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The timber architecture revolution has arrived in Norway. (Almost.) | MSN, 05 nov 2019
Can technology enable and supercharge creativity? | The Drum, 05 nov 2019
Why it is important to design for ecosystems, and not just for users: Simone Rebaudengo, automato.farm, Shanghai | YourStory, 04 nov 2019
Philippe Starck: 'Design Is Going To Disappear' | Forbes, 04 nov 2019
Can design help break our addiction to single-use plastic? | Quartz, 04 nov 2019
Wes Jones on Honesty and Humor in Design | ArchDaily, 04 nov 2019
Dezeen's guide to high-tech architecture | Dezeen, 04 nov 2019
The 37 Most Important Interior Design Moments From the Past 100 Years | Architectural Digest, 01 nov 2019
THE CONSTANT EVOLUTION OF PRODUCT DESIGN AND HOW SEMANTICS STOLE MY JOB... | Yanko Design, 30 oct 2019
Pineapple leather, anyone? Vegans are transforming the way they furnish and decorate their homes | Los Angeles Times, 30 oct 2019
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 oct 2019
Concrete is a preferred material, second-most used (about 22 billion ton annually), in the building and construction industry. But, it is also second-largest emitter of Carbon dioxide, as cement manufacturing accounts for 5-7% of annual emissions. According to Lucy Rodgers of BBC News, 'If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter in the world - behind China and the US.' In order to meet the requirements of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, annual cement emissions must fall by 16% by 2030. This situation brings concrete at the cusp of innovation, encouraging architects and scientists to experiment with concrete and help evolve its greener variants. Most innovations in this regard focus on reduction of cement in the concrete mix. MIT researchers developed an experimental method of manufacturing cement while eliminating CO2 emissions. Researchers at Lancaster University in the UK unveiled a novel approach of using nanoplatelets extracted from carrots and root vegetables to enhance concrete mixes. Dr. Sandra Manso-Blanco's approach of 'bioreceptive concrete' has structural concrete layered with materials to encourage the growth of CO2-absorbing moss and lichen. Another alternative mixture becoming mainstream in construction is GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete). The material consists of a mortar made of concrete, sand, alkali-resistant glass fiber and water. Plasticity is one of the main qualities of GFRC, enabling the molding of thinner and thus lighter façade pieces. Another novel approach to concrete used by Zaha Hadid Architects is 3D-knitted shell. Termed as KnitCandela, it is inspired by Spanish-Mexican architect and engineer Felix Candela's inventive concrete shell structures. The knitted fabric for KnitCandela was developed at ETH Zurich. ETH Zurich has been at the forefront of a number of innovations concerning concrete. With the intention of maximizing available space and avoiding steep construction costs, researchers from ETH Zurich's Department of Architecture have devised a concrete floor slab that with a thickness of a mere 2 cm, remains load-bearing and simultaneously sustainable. The institute also showcased the potential of robotically 3D printed concrete. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 oct 2019
Christopher Charles Benninger, India-based US architect and author of the book 'Letters to a Young Architect', while speaking at a World Habitat Day event in Kochi (Kerala, India) advocates that Indian students should not go to US to study architecture citing higher cost incurred and subsequent settling there, but instead, they should spend 8-9 months travelling across India to see the country's traditional architectural marvels and the materials used for their construction. He suggests that architects should make use of the local climate, materials and labour force. V. Sunil Kumar, founder and MD of Asset Homes, says, 'Among the economically-backward people of India, there is a dearth of 2.5 crore homes while lower income group also lacks 3 crore houses.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 jul 2019
Landscape design needs to be both functional and artistic. Landscape professional should work towards embodying these elements for beautiful gardens and lawn creations. Here are few ideas to bring art and aesthetics in landscape design - Irrespective of the size of landscaping, massing serves an artistic purpose. Massing is basically grouping of one kind plant species in one big section. It provides good visual impact and also brings balance and proportion to the landscape. Massing plants together helps create texture, form, larger pops of color and it can reduce maintenance in some situations. Incorporating vertical and horizontal layers can provide unique look to massing. Proportioning is also a critical component of garden design if the space has a pool, patio, outdoor kitchen or other similar structure, as their size must fit accordingly with the size of the house; While working with smaller spaces accentuate long views across the garden, as this will help add a greater sense of depth to the area. Instead of creating paths that haphazardly wind around, consider keeping the pathways in one continuous, straight line, as this will help emphasize the garden's length and create more dramatic focal points at each end; Experts suggest use of native or indegenous plants as they would be more resistant to pests and more durable; Landscape lighting also plays an important role as gardens can be utilized in evening. Eliminate hot spots as these will make the lighting look unnatural. Utilize lighting to highlight features in the landscape that should be accentuated, which will also let less important aspects fade into the background; For tiny garden area go vertical. Smaller gardens will feel larger if eyes can be drawn up and over the neighboring fence. Take advantage of vertical gardens along the fence line, running up an arbor or trellis or stretching upward on a brick wall/side of the house. Read on...
Total Landscape Care:
More than meets the eye: The artistry behind landscape designs
Author: Beth Hyatt
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 apr 2019
HGTV (Home & Garden Television) provides exposure to applicable interior design ideas. Here are a few: (1) Shiplap, a type of siding, is the best thing you can add to a wall to add dimension. (2) Placing an oversized mirror will make any room appear much larger than it actually is. (3) Another way to conserve space is to make sure everything in your home has a function. (4) If you have the patience, DIY (Do It Yourself) is possible for almost everything. (5) Open shelving is a cool way to show off your fancy dinnerware, and will motivate you to keep it organized. (6) 'Open Concept' floor-plans where entire space is one big open room are essential component of interior design. (7) Painting everything white might seem scary, but it's a great way to add more color via furniture and accent pieces. Read on...
