landscape. The proposed international music center utilizes a combination of natural materials and glazing to create a seamless connection with its site. The existing park can be reached by pathways and bridges near the building, prompting visitors to experience the outdoor area.


The Concert Hall was designed in collaboration with Arau Acustica. The space has a volume of 7,500 cubic meters and a capacity of 600 audience members and 100 musicians. According to the architects, "The shape of the Hall was designed to provide the best acoustic conditions. The glazed wall behind the scene is emphasizing the beautiful context and allows visitors to have a direct view of the park, which becomes a constantly changing scenery."


The building is divided into three blocks based on function. The central part of the Concert Hall is connected to all necessary functions, as well as a welcoming area with a double-height atrium, a ticket desk, and a cafeteria with leisure spaces. The second block contains the Chamber Hall, including offices and practice rooms, while the third block houses conference, guest, and learning rooms. The three blocks are joined by a glazed corridor which frames the scenery.


You can view the winning submission by Polish architects Stelmach & Partners here.

News via: ELEMENT


Recepcja / Znamy Się

1 day 9 hours ago
Courtesy of Znamy Się Courtesy of Znamy Się
  • Architects: Znamy Się
  • Location: Ruska 46C, 11-400 Wrocław, Poland
  • Client: Wroclaw Culture Zone
  • Area: 138.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2018
Courtesy of Znamy Się Courtesy of Znamy Się

Text description provided by the architects. This project holds a new place on the cultural map of Wroclaw, hosted by the organization called Wroclaw Culture Zone. These premises is located in one of the most interesting Wroclaw courtyards. The yard is mainly known for the exhibition of iconic Wroclaw neon signs, but also for many artistic events and parties. The new interior called “Recepcja” (eng. Reception) has been designed by the Wrocław’s architectural group “Znamy się”.

Courtesy of Znamy Się Courtesy of Znamy Się
Plan Plan
Courtesy of Znamy Się Courtesy of Znamy Się

This place shares a special meaning, as the exchange of information is the leading function here. It is also here that you will be able to learn about upcoming and interesting events in the city or take part in workshops and meetings. The space is divided into five areas that are clearly marked. The main zone is a reception desk with an informational function. The next part is a workshop zone used for various cultural events, lectures or for individual group meetings and brainstorming. Finally there is a bar and chilling zone, which fills “The Reception” of guests in the evenings. The interior has been designed with uniquely distinctive colors, which together with brick walls and lush vegetation adds to the character of the yard. The space is free for all to use and is a place that invites everybody to take part in the cultural life of the yard located at Ruska 46 and in the entire city.

Courtesy of Znamy Się Courtesy of Znamy Się

Philip Yuan of Archi-Union Architects: "The Process of Construction can be Elevated to Art"

2 days 4 hours ago
Chi-She, Shanghai / Archi-Union Architects. Image © Shengliang Su Chi-She, Shanghai / Archi-Union Architects. Image © Shengliang Su

Though the understated Swiss and British Pavilions were the big (but distinctly minimal) winners at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, it was the Chinese that put their relentless architectural progress on display. Nestled in the back of the Arsenale, the Chinese Pavilion presented dozens of built works all around Chinese countryside, each project demonstrating a meaningful social impact through the involvement of villagers in the production process. Among the most visible Chinese architects presenting at the pavilion was Shanghai-based educator and practitioner Philip Yuan, whose office Archi-Union Architects has become a major voice in the already-distinctive contemporary Chinese architecture scene.

On 19 July, 2018 curator Vladimir Belogolovsky will join gallerist and curator Ulrich Müller to discuss Philip Yuan’s work at the opening of Archi-Union Architects Collaborative Laboratory exhibition at Architektur Galerie Berlin. Belogolovsky’s interview with Philip Yuan follows after the break:

Vladimir Belogolovsky: First, let’s establish your roles because you have seem to have so many – an educator, researcher, theoretician, practitioner, writer. Could you talk about these directions and interests, and how they intersect?

Philip Yuan: I am in search of my own role within architecture. Architects may be preoccupied with design and building but I worry about bigger ideas such as: Why and how do we build buildings? How can we produce better environments and build a better world?

I am particularly interested in improving the environment for regular people, for majority of the people, not just for the elite. That’s why I don’t want to be just a professional designer, even though we have a very active practice [at ArchiUnion] with about 60 designers. I am interested in much more – writing, research, and teaching. Teaching is especially important to me; I started over twenty years ago at Tongji University here in Shanghai because it allows me to see my work critically and to test new possibilities. Writing is very important because it forces you to think. There is no practice without theory.

Courtesy of Archi-Union Architects Courtesy of Archi-Union Architects

VB: Would you say that architecture is art for you?  

PY: I would like to say that, although I am very much focused on technology. If we want to create structures that last for a long time, they need to be thought of as art. Everything I do here is all about using very sophisticated technology, but the goal is to produce something relevant, meaningful, and inspiring. Architecture as art is a major concern of mine. And to me, the goal is not only to produce a beautiful result but also a beautiful process. The process of construction can be elevated to the level of art performance.  

VB: Your work is all about pushing architecture forward and you speak often about the future. You mentioned your goal to improve the environment and how buildings are built... Does this mean that you are not satisfied with the architecture in the present? What makes you so anxious to want to change the way we build buildings today?

PY: I work in a particular context. When I opened my practice 15 years ago, I saw the entire country [China] booming with construction popping up everywhere. But I did not like the process for two reasons. First, everything was done very fast. Second, the whole construction process was based on human labor. What I want to change is not just aesthetics of architecture. I want to change the construction process. I want people and machines to collaborate in this; indeed, I believe this relationship is what defines our time. Computers and robots can enhance quality of construction and production and enable us to make new possibilities.

