How to Design Semi-Permanent Structures

2 weeks 1 day ago
Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Eduardo Cruz y Natura Futura Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Eduardo Cruz y Natura Futura

Natural disasters continue to leave thousands of people homeless every year, forcing them to seek refuge without any alternatives. On many occasions, cities cannot cope with refugees, limiting their resources. In addition to this, the difficulties to sustain refugees in a dignified way, becomes increasingly complex, leading to the collapse of conventional strategies.

It is at this moment when innovation and creativity play an important role in construction practices, ultimately creating a quicker and more efficient construction model that can be replicated after natural disasters.

Undoubtedly, there are some principles that should be taken into account when designing a semi-permanent structure. Thus, we have gathered some tips and examples that you may find useful. 

Select Easily Accessible Materials for Faster Construction

Arquitectura de Transición. Un refugio para Piura, Perú. Image Cortesía de Carlos Pastor santa Maria / Soledad Maldonado Ayus Arquitectura de Transición. Un refugio para Piura, Perú. Image Cortesía de Carlos Pastor santa Maria / Soledad Maldonado Ayus

Easily accessible and economic materials are vital when constructing semi-permanent structures. It is important to analyze the context in where you will design the emergent construction. With this, you can implement materials local in the area and define appropriate construction techniques for the design. 

It is important to use materials with low impact on the environment: we often forget what happens at the end of the life cycle of a construction. This will help us reduce the ecological footprint of our construction.

Easy to Assemble and Disassemble Without Technical Requirements

Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios

Understanding the importance of self-built structures can make it easier for communities to shape their physical environment. By using design and construction strategies with participatory schemes, it can be easier and quicker to assemble and disassemble prototypes in emergency situations. 

A Structure that can Provide a Long Life of Service 

Although it is a semi-permanent construction, you must foresee that the structure has the potential to become permanent. The time in which construction is estimated can be prolonged, so it is important to understand the typologies and various climatic conditions of the context. Shigeru Ban, 2014 Pritzker Prize Winner, designed a temporary shelter system for Japanese flooding victims, however, considered the constant evolution of the design as a model for growth and longevity.

Maximize Comfort Within the Structure with the Lowest Energy Consumption

B House / i.House Architecture and Construction. Image Cortesía de i.House Architecture and Construction B House / i.House Architecture and Construction. Image Cortesía de i.House Architecture and Construction

The implementation of bioclimatic and sustainable strategies will help improve conditions of habitability within the space. Undoubtedly, the orientation of the construction should take advantage of solar gains to improve the conditioning within the space. If we use a thermal mass - such as walls with mechanized adobe - this will maximize heat gain with longer duration. On the other hand, the implementation of inclined roofs can help collect rainwater to be used for other needs.

If you are looking for reference works of semi-permanent structures, we've selected four projects that might be of interest to you. 

Transition Architecture / A Refuge for Piura, Peru

Arquitectura de Transición. Un refugio para Piura, Perú. Image Cortesía de Carlos Pastor santa Maria / Soledad Maldonado Ayus Arquitectura de Transición. Un refugio para Piura, Perú. Image Cortesía de Carlos Pastor santa Maria / Soledad Maldonado Ayus

Bio-Rebuild Mexico

Bio-Reconstruye México . Image Cortesía de Osiris Luciano Bio-Reconstruye México . Image Cortesía de Osiris Luciano

Chacras Project / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios

Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Eduardo Cruz y Natura Futura Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Eduardo Cruz y Natura Futura

Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Project in Guangming Village / The Chinese University of Hong Kong & Kunming University of Science and Technology

Proyecto de reconstrucción post-sismo en Guangming . Image Cortesía de World Architecture Festival Proyecto de reconstrucción post-sismo en Guangming . Image Cortesía de World Architecture Festival


From Pompeii to Gaza: The History of Street Art as a Voice for the People

2 weeks 4 days ago
[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

Over the past half-century, street art has evolved from squiggled lettering on subway cars to a cultural force practiced in virtually every corner of the globe. It began unsanctioned and disdained, and though some prominent street artists now sell their work for millions behind gallery doors, it remains firmly rooted in counterculture, simultaneously celebrated and dismissed. What separates it from merely decorative murals is its message, even if it doesn’t appear to be saying anything at all: its very existence empowers people with little to no voice in society.

