Advances in technology shape contemporary glazing applications

The following editorial from Aki Ishida kicks off the Focus section of the July/August 2022 edition of The Architect’s Newspaper, which showcases the latest and greatest innovations in glass. You can view the entire section, complete with product roundups and case studies, in full here. In recent decades, technological advancements in chemical coating, structural engineering,

Bee brick mandates aim to improve biodiversity; it’s not clear if they can

In January of 2022, the city of Brighton in the U.K. went viral for requiring new buildings to integrate ‘bee bricks’ as a means of increasing biodiversity in the built environment. Artificial bee habitats, commonly called “bee hotels,” are a popular form of intervention in gardens and parks around the world. They’re intended to cater

Outdoor landscape and several fans attached to large box at a carbon capture facility
World’s largest carbon capture facility opens in Iceland

Europe has, as of late, become the site of robust environmental technological developments designed to reduce global waste and carbon emissions, from BIG’s waste-to-power plant in Copenhagen to a proposal for a mass timber neighborhood in Sweden. As of last Wednesday, it has also become the site of the latest advancement in carbon capture technology. 

a tidal scene in scotland
Daniel Fernández Pascual wins 2020 Wheelwright Prize, will research oyster farm technology

The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) has named Daniel Fernández Pascual, a Spanish-born, London-based architect, urban designer, educator, and researcher as the recipient of the 2020 Wheelwright Prize. Now in its eighth year as an international open competition, the Wheelwright Prize, which first originated at Harvard GSD in 1935, is a research travel-based grant

A biomorphic object with a swirling, nacre-like texture.
Neri Oxman grows tools for the future at new MoMA retrospective

A pioneer in materials, objects, and construction, Neri Oxman is showing work from her 20-year career as an architect, designer, and inventor at the Neri Oxman: Material Ecology exhibition currently on view until May 20 at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Curated by Paola Antonelli with help from curatorial assistant Anna Burckhardt, Oxman’s work on display explores the intersection of the

A white building with large lit letters reading ARTLAB.
Barkow Leibinger and Sasaki create a radiant, net-zero ArtLab for Harvard

The Berlin-based Barkow Leibinger, with the help of the Boston-based architect of record Sasaki, has created the adaptable, translucent ArtLab for Harvard. As the university expands across the river into Boston’s Allston neighborhood, they’ve been developing an ArtYard—a contemporary, arts-focused answer to the walled Harvard Yard in Cambridge. Barkow Leibinger’s brief was to create an adaptable,

The slightly-faceted facade of a building with a blue-ish scratch patterned solar panel.
Kiki and Joost design patterned panels to help make solar facades as commonplace as bricks or wood

As sustainability continues to enter the fore in design decisions, there has been an increased push to make photovoltaic technology more aesthetically adaptable, moving away from just the standard array of blue solar panels installed on rooftops. Tesla’s troubled Solarglass Roof has promised to look just like standard shingles and UNSense, the tech spinoff of UNStudio, has been hard at work on

A bird's eye view of a futuristic city
Expo 2020 Dubai pavilions will showcase global innovations in sustainability and design

Long before the telephone, the airplane, and the internet, the original World’s Fair was created in 1851 as a method of presenting the achievements of all the world’s nations in a single setting. Countless modern accomplishments—among them, the telephone, the Ferris wheel, the dishwasher, and even the Eiffel Tower—have all debuted at various World’s Fairs

A segment of a gray tower with lattice designs at center on top of a wider gray building.
Sidewalk Labs unveils digital model for the world’s tallest timber tower

Sidewalk Labs, the architecture and urbanism spinoff of Google parent company Alphabet, has detailed a new model for designing tall timber towers on their Medium page. The “digital proof-of-concept,” designed in Revit and hosted in BIM 360, is called PMX (proto-model X), and is intended to show how a modular 35-story tower could be designed