The form-making process, which is what architecture is about, will be coming from the building industry, meaning from the collaboration between man and machine. We will always have signature architects but in the future their work will be altered or even defined by machines. Sure, conditions such as social aspects will continue to be very important reasons for shaping architecture. But I believe that it is new digital tools that will give us critical feedback and ultimately define the architecture of the future.  

Fab-Union Space, Shanghai / Archi-Union Architects. Image © Hao Chen Fab-Union Space, Shanghai / Archi-Union Architects. Image © Hao Chen

VB: Where does the importance of logic come from? Didn’t you say before that you are inspired by art? Logical in this case would be a box. We have a curved space here. What is so logical about something so poetic and complex?

PY: The form was developed as a piece of sculpture, you are right. But the final form was defined by logic. Once we knew the direction we calculated the absolutely most efficient way of constructing the curve and how many people and how much time it would take to build it. This was not possible before - Le Corbusier, for example, could not have calculated such complexity. We have now totally mastered the form-finding process.

VB: Let’s talk about your intentions in architecture. What is it that you are trying to achieve - because you clearly have an agenda and every commission helps you to achieve it, right?

PY: For me it is important to show materiality in every project. I only designed one project early on that was all white and concealed. But typically, I use the materials in such a way that the building’s structure is exposed. There is a dialogue between what the building is and how it is put together.

What I am looking for in architecture is not my personal identity but the identity of each project. And I search for these identities in the material and building process. Unlike other architects I spend most of my time in factories and labs to examine the building and manufacturing process. These identities are rooted in each project’s site, which leads to the choice of material. It is identity of the site and identity of the material that makes up each particular project.

Chi-She, Shanghai / Archi-Union Architects. Image © Yucheng Hu Chi-She, Shanghai / Archi-Union Architects. Image © Yucheng Hu

VB: Before we sat down here, you showed me all the amazing tools and robots that can achieve all these fascinating forms and shapes in just about any material. The conclusion that I want to make is this – technologically, anything is possible. As a designer I can be totally free, which takes us back to how architects always worked – they dreamed about not what was possible, but what was impossible. Sure, such approach is not efficient but that’s what ultimately pushes the technology forward – an original idea that challenges reality. Why are you so concerned with responding to machines? If you let your imagination be totally free the machines will eventually catch up. Why is it a concern of an architect?  

PY: I work with machines to know their limits. That helps me to push my imagination. The imagination will always be ahead of what is possible but I am interested in working in tandem with technology.

A few years ago, I worked with a robot that could put together the same shape brick in a variety of patterns. Now I am working with a more advanced robot that can deal with bricks that are all different. I am interested in this collaborative process. I use tools to direct my imagination. I want to imagine new possibilities in partnership with machine. We are imagining new architecture as partners.

In-Bamboo, Daoming / Archi-Union Architects. Image © Bian Lin In-Bamboo, Daoming / Archi-Union Architects. Image © Bian Lin

VB: Is there one particular breakthrough project in your portfolio that you can call your manifesto?  

PY: I like to think that it is my latest project “In Bamboo” Cultural Exchange Center in Daoming, Sichuan Province here in China. It is familiar and it is different. There is a good dialogue between the place, tradition, culture, innovation, and use of technology. The onsite work was all done in just 52 days. That is because everything was prefabricated in the robotic factory that we set up nearby. All elements of the project were put on six trucks and delivered to the site and then assembled.

Many Chinese architects go to villages and build interesting buildings with local material and labor. But I am trying to do more, I am also teaching local people new techniques. And now that the local government agreed to build a number of other small projects in the same village we are going to use our new factory for these other new projects, which will include water infrastructure pavilions, education center, internet center, package-delivery station, hotel, children’s summer camp, and public restrooms.

All of these projects will be done in collaboration with local villagers. This will completely change the quality of life for so many people in that village. Also, the factory that we set up will grow and be used for other projects in China. It will become our studio’s second base. In Bamboo, as well as all other our projects that are going to be built in Daoming demonstrate how industry, technology, craftsmanship, and aesthetics can merge to produce meaningful and new kinds of architecture.   

VLADIMIR BELOGOLOVSKY is the founder of the New York-based non-profit Curatorial Project. Trained as an architect at Cooper Union in New York, he has written five books, including Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity (DOM, 2015), Harry Seidler: LIFEWORK (Rizzoli, 2014), and Soviet Modernism: 1955-1985 (TATLIN, 2010). Among his numerous exhibitions: Anthony Ames: Object-Type Landscapes at Casa Curutchet, La Plata, Argentina (2015); Colombia: Transformed (American Tour, 2013-15); Harry Seidler: Painting Toward Architecture (world tour since 2012); and Chess Game for Russian Pavilion at the 11th Venice Architecture Biennale (2008). Belogolovsky is the American correspondent for Berlin-based architectural journal SPEECH and he has lectured at universities and museums in more than 20 countries.

Belogolovsky’s column, City of Ideas, introduces ArchDaily’s readers to his latest and ongoing conversations with the most innovative architects from around the world. These intimate discussions are a part of the curator’s upcoming exhibition with the same title which premiered at the University of Sydney in June 2016. The City of Ideas exhibition will travel to venues around the world to explore ever-evolving content and design.