Messages By the People, For the People

Ancient Roman Graffiti from Pompeii

As a movement, modern street art is primarily rooted in the 20th century, but of course, art and text scrawled on public surfaces has existed far longer than that. From cave paintings and engraved Arabic rock graffiti to inscriptions written by ancient tourists in the tomb of Ramesses VI, humans have always sought to leave their mark on the world in this form. Even the ancient Romans used graffiti to declare their love, insult each other and ridicule their leaders, with many examples unearthed in the ruins of Pompeii.

This kind of free, uncensored expression using the city walls as a canvas has always been classified as vandalism by those seeking to uphold both order and distinctions of class. Pristine paint jobs convey a message of their own: “We have things under control here. We’re civilized.” Beneath that often lies a concerted effort to suppress the urban poor and their frustrations, especially in times of transition when their cities begin to rapidly change, leaving them behind. To scrawl a message on a wall is to speak back to authority in a public forum and foment a sense of solidarity with those in similar positions.

“America Tropicál” by David Alfaro Siquerios, 1932, Los Angeles

Street art has flourished in various forms throughout the world, often as an expression of identity with a defiant political slant. Movimiento Muralista Mexicano, the Mexican street art movement founded in the 1920s by Diego Rivera, Clemente Orozco and David Siqueiros popularized political murals in a wave that soon spread throughout Latin America and the United States. One notable early example is the anti-imperialist “America Tropical” mural on Olvera Street in Los Angeles, depicting a crucified Chicano besieged by an eagle representing America. The piece, completed in 1932 by Siqueiros, was subsequently covered up and then restored.

During World War II, Nazis used graffiti to spread propaganda, but more often, it was a tool of resistance. A nonviolent German antifascist group called The White Rose conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign calling for active opposition to Hitler’s regime, using tin stencils to write slogans like “Down with Hitler” and “Freedom” on the walls of buildings throughout Munich before their arrest by the Gestapo in 1943. One of the group’s leaders was Sophie Scholl, who lamented just before her execution at age 21, “Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go. But what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”

Pushing the Boundaries and Changing Perceptions

Tag by Lady Pink, 1994, on a NYC Freight Train

By the 1970s in New York City, street art was often seen as a symptom of economic sickness, taking over train cars, brick facades, concrete walls and other surfaces in a period of great unrest. The city was bankrupt, crime rates skyrocketed, unemployment topped ten percent and there was at least one abandoned building on every block. As over a million residents fled, those who were left behind weathered the storm together.

All five boroughs and beyond became one big art studio, whether you were a poet in Chelsea or a poor youth from Queens channeling your frustrations and boredom through a can of paint. Artists like Taki 183, Tracy 168, Dondi, Lady Pink, Zephyr, Revolt and Seen tagged every imaginable surface in a free-for-all that encouraged experimentation and competition. In the meantime, as the burgeoning crack epidemic, street gangs and other symptoms of poverty and oppression became associated with graffiti, penalties grew more severe. The city’s “war on graffiti” waged on – but it wasn’t long before street art began to enter the mainstream, changing the game.

Jean-Michel Basquiat
Profit I by Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1982
A mural by Keith Haring

Artists with roots in street art who gained credibility in the art world gave outsiders a new perspective on the movement, bringing marginalized identities to an institution that’s overwhelmingly white, straight and wealthy. Jean-Michel Basquiat, an American artist of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent, and Keith Haring, a gay man who spent much of his career working to raise awareness about AIDS before dying of AIDS-related complications himself in 1990, are two notable examples.

The distinctions between graffiti and art began to blur, and the scope of expression began to widen as new forms of media were introduced. Commissions to produce sanctioned murals in public spaces multiplied, though many artists choose to remain on the dark side of the law on principle. Artists like Shepard Fairey spun early experiments with street art into business empires, and some cities began to legalize graffiti art and even encourage it.