7 of the biggest home decor lessons I've learned from HGTV
Author: Gabbi Shaw
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 mar 2019
Financial crisis of 2008 in US became a catalyst for the 'Tiny House' movement. Environmental considerations are also reasons for the popularity of the concept. Tiny house is typically 100 and 400 ft². Modular housing is also gaining ground in the construction world driven by lower costs, more predictability, and a shortage of construction workers. Italian architect Beatrice Bonzanigo is preparing to showcase her miniature house 'Casa Ojalá' in April. Casa Ojalá is a self-contained modular home design, measuring only 27 m² (290 ft²). The circular home can be arranged in 20 different ways by adjusting wooden partitions and fabric walls with built-in ropes, pulleys and cranks. Ms. Bonzanigo says, 'It’s designed to have a minimal impact on the environment around it, and the woods and fabrics used in its manufacture can vary depending on where it is built, for maximum sustainability. Explaining her design she says, 'Ojalá is a word that summarizes the concept of infinite possibilities, hopes related to emptiness and absence, intuition, a key of a door not yet open, a new field of existence, a telescope that brings together and moves horizons, a space of different possibilities and, therefore, a wish that comes true.' Read on...
Self-Sufficient "Micro-Home" Will Join Milan Design Week
Author: Emily Pollock
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 feb 2019
India's 'Development Agenda' as outlined by current government includes development of 100 smart cities, 40 million dwelling units, 20 million affordable homes, better infrastructure facilities through the AMRUT scheme, focus on urban development and transformation, slum rehabilitation, and 'Housing for All' by 2022. It is estimated that to fulfil this agenda there is requirement of 75 million skilled people in real estate and infrastructure. Moreover, according to reports there is need of 4 million core professionals (architects, engineers, planners). Shubika Bilkha, Business Head at The Real Estate Management Institute (REMI), explains the key aspects that architectural graduates and planners should keep in while building their skill set in evolving environment - (1) Be Multifaceted: Take advantage of a number of roles- from design architecture, structural or liaisoning architects, to urban planning, property development, sustainable development, teaching or getting involved with disaster relief/re-building communities. Require skills such as engineering, design, supervisory skills, managing people/teams/vendors/client expectations, an understanding of key building/designing/construction/smart technology, strong communication and persuasion skills to communicate their vision. Have much larger role and bigger scope getting involved from pre-design services, to cost analysis and land-use studies, feasibility reports, environment studies to developing the final construction plans etc. (2) Be Business Minded: Understand key real estate and planning concepts and calculations, municipal and local development regulations, legal limitations, the social and urban infrastructure, fundraising/financing and the evolving policy framework. (3) Be Responsible: Consider social and environmental impact of the recommendations. Understand sustainability and implement it effectively. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2018
The idea of coffee table books with thick pages and attractive glossy covers is accessibility, they are reachable and readily readable. Henry Miller said in his book 'The Books in My Life' (1969), 'A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.' But this may not be the case with coffee table books as they hardly lie idle. Moreover, Susan Sontag defined her library as 'an archive of longings'. Here are coffee table books on design that stand out in 2018 - (1) Andrew Martin Interior Design Review (Volume 22): With over 500 pages of the latest interior styles and trends, marks out the World's 100 greatest interior designers and showcases their projects on an international level. A must-have for interior designers and design professionals. Martin Weller, founder of Andrew Martin, says that the 22nd edition of the review 'honours alterity', due to the 'astonishing breadth and variety of work' involved. (2) Nina Campbell Interior Decoration: Elegance and Ease (Giles Kime): The book features a biographical essay that runs alongside images of lofty rooms with fabric-matched armchairs, tablecloths and curtains, antique occasional pieces and wallpapered wall panelling, each of which is punctuated with the finest upholstered furniture. (3) Shelfie: Clutter-clearing Ideas for Stylish Shelf Art (Martha Roberts): The idea of 'shelfie' started with Marie Kondo's de-cluttering trend, followed-closely by a surge in the popularity of open shelving. #Shelfie became a hot trend on social media with creatives and interior designers showcasing their shelfs. Martha Roberts brings the social media into the pages of the book. Her shelfie digest demonstrates a fusion of great design, an unapologetic display of personality and a deep sense of relevance to the digitally engaged generation of aesthetes. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 sep 2018
Regional elements in home and bulding design make them unique. They represent sense and sensibilities of the culture and environment they are part of. India is no different and its multicultural and diverse regions have specific design aspects. Interior designers from Livspace provide city-centric home design ideas and tips - (1) Rajvi Jhaveri (Mumbai): 'Of late, Mumbai has been leaning towards a global, Scandinavian aesthetic. However, most Mumbai homes are small, so it's an interesting challenge to create a clean, clutter-free look, while incorporating all the necessary furniture and Vaastu considerations.' Tips - Camouflage storage; Work with material palettes. (2) Saswati Mukherjee (Bengaluru): 'Bangaloreans are big fans of the form-follows-function school of thought. A pared down look that is chic, clean and cost-effective is in high demand. On the flip side, if this is not done right, this style will lack personality.' Tips - Limit your colour palette; Accent furniture; Infuse personality with artwork and plants. (3) Nehaa Rakyaan (Delhi): 'The Delhi homeowner is very conscious of aesthetics and well-informed about the latest trends. The main concern here is tempering style with practical considerations without going overboard.' Tips - Prioritize your lifestyle and personal tastes over trends; Leave some breathing room; Embrace modular furniture. (4) Priyanka Pawar Sirigiri (Hyderabad): 'Homeowners in Hyderabad are well-travelled and familiar with design trends around the world. At the same time, they are well-connected to their roots and love traditional interiors.' Tips: Mix traditional and contemporary styles; Greenery. Read on...
