Architecture is changing: paving the way towards sustainability

July 25, 2016
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by juan
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Architecture is changing, developing a greater awareness towards environment. It is becoming more sensitive to the impact produced on nature, impact that is trying to minimize. In this way, the new architecture looks forward to reducing energy consumption, to create low-carbon and if possible even carbon neutral resilient buildings , capable of producing at least as much resources as they consume.

In this article, we begin by analyzing a work of the renowned Argentine architect Emilio Ambasasz, one of the pioneers of sustainable architecture, to pass then, to refer to two other more recent projects.

Through the analysis of these three works, we seek to bring out the road that sustainable architecture has already crossed, and the fact that thanks to the latest technological advances, sustainable architecture today is projected into the future with possibilities unimagined a few years ago.  Enough to think that until not so much, sustainable constructions used to be associated with some rustic constructions: from the information provided here it comes out clearly that sustainable architecture in the 21st century may involve a lot of technique and technology.

Casa de Retiro Espiritual from Emilio Ambasz on Vimeo.

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High-Tech architecture and its evolution to the Eco-tech

July 4, 2016
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by juan
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High-tech architecture comes to light in the 60´s of the XX Century, taking its name from the book written by Suzanne Sleinn and Joan Kron, called “The Industrial Style and Source Book for The Home”.  This architectural style is also called Late Modernism by same authors as they consider high-tech style to be the mixture of Modernism and technology.

There is a general consensus that whatever we do now to change the way in which we use resources will affect the way future generations will live.  One of the most famous definitions of sustainability rightly indicates that sustainability is meant “to satisfy the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Commission).

The major architectural trends of the 20th century have therefore reached the 21st century incorporating the concept of sustainability and what began as an architectural trendsustainable architecture, also known as eco-architecture or green architecture – is now an underlying trend in all the current architectural trends.

Obviously high tech architecture does not escape this reality.  The basis of this architectural trend is to play creatively with spaces to produce works that evidence the use of technology and it even shows with pride the complexity of the technique used.

In its twenty-first century version, the architectural trend high-tech incorporates sustainability into its buildings.  The 1973 oil crisis makes many of the early buildings of high-tech decline by their high maintenance cost and the main architects of this movement to had to find a way to “recycle it”.

At the International Conference held in Florence in 1993, the subject of the incorporation of renewable energy in architecture and urban planning pops out and architects such as Renzo Piano, Norman Foster and Thomas Herzong, among others, come together to promote the creation of the Group READ, with the aim of studying the use of renewable energy in the construction and the creation of environmentally friendly projects.  This movement evolved to what is called today eco-tech, which is one of the branches of sustainable architecture.

We introduce three representative works of the eco-tech version of  high-tech. They have in common that they have been designed by famous architects of important architectural firms. The two first cases also share the fact that they are additions to previous  works of a different which they complement with class, but not without controversy. The third work, while it is new, is integrated masterfully to its environment, which includes a fragment of a medieval wall.

All the three works shown here appeal to the use of transparency and geometry, boast technology, are sculptural, make brilliant use of light, save energy, shock with its aesthetics, and all of them are iconic and each one on its wn own way is a “Manifesto”. Enjoy them here.

There are also many things in common between the three architects, since besides the brief partnership between Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, the three became creditors of the most famous Prize in international architecture, the Pritzker Prize.

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Minimalism: a timeless architectural trend

June 27, 2016
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by juan
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Minimalism: a timeless architectural trend

When we make reference to the minimalist trend in architecture, we are talking about a style that can be described as timeless. Paraphrasing its first representative. the great architect and industrial designer Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe: “architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space”. And since its emergence in the 60’s, passing by its maturity in the 80´s and arriving to our days, the minimalist trend has never lost validity: continues to represent the will of our epoch.

One of the greatest achievements of minimalism is, according to the British industrial designer Jonathan Ive, “to inspire spaces and products that are durable, and that lack the fragile appearance of throwaway programmed obsolescence”.

Although this architectural trend emerged in United States in the 60´s, its European roots can be traced by the end of the 1930´s in the first ideas of the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who elaborated his thoughts while acting as Director of the School of Arts and Design of the Bauhaus in Germany. Shortly after, and due to the second world war, he emigrated to the United States taking advantage of the fact that he was already well known as designer and architect there, and thus, he adopted the American citizenship. During the mid 60´s he participated in the movement of the minimum in geometric and visual arts in New York where his version of rationalism and later of functionalism, become model for other designers.