Street Art as a Catalyst for Change

Current Affairs, Tahrir graffiti, 12MAR2012

The internet helped sweep the world of street art from its anarchic subcultural origins to a big money industry, for better or worse. It’s more accessible and widely viewed than ever, with the audience for any given piece going from the hundreds that may have passed it on the street to, potentially, millions. The fight over its commercialization is ongoing – just look at any recent Banksy-related stories for confirmation – but its anti-establishment spirit lives on.

Mohamed Mahmoud St. Murals


Today, street art campaigns by artists like Banksy, JR, BLU, ROA and many more make statements about climate change, environmental degradation, human trafficking, capitalism, fascism and hope in times of darkness. There’s still a perpetual battle between those who would speak to the world through street art and those who would silence them – exemplified by Egypt’s 2011 revolution, the artists who plastered streets like Mohamad Mahmoud with political works and the military dictatorship that has since clamped back down on the region.

Photographic Mural in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by JR
Street art in Gaza by Banksy

In Gaza, Banksy is just the most well-known of many artists to create visual public commentaries on the injustice that takes place there every day. In Brazil, artists like MurOne and Haas&Hahn work to invigorate the poorest favelas with graphic murals and bring international attention to dilapidated and under-served neighborhoods.

Banksy in Gaza


A mural by Mexican street art collective Lapiztola
Left Bank Street Art Gaza via Times of Israel

Just take a walk through your own neighborhood to find signs of street art’s immediacy and vitality and its ability to instantly respond to world events through a diverse variety of perspectives. As much as it (and the world) has changed over the past century, street art remains one of the most democratic and resilient means of expression, and its value can’t be overstated.

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[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

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UNESCO and UIA to begin Designating Cities as "World Capitals of Architecture"

2 weeks 5 days ago
© Shutterstock © Shutterstock

UNESCO and the International Union of Architects (UIA) have announced the launch of a “World Capitals of Architecture” initiative, seeking to create a “synergy between culture and architecture in an increasingly urbanized world.”

Cities designated as World Capitals of Architecture will become a global forum for discussion on the world’s most pressing challenges “through the prism of culture, heritage, urban planning, and architecture.” UNESCO and UIA will collaborate with local city organizations to organize activities and events promoting buildings, architects, planners, and related sectors.

UNESCO's association with the UIA's World Capital of Architecture initiative marks a new step in our long-standing partnership. The aim is to create new synergies between culture and architecture in an increasingly urban world, in which cities are hubs for ideas, trade, culture, science and social development in particular. Through this initiative, our ambition is to ensure that these cities are also perceived as open and creative spaces for exchange, invention and innovation
-Ernesto Ottone R, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture

The initiative is a response to Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” As more people continue to move to cities, the initiative reflects a commitment by UNESCO and UIA to mobilize governments, preserve heritage, and adapt to climate change and mass urbanization.

We want to highlight how architects, with the help of local governments and communities, can play a key role in identifying solutions that benefit communities," said Thomas Vonier. "Connecting culture and architecture is essential to create inclusive, productive and sustainable cities and communities for all.
-Ernesto Ottone R, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture

News via: International Union of Architects


Call for Submissions: 2018 Holiday Card Challenge

2 weeks 5 days ago

It's time to get into the Holiday Spirit! As we've done for the past few years, we're seeking holiday cards with an architectural spin to feature on ArchDaily. We expect abundant puns and festively decorated classic buildings. :)

Competition Guidelines:

  • Design must be submitted as a .jpg/.png/.gif
  • Format is 1800 x 1200 pixels (vertical or horizontal)
  • Design must be original and suitable for publication on ArchDaily
  • The theme for the design can be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, etc.
  • All entries must be received by December 17 at 10PM EST
  • You may submit more than one entry
  • Our favorite submissions will be published 

How to share a link to your submission:
In the form below, please submit a link to the .jpg/.png/.gif that you have created. We will not accept submissions as zip files, nor do we accept submissions sent via WeTransfer, MegaUpload, or a similar service. Any entry submitted as a zip file or using a file transfer service will be disqualified. If you are sharing a file that has been uploaded to Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Imgur or Google Drive, please ensure that you are sharing a public link that can be accessed by ArchDaily editors.
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Any submissions that do not conform to the guidelines will not be considered.