Four designers across four cities reveal interior secrets
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 sep 2018
There are many components of exterior and landscape design for buildings. One such component is the retaining wall with the basic purpose of holding back earth. In addition to functionality, they also expand the usable surface area. Aesthetics of these walls is also an important aspect. There are mainly two things to be kept in mind while designing retaining walls. One is the type of material to be used and the other is the use of the land. Traditional materials used were railroad ties, found stone and treated landscape timber. But nowadays bricks, concrete blocks, poured concrete and steel are added to the list. Environmental friendliness is also important while choosing materials. Aesthetics and functionality should go hand in hand. Design of the front of the wall should be in line with the overall exterior design of the building and land should be effectively and beautifully used with each element appropriately fitted. Garden wall, also called screen wall, is a type of retaining wall used to enclose a garden. It is often used to created a tiered or terraced garden. There are multipe ways in which a garden wall can be designed to provide an elegant addition to home design - wall of flowers and shrubbery, next to a pool or patio, outside a home's garden window etc. Read on...
Choosing the right retaining wall for your landscape
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2018
Collaborative partnerships between local government, community, nonprofit organizations, academia and businesses can do wonders to enhance the various aspects of localities, cities and regions. An old factory site being rehabilitated as a business park in Lackawanna (New York, USA) is an example of sustainable redevelopment and the impact a local government can have on climate change. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Deputy Executive Maria Whyte and others officials visited Conrnell Universuty campus and discussed the redevelopment project with faculty and shared county initiatives focused on sustainability and economic growth, quality of life and building strong communities. Mr. Poloncarz says, 'Strong partnerships and sustainable practices are essential to progress, giving more people a say in their community and making responsible use of our resources to effect change that benefits generations yet to come.' Basil Safi, Executive Director of the Office of Engagement Initiatives at Cornell, says, 'The event was organized as a launching point to further community-engaged research and learning collaborations with Erie County', seeding ideas for potential projects involving Cornell students and faculty.' Initiatives for a Smart Economy (I4SE) is an economic development strategy Erie County enacted in 2013 and updated last year as I4SE 2.0. It contains 71 initiatives and is focused on inclusion and creating shared opportunities for all residents, to address persistent poverty and underemployment. Max Zhang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell, says, 'I can envision that students team up with community partners to address specific challenges they are facing.' Rebecca Brenner, a lecturer at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, began a project in spring 2017 in Buffalo (NY) on improving communications during an emergency for that city's diverse, multilingual refugee population, and creating an emergency notification plan with nonprofit resettlement agencies as community partners. Erie County has about 300 current strategic initiatives led by county departments with community partners. They include fostering hiring of disadvantaged residents in high-poverty areas for construction jobs amid Buffalo's building boom; exploring the feasibility of a new convention center to spur tourism; creating an agribusiness park in rural southern Erie County; supporting health and human services agencies and energy programs targeting low-income households; and infrastructure and environmental remediation in county parks. Shorna Allred, associate professor of natural resources at Cornell, says, 'I was quite impressed and intrigued by what they are doing in Buffalo...We are similarly trying to bring together a partnership of people to work on sustainability issues across the city...' Read on...
Sustainable economic strategies spur engaged research interest
Author: Daniel Aloi
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 apr 2018
For the betterment and growth of any local industry, it is imperative that global best practices should be emulated and, modified and customized based on the local needs. Pratyush Sarup, interior designer based in Dubai (UAE), provides key insights from Milan Design Week 2018 for Middle East region - (1) The Power Of Simplicity: Prefer clean lines and minimal materiality in design. An installation by American artist Phillip K. Smith III portrays simplicity principle with use of only one material - glass. Applied along clean angles and a humble curve, the reflective surface offered a kaleidoscopic play on light, form and structure. (2) Divine Expression: History, culture, folk tales, nature etc can be inspiration for design. A collection of chairs by designer Lara Bohinc sought inspiration from the skies above. Aptly titled 'Since the World is Round', the spherical form that characterises the collection is derived from gravitationally curved trajectories of planetary and lunar orbits. Dubai-based designer Talin Hazbar has previously turned to 'Kahf al Baba', a folk tale that originates from villages between Khor Fakan and Fujairah for a lighting collection. (3) The Circular Life Of Design: Understanding sustainability is necesssary for the continued growth of design market. Innovative waste management solutions to waste generated by the textile design industry is at the heart of 'Really', a Danish company. They debuted their latest invention, the 'Solid' textile board. Developed from upcycled end-of-life fabrics from the fashion and textile industries, it's potential was showcased via a range of products created by top designers such as Benjamin Hubert, Christien Meindertsma, Front (Sofia Lagerkvist and Anna Lindgren) and Raw-Edges (Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay). Designers can think about finding ways to repurpose waste into contemporary living solutions. (4) Join Forces: Collaboration is key to better outcomes. New York designer Lindsey Adelman and wallpaper maestro Calico (Rachel Cope and Nick Cope), as they were both working with similar surface techniques, decided to work together and presented a joint show 'Beyond the Deep' that explored the corrosive natural chemicals, like salt, to alter the appearance of surfaces. Coming together of diverse thought processes and creative expressions can fast-track creative economies. (5) Have Some Fun: Many top tier brands stepped away from their typical business-oriented presentations to explore alternative out-of-the-box ideas. Czech glass brand Lasvit took over Teatro Gerolamo, a 19th-century puppet theatre to present Monster Cabaret, its latest collection of accessories centred on mythical beasts, fantastical creatures and outcasts. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 mar 2018
