Natural Stone and shopping centres, a perfect couple

November 21, 2016
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by juan
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Destined to be together forever

Natural Stone and shopping centres. If there is something a shopping center in New York and one in Madrid have in common is that in both parts of the world there is plenty of natural stone used in its construction.

The versatility of natural stone gives these spaces the power to adapt to the needs of each sociocultural context. Some of the most important fashion, jewelry, beauty and tech stores fit within these malls for this reason, sharing the exclusive touch provided by natural stone.

This versatility can be customized almost individually for each space, depending on the type of design chosen by the studios in charge of building or renovating the shopping centre.

The buildings display either geometric compositions with strong Mediterranean roots, or contemporary and neoclassical designs, all in natural stone. These compositions give texture and ambiance to every space.

The purpose: to create a welcoming environment, that invites to walk, get lost and enjoy the different experiences offered by the shopping center.

Let’s see some examples of how marble and natural stone can democratize shopping centres in different parts of the world, while integrating luxury, architecture and design.

shopping-centre-natural-stone-Mall-Off-The-Emirates

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Marble, a passion shared by three architects

September 5, 2016
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by juan
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Marble is one of the most used materials in modern architecture. Available in a wide range of colors as well as polychrome inlaid with other minerals, it is appreciated because of its strength, durability and luxurious aesthetics.

Three of the most emblematic architects of the 20th Century –Adolf Loos, Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson– share not only their stylistic tastes and minimalist aesthetic, but also their passion for marble.

Marble: a passion shared by Adolf Loos, Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson.

marble-architecture-Adolf-Loos-tailor-shop-Goldman-Salatsch

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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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Sustainable Architecture

June 14, 2016
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by juan
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Sustainable architecture, also called sustainable architecture, eco-architecture, green architecture and environmentally conscious architecture

In the last two decades, architecture has accentuated its orientation towards environmentally friendly projects in an intend to help solving or at least mitigating a problem that besets us all. Sustainable architecture, also known as eco-architecture, green architecture or environmentally conscious architecture, is an evolution of the architectural trend called high tech and is a way of conceiving the architectural design that involves reducing the environmental impact and promoting the inclusion of efficient and sustainable energy sources.

In this sense, sustainable architecture values efficiency and moderation in the use of materials and keeps an eye on the management of the natural resources of the locations, considering weather conditions, hydrography and the ecosystems in order to achieve a maximum performance with the minimum impact.

It also puts special attention on the reduction of energy consumption for heating, cooling, lighting and using any other equipment, covering the unsatisfied demand with renewable energy sources such as solar panels, wind generators, solar thermal energy, biomass or even geothermal energy. There is a consensus on the fact that under changing climatic and environmental conditions combining different energy sources is the way to secure energy supply all the year round.

Organizations such as Green Building Council (GBC) and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) – among others- are responsible for defining the standards of sustainable building and for evaluating and certifying the sustainability of buildings through its specific tools: LEED, BREEM, GREEN. In spite of this, and given the difference of criteria or priorities set by each organization, one of the biggest difficulties that owners, developers, technicians and builders face today with regard to the design and construction of a sustainable buildings is precisely the fact that there are no uniform parameters upon which they could base themselves to certainly determine the what order of importance should be established for the different parameters or how much emphasis should be given to each one of them. But at the end, what we all have to keep in mind is that a sustainable architecture should meet the needs of its occupants, without endangering the well-being and development of future generations.

You can read about it in less than 5 minutes …

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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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Minimalism as key of luxury, acoustic poetry and fire

April 11, 2016
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by juan
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The pureness of the shapes, a specific characteristic of minimalism, does not conflict neither with opulence nor with design. Indeed, pureness is the intrinsic spirit, which makes each building to be unique. At this opportunity we will be dealing about three more or less high sounding architectural projects, which take an innovative approach within the current architectural trend. The first project will lead us into a singular exuberance, in the heart of the Jordanian desert; the second project will delight our view and our ears by leading us to a unique tour; and the third project will show us that contemporary beauty and urban functionality may join together harmoniously.

Minimalism as key of luxury, acoustic poetry and fire

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minimalismo-tendencias-arquitectonicas-desierto-wadi-RESORT

Minimalism as key of luxury, acoustic poetry and fire

You may read the following text in approximately five minutes…

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Sustainable Architecture or Eco-Architecture

March 14, 2016
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by juan
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Let’s talk about Sustainability, about Sustainable Architecture or Eco-Architecture. We could say that our world it’s divided between those who respect the planet and try to protect it, and those who simply live in it. What makes the difference between them? The capacity of showing solidarity with the place we inhabit, our home. The hard part, as being said lately, it’s to believe in what isn’t obvious, in what we can’t see or prove. The denial of anthropogenic climate change belongs to a skeptical scientific trend that supports the theory of   global warming not being the consequence of our behavior.

If we are able to interact with the digital world and to adapt ourselves to the new technologies, aren’t we able to see that each year our planet it’s warmer, or that the ecosystem has changed? At this inflection point, it seems clear that climate change is the result of centuries of biological changes of our planet. On the other hand, it remains difficult to accept that the whole world belongs to us. Many believe that “it doesn’t belong to anyone”, when it actually belongs to us all.

From ancient times, we have been building on this planet with basic materials such as soil, stone and mud. Industrialization came afterwards and now we are going back to the origins: we are building up modern structures as an ecological alternative to help the planet. In that sense, sustainable architecture as an architectural trend itself is leading the design and construction of modern and smart buildings through the new path of eco-architecture. Let’s contribute to build a better world by supporting the role of the architects in their quest to build sustainable projects.

Sustainable Architecture or Eco-Architecture

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