Seven Tips To Consider When Planning Your Home’s Interior Design

2 weeks 5 days ago

The interior design is what gives a house its atmosphere. If you’re planning on moving in or redecorating your home then you can redesign to your heart’s content. However, it’s not easy to decide on the themes to follow, plan on the details to add, and determine the purposes of the rooms. A lot of careful planning, study, and budgeting takes place when redesigning a house.

 You can always do whatever you like with the design. You just have to see to it that the total look of the house will be pleasing to the eye. Choosing the overall look of the house can cause a headache, especially to those who are impulsively deciding on what to place inside their house. If you have the money, you can ask for expert advice on how to transform your space.

Here are a few tips to consider when redesigning your house:

 1. Design a house for your family.
This is one crucial thing to do yet anyone tends to overlook this. You are designing a home where your family should live in. A house should always be a home. Instead of making it look like the ones in the magazines, make it a house that your family is comfortable to live in. Also, consider your pets. There are also things you can buy for the mess they make, like for instance, a robot vacuum for dog hair removal which will save you the hassle of cleaning the dog’s hair from the floor all day.

2. Plan according to your needs.
Set a specific guideline on what your home needs are. Always start from the basics. A good design plan has a list of all the needs and limitations that you have for your home. Give time to plan about the space that you are working on. Maybe you might expand or downsize this space in the future. Don’t just copy the house designs that you see.

3. Create a budget plan.
Redesigning a home doesn’t always mean that you should spend a fortune. There are many ways to improve your home on a budget. You can either do it yourself or let others do the work for you. Proper budgeting can not only make you save some bucks, but it is also made to ensure that the work will be completed. A lot of homeowners who do not plan the budget correctly will end up with bumps along the road.

4. If unsure, hire a professional.
This can be costly, but with the right planning and communication, your dream house will surely be a reality. There are a lot of benefits in hiring an architect or a designer. Getting professional advice to plan out your interior is not only for the aesthetics; you can be assured that the design will also be functional and safe.

5. Never forget about storage space.
Building good storage space is as important as building a bedroom. We need space to store the things that are important but not often used. A good design plan includes adequate storage space. Talk to your designer or read for ideas like adding bedroom storage space.

6. Avoid too much clutter.
Keep things minimal. Don’t stuff your house with all the things you like. You are not designing the whole house as a storage area. Instead, get rid of the little things that you don’t need in your home. Clutter can give you stress, and will always take up much of your free time to clean. There are many benefits that you get if you declutter.

7. Use what you have.
There are a lot of things in your house that you can upcycle and use. Improving your interior with available resources can save you a lot of money. Take time to look at the things you already have before you plan to install or buy new furniture. Repurpose your old wooden crates as tool organizers or even fancy bookshelves. Consider your climate and the kind of interior building materials that would suffice living in unpredictable and harsh weather.

Always be straightforward in the design you want to achieve. A lot of research and planning may take place to make sure that your plan will be realized, but everything will pay off. Never leave out any significant detail, focus on what you need before going to what you want.


Nera: The World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Motorcycle Features Airless Tires

2 weeks 5 days ago
[ By SA Rogers in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

All black, electric and completely 3D-printed: BigRep’s Nera Motorcycle is here, and ready to change the game. The electronic components of this brand new, futuristic-looking motorbike are the only elements that weren’t created on large-scale 3D printers. Flexible bumpers replace traditional suspension systems, and those custom tires are as cool as they are intriguing.

BigRep is a leader in industrial large-scale additive manufacturing, and the Nera was created by the company’s NowLab innovation consultancy.

“The Nera combines several innovations developed by Nowlab, such as the airless tire, functional integration and embedded sensor technology,” says Nowlab’s Daniel Büning. “This bike and our other prototypes push the limits of engineering creativity and will reshape AM technology as we know it.”