Every nation had architects and designers at different periods of time that have influenced these creative fields and inspired the work of others after them. Following is the list of 10 select architets of the modern era - (1) Frank Lloyd Wright (USA): Inspired by buildings in American prairies, he created the simple and practical 'Prairie House' style as a reaction to the over-embellished Victorian aesthetic. (2) Norman Foster (UK): A disciple of both Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, he worked with Buckminster Fuller and made geodesic designs on his buildings facades as his trademark style. (3) Antoni Gaudi (Spain): Cathedral of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (Spain) is his most famous creation. It has a style that is a mix of Baroque, Gothic, Moorish and Victorian elements. He also derived influence from nature. (4) Daniel Libeskind (Poland): Notable works include Berlin's Jewish Museum, Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin and Imperial War Museum in England. (5) Renzo Piano (Italy): Has many unique and varied styles that range from the Neo-Brutalism of his Whitney Museum of American Art in New York's Meatpacking District, to the elegant Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. (6) Ben van Berkel (Netherlands): Notable works include Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, Theatre Agora and the Mercedes-Benz Museum. (7) Santiago Calatrava (Spain; Switzerland): Termed as sci-fi baroque architect by some, he has designed buildings that resembled the ribcages of dinosaurs. One of his recent creation is the Transit Hub for the World Trade Center. (8) Philip Johnson (USA): His modern architectural work includes Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. He is founding director of MoMA's (Museum of Modern Art, New York) Department of Architecture. (9) Eero Sarinen (Finland; USA): He is noted for his neo-futuristic style, later known as the Bauhaus's straight-line philosophy. This became the aesthetic for business and government office buildings around the world. (10) Frank Gehry (Canada; USA): His billowing forms quite literally seem to defy gravity. Design of the Guggenheim Museum branch in Bilbao (Spain) is one of the finest example of his style. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 mar 2018
Architecture and design of living spaces has to adapt to the changing behaviors and lifestyles of people, changing climate and environmental patterns, evolving social and cultural landscape etc. Following are architectural trends for 2018 - (1) Understanding how millennials occupy and use space (Piedad Rojas): Behavior and habits of millennials point to their inclinations for minimal spaces that are highly flexible. They seek small, modern, multifunctional and minimalist apartments. (2) Architects facing the construction of their own work - the urgency of being on site (José Tomás Franco): To attain knowledge, understanding and training about materials and construction processes is a growing trend. To reconnect with the materialization of projects and work in multidsciplinary collaboration with others is key to better architecture. (3) The challenge of current architecture to approach the rural context (Fernanda Amaro): Rem Koolhaas said in 2016, 'The current challenge of architecture is to understand the rural world'. He appeals to architects that the future is in intervening in 'bare, semi-abandoned, sparsely populated, sometimes badly connected spaces', since this is where architects are seeing accelerated processes of change, and must take the lead. The trend is now emerging that understands the need to go to these areas and get to know these communities in order to incorporate, from a contemporary perspective, their ways of living, materials, traditional techniques and vernacular forms to guide the architect to make friendlier, more respectful and harmonious decisions with the natural and social environment in which they are inserted. (4) Social architecture faces the return of the pendulum (Nicolás Valencia): The trend visualizes and values informal architecture, vernacular techniques and commitment to those who have been left behind in society. The selection of Alejandro Aravena as the Director of the XV Biennial of Architecture of Venice and winner of the Pritzker Prize in 2016, signifies this trend. (5) The post-digital era enters the graphic representation timeline in architecture (Karina Zatarain): By merging the available digital tools with the representative intention of collage, some contemporary architecture firms have chosen to move away from the dominant hyperrealism, instead creating a new trend - post-digital representation. This is just the beginning of a new stage of negotiation between the cold precision of technology and the expressive quality inherent in architecture. (6) Political Architecture - creativity faces the regulations and the future of cities (Fabián Dejtiar): Spanish architect Andrés Jaque mentioned in the XX Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism of Chile 2017, by default 'all architects are politicians' and the real question is what forms of policy architects are willing to defend. In this regard, political action is a tool to enhance, incorporate or transform creativity. The process of balancing creativity in the framework of regulations will influence the future of cities. (7) The revenge of women in architecture (Camila Marín, Pola Mora): This year, the Venice Biennial of Architecture will be directed by two women architects - Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara - and the list of curators in charge of the national pavilions already has a much higher female participation than in previous years. Architectural discipline will see concrete actions taken to empower women and bring them in more powerful and prominent position. (8) Learning from Bamboo to reinforce our sensitivity and efficiency (José Tomás Franco): Bamboo is a multifaceted material and has more than 1500 documented uses. In construction, its current use is related to resistance, versatility and efficiency, and is linked to the beauty of the organic and innate respect for the environment. (9) A glimpse of the direction of post-earthquake architecture (Karina Zatarain): Architecture plays an important role in response to the reconstruction needs after different types of natural disasters. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban received the Pritzker Prize in 2014 and is known for his experimental and innovative use of materials such as paper and cardboard in buildings, and for his efforts to help homeless people after natural disasters or in refugee situations. Team of architects from Hong Kong was awarded in World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Berlin for their post-earthquake reconstruction project. They developed a new and economical compacted earth construction technique that will be more resistant to seismic activity. Topics like seismic resistance of different local materials and self-construction are part of architectural discussions. Read on...
The 9 Architecture Topics You Need To Know About in 2018
Authors: Marina Gosselin, Piedad Rojas, José Tomás Franco, Fernanda Amaro, Nicolás Valencia, Karina Zatarain, Fabián Dejtiar, Camila Marín, Pola Mora
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 dec 2017
According to the website tate.org.uk, 'Emotional architecture is a style of modernist architecture conceived in the 1950s that embraced space, colour and light, creating buildings that encouraged meditation and reflection. It was conceived by the Mexican architect Luis Barragán and the sculptor and painter Mathias Goéritz who were frustrated by the cold functionalism of modernism. In 1954 Barragán and Goéritz published 'The Emotional Architecture Manifesto' in which they argued that architecture needs to be spiritually uplifting.' Emotional architecture emphasises and respects human wants and needs. Researchers Ann Sussman (architect), Janice M. Ward (designer) and Justin B. Hollander (academic at Tufts University), are developing a scientific approach to this strategy, gleaning useful insights on how people look at structures and spaces. According to them the best way to understand what factors catch the eye is to literally study its movements through biometrics. Researchers used the same eye-tracking and facial-expression analysis software used by advertisers, software developers, and automotive designers to study our near-subconscious reactions to what we see. Ms. Sussman says, 'At the moment, biometrics are predominantly used to get people to purchase things. We'd like to use them to improve public welfare, health, and well-being. We want to promote better place-making in the world and ease of walkability.' Read on...