Hidden Gems of Latin American Architecture

2 days 5 hours ago
Nido de Quetzalcóatl / Javier Senosian. Image © Marcos Betanzos Nido de Quetzalcóatl / Javier Senosian. Image © Marcos Betanzos

Vacation time is near. Would you like to visit some of the most enchanting places in Latin American architecture? We know you're an architecture aficionado and that your passion takes you places that inspire and awe. Even though a visit to the classic tourist sites can result in an amazing trip, visiting lesser-known places can make for an unforgettable experience. It is because of this passion for parts unknown that we have compiled this list of some of Latin America's hidden architecture gems for you to consider as you plan your next trip. Keep reading for the complete list. 


Edward James' Surrealist Garden

Jardín Surrealista / Edward James. Image © Victor Delaqua Jardín Surrealista / Edward James. Image © Victor Delaqua

The Garden's history dates back to the exploration of the site, nestled in the Huasteca Potosina, by British writer Edward James and his partner Pluto Gastelum. The two told of being engulfed by a cloud of butterflies while bathing in the river. James, a zealot of the Surrealist movement, took this as a sign of fate and was inspired to create his own version of "The Garden of Eden." Construction of his vision began between 1947 and 1949.

The Pilgrim Route

Ruta del Peregrino. Image © Iwan Baan Ruta del Peregrino. Image © Iwan Baan

The Pilgrim Route was a master plan carried out by the Mexican architects Tatiana Bilbao, Rozana Montiel, and Derek Dellekamp in conjunction with the architectural firms of: Luis Aldrete Architects, Tatiana Bilbao, Ai Weiwei (Fake Design), Christ and Gantenbein, Dellekamp Architects, Alejandro Aravena (Elemental) Godoylab, HHF Architects, and Rozana Montiel (Periférica). The route goes from Ameca all the way to Talpa de Allende and is one of the most important events on the Catholic calendar, giving pilgrims a whole new way to experience the land. 

Quetzalcoatl's Nest

This architectural project was constructed on uneven terrain at 5,000 m2, owing its unique geography to the tree-lined ravine that cuts through the landscape. The site's architecture corresponds with the principles of organic architecture that guided the work of Mexican architect Javier Senosian. The manner in which it evokes elements of nature like animals, shells, and caves while combining them with other elements from the land highlights the artistic tradition of Mexico. Nowhere better is this seen than in the details of the painted windows and indigo tiles that line the walkways of this architect junkie's dream. 

IK LAB Gallery / Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel

Galería IK LAB / Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel. Image Cortesía de IK LAB Galería IK LAB / Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel. Image Cortesía de IK LAB

In the heart of one of the most exclusive places in Latin America lies unprecedented art galleries, home to a list of distinguished international artists and host to a number of vanguard exhibitions of contemporary art. IK LAB develops immersive cultural experiences that promote creativity, conscience, and the vision for the growing community of Tulum and its many international visitors.


Cap Ducal / Roberto Dávila

Cap Ducal / Roberto Dávila. Image © Natalia Yunis Cap Ducal / Roberto Dávila. Image © Natalia Yunis

Cap Ducal, constructed in 1936 in Viña del Mar by architect Roberto Davila, is a fixture of the city's architectural menu. Situated on a rocky outpost overlooking what was once the city's first public beach, it's the only coastal building, now a hotel and restaurant, left standing from the 1930s, adding to its already extensive cultural heritage. Along with other Latin American cities, Viña del Mar was witness to the gradual integration of maritime activities with urban life. [1] During the 1930s, several reforms were passed that established Viña as one of Chile's most important resort towns, a legacy that continues today.

Votive Temple of Maipu / Juan Martínez Gutiérrez

Templo Votivo de Maipú / Juan Martínez Gutiérrez. Image Cortesía de Juan Martínez Gutiérrez, la voluntad moderna Templo Votivo de Maipú / Juan Martínez Gutiérrez. Image Cortesía de Juan Martínez Gutiérrez, la voluntad moderna

The building's powerful sculptural form and structural consistency surprises and awes at first glance, a homage to its creator who demanded that it stand out among all other temples. This demand saw to its creation as not only a church, but a structure with significant meaning for the people of Chile. In it, you can see the origins of the Beaux-Arts school, which helped form talents such as Juan Martinez. Its classicism is expressed in the symmetric organization of the east to west geometric axis that includes the colonnade and the pre-existing walls of the old church.

Marble Cathedrals, Chilean Patagonia

 Catedrales de Mármol, Patagonia Chilena. Image © Pedro Soffia Catedrales de Mármol, Patagonia Chilena. Image © Pedro Soffia

The Marble Cathedrals are found in General Carrera Lake, the largest lake in Chile, along the second half of the Carretera Austral, about 223 km from Coyhaique, Chilean Patagonia. The formations of calcium carbonate eroded by water make up three structures: the Marble Chapel, the Marble Cathedral, and the Marble Caves. You can get to them by boat from Puerto Rio Tranquilo and, at a low tide, enter the Cathedral and see its hues of white, blue, gray, yellow, and pink. Also, how the polished crags seem to disappear into the depths of the lake. 


El Conjunto Calle del Sol / Rubio y Gómez

Conjunto Residencial Calle del Sol. Image © Rubio y Gómez Conjunto Residencial Calle del Sol. Image © Rubio y Gómez

Built in downtown Bogota in an attempt to recover a piece of history, El Conjunto Residencial Calle del Sol has become a majestic symbol of the city's architectural heritage and culture. Nestled within the colonial surroundings of the Candelaria neighborhood, this neo-gothic fortress features elements of "exquisite end of the century modernity" where the contrast and constant remembrance of its style make it one of the city's exceptional living spaces. 

