Architectural Design

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1554-2769
Publications
Article
A central concern of architecture as a material practice is the way in which built and natural environments interact to provide exciting and sustainable modes of habitation. Key to this is the way in which material performance is understood and instrumentalised. In the first part of this article, Michael Hensel and Defne Sunguroglu research the characteristics of wood in order to explore how a material's variable behaviour and its response to extrinsic stimuli might substantially contribute to performance-oriented design. This leads them to argue for a wider, more inclusive definition for ‘smart materials’ that puts less emphasis on the new and fully recognises the potential of variable behaviour. In the second part, Achim Menges discusses a research project that demonstrates the full impact of this approach to material performance and the integral relationship between formation and materialisation processes. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
The digital has revolutionised the notion of space that was formulated on the two-dimensional page in the Renaissance with the discovery of perspective and the printing press. Derrick de Kerckhove and Antonio Tursi explore how our ideas about space have been overturned since the onset of the computer and the many different ways that architects are reinterpreting them. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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For the most part, technological innovation in architecture has been narrowly focused around the intersection of computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacture (CAM). Here, Mike Silver urges architects to take up the gauntlet and develop software tools that can change the way buildings are made. He describes his own investigations into projects that employ a cellular automaton (CA) program for conveying design data directly on site. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Peter Murray pays tribute to Monica Pidgeon (1913-2009). Editor of Architectural Design for almost three decades, Monica was responsible for establishing Architectural Design as the premier international architectural magazine. Murray highlights her immense contribution to architecture over the years, as well as evoking the experience of working for Monica as one of her ‘boys’, or technical editors. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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China's Open Door Policy and economic development set in motion in 1978 can be regarded as the triumph of pragmatism over theory - specifically Chairman Mao's brand of Marxist theory. Tao Zhu traces the progress of reform over the last 30 years, and its impact on Chinese architectural culture. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Over the past two decades, private house ownership has expanded exponentially throughout Europe. Over the past decade, this has intensified with the desire and ability among wealthier northern Europeans to own second homes in sunnier climes. It has not only driven up house prices in pockets of Europe, but has also impacted on the social and cultural lives of local communities in ‘desirable locations’, having an adverse effect on the quality of the built environment. Lino Bianco describes the situation in Malta and how, after decades of largely uncontrolled development by real-estate investors, the government is taking stock and encouraging through investment in architectural education, and property legislation, the growth of an indigenous architecture that is contextual, sensitive and energy-conscious. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Conducting your love life or expressing your innermost feelings through an architectural medium, one that seemingly replaces the traditional village green where people met up and shared experiences, is a pretty far-reaching social proposition. But D-Tower, a collaboration between architect Lars Spuybroek of NOX in Rotterdam, and QS Serafijn, a Rotterdam-based artist, aims to do just that, writes Lucy Bullivant, in a way that transcends any notion of a pure prosthetic device with an architectural system of communication. Lars Spuybroek of NOX has also recently made public artwork for Industrieschap Ekkersrijt, in collaboration with composer Edwin van der Heide. Here, Lucy Bullivant describes a project that builds a ‘memoryscape’ of sounds in and near the space visitors participate in making. Copyright
 
Article
The activities of international news agency Bloomberg harvest financial data and news from innumerable global sources, and process it into a form that is understandable. Since late 2002, the firm's high-rise headquarters in Marunouchi, behind Tokyo Station, have been graced by an installation in a dedicated space on the ground floor visible from the street. The installation permits staff and visitors to process and play with data in a very tangible and experiential way. ICE – the interactive communicative experience – is a ‘smart’ info- lounge planted within this busy urban space, designed by architects Klein Dytham with leading Japanese interactive designer Toshio Iwai. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is a unique programme that commissions architecture for art's sake. It provides innovative architects, who have not previously built in the UK, with the opportunity to design a cutting-edge structure for a summer show. Jeremy Melvin describes how Portuguese masters Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, in collaboration with Cecil Balmond of Arup, have produced ‘an urban design’ that is perfectly calibrated to respond to its Hyde Park setting. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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As the focus in the UK turns to the London Olympics in 2012, the Eco-Maestro Ken Yeang brings our attention to an event on the other side of the Atlantic - the US Solar Decathlon - that offers teams of young designers the opportunity to flex their ecological muscles. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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This summer, Expo 2008 at Zaragoza, in Aragon in Spain, splashed on to the planet with the theme of ‘Water and Sustainable Development’. Though the subject of the exposition was driven by the recent controversies surrounding Spain and Aragon's management of water, Mark Garcia outlines how the Expo investigated these issues in a way that was relevant to the rest of the world, delivering in just three months an impressive contribution to national and international debates about the problems and future of water. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Michael Weinstock describes the constraints and creativity behind the Wave Canopy, the EmTech Masters programme construction project for 2009, which was located on the upper terrace of the Architectural Association's premises in Bedford Square. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Visiting Vancouver in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympics, David Littlefield discovered that the city was pressing two architectural agendas particularly hard: legacy and timber – the Canadian Northwest's principal natural resource. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Encouraged by Will Alsop's Supercities project, Ian Abley produced this map as an open invitation to start imagining the development of the Thames Gateway - a doubling of London to the east. Your proposals and visions for a rethought London can be sent through to the guest-editor of this issue of 4 at www.audacity.org.
 