Is Biometric Scanning the Future of Architecture Planning?
Author: Tim Nelson
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2017
EDIT (The Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology), the 10 day event held in Toronto (Canada) showcased art, installations and projects, focused on innovation and design to build a sustainable future for the world. It included talks from David Suzuki, Ian Campeau (A Tribe Called Red), among others. Here are 5 selected ideas and innovations - (1) Prosperity For All: Curated by Canadian designer Bruce Mau, the main exhibit juxtaposed Paolo Pellegrin's photos of devastation throughout world, with people and inventions that are helping to combat issues such as famine, refugee crisis, smog and more. It highlighted Smog Free Project (Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde's smog free bike that works to purify the air around you while you ride), The Ocean Cleanup (Boyan Slat's creation that intend to remove 50% of the trash found in Great Pacific Garbage patch in just 5 years) and many more. (2) Art With Purpose: Dennis Kavelman, an artist and tech investor, collaborated with the Digital Futures team at OCAD University (Canada) to create a piece of work inspired by Andy Warhol. Expiry Dates works in two phases - It compiles answers from an online questionnaire, measuring your life expectancy against a myriad of points such as your fitness level, whether you smoke, if you're married and more. Then you sit for a self-portrait, which you attach to a QR Code with all your data. In a few minutes your heartbeat appears on the big screen, taken from a reading from your eye, and then your portrait appears along with your predicted date of expiry. Another piece of the installation, titled That's Not Very Many, uses a magnetized digital board to break down those days in months. (3) The New Housing: Living sustainably means looking at where we live and providing affordable housing for all. Exhibit included Mickey Mouse's Home of the Future that was a fully functional shipping container created by students at OCAD. The One House Many Nations home was created by grassroots organization Idle No More, that seeks to provide affordable housing based on traditional indigenous ideas, and consists of two modules that link together, one dubbed shelter and the other service, that can be pieced together based on the family or individual's needs as well as the landscape in which they live. (4) The Future Of Fashion: Fashion Takes Action's Design Forward award was given to a sustainable fashion label Peggy Sue Collection (founded by Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks), a line of eco-friendly cotton and denim. (5) Waste No More: Keeping in mind the concept of feeding many with minimal impact, Waterfarmers created an on-site aquaponics exhibit to show how fish waste can be used to fertilizer food. The idea is to utilize water that is housing fish to then fertilize plants, providing protein and vegetables in a sustainable manner. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 oct 2017
Design conscious renters and buyers seek well designed interiors when searching for living spaces, in addition to location, price and amenities. Mary Cook, founder and principal at Mary Cook Associates (MCA), explains the fundamentals of design that should be kept in mind for successful interiors. Moreover, answering the following questions focused on the end user is key to achieve best results - who is my client, where do they live and what does that mean to how they live? Design basics she suggests are - (1) Scale and Proportion: Balancing the scale and proportion of the elements of the interior (like furniture etc) with the overall space is key to achieving comfort. Also keep in mind the target market and adjust the elements accordingly. (2) Function and Livability: Effective design is achieved by understanding the various functions that take place in the living space. Also understand the requirements of those who are expected to occupy it. Designers should consider how the target market will experience and utilize the various spaces within the unit before implementation of their ideas. (3) Lighting: Lighting design is essential and proper balance need to be achieved. It is one of the often overlooked element of interior design. Comprehensive lighting plans that fulfil the needs of those who will occupy the space makes it attractive. Layered lighting is the key to achieving optimal illimination. A combination of natural lighting, foundational lighting and task-centered lighting brings the necessary balance and efficiency. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 sep 2017
Team of architects at Ant Studio (India) - Monish Siripurapu, Abhishek Sonar, Atul Sekhar, Sudhanshu Kumar - have used computational technologies (CFD Analysis) and reinvented the traditional evaporative cooling technique to lower temperature of emissions from an electronics factory with less cost, energy consumption and impact on surrounding environment. Ancient Egyptians, Persians and later on Mughals in India utilized the evaporative cooling technique to overcome hot climate. According to a research study by Prof. Asif Ali of Aligarh Muslim University (India), published in International Transaction Journal of Engineering, Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies (2013), 'The emperor's throne at the centre of Diwan-e-Khas is surrounded by two sets of openings four meters apart from each other. These openings were covered with grass mats with sprinkled water during summers...' The architects from Ant Studio stacked cylindrical terracotta cones, giving it a circular shape, and water was made to run over them. Hot air coming from the generators passed over the system lowering the temperature substantially. Further technical details of the system can be obtained from an ArchDaily.com article 'This Innovative Cooling Installation Fights Soaring Temperatures in New Delhi.' Monish Siripurapu, founder of Ant Studio, says, 'As an architect, I wanted to find a solution that is ecological and artistic, and at the same time evolves traditional craft methods...I believe this experiment worked quite well functionally. Findings from this attempt opened up a lot more possibilities where we can integrate this technique with forms that could redefine the way we look at cooling systems, a necessary yet ignored component of a building’s functionality. Every installation could be treated as an art piece...The circular profile can be changed into an artistic interpretation while the falling waters lend a comforting ambience. This, intermingled with the sensuous petrichor from the earthen cylinders allow for it to work in any environment with the slightest of breeze. Having said that, there are many factories throughout the country that face a similar issue and this is a solution that can be easily adopted and a widespread multiplication of this concept may even assist the local potters.' Read on...