Faenza Theatre / Arturo Tapia, Jorge Muñoz, and Ernesto González Concha

Teatro Faenza. Image © Pedro Felipe Teatro Faenza. Image © Pedro Felipe

The story hidden within Bogota's Faenza Theatre's Art Nouveau style is one of glory and misery. The building, an icon of Bogota architecture, was built in 1924 on the corner of Calle 22 and Carrera Quinta on a piece of land where the Faenza Porcelain Factory, the structure's namesake, once operated. 

Luis Ángel Arango Library / Germán Samper

Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango. Image © Dan Gamboa Bohorquez Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango. Image © Dan Gamboa Bohorquez

In a 7,200 square meter parcel of downtown Bogota, there's a particular building whose austerity goes hand in hand with its timelessness. German Samper designed the structure with fine materials, namely wood and marble, with the intention that it shouldn't be higher than the surrounding buildings.  

García Márquez Cultural Center / Rogelio Salmona

Centro Cultural García Márquez. Image © Alejandro Ojeda Centro Cultural García Márquez. Image © Alejandro Ojeda

The Garcia Marquez Cultural Center is an immense icon in the center of Bogota. It's meandering form and dialogue between time and place can be seen on multiple scales. The project was an initiative by Mexico's Economic Culture Fund in 2004 and was led by Rogelio Salmona, who unfortunately didn't get to see the completion of his work in 2008 due to his untimely death.


Santa María de Guadalupe Parish / Claudio Caveri

Parroquia Santa María de Guadalupe / Claudio Caveri. Image via Taller AVD Parroquia Santa María de Guadalupe / Claudio Caveri. Image via Taller AVD

This project by architect Claudio Caveri was created at the intersection of a yearning for local identity and the modern international architectural movement that swept Argentina in the 1960s. The structure stands out from the surrounding buildings while simultaneously paying homage to the features of Caveri's previous work, Our Lady of Fatima Church in Martinez, Buenos Aires. Both works boast elements of the"casablanquismo" style that defined Argentine architecture during the 50s and 60s.

La obra de Francisco Salamone

Portal del cementerio de azul. Image via Wikipedia User Elciri Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 Portal del cementerio de azul. Image via Wikipedia User Elciri Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5

The mark left by Italian architect and engineer Francisco Salamone on Buenos Aires Province represent the state-led growth and development that took place in the region between 1936 and 1940. Between the cemeteries, slaughterhouses, and town halls, the needs of the state were met while also maintaining a degree of grandeur that can be seen today. Today, the duality of Salamone's work, found somewhere in the intersection of urban decay and a need for the monumental, can still be seen in all the towns where he left his mark.


Eduardo Guinle Park / Lucio Costa

Parque Eduardo Guinle / Lucio Costa. Image © Nelson Kon Parque Eduardo Guinle / Lucio Costa. Image © Nelson Kon

Eduardo Guinle Park was inaugurated in 1920 and is a neoclassical palace nestled in the southern end of Rio de Janeiro. In 1940, the park passed to the federal government. A year later, it became the center of an urban development plan led by Lucio Costa, the director of the National Service for Historic and Artistic Heritage, who proposed the construction of six residential buildings. Today, the buildings maintain a uniform visual style marked by columns while the variety of the park's terrain is highlighted by the winding walkways and wooden pergolas that line the paths.

Exposition Center in the Bahia Administration Building / João Filgueiras Lima (Lelé)

Centro de Exposições do Centro Administrativo da Bahia / João Filgueiras Lima. Image Cortesía de Arcoweb Centro de Exposições do Centro Administrativo da Bahia / João Filgueiras Lima. Image Cortesía de Arcoweb

Built by João Filgueiras Lima in 1974, the Exposition Center of the Bahía Administrative Building is a massive concrete structure completely suspended 15 feet off the ground. The building features a massive rectangular platform with an exposition hall in its east wing and an amphitheater molded in the shape of an inverted pyramid in the west wing. 

Mechanization Center of Banco do Brasil / Irmãos Roberto

Centro de Mecanização do Banco do Brasil / Irmãos Roberto. Image © Marcelo Donadussi Centro de Mecanização do Banco do Brasil / Irmãos Roberto. Image © Marcelo Donadussi

The Bank of Brazil's Mechanization Center, built in 2000 in Porto Alegre, stands out for the array of geometric elements that make up its structure. The horizontal frame shown in the rectangular blocks that form the building's body contrasts with the vertical pillars holding it up. In spite of its imposing physique, it's the subtleties found in the structure, like the detachment between the blocks and the resulting opaqueness, that give the structure its true monumentality.  

Teatro Oficina / Lina Bo Bardi e Edson Elito

Teatro Oficina / Lina Bo Bardi e Edson Elito. Image © Nelson Kon Teatro Oficina / Lina Bo Bardi e Edson Elito. Image © Nelson Kon

The Uzyna Uzona Theatre Studio, popularly known as Workshop Theatre, located on Jaceguai Street in São Paulo's Bela Vista neighborhood, was founded in 1958 by José Martínez Correa. The space acted as a manifest theatre, marked by grand spectacles that ranged from plays to musicals to dance performances.  Originally designed by Edison Elito, the theatre was remodeled by the Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi in association with the original project' creator. The central idea of the remodel was to create a contrast between the new structure and the surrounding area in a way that looked as if the street were invading the stage, a representation of the democratization of the theatre, not only through its performances but through its physical space as well.

Casa Bola / Eduardo Longo

Casa Bola / Eduardo Longo. Image © Chico Prestes Maia Casa Bola / Eduardo Longo. Image © Chico Prestes Maia

Casa Bola was built by Eduardo Longo in 1979 as a private residence and was one of the most controversial specimens of Sao Paulo architecture after the 1970s. Iconoclast and self-ironic to a degree, the house consists of an 8-meter sphere that rests atop a concrete foundation, with a ludicrous staircase connecting the two structures. The unusual physicality of the structure is accentuated even more by the surrounding buildings of Sao Paulo's Jardim Europa neighborhood. 