Minimalism is to achieve the most with the least and express as much as possible, with the greatest economy of resources. This austerity, this economy of ornaments, does not imply that the works of this trend aren´t moving: good design is always moving.

Van der Rohe seeks to prove that the essentially good needs no ornaments or formalisms, that from the point of view of architecture harmony happens when it is not necessary to add or remove anything. Also, and thinking about architectural practice, for him, anything that is hardly functional cannot be called beautiful. That’s why the work of van der Rohe is notable for the absence of ornaments, but this does not mean it does not have a subtle elegance given by the use of perfect shapes and noble materials.

Without a doubt, the fact of having been the son of a sculptor, and having assisted his father with his workshop from an early age, taught him to handle both the volumes and its spatiality, and to respect the stone and marble that would in the coming years provide unique presence and elegance to many of his works. It is said that together with Adolf Loos, van der Rohe was of the few architects of his time able to use marble surfaces with absolute naturalness (e.g. murals of the German Pavilion for the Barcelona Exhibition of 1929 and the interior of the Tughendat House in Brno built between 1928 and 1930).

 

MInimalismo-tendencia-arquitectónica-mies-van-der-rohe

 

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Minimalism in Architecture: “Less is more”

May 23, 2016
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by juan
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Minimalist architecture leitmotiv is to reduce the material expression to the essential, and is best known by the use of geometric shapes made with simplicity and precision. What defines this architectural style in a single concept is the word “clean”. For minimalism all elements must combine and form a unit: hence the minimalist precept that “everything is part of everything”.

This architectural trend emerges in New York by the end of the 60s´ and reaches its maturity in the 80s´, but its origins are anchored in Europe with the work at the German Pavilion of Barcelona´s fair of 1930 of the German architect later turned American, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. It is attributed to Van Der Rohe the phrase “less is more” which precisely reflects the minimalist concept of doing more with less.

 Minimalist architecture imposes in addition to the simplicity of the forms, the use of neutral materials employed in the purest way possible. Simple textures and monochromatic colors are used in floors, ceilings and walls (in particular the white color and all the shades given by its spectrum). At the end, the accessories are the elements that give a touch of color to the space.

The materials are a key point of minimalism. The minimalist ornamentation uses wood and rustic materials: polished cement, glass, steel and stone –mainly in its natural state, minimally manipulated-. Minimalism always seeks at creating contrast by the alternation of these materials and the use of different textures.

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3 pieces of invisible architecture with water as sole protagonist

May 16, 2016
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by juan
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Invisible architecture continuously challenges our senses making the spaces we know, visit or use, become an experience that brings us new feelings, surprising us when we discover what doesn’t seem to be there.

According to this architectural trend, each architect or architectural studio plays with the elements differently to create a fiction, an illusion of invisibility based on the very reality of objects. Consequently, we are transported to places that only these architects can imagine and that thanks to this trend, they can share with us.

Invisible architecture is based upon complex engineering, which deals with what we cannot see. This trend mimics the environment offering extensive views of the landscape, and merging with the surroundings. The source of inspiration shall determine, for sure, how these designs are built and shall shape how the ingenuity of the architects will be used to meet the expectations of the illusion of invisibility.

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Sustainable Architecture: UK raises a green flag

April 25, 2016
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by juan
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When we talk about Sustainable Architecture or Eco-Architecture, we are not only talking about planting trees and plants on urban buildings, as this architectonic trend has traditionally been conceived. The Sustainable Architecture also called Green Architecture is an architectonic trend that tries to make a difference in the construction of new buildings.

Previously in this blog, we have visited Thailand, United States, Canada and Switzerland to explore some of the most representative sustainable buildings designed thus far. Today, we want to travel to UK and take a look to some of its sustainable buildings, example of how the human development and the respect for the environment are compatible.

Sustainable Architecture: UK raises a green flag

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Three minimalist works by three essential architects

February 22, 2016
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by juan
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Three minimalist works by three essential architects

Imagine that you invite the sea to your house and make it a part of every space and every moment of your life. This is the concept expressed in the Casa la Sardinera, a located in Javea Alicante

Finished in 2015 by the Ramon Esteve Estudio, the buildings structure offers in all its detail a clear example of the minimalist architecture style. The principal characteristics of minimalism are present in the design of this house.

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