Architects in India Use Natural Cooling to Take the Edge off Factory Emissions
Author: Vittoria Traverso
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2017
Students often take part in initiatives outside of the structured academic curriculum and pursue their independent learning interests. They create common interest clubs, publish magazines, develop websites etc. Architectural education is an area that demands continuous stream of ideas and creativity. Digital world of collaboration and speed sharing, and reaching out to wider audience is giving new meaning to student-driven platforms. KoozA/rch, Bartlett's Lobby, AA Files (Architectural Association's Journal), Yale School of Achitecture's Perspecta are some examples. Sabrina Syed, Co-founder of Volume64, shares the story of their design platform (Volume64) that evolved out of conversations among students. She explains, 'We test different micro-typologies and challenge architectural norms through our drawing experiments: isometric cubes of 4x4x4 meters - coined the CubeLab. In one season, around 50-70 drawings are produced by a constantly changing team of contributors. Our collaborators write, curate, and edit briefs which our team of contributors (regular and visiting) respond to in drawings that get released in 2-week installments, with 5-6 briefs marking a season...The idea of Volume64 was sparked when our co-founder Lloyd Lee attended a workshop on diagrams during his first term at the Architectural Association.' Mr. Lee says, 'What can we do without the decades of practical experience and necessary compromises in architecture? Can there be a space dedicated purely to the experiments and drawings resulting from this line of questioning? Volume64 finally came to light as we continued our conversations from these questions.' Ms. Syed further explains, 'Challenging everyday spaces, and thus questioning the perception of architecture, became the motivation behind Volume64. The idea of a platform developed: To express these small exercises that could challenge existing rules without the limitations of academic or professional submissions...Volume64 is run by a group of students in their final years of architecture education. Currently, our team members are from the Architectural Association, the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Edinburgh School of Architecture (ESALA). Collaboration is at the heart of the platform.' Jonathan Wren, Bartlett School of Architecture M.Arch, says, 'Cross-school collaboration has encouraged very different takes on similar briefs. [It creates] a lot of cross--fertilization of ideas, approaches, and methods that go beyond speaking with friends at other schools, reading about others' work or visiting degree shows.' Henry Schofield, Bartlett School of Architecture M.Arch, says, 'Volume64 is an essential tool for architecture students to not only exercise their ability to think and question but also to share and engage in a dialogue with their fellow contributors, in order to produce productive architectural content that contributes to the critical discourse of the platform...' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 apr 2017
Balancing tradition and modernity can be one of the effective approaches in architecture and design. Architect Sathya Prakash Varanashi explores and explains how use of natural materials can empower the designer to create ideas rooted in tradition, yet retain the freedom to interpret modernity in form and preception. In today's world, reducing environmental degradation through sustainable approaches is a challenge acknowledged by all. Although availability of natural materials is less as compared to manufactured materials, but a balanced hybrid approach to design that gels well with local environment and surroundings along with utilizing traditional techniques can be an effective solution. Mr. Varanashi shares an example of recent architectural installation at Kochi Biennale (India) where the architect Tony Joseph has designed an auditorium, built largely with natural materials such as mud, arecanut, jute and coloured fabric, it also juxtaposes with steel trusses with sheets as wall panel and roof. Mr. Varanashi concludes, 'Given all this, why are the natural materials losing out against manufactured materials? It may not be only because modern materials have greater potential in some respects, but also because we are forgetting certain design fundamentals which would enable us to mix and match the local material to create excellence. Design has to do more with designing than a blind application of a technology or a material.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 feb 2017
Society continues to face challenges to construct affordable, high-quality, innovative and future-focused built environments. Many building processes are sub-standard and obsolete, with sustainability concerns. Current research on integration of digital technologies within architectural and construction processes promises substantial contributions to sustainability and productivity. Research connections between diverse fields like architecture, structural design, computer science, materials science, control systems engineering, and robotics are required. Researchers during the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2017 reveal latest developments in digital fabrication in architecture at 1:1 building scale. They explain successful integration of digital technologies in design, planning, and building processes to transform the building industry. (1) On Site Digital Fabrication for Architecture: Prof. Jonas Buchli, Agile and Dexterous Robotics at ETH Zurich (Switzerland), proposes a radical focus on domain specific robotic technology enabling the use of digital fabrication directly on construction sites and in large scale prefabrication. (2) The New Mathematics of Making: Prof. Jane Burry, Director of the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory at RMIT University in Melbourne (Australia), explores how these opportunities (Digital computation; Linking of design attributes to extraneous factors; Mathematical design models etc) for automation, optimization, variation, mass-customisation, and quality control can be fully realised in the built environment within full scale construction. (3) Building Materials for 3D Printing: Prof. Ronald Rael, Architecture at University of California at Berkeley (USA), reveals the development of new materials that can overcome the challenges of scale and costs of 3D printing on 1:1 construction scale. He demonstrates that viable solutions for 3D printing in architecture involve a material supply from sustainable resources, culled from waste streams or consideration of the efficiency of a building product's digital materiality. Read on...