The Near E-bike is preternaturally sleek, its small electric motor hidden within the rear wheel and the batteries embedded into its bodywork to eliminate the bulk of an engine. 15 different parts were printed to assemble the bike, and it weighs a total of just 132 pounds. But no performance statistics are available just yet – probably because the bike is just proof of concept to show off the possibilities of 3D printing.

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[ By SA Rogers in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

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Life-Sized Interactive Drawings by Levalet Envision a Parallel Universe

3 weeks 1 day ago
[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

Life-sized street art interventions play out scenes from a parallel universe on public surfaces all around us in the interactive works of French artist Levalet. Raised in Guadeloupe, France, the artist (also known as art teacher Charles Leval) saw the graffiti that surrounded him as part of the city’s identity, prompting him to look at the streets in a whole new way. What if everyday objects and scenes had an entirely different purpose than the ones we see for them?


Details of the city that might otherwise be unnoticed by its inhabitants – like dangling cables, clumps of ivy and water spouts – become the genesis of strange, creative and absurd scenes, like glimpses of a world just barely out of reach. While much of Levalet’s work is wheat pasted right onto urban surfaces, he sometimes creates cut-outs that can be layered on top of the fabric of the city, giving it a whole new dimension.

“The street is a place where I can work freely, I don’t have financial or time pressures,” said Levalet in a 2015 interview with Street Art Paris. “And this is mostly about besieging public places, everyday places, and being able to put up work that creates a dialogue with the real world. I like the idea of trying to combine several realities, using the world as a medium, and as a guide for representation, positioning the artistic image, in a place that was not meant for it in the first place.”

“Topography is very important for me, this is why I always check a place before I work on it. I try to mix the world of representation with the real world by playing on the physical cohesion of the situations I put up. Architecture supports my work. Then I work on staging the artwork with photographs. Photography allows me to play with the point of view and to intensify the ‘window-dressing’ dimension of my work. Photography also allows me to create a dramatization within the dramatization by including passers-by or other elements.”

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[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

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CAA Architects Reveals Futuristic Eco-City Design for the Maldives

3 weeks 2 days ago
Ocean's Heaven. Image Courtesy of CAA Architects Ocean's Heaven. Image Courtesy of CAA Architects

CAA Architects have won first prize in the Maldives Airport Economic Zone competition. Their winning proposal, "Ocean’s Heaven" is a mixed use development made to embrace tropical culture and ocean systems with renewable energy structures in a living belt design. Facing global warming and rising sea levels, the project hopes to create a new model for sustainable development before the Maldives disappear from the world forever.

Ocean's Heaven. Image Courtesy of CAA Architects Ocean's Heaven. Image Courtesy of CAA Architects

Designed with ecological energy supplies around the ocean and the city, Ocean's Heaven recognizes the fragile ecosystem of the Maldives. As the world largest archipelago country, the Maldives are famously known as “Paradise on Earth”, which is named after its jewel-like form that lay across the Ocean’s surface. Behind this beauty is a huge environmental crisis; according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), 40% of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming are produced by large buildings. If the attitude towards urban construction and one-time energy use does not change, the fate of an island country like the Maldives will be greatly threatened.

Ocean's Heaven. Image Courtesy of CAA Architects Ocean's Heaven. Image Courtesy of CAA Architects
Ocean's Heaven. Image Courtesy of CAA Architects Ocean's Heaven. Image Courtesy of CAA Architects

Located at the east coast of Hulhumale, adjacent to Male, the capital of the Maldives on a site of reclaimed land, the project is dissected by the central twin urban axis. BUCG in partnership with the Maldives central government aims to develop 60,000sqm of site area with 100,000 gross sqm, which will consist of functions such as; an airport company service center, international trade center, convention center, island transport hub and shopping, business grade hotel, centralized retail shopping and dining experiences, as well an ocean facing cultural plaza and other supporting amenities. This program of activity will be spread across two construction phases.