A top-down photo of a snowy landscape with four two-story structures in different colors.
Alaska’s Cold Climate Housing Research Center is rethinking how the Circumpolar North builds

The Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC) describes itself as “an industry-based, nonprofit corporation created to facilitate the development, use, and testing of energy-efficient, durable, healthy, and cost-effective building technologies for people living in circumpolar regions around the globe.” Aaron Cooke, the architect who leads the Sustainable Northern Communities Program at the CCHRC in Fairbanks, Alaska, is

A render of a city with sloping roofs glowing at night in front of a snow-capped mountain.
BIG’s first project in Japan is a high-tech mobility incubator for Toyota

Yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Toyota and BIG unveiled a new concept for a high-tech “Woven City” to be built at the car maker’s 175-acre former factory site at the foothills of Mount Fuji, in Japan. “In Higashi-Fuji, Japan, we have decided to build a prototype town of the future where

A rendering of a curving white and green tower in an intersection.
Studio Symbiosis proposes green, air-purifying towers for polluted Delhi

Home to 19 million people, Delhi has some of the most polluted air on the planet. With some toxic elements present in excess of 25 times the World Health Organization’s guidelines and with a growing population, new solutions are urgently needed. Studio Symbiosis has begun testing its own speculative project, Aura, as potential new “lungs

A concrete cube pavilion with puzzle piece–like panels that has bulbous forms made of white circles growing out of it.
Gerardo Broissin creates a lush microclimate inside a puzzle pavilion

Mexico City-based architect Gerardo Broissin has created a jigsaw puzzle-like concrete structure for the courtyard of the celebrated Museo Tamayo. Built for Design Week Mexico this fall, the pavilion, known as Egaligilo (Esperanto for equalizer), forms its own porous microclimate full of ferns and shrubs.  In order for the pavilion to successfully keep the plants healthy,

A gray house-like building with many transparent domes embedded in a public square.
Obra Architects creates self-contained, yearlong spring in Seoul

The New York and Seoul–based Obra Architects, along with Front Inc., Obra Abrim, Dongsimwon Landscape, and Supermass Studio, have created an oasis of “perpetual spring” in a public courtyard in Seoul. Supported by Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art as part of their exhibition The Square: Art and Society, the experimental pavilion features

Aerial rendering of a floor clad in "Granito," recycled terrazzo
French researcher “quarries” on site for a new type of recycling and restoration

“The mass-production of rubble constitutes one of modern architecture’s main legacies,” said the French designer and researcher Anna Saint Pierre. So much of what gets built gets demolished, or decays and needs to be restored or renovated. She explained that “The building sector accounts for 50 percent of natural resource consumption and almost 40 percent

A white smokey cityscape. Skanska is proposing a tool to cut down on embodied carbon emissions.
Skanska rolls out a new tool to evaluate embodied carbon

Construction remains one of the most carbon-intensive industries, with materials often contributing significantly to the final project’s total pollution (concrete production, for example, is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions). A report from the Carbon Leadership Forum, a network of academics and industry professionals hosted at the University of Washington to focus on reducing

A wide angle shot of a concrete roof structure foregrounded with trees and with the city in the background.
SOM shows off the sustainable potentials of robotic fabrication

For the Chicago Architecture Biennial opening on September 19, SOM debuted a concrete pavilion called Stereoform Slab to showcase the latest in material and manufacturing technology. As much as 60 percent of a building’s carbon footprint can result from the creation of concrete slabs, according to SOM. By developing new fabrication methods and integrating robotic

A white hull-like structure mounted in a blue display area on a parking lot painted with pink shapes.
Architects rethink material and form with a new floating lab

For many, the future floats. Seasteaders, BIG’s floating city, the “Danish silicon valley” (at sea, naturally): in a time of rising tides, many are suggesting working with, or on, the ocean rather than against it. Add the Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab to the list. The 13-foot-by-8-foot object was designed by architects and designers Adam Marcus,