ETH Zurich Global News:
Digital Fabrication in Architecture - The Challenge to Transform the Building Industry
Author: Rahel Byland Skvarc
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 dec 2016
10 biggest architecture trends of 2016 - (1) Minimalist interiors finished with cool-toned marble, uniform woodwork and block coloured walls (2) Prefabricated houses for long-term housing (3) Co-living and co-working spaces, largely targeting millennials (4) Shingles (Concept is broadly utilized with a huge variety of materials and scales demonstrating the versatility of the cladding) (5) Charred timber (Japanese wood-preservation technique known as shou sugi ban has been used to blacken the cladding of hotels, houses, pavilions and studios the world over) (6) London house extension boom resulting from inclination towards contemporary design (7) Sustainability (8) Backyard and garden studios are constructed by architects, designers, writers and artists as they seek to maximize limited inner city space (9) Skinny skyscrapers (10) Carbon fibre is tipped as building tool of the future. Experts suggest that when the material is combined with robotic construction techniques is paving the way for a fourth industrial revolution. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 nov 2016
Local climate conditions and natural environment defines the efficiency, effectiveness and aesthetics of landscape design. Arizona's (USA) climate is charecterized by abundance of sunlight throughout the year with warm days, refreshing night and dry air. Therefore, outdoor living spaces are given extra importance by residents. To cater to this requirement, and provide comfort and functionality, architects and landscape designers are giving special emphasis to trends observed by CreativeEnvironments.com - (1) Sustainability: Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) considers sustainability as one of the leading trends of 2016; Water-starved state like Arizona, with twenty year of draught, has more relevance; Xeriscaping; Use of native, draught-tolerant, desert-adaptive plants; Grouping plants based on their water consumption; Rainwater harvesting; Use of rain barrels to capture water flowing off the roof; Designs can include contours like depressions, berms, or basins that collect rainwater; Edible gardens with native plants. (2) Indoor Comforts: Extending the comforts of indoors to backyards; Outdoor living spaces like kitchens, seating areas, fireplaces etc; Use of technology like WiFi, TV sets, irrigation controlling advanced systems; Energy-efficient LED lighting. (3) Modern Design: Modern landscape design includes a minimalist approach to planting, as well as geometric pools and patios that are defined by straight lines and right angles. These are a natural match for desert environment that is generally admired for stark beauty, simplicity, and clean lines. The austerity of modern design allows nature to take center stage, accentuating rather than distracting from the beauty of the surroundings. Read on...
AZ Big Media:
Top landscape design trends harness the beauty of Arizona
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 jun 2016
Women are more prominently visible in some professions, but not in all. According to the International Interior Design Association, 69% of the 87,000 design practitioners in the United States are women. But the dismal stat is that, only 25% of firm leaders are female. Although Zaha Hadid, Odile Decq and Jennifer Siegal have reached the top and inspired other women to walk in their footsteps, but there are challenges that women face to get there. Here are views of the four creatives that have worked hard to be leaders in design and architecture - (1) Nicole Hollis, Principal and Creative Director of NICOLEHOLLIS: CHALLENGES - 'Working on construction sites can occasionally be challenging...Also, getting out of my office and working together on site, rather than via email or phone, generates a lot of mutual respect.' OPPORTUNITIES - 'I believe that women have the same opportunities as men. Often having quiet determination and hanging in there during the tough times can be more of a factor than gender.' (2) Lisa Bottom, Design Principal at Gensler San Francisco: CHALLENGES - 'I learned early on that my proclivity for hard work would serve me well. I had to work harder than most of the men and ensure that all my delivered product was the best I could produce.' OPPORTUNITIES - 'The Co-CEO of Gensler, Diane Hoskins, is a woman. Our most recent Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Gensler, Robin Klehr-Avia, is a woman, and the Managing Directors of many of the Gensler offices are women. Gender is no longer the determining factor for success in a design career.' (3) Anne Fougeron, Principal of Fougeron Architecture: CHALLENGES - The challenge is to convince people that you are as capable as your male colleagues. There seems to be an underlying assumption that men understand and know more about construction than women!' OPPORTUNITIES - 'I think women are primed to take over and be the new emerging voice in the field of architecture...We must remember to always ask for what is rightfully ours.' (4) Kendall Wilkinson, Principal of Kendall Wilkinson Design: CHALLENGES - I never thought about being less or more because of my gender, I always knew that I had something to bring to any table, regardless of the audience.' OPPORTUNITIES - 'Doors are opening in so many areas related to design now. More and more, you are seeing women in construction be it electricians, project managers, or even general contractors...our industry is undergoing disruption which I think will lead to interesting new paths for both women and men.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 may 2016
As the need for intensive and intermediate care increases, the hospitals must have spaces that can fulfil the requirement. The multi-organizational collaborative EVICURES project at Seinäjoki Central Hospital in Finland was undertaken to develop a new design model for future intensive and intermediate care needs. The result of research conducted by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland on evidence-based design (EBD) and user orientation were applied to design work. Currently, there are no ICUs with single patient rooms in Finland. According to Kari Saarinen, Project Manager of the EVICURES project and Chief Physician at ICU of Hospital District of South Ostrobothnia, 'The international trend is that the need for intermediate care in particular is increasing. More and more demanding methods are being used for treating patients, and the share of elderly patients is increasing.' Regarding the project, he adds, 'The operations will be more cost-efficient and of higher quality, when the equipment and nursing staff are concentrated into one place. We also expect the solution to have remarkable effects on patient healing.' The hospital staff, management, patients and their families, the hospital district, and other cooperation partners participated in the design work. Tiina Yli-Karhu, Design Coordinator at Hospital District of South Ostrobothnia, says, 'A user-oriented approach was an essential foundation for the whole project. This way we can all together make the major change about to happen easier, when the nursing staff is moving from facilities for multiple patients to working alone in single rooms.' Using the Human Thermal Model tool, VTT performed questionnaire studies and measurements to evaluate the individual thermal sensation and comfort of both the staff and patients, that were utilized in HVAC design. Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences used CAD methods to model a virtual space in accordance with the architectural drawing, which VTT utilised for improving user-friendliness. From this 3D model, VTT developed a Unity3D game for computer and tablet, allowing the staff to move around in the ICU facilities virtually and to experience realistic interactive care situations in the new working area in advance. Finland's first single-patient intensive and intermediate care and cardiac unit designed in accordance with this model will become operational in 2018. Read on...
VTT Research News:
A new treatment room design model for future hospitals
Author: Nykänen Esa
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 may 2016
A number of studies have strengthened the common belief that being around trees and close to nature improves one's mental and physical well-being. Research by Prof. Bin Jiang of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (now at University of Hong Kong) and his team, further emboldens the belief regarding the soothing aspects of green environment on stress levels and blood pressure. The study was undertaken to determine the dose-response curve between tree cover density and stress recovery. It included 158 volunteers in mildly stressful situations. The experiment utilized virtual reality headset to view 360-degree videos of an urban space with varying amounts of tree canopy visible. Results obtained from the tests showed a positive linear association between the density of trees and the self reported recovery from stress. Prof. Jiang comments, 'These finding suggest that viewing a tree canopy in communities can aid stress recovery and that every tree matters.' Researchers found that regardless of age, gender, and baseline stress levels the greater the exposure to trees, the less stress the subject felt. Read on...