Ocean's Heaven. Image Courtesy of CAA Architects Ocean's Heaven. Image Courtesy of CAA Architects
Ocean's Heaven. Image Courtesy of CAA Architects Ocean's Heaven. Image Courtesy of CAA Architects

Functionally organized to promote the concept of high-density urban living and a productivity core, the design incorporates a transportation hub for road and water commuting, as well as commercial, retail and cultural facilities in one compact inner-city community. Beyond functioning as the islands “nervous system,” this complex doubles as an urban energy incubator. An integrated environmental systems approach was taken, that fully incorporates rainwater and solar energy harvesting, as well as taking advantage of passive cross ventilation and tidal power to generates more than 70% of electricity required to power the development. CAA's projects seeks to weave architecture, art, environment and culture together in the Indian ocean archipelago. In the future, the bio-active design aims to be a landmark for human communities and nature that points towards the future of the Maldives.

Ocean's Heaven is set to complete construction in 2021.


Designed for Disassembly: Architecture Built with its Own End in Mind

3 weeks 3 days ago
[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Few of us make plans for our lives with our own deaths in mind, so perhaps it’s not surprising that architects don’t usually spend much of the design process thinking about the virtually inevitable demolition of their creations. It might seem as morbid and premature as college graduates making plans for their own funerals, but considering the entire life cycle of a structure before it’s even built could have a massive impact on the amount of waste we generate – and help us adapt to the uncertain conditions of the future.

Though some buildings and infrastructure may stand for many hundreds of years, the vast majority of it is rendered obsolete in a matter of decades. Practical needs and aesthetic preferences change, and materials wear down. Currently, about 80% of all materials and minerals in circulation in the U.S. economy are consumed by the construction industry, and about 70% of construction waste is concrete.

In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that an estimated 104 million tons of materials were sent to landfills from project sites around the country, and 92% of that waste came from demolitions and renovations. Construction debris often contains lead, asbestos, mercury, arsenic and other hazardous substances, and modern composite materials aren’t necessarily much better for human health and the environment.

In the United States, where the average life span of highway bridges is about 70 years and the majority of bridges currently in use were built in 1945, we’re in dire need of a refresh, but all those crumbling structures will have to go somewhere. When the old east span of the Bay Bridge in Oakland, California was replaced, Caltrans took care to dismantle it so some parts could be reused in creative new ways, but the project still produced tons of lead-contaminated hazardous materials that were then sent to a landfill. What if the bridge – and others like it – had been designed with components that could easily be dismantled and reused for other projects?

A movement called Design for Deconstruction (DfD), sometimes called Design for Disassembly, proposes the research and development of new structural system concepts that facilitate truly sustainable construction through the assessment of a project’s entire life cycle. That means there’s a way to reuse or recycle every component of a structure using existing recycling streams. Spearheaded by architect and building scientist Bradley Guy, DfD offers a collection of design principles that aim for prefabrication, pre-assembly and modular construction, simplified connection details and building systems, minimized parts and materials, ease of disassembly, flexibility and adaptability, the use of reusable materials and considerations for worker safety.

Design for Deconstruction was first defined in the 1990s, but the general concept has existed for much longer. The Crystal Palace at Sydenham is an early example, built in Hyde Park, London to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. Made of cast iron and plate glass, the 990,000-square-foot building with an interior height of 128 feet was designed to be temporary, simple, cheap and easy to transport. Its modular panels were packed up and moved to South London for reassembly, and it remained there until its destruction by fire in 1936.

The Future Arena, built for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, was designed to be dismantled and reused.

One of the most important factors in DfD is the longevity of the materials. There are lots of temporary structures out there, built to be disassembled and transported, but few of them are designed to last, and they rarely even come close to approaching the scale of The Crystal Palace. Equally crucial is follow-through, as proven by a recent project in Brazil. Like most structures built for the Olympic Games, the Rio 2016 Olympic Handball Arena was a prime candidate for experimental methods of reuse. At the start of the project, Brazil’s economy was booming, but by 2014, the country was in the grips of a recession. Plans to dismantle the Arena and transform it into four primary schools never came to fruition, and now it’s rotting along with the rest of the city’s Olympic structures – the very fate its architects hoped to avoid.