Diagram that at top shows an island and at bottom shows a rendering of ramps with sand
MIT and Maldivian researchers mimic nature to save sinking land

Human-driven climate change is threatening the coastal areas that nearly half of the world calls home with rising sea levels and increasingly severe storms. While dams, barriers, dredging, and artificial reefs are sometimes used to address these “forces of nature,” these strategies come with their own drawbacks and, in some cases, significant environmental and ecological

Photo of geometric orange building
UNStudio spins off new tech-focused startup

UNStudio has spun off its own startup, UNSense, to focus on architectural technology and large-scale design problems. “UNSense is completely dedicated to sensory and speculative design,” UNStudio cofounder Caroline Bos told the British publication CLAD, “It’s quite exploratory.” UNSense, according to the company’s website, “combines design thinking and data technology” to create solutions at the scales of buildings, neighborhoods, and

Rendering of a table with succulents in the foreground of a sleek white interior with purple and blue lighting
The solar-powered FutureHAUS is coming to Times Square

New housing is coming to Times Square, at least temporarily. The Virginia Tech team of students and faculty behind the FutureHAUS, which won the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018, a competition supported by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and U.S. Department of Energy, will bring a new iteration of its solar-powered home to New

Photo of three people standing on a roof by solar panels
EPFL puts new high-efficiency rooftop solar panels to the test

While solar panels have become increasingly common, the ones usually found on rooftops and the like can convert at most between 17 and 19 percent of received solar energy to usable electricity. This average yield has plateaued, increasingly only about 3.5 percent since the 2000s. More efficient panels are available, like those used on satellites,

Photo of a display of a cocoon-like pavilion with various brownish-yellowish skins mounted on the wall
MIT lab creates sculptural pavilion made with dissolvable panels

Less than 10 percent of the billions of tons of plastic ever produced has been recycled, with much of it winding up in the Earth’s oceans where the plastic disrupts ecosystems and releases toxic chemicals. In response, researchers led by Neri Oxman of MIT’s Mediated Matter Group, which focuses on “nature-inspired design and design-inspired nature,”

Photo of a small 3D-printed home with a large overhanging wooden roof
Austin company 3D prints house on site to help alleviate homelessness

“What if you could download and print a house for half the cost?” reads the lede for the Vulcan II, a 3D printer with a name suited for sci-fi space exploration, on the website of Austin-based company ICON. Now the company has put this claim to the test, building what it says is the first

New Swiss residential building shows off the latest in efficient tech

A seemingly simple, six-story apartment complex is going up in Zurich, Switzerland, and is putting to the test a number of new technologies that showcase a more sustainable approach to new construction. The project, Hohlstrasse 100, is designed by Dietrich Schwarz Architekten and is rising next to an existing, two-story commercial space that’s also being renovated

A view of a geometric array of EFTE panels at night, lit from behind with projections.
PARTISANS’ Building Raincoat could help Toronto keep a street culture year-round

Toronto is known for many great things. Its weather isn’t one of them. For the city’s architecture the question is: how can public, urban space be usable and comfortable throughout the year? The architecture collective PARTISANS thinks it might have an answer. Referencing the “maze of awnings…and glass arcades” that defined Toronto streets in the

Ancient technology gets an update in sustainable cooling solution

“The way we cool our buildings right now is totally wrong,” said Indian architect Monish Siripurapu in a video produced the United Nations’ Environment program. The words are bleak, but arguably true; the electricity and hydrofluorocarbons  most modern cooling systems demand ironically warm the planet overall while they cool our conditioned spaces. On top of that, with global temperatures

London-based researcher brings architecture to life—with billions of bacteria

Bacteria often evoke a destructive image, with connotations of decay and illness. But like all living communities, as much as they consume, they also create (or, perhaps more accurately, excrete). And it’s this creative power that London-based architectural researcher Bastian Beyer is harnessing in his “Column Project.” With designer Daniel Suarez, Beyer has created solid, structural forms from