Barrios Altos

Barrios Altos / Balcones Republicanos. Image © Wilder Ramos Barrios Altos / Balcones Republicanos. Image © Wilder Ramos

Despite being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, many of Lima's residents note the structure's neglect. In the same neighborhood, you can find decaying examples of Republican and Viceroy architecture that, at first glance, seem to have lost their value; however, with a little effort and an eye for detail, it's possible to see the city's soul and rich history written on its architectural skeleton. Sociologist Pablo Vega Centeno reflects that, by walking through the streets, "we learn to see the houses as spaces constructed for and by people, and in this, we can value the urban heritage in Barrios Altos. The city's soul is found in the lives that have resided in this place and continue to reside here, generation after generation. After all, the skeleton cannot do without the soul."   

New Hope Cemetery 

Cementerio Nueva Esperanza. Image © Juan Caycho Cementerio Nueva Esperanza. Image © Juan Caycho
Cementerio Nueva Esperanza. Image © Juan Caycho Cementerio Nueva Esperanza. Image © Juan Caycho

José Matos Mar was the first to see it: “Nestled on a rocky terrain of rolling hills and small gorges, there's a showcase of the cultural diversity of migrants that can be seen in the way each community replicates the funerary customs of their various countries of origin." Found in Lima's Villa María district, and occupying more than 60 hectares, it is considered the largest cemetery in Latin America and the second largest in the world, second only to Iran's Wadi-us-Salaam.  The Day of the Dead is a massive celebration attended by millions of people. It's essential to visit and take in the space caught between city and countryside where the social, urban dynamics can be seen in the improvised gravesites, where a public space is created at the intersection of the living and the dead.


Capilla Susana Soca / Antonio Bonet

Image Cortesía de Servicio de Medios Audiovisuales de la Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Urbanismo de la Universidad de la República. Image © Silvia Montero 2007 Image Cortesía de Servicio de Medios Audiovisuales de la Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Urbanismo de la Universidad de la República. Image © Silvia Montero 2007

Designed by Catalan architect Antonio Bonet between 1959 and 1960, the geometric chapel located in the Canelones region was built in memory of the Uruguayan poet Susana Soca. Recognized for its structure, the building was Bonet's first religious-themed work in Uruguay and became a hallmark for modern Uruguayan architecture in the 1960s.


Carlo Ratti Associati's Latest Prototype Shows How the Design of Streets Could Change in Real Time

2 days 21 hours ago
© Carlo Ratti Associati © Carlo Ratti Associati

Carlo Ratti Associati, working in collaboration with Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, has unveiled their design for a modular paving system named “The Dynamic Street.” Intended to make streets “reconfigurable, safer, and more accessible to pedestrians, cyclists, and tomorrow’s self-driving vehicles,” the project will be on display at Sidewalk Lab’s office and experimentation space in Toronto throughout the summer of 2018.

Manifesting as a series of hexagonal modular pavers, the project explores the various patterns which can be created by reconfiguring modules, with a potential future “allowing a street to create an extra car lane during rush hour before then turning it into a pedestrian-only plaza in the evening.”

© David Pike © David Pike
© Carlo Ratti Associati © Carlo Ratti Associati

The prototype contains embedded lights in all 232 modules capable of communicating crossings, pick-up zones, and other uses. Potential also exists for each module to host a “plug and play element” including poles, bollards, or basketball hoops. Visitors to the prototype will have the opportunity to play on a digital reconfigurator, demonstrating the project’s flexibility by creating their own urban scenarios.

© David Pike © David Pike
© Carlo Ratti Associati © Carlo Ratti Associati

The Dynamic Street creates a space for urban experimentation: with this project, we aim to create a streetscape that responds to citizens’ ever-changing needs. We are excited to work with Sidewalk Labs, as we explore a new integration between the road as a physical space and digital technologies.
-Professor Carlo Ratti, Founder, Carlo Ratti Associati

© David Pike © David Pike
© David Pike © David Pike

For the project’s development, Carlo Ratti Associati worked in collaboration with Sidewalk Labs, and Pac Team. News of the Dynamic Street follows on from Carlo Ratti Associati’s unveiling of Scribit, a “writing robot” which draws images and text on any wall surface, turning office, living, and bathroom walls into a blank canvas for artistic expression. 

© Carlo Ratti Associati © Carlo Ratti Associati

News via: Carlo Ratti Associati


Foster+Partners-Led Trailblazer Apprenticeships Bring Overdue Relief for Disenfranchised Architecture Students

2 days 23 hours ago
Foster + Partners' London office, Riverside. Image © Marc Goodwin Foster + Partners' London office, Riverside. Image © Marc Goodwin

Earlier this month, a “Trailblazer Group” comprising 20 leading architecture firms led by Foster + Partners announced the creation of the UK’s first Architecture Apprenticeship Standards. Supported by the RIBA, ARB (Architects Registration Board) and over a dozen UK universities, the group has structured a program which tackles the financial feasibility of an architectural education through paid apprenticeships, and addresses the disparity experienced by students transitioning between education and practice

While doing little to alter the notorious seven-year length of the UK's accreditation process, the apprenticeship is a welcome and proactive step in reforming an education system which, on the ground, breeds an atmosphere of financial insecurity, mental health issues, and a disenchantment among students with the value of their £45,000 investment in architecture degrees.