Loblolly House by Kieran Timberlake
Loblolly House by Kieran Timberlake

But when it’s done right, Design for Deconstruction has the potential to revolutionize the future of architecture. Closed-loop construction systems don’t just have a lower ecological footprint, they encourage innovation and produce unique aesthetics. Two houses by architecture firm Kieran Timberlake give us a glimpse of what this could look like. Loblolly House, built in 2006, takes inspiration from treehouses in its design and construction, with pre-built modules and “cartridges” that connect with simple hand tools. Cellophane House was assembled like a car, with the entire construction process broken down into integrated assemblies that were constructed off site, delivered by trailers and stacked with a crane. It was built for exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Cellophane House by Kieran Timberlake
Cellophane House by Kieran Timberlake

“Materials were selected to be lightweight, minimizing embodied energy, and reusable within existing recycling streams. The same aluminum frame used for Loblolly House was scaled up from two stories to five, enabled by a strengthening system of custom-designed steel connectors. The SmartWrap™ skin was attached to that frame, with interior floors, ceilings, and partitions made of structural plastic. The skin was envisioned as a filter, selectively letting in daylight and seasonal heat and keeping out UV light and hot or cold air, depending on the season.”

“The final experiment at MoMA was its disassembly. The house was deglazed, un-stacked, and disassembled at ground level using basic handheld tools. Parts were organized on pallets and removed from the site in two days. Virtually no waste was generated, and 100 percent of the energy embodied in materials was recovered. The only remnant was a patch of gravel in an asphalt lot.”

Cafe Kureon by Kengo Kuma
The Pop-Up House by Multipod Studio can be dismantled with a screwdriver.
A Simple Factory Building by Pencil Office

Other recent examples include Kengo Kuma’s Jenga-like Cafe Kureon, the Pop-Up House by Multipod Studio and ‘A Simple Factory Building’ by Pencil Office, which features a pollution-filtering facade, aluminum window walls and reinforced concrete construction designed to be fully recycled at the end of its 33-year lease period.

Design for Deconstruction Housing for Working Class by Mahshid Fadaei

Iranian architect Mahshid Fadaei’s ‘Design for Deconstruction Housing for Working Class’ envisions an 800-unit complex set within a fully recyclable frame that uses easily replaced modular housing pods connecting to each other with a non-rigid plug-and-play system. While shipping containers are an obvious choice for this sort of system, they have some constraints that make them less than ideal in certain applications, making purpose-built pods an attractive option.

Architect William McDonough, champion of ‘Cradle to Cradle design’ – which considers the full lifecycle of consumer products – integrates his drive for smart sustainability into his own projects. His firm completed the NASA Sustainability Base (pictured top), a 50,000-square-foot, lunar-shaped complex housing 200 staff designed with a plan for how every last component will be dealt with at the end of the building’s life (which is, McDonough notes, probably far into the future.)

Since Design for Deconstruction is still in its youth, we’ve yet to see many real-life examples of its end game in action. But as climate change and other factors call the conditions of the next century into question, architecture that’s made to be as adaptable, versatile and reusable as possible could help us weather whatever is to come, and finding a way to reign in our burgeoning landfills is a no-brainer.

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[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

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Studio Cadena Unveils "Happy" Installation in New York's Flatiron Plaza

3 weeks 4 days ago
Happy. Image © Benjamin Cadena Happy. Image © Benjamin Cadena

Studio Cadena’s Happy installation has been unveiled in New York's Flatiron Plaza. The project is the winner of the fifth annual Design Competition hosted by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) and Van Alen Institute. As the centerpiece of the annual holiday program, the installation was selected by a jury with expertise across the worlds of design and public art, including representatives from the Flatiron Partnership, New York City DOT Art, and Van Alen Institute’s board of trustees.