Total Landscape Care:
University study - Stress falls as exposure to trees increases
Author: Jill Odom
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 mar 2016
Instances like female architect Denise Scott Brown getting the AIA Gold Medal and women heading some of the best architecture schools in US, may show that architecture profession is making efforts towards gender equality. But Architectural Review's fifth annual 2016 Women in Architecture Survey of 1152 female practitioners (68% based in UK), tells a different story. According to the survey - One in five women worldwide say they would not encourage a women to start a career in architecture; About 40% (in UK) and over 40% (in other countries) thought that they would be paid more if they were male; 72% say they have experienced sexual discrimination, harassment, or victimization on the job; 67% believed that the building industry does not accept female authority. Read on...
Survey - 72% Of Female Architects Have Experienced Harassment Or Discrimination
Author: Diana Budds
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 mar 2016
According to American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) survey of 803 US-based landscape architects, people are overwhelmingly concerned with water conservation. Some of the highlights of the survey include the following top 5 trends - (1) 88% reported that clients seemed most interested in rainwater or graywater harvesting elements. (2) Native plants. (3) Native or adaptive drought tolerant plants. (4) Low-maintenance landscapes. (5) Permeable landscapes. Nancy Somerville, CEO of ASLA, says, 'It does reflect a much greater awareness from the population as a whole, about critical issues like water conservation and energy efficiency, as well as water efficiency, and stormwater issues.' James Brown, Governor of California, considering the expected 5th consecutive year of drought, in addition to other measures also ordered that 50-million square feet of state-owned lawns be replaced with drought tolerant landscaping. According to Prof. Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman, Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland, 'People are starting to think about how their house and property fits into the broader urban landscape context, and how they might contribute to more sustainable built environments than we've had in the past.' The survey also observed that the creative shift towards water conservation is already visible. Lush, maximalist gardens and fountains, are being replaced by cool, sculptured minimalism. Prof. Pavao-Zuckerman adds, 'There are non-profits springing up devoted to teaching homeowners how to install water-saving elements themselves.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 feb 2016
As digital get seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of life, it will not remain anything extraordinary. In future, advancements in digital technologies will converge to enhance physical experiences that involve our bodies, feelings, emotions, actions and reactions. Auro Trini Castelli, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at gyro, explains how the 'Physical Revolution' will be driven by the following five trends - (1) Sensors will be the new devices (Virtual Reality; Motion and Gesture Recognition Technologies; Haptic Technology). (2) Surfaces will be the new screens (Interactive digital screens on walls, floors, ceilings, walkways etc). (3) Smart cities will make us smart citizens (Interactive city systems and digital environments). (4) Only meaningful interactions will survive (Well-integrated interfaces that get activated when required; Focus on human experience). (5) The world will be printed (3D printing for mass customization; Laser cutting; Computer modeling). In this experiential world, architects, designers, engineers, technologists, marketers, advertisers etc have to increasingly think and create with focus on providing solutions that appeal to all five human senses. The success will depend on how invisibly the digital will become part of the physical and improves every aspect of human interactions and experiences. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 feb 2016
There is an established relationship between built environment and human health. It is important to understand how architectural design, interior design, building technologies and materials etc, interact with external natural environment. Health-centric design approaches are now being utilized for built environments like hospitals, schools, office spaces, homes etc. Urbanization is another aspect that has public health related consequences. According to the study, 'Walls talk: Microbial biogeography of homes spanning urbanization' (by Jean F. Ruiz-Calderon, Humberto Cavallin, Se Jin Song, Atila Novoselac, Luis R. Pericchi, Jean N. Hernandez, Rafael Rios, Oralee H. Branch, Henrique Pereira, Luciana C. Paulino, Martin J. Blaser, Rob Knight, and Maria G. Dominguez-Bello) published in journal Science, certain aspects of a house's design could have an influence on the types of microbes found inside, with more urban homes separating humans from the outdoors and keeping out the environmental microbes we once evolved to coexist with. Researchers speculate that these changes may be having impact on public health. The study focused on four communities of Amazon Basin with similar climates and outside environment, but with different levels of urbanization. Prof. Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello of NYU School of Medicine, 'We humans build the environments we live in and spend most of our time (in), and these may be very different to the natural environments. Very little is known about microbes of the built environment.' According to Prof. Graham Rook of University College London, who was not part of the study, 'There is increasing evidence that exposure to microbial biodiversity from the natural environment is important for health.' Prof. Humberto Cavallin of University of Puerto Rico's School of Architecture, comments, 'As we move from rural to urban...houses become more isolated from the outside environment and also become more internally compartmentalized according to the function of the spaces.' Prof. Jean Ruiz-Calderon, a biologist at University of Puerto Rico and lead author of the study, says, 'The results of the study reveal that microbes from house walls and floors differ across habitations. With increasing urbanization, houses contain a higher proportion of human-associated bacteria...and decreasing proportions of environmental bacteria...walls become reservoirs of bacteria that come from different sources depending on the use of the spaces.' Prof. Dominguez-Bello adds, 'We are in environments that are highly humanized, and therefore a lack of ventilation and high concentrations of human bacteria may...facilitate human-to-human transmission of microbes.' Prof. Ruiz-Calderon warns, 'As we alter our built environments in ways that diverge from the natural exposures we evolve with, we need to be aware of the possible consequences.' Read on...
The Washington Post:
The hidden health consequences of how we design our homes
Author: Chelsea Harvey
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