Foster + Partners' London office, Riverside. Image © Marc Goodwin Foster + Partners' London office, Riverside. Image © Marc Goodwin

The British architectural education system, as noted by the Guardian’s architecture critic Oliver Wainwright, is still based on a model established in a 1958 RIBA Conference on Architectural Education. Students typically enroll in a 3-year undergraduate degree, 2-year postgraduate degree, and combined 24 months recorded experience in an architecture firm before undertaking a final case-study-based assessment to be recognized as an architect in the UK, a final hurdle which can take several years to clear. 

Since 1958, this system has failed to keep pace with the diminished status of architects in shaping the urban environment, and the demands placed on students through higher fees, higher rental prices, and low prospects of a rewarding job. Factoring in the £9000 annual tuition fees paid by many students, and high running costs of materials, printing, excursions, and bills, and a comfortable architectural education in the UK becomes the exclusive privilege of students financially supported by their families. 

Foster + Partners will lead the Trailblazers Apprenticeships program. Image via Norman Foster Foundation Foster + Partners will lead the Trailblazers Apprenticeships program. Image via Norman Foster Foundation

For students without family funds, the reality of an architectural education is one of heavy debt, bank overdrafts, and ever-lower-paying part-time jobs which interfere with studies. Lying between their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees is a minimum of 12 months working for an architecture firm on a low wage, often with no compensation for overtime hours. Punished with financial insecurity for pursuing their passion, it is little wonder that 25% of British architecture students experience mental health issues, and it is little wonder that they clamor for change.

<a href=''>The RIBA 2014 Skills Survey found that universities are failing to prepare students for practice</a> <a href=''>The RIBA 2014 Skills Survey found that universities are failing to prepare students for practice</a>

Within this bleak context, the Trailblazer Group can be recognized at face value as a timely intervention. Led by Foster + Partners, and including firms such as Hawkins/Brown, Feilden Clegg Bradley, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, and Grimshaw, the initiative has received support from over a dozen universities, the UK’s Architects Registration Board, and the Royal Institute of British Architects. The program is comprised of two standards: a 4-year Architectural Assistant apprenticeship and a 4-year Architect apprenticeship, with apprentices gaining full accreditation upon completion.

Throughout the apprenticeships, which can be offered by any ARB-prescribed university, students will work under the supervision of a qualified architect, “contributing to delivering projects of varying scale and type; for example, an office skyscraper, semi-detached house, cage, school, or bridge.” They are also exposed to the interdisciplinary nature of the profession, engaging with engineers, quantity surveyors and project managers, as well as the lengthy design and delivery process from feasibility to construction.

Hawkins/Brown, who designed the new campus for UCL's Bartlett School, will take part in the program. Courtesy of The Bartlett School of Architecture Hawkins/Brown, who designed the new campus for UCL's Bartlett School, will take part in the program. Courtesy of The Bartlett School of Architecture

Both the Architectural Assistant and Architect apprenticeships offer maximum funding of £21,000, with apprentices “exempt from paying tuition fee and also receiv[ing] a salary and other employee related benefits.” If merged with an effort to make the program financially feasible for apprentices living in expensive cities such as London, the initiative presents an attractive path to accreditation for students struggling with the existing university-based model.

While doing little to address the overall length of an architectural education, the improved financial model will at least make this path more accessible for students from low-income households, and recover the talented designers dissuaded from a career in architecture by the inaccessibility of the existing path to accreditation.

<a href=''>In 2014, the UK Architecture Student Network met to discuss the future of architectural education</a> Image © Vinesh Pomal / Zlatina Spasova <a href=''>In 2014, the UK Architecture Student Network met to discuss the future of architectural education</a> Image © Vinesh Pomal / Zlatina Spasova

The profession cannot afford to rest on its laurels following this new initiative, as it did following previous reform in 1958. As the methodologies and structures behind the design of the built environment change rapidly, the system which trains future architects must keep pace. 

The pursuit of this goal will be aided significantly if we can create, maintain, and evolve a system which not just welcomes but supports students from all socio-economic backgrounds, genders, and ethnicities, and places them at an intersection between the theoretical freedom of university, and the professional, interdisciplinary realities of practice.

About the Author: Having completed his undergraduate architecture studies in 2015, Niall Patrick Walsh is currently studying a UK Masters in Architecture degree at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland.


45 Construction Terms & Concepts All Architects Should Know

5 days 4 hours ago
Dune Art Museum. Image Courtesy of Open Architecture Dune Art Museum. Image Courtesy of Open Architecture

For most recent graduates, it quickly becomes evident that what you learn in architecture school is not necessarily enough to become a confident architect. Some things can’t be taught in classrooms at all; instead, they're acquired through years of work on site and solving construction problems first-hand. Among the many things you learn on site are the terminologies used by construction workers that can sound like absolute nonsense to architects at first.

An architecture dictionary might seem like a superb idea, but in practice wouldn't be convenient on a construction site—unless you can memorize the useful entries out of the 25,000 terms in Cyril M Harris' Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Alternatively, here’s a more manageable list of 45 construction terms and concepts every architect should know.

1. All-in Rate: In Construction, the term means the total expenses for an item, which include all the direct and indirect costs. The term is also used in the financial sector.

2. Architect of Record: This term signifies the name of the architecture firm, or architect, whose name has been listed on the issued construction permits. However, “architects of record” are not necessarily the people behind the design. There are times when high-profile architects who don't have an office near to their construction site hire “architects of record,” handing them the responsibility of working on-site or using their expertise in a specific field.

3. Batter (Walls): No, not cake batter, sadly. In architecture, batter means an inward inclination or slope of a wall or structure. Some architects choose this design to provide structural strength while others choose it for decorative purposes.