Happy. Image © Cameron Blaylock Happy. Image © Cameron Blaylock

Sited on the Flatiron North Public Plaza at the intersection of 23rd Street, Broadway and Fifth Avenue, Happy was designed as both a figure and a place. A series of rounded yellow vinyl screens drape down from an open frame to create a more intimate collective space and provide an analog filter to see the city in a different light. “We all wish each other happiness during the holidays. This installation physically manifests this well wishing to all who visit Flatiron,” said Benjamin Cadena, Founder and Principal of Studio Cadena. “In our otherwise bleak social and political context, it aspires to carve a small and more positive space in the city—it offers a warm embrace during the cold winter months.”

Happy. Image © Cameron Blaylock Happy. Image © Cameron Blaylock
Happy. Image © Benjamin Cadena Happy. Image © Benjamin Cadena

The closed-call design competition began in June 2018, when the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership and Van Alen Institute invited eight design and architecture firms to submit proposals. The installation is permitted through New York City DOT Art and is open to the public daily, weather permitting. Visitors to the installation and participants in the “23 Days” programming are encouraged to share their photos on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #HappyinFlatiron. The Happy project team includes Silman (structural engineer) and YOUNGBUK Art Services LLC (fabricator/installer).

The installation will be up through January 1st. 


Bought to be Destroyed: Artist Ron English Will Whitewash His New Banksy

3 weeks 5 days ago
[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

Street artist Ron English paid over $730K for a work of art by Banksy – and he plans to paint over it. It might sound like some kind of silly high-profile artist feud, but English harbors no animosity toward the infamously anonymous creator of ‘Slave Labour,’ the mural he just bought at auction. He just doesn’t want anyone else to have it.

The mural, which depicts a small child on his knees with a sewing machine producing a string of Union Jack bunting, was originally painted onto the side of a London store in protest of sweatshop souvenirs before the 2012 Olympics. The mural disappeared in 2013, to the anger of local residents, and later resurfaced to be sold at auction for $1.1 million. It’s all part of an ongoing scheme in which building owners have Banksy works chiseled off their property and sold at auction without the artist’s consent.

Ron English, an American contemporary artist known for vivid, often satirical works with a comic book aesthetic, is sick of it.

“My idea for this painting is to whitewash it for my good pal Banksy, I only wish I could’ve spent more money for it,” English told a crowd of reporters in Los Angeles. “I’m going to paint it white again, I’m done. This is a blow for street art. It shouldn’t be bought and sold. I’m going to paint over it and just include it in one of the walls in my house. We’re tired of people stealing our stuff off the streets and re-selling it so I’m just going to buy everything I can get my hands on and whitewash it.”

But, English notes, while he might be crazy, he’s not stupid. He plans to sell the whitewashed painting for a million dollars – and he’ll probably get it.

View this post on Instagram

Going, going, gone…

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on Oct 5, 2018 at 6:45pm PDT

In October, Banksy’s work Girl with Balloon literally self-destructed the moment it was sold at auction for more than £1 million at Sotheby’s in front of an astonished crowd.

Learn more at WebUrbanist’s Banksy archive.

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[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

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The Workplace Paradox: Join the IE School of Architecture and Design's Master Class

3 weeks 6 days ago

At IE School of Architecture and Design, we know that the world of work is changing so fast that we cannot always keep up. Industry disruptors, such as emerging technologies, are unsettling the setup of the traditional office. Workforce demands, the ongoing talent war, and the threat of job replacement by AI all contribute to a workforce under tremendous pressure, creating new dynamics at work.

Join our upcoming Online Master Class to learn more about the evolution and disruption taking place in the workplace.

This talk will explore the forces driving change in the workplace and showcase some of Gensler’s latest research into this field, demonstrating, through selected case studies, how people are reclaiming place in a placeless world. 

Register here.

The class will be taught by Philip Tidd, Principal at Gensler & professor in IE’s Master’s in Strategic Design of Spaces. With more than 20 years of experience in workplace consultancy, real estate advising, and design and urban strategy, Philip has worked with global organizations across mainland Europe to implement workplace programs in line with the region’s many cultural and legislative variations. Philip has also advised numerous European public-sector organizations on how enhanced work environments can lead to improved performance.

49 minutes 16 seconds ago
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