Thin Concrete

ETH Zurich has found a way to make an extremely thin, sinuous concrete roof structure, with an average thickness of five centimeters. The thin structure was designed using digital fabrication technologies to calculate a structurally efficient shell structure using the minimum amount of material. The formwork is comprised of steel cables and fabric stretched across the cable net. This system will be used in a residential unit on top of the NEST living laboratory in Dübendorf, Switzerland.

Source: Archdaily

Tesla Installs Solar Panels near a Children’s Hospital in Puerto Rico

Photo Credit: Tesla

Puerto Rico’s power grid was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Tesla has begun rebuilding the power infrastructure with more resilient and sustainable technology. Construction has begun on a solar field near the Children’s Hospital in San Juan. It will take six months before power is restored on the Island. The new, alternative power generation and energy storage facilitates will help keep buildings running even if the grid fails.

Source: Inhabitat

Guggenheim Bilbao Facade

Photo Credit: E. Goergen

Designed by Frank Gehry, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa celebrated its twentieth anniversary in October. In light of this milestone, here are a few fun facts to consider: eighty percent of the building’s facade is made out of just four different panel shapes; titanium was not originally considered because the material is expensive, but a sudden change in the market allowed the team to use the expensive metal for the exterior of the building; and, careful consideration was taken in the process of combining chemicals during the metal’s rolling process to create a surface quality that seems to effortlessly transform as the sky changes.

Source: Archdaily

Petroleum Studies and Research Center by Zaha Hadid Architects

Photo Credit: Hufton + Crow

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) recently completed the Petroleum Studies and Research Center at the University of Road, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The Center is a non-profit institution for independent research into polices that contribute to effective energy use and social well being. Designed by Zaha Hadid and Patrick Schumacher, the building received ZHA’s first LEED Platinum certification. The hexagonal prismatic honeycomb structure allows for a large amount of space with minimal structural material.

Source: ArchDaily

Historic LGBT Sites


Photo Credit: Christopher D. Brazee/NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission

The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project is working on documenting underrepresented historically significant LGBT sites to ensure they receive the recognition they deserve. The NYC Historic Sites Project website provides tools for those who want to gain awareness and appreciation of the impact LBGT individuals have made on American culture throughout history. One example of a notable site in LGBT history is the Little Red School House in Manhattan—one of the city’s first progressive schools—founded by Elisabeth Irwin in 1912.

Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation

Free Architecture Courses from MIT

Photo Credit: Peter Wenger

Massachusetts Institute of Technology provides 4 free architecture courses online. The courses cover landscape, urbanism, photography, and the production of space. These courses are easily accessible and available to all. The courses are offered for undergraduate and graduate students and they are in many languages including English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Source: Archdaily

Sidewalk Ballet

Photo Credit: David Reed

Although some might imagine that leaving a dense urban core for clean air and a green backyard is associated with better health, research shows people are healthier and happier in densely populated urban cities. Researchers from the University of Hong Kong and Oxford University studied the impact of density on 400,000 people in 22 British cities. The study found that the main reason residents in dense urban cores tend to be happier and healthier is that they have the opportunity to walk. In areas where suburban sprawl dominates, it is often the best solution to drive, leading to lower rates of exercise and higher rates of obesity. A more compact city is more walkable. The study supports Jane Jacob’s idea of a “sidewalk ballet” with safe streets and socially engaged citizens.

Source: Next City

New Architecture in an Old Geometry

Image Credit: Iwan Baan 

Grain silos, in metal and in concrete, are not uncommon in the built landscape. They often sit empty long after the milling or grain industries have moved on. These spaces have proved challenging for architects and preservationists to re-purpose, as they typically lack one essential element of comfortable design and daily life: windows.

In the case of the new Zeitz MOCAA museum in Cape Town, South Africa, design firm Heatherwick Studios did not let themselves feel constrained by the 1920s era silos’ unique structure. The resulting design creates a gallery space highlighting unexpected shapes. Heatherwick described his process as deconstruction as much as construction, and explained that he was motivated to create an interior space visitors couldn’t resist.

Source: Dezeen 

Documenting Glass

Founded in 1951 by Corning Glass Works, the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York has donated 2,784 images documenting its unique glass collection to the Artstor Digital Library. The non-profit museum is dedicated to telling the story of glass, from its ancient origins to today, spanning 3,500 years of glass history. With support from the Rakow Research Museum, the museum is a center for glass scholarship, housing the world’s foremost archive and reference collection on the history of glass making.

Source: The Artstor Blog

21st Century Architects Reinterpret 20th Century Skyscraper

Image Credit: Kendall McCaugherty

In honor of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, director Johnston Marklee invited young design studios from Europe and the Americas to submit large scale, modeled towers reinterpreting the original Tribune Tower brief. The exhibition mirrors a design competition in 1922, asking architects to conceive of a home for the Chicago Tribune Newspaper. The resulting tower, a neo-Gothic structure designed by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood, was built in 1925.

Some of the towers are abstract, others deeply detailed. Sam Jacob Studio’s design borrows elements of architect Adolf Loos’ 1922 proposal for the tower, and gives it a modern twist. The exhibition uniquely shows the evolution of design throughout the last 95 years.

The Biennial opens to the public on September 16 2017, and runs until January 17, 2018.

Source: Dezeen

The Covert Stepwells of India

Stepwells often have no above ground presence, but beneath the ground intricately carved steps lead into a pool of water displaying a beautiful and illusive architectural character. Tucked away in fields or hidden in cities, the Stepwells of India remain an architectural mystery. The scholarship of Stepwells is limited, but it is believed that the Stepwells once served as a communal place for washing, bathing, and drinking water. The Stepwells acted as a rest stop for travelers and ranged in intricacy and size. Many of the Stepwells are believed to be created or funded by women honoring their dead husbands. Interest in the Stepwells has risen in the past years. Hotels are using the Stepwells as a tourist draw, and others are revitalizing the Stepwells to be used in the communal way that they were originally intended.

Source: Archdaily