4. Blocking (Construction): Evidently, the term is derived from “blocks,” and means the use of short pieces or off-cuts of lumber in wooden-framed construction. Construction workers use the blocking technique for filling, spacing, joining, or reinforcing structures.

Box Crib. Image © <a href=''>Wikimedia user billbeee</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> Box Crib. Image © <a href=''>Wikimedia user billbeee</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>

5. Box Crib: Think of this as the final steps of a game of Jenga, but without the anxiety of a collapse. Instead, box cribs are temporary elements used to reinforce and add additional support to heavy objects during construction.The material used to create box cribs are often wooden bars. Due to their practicality, box crib forms are also used in film productions for stabilizing platforms and dolly tracks.

6. Building Engineer: The MVPs of construction. They know it all, and are responsible for most of what goes on during construction. Building engineers differ from one country to another, but are mainly the experts of construction, technology, design, assessment, and maintenance, all at once.

7. Cant (Architecture): Or canted, is an oblique or angled line of a surface. Think of it as chamfering the edges of a building's plan. This design was heavily used in Baroque architecture to create a continuous feel to the composition.

8. Catastrophic Failure: If the term wasn’t obvious enough, “catastrophic failures” are abrupt, irrecoverable construction mishaps. The term has been extended to other domains, and is now used for chemical engineering, firearms, and cascading system failures.

9. Concrete Cover: The term is linked to reinforced concrete and is the least distance between the installed reinforcement and the outer surface of the concrete. The concrete cover has several vital purposes, including protecting the reinforced steel bars from corrosion, providing thermal insulation, and providing sufficient embedding for the steel bars to function as reinforcement.

10. Concrete Slab: One of the few construction elements that is used in the vast majority of all structures, a concrete slab is the thick (average of 10-40 cm) horizontal concrete platform which is created to construct the floor or ceiling. There are several slab designs (corrugated, ribbed, waffle, one-way) and each one corresponds to the design or endurance required.

The Silent House by Takao Shiotsuka Atelier, clearly showing its courses of masonry. Image © Takao Shiotsuka Atelier The Silent House by Takao Shiotsuka Atelier, clearly showing its courses of masonry. Image © Takao Shiotsuka Atelier

11. Course (Architecture): Other than the class you take in architecture school, a course is the term used to describe a continuous row of masonry. Whether it’s stones, bricks, or concrete blocks, a course can have several orientations and types.

Cross Bracing. Image <a href=''>via pxhere</a> (public domain) Cross Bracing. Image <a href=''>via pxhere</a> (public domain)

12. Cross Bracing: Cross bracing is a structural component used to improve the endurance of a structure. The X-shaped reinforcement can prevent a building from collapsing completely in case of earthquakes, or a wooden chair from falling apart.

13. Cut and Fill: While creating railways and canals, construction workers would create cut slopes (like a mini valley) to install the railways. The soil that’s been moved, the fills, would subsequently create adjacent embankments, minimizing the labor. The approach is now frequently used on construction sites of any size.

14. Damp Proofing: since dampness is among the most common construction problems, damp proofing is a procedure done to the structure to prevent potential moisture from being absorbed by walls and entering the interior. Depending on the nature of the structure and the damp problems it might face, a wide variety of materials can be applied onto the slab, under the final finishing, or even as a surface to act as damp proofing and prevent any spoilage.

15. Design-build: In most projects, construction is frequently delayed due to time conflicts between two (or more) teams involved. The idea behind design-build is that the same team who designs the project constructs it as well. It is a project delivery system in which the design and the construction are considered “single-point-responsibility,” reducing costs and delivering the project on time.

Diagrid. Image <a href=''>via Unsplash</a> (public domain) Diagrid. Image <a href=''>via Unsplash</a> (public domain)

16. Diagrid: The idea behind “diagrid” is pretty simple: diagonal + grid. Diagrids are diagonally intersecting steel beams (occasionally wooden or concrete), which help reduce the amount of steel used in traditional steel framing.

17. Encasement: On a construction site, encasement might refer to one of two things: in some situations, sewers and other underground pipes may need to be enclosed in a concrete encasement for structural reasons; or, the term might be applied to the process of encasing hazardous materials already installed in a structure such as asbestos.

18. Falsework: Mostly used for large arch structures and bridges, falsework is a temporary structure constructed to support and hold the span during construction or repairs.

19. Formwork: Formwork is falsework’s best friend. It is the construction of a temporary structure into which concrete is poured for it to be settled and set in the desired form.

20. Joint (building): Joints are inserted between two distinct materials in a structure which do not have any physical connection to one another but are either aligned next to each other or overlap.

Joist. Image by Pearson Scott Foresman <a href=''>via Wikimedia</a> (public domain) Joist. Image by Pearson Scott Foresman <a href=''>via Wikimedia</a> (public domain)

21. Joist: Joists are crucial components of a wide-span structure, as they help transfer the load from the beams to the vertical columns and studs. These horizontal elements are connected perpendicularly to the beams (horizontally) and joined (vertically) to the columns.

22. Lean Construction: A newly developed delivery system in which a study is conducted to minimize the waste of material, time, and effort, resulting in an efficient project.  

23. Lift Slab Construction: Also known as the Youtz-Slick method, the lift slab method ensures time efficiency and safety. Basically, the concrete slabs are cast on ground level, and are then lifted through hydraulic jacks into the designated placement. This methods not only saves  time, but also does not require workers to be creating and working with formwork on high ground levels.

24. Lookout (architecture): Lookouts are wooden joists that extend beyond the exterior wall in a cantilever-like manner, to support the roof sheathing phase in construction.

25. Moling: This is the use of a 60-centimeter-long, 6-centimeter wide steel "mole," a pneumatically-driven device which is inserted into the ground to create holes for pipes, heating coils, and heat pump systems without using any trenches.

26. Monocrete Construction: The monocrete construction method is the sole use of precast concrete panels, bolted together, to create concrete structures.

27. Performance Gap: Similar to when you expect to have three design proposals delivered by the end of the week, but you end up with only one because you’re just too tired, performance gap is when the expected work progress does not meet with the result on site. This could be due to environmental, workmanship, or occupant reasons.

 Precast Concrete blocks used in Frank Lloyd Wright's Tonkens House. Image © <a href=''>Wikimedia user Factfile8</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY-SA 4.0</a> Precast Concrete blocks used in Frank Lloyd Wright's Tonkens House. Image © <a href=''>Wikimedia user Factfile8</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY-SA 4.0</a>

28. Precast Concrete: One of the most commonly used forms of concrete, precast concrete is concrete elements are created off-site to be transferred or lifted to the site later on. Designs could range from blocks to panels, and create solid but maneuverable elements.

29. Purlin: A purlin is any longitudinal element implemented on the roof structure horizontally for additional structural or material support.

30. Quantity Take-off: Before beginning with the construction phase, a study is held by estimators to acquire the detailed measurements of material and labor force needed to complete the project. This process is called quantity take-off and helps the project developers have full knowledge of what to expect during the construction phase.

Rafter. Image <a href=''>via Wkimedia</a> (public domain) Rafter. Image <a href=''>via Wkimedia</a> (public domain)

31. Rafter: Rafters are a series of inclined wooden elements that form a roof, which attach to the edge of the wall plate and often overhang to form the eave.

32. Rim Joist: In flooring systems, rim joists are attached to the ends of the floor's main joists, providing lateral support to the ends of the decking system. However, they are not the end joists, which are usually the first and last row, parallel to the other joists.

33. Rubblization: In order to save time and extra cost, unwanted existing concrete is broken down to pieces of rubbles, and left in its place to become the base layer for new surfaces, instead of transferring the material to another site.

Shiplap used in the 33rd Street House by Meridian 105 Architecture. Image © Raul J. Garcia Shiplap used in the 33rd Street House by Meridian 105 Architecture. Image © Raul J. Garcia

34. Shiplap: You’ve probably seen shiplaps everywhere, but may have referred to them as wood panels. Shiplaps are a type of inexpensive wooden board or panels fixed onto the sides of barns, sheds, and homes.

35. Shoring: Temporarily installed on site, shoring is the method in which metal or timber props are assembled to support the structure during construction. Shores can be installed vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, depending on the support needed.

36. Soil Stockpile: The grown-up version of the sand pyramids we used to do as kids, soil stockpiles are created when bulldozers excavate the soil on site and stack them in piles.The piles never go to waste because they are used later on for level grading (see "Cut and fill").

37. Wall Stud: Wall studs are crucial members of wooden or steel wall frames, as they are the vertical elements that help support and transfer loads of bearing and nonbearing walls.

38. Superstructure: In general terms, superstructure simply means a structure built on top of another structure. Typically, this term is used to describe any part of a building that is above ground, with the parts of the building below ground conversely referred to as the substructure.

Thin-Shell Structure. Image © Flickr user Felipe Gabaldón <a href=',_Spain)_01.jpg'>via Wikimedia</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY 2.0</a> Thin-Shell Structure. Image © Flickr user Felipe Gabaldón <a href=',_Spain)_01.jpg'>via Wikimedia</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY 2.0</a>

39. Thin-Shell Structure: Frequently used in modern-day architecture, thin-shell structures are lightweight concrete elements, typically used on roofs. These large elements are usually curved, making use of the structural performance of certain forms to allow reduced material thickness.

40. Tie (Cavity Wall): There are times when two elements of a building can not be merged together, and this is when ties come to the rescue. Ties in cavity walls are typically made of metal or plastic wires, and are placed in between the two materials, “tying” them together to create a homogenous body.

41. Topping Out: A ceremonial practice that traces back to ancient Scandinavia, topping out originally referred to when the builder installs a wooden beam on top of the structure to indicate its completion. These days, it is simply the moment when the uppermost structural element is installed and is often heralded as a major construction milestone.

42. Trombe Wall: Developed by French engineer Felix Trombe and architect Jacques Michel in the 1960s, a trombe wall is a solar building element that is designed for cold countries. Similar to the greenhouse principle, it is when a glass external layer is built outside walls with openings, absorbing the heat during sunlit hours of winter. The heat is then slowly released overnight to provide warmth through the openings.

43. Underpinning: Underpinning is the act of strengthening an existing structural foundation. If the project is being done on a previously built structure, the foundation might not be strong enough or new enough to carry the new building. Underpinning can be mass concrete, beams and base pinning, or mini-piled pinning, depending on the suitable solution to each structure.

Virtual Design & Construction. Image <a href=''>via pxhere</a> (public domain) Virtual Design & Construction. Image <a href=''>via pxhere</a> (public domain)

44. Virtual Design & Construction: or VDC, includes all the multi-disciplinary models of a project. The list includes, but is not limited to, engineering modeling (product, process), analysis methods, model-based designs, scheduling, costs, and visualizations.

45. Voided Biaxial Slab: To be able to reduce the cost and weight of large-spanned reinforced concrete slabs, Joseph-Louis Lambot decided to create voids inside the concrete blocks, reducing the amount of concrete used but maintaining the overall endurance and external appearance of the slabs. These slabs are called voided biaxial slabs and are heavily used in construction nowadays. 

22 minutes 56 seconds ago
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