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The project here, begun in 2009 by the Invisible University,1 a collaboration between the EXP/University of Westminster and the Architectural Association, speculates on the ‘dis-urban’: new effects on the post-print, post-digital landscape at a local and global level. Samantha Hardingham and David Greene provide the narrative. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Here, Marie O'Mahony focuses on one of the most exciting areas of innovation for textiles - the hybridisation of materials and engineering techniques. It is, as she explains, the very blurring of what a textile constitutes that opens up so many possibilities for material science and application in architecture. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Jane Briginshaw visits a housing scheme in northern Jutland, where the use of timber has tackled concrete's stranglehold over the Danish building industry. A mixed-used scheme, providing social housing and provision for a local cooperative of the marina's sailing-club members, it caters in its internal planning to occupants' needs. Despite being architecturally accomplished, is its cool anonymity devoid of the ‘wow’ factor that Brits are starting to expect from newbuild? Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Under the scientific eye of satellite surveillance, the world's urban conglomerations often appear heterogeneous. On the ground, differences and special features of a city remain of utmost importance to the quality of life of its citizens. Hans Kiib and Gitte Marling assess how the welfare system in Denmark, which is so dear to many Danes, is holding up. If the physical, Modernist urban model of the welfare city is to endure, can it withstand the irresistible, less tangible pull of consumption and aspirational individualised lifestyles that are penetrating the globe worldwide? Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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The once industrial area immediately surrounding Milan is undergoing a transformation. Valentina Croci describes a sizable development at Nuovo Portello currently being undertaken by the Milanese architect Cino Zucchi, on a site close to the old trade fair. She explains how Zucchi is, in this particularly fragmented urban context, seeking a solution that is ‘do-it-yourself city planning on a miniature scale’, while also drawing on his considerable practical and academic knowledge of Milanese housing design. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Could building information modelling (BIM) shake up not only design and delivery processes, but also be set to redefine the construction hierarchy? Could it shift the architect's position from near the bottom of the current food chain to one nearer the top? Urs Gauchat, Professor and Dean of the School of Architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, outlines the architect's place in a complex future where there is an increasing demand for buildings but a demise in available materials and conventional energy sources. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Howard Watson profiles a London-based studio whose practice results from the interplay of a wide range of influences spanning contemporary culture, history, nature, landscape and the ephemeral. Working at a variety of scales from the domestic to the urban, partners Peter Thomas and Catherine du Toit demonstrate a natural bent for the arts-related in undertaking collaborations with artists and exhibition installations. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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The HEPA air filter is only capable of processing 99.7 per cent of airborne particles, leaving 0.3 per cent unaccounted for. Mason White describes the work of Canadian installation artist An Te Liu who made air-filtration appliances his main subject. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Architectural education is passing another milestone. Whilst the reverberation of the 20th-century avant-garde can still be registered, a barrage of questions and choices is facing the next generation of graduates and their educators. Mark Prizeman argues a case to nourish designing by making as a passionate, cultural, intellectual and human activity. Through making, he concludes, three stages of building a confident architecture are found. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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At the Architectural Association in London, Joel Newman, Theodore Spyropoulos and Vasilis Stroumpakos are spearheading the New Media Research Initiative. Here they call for architecture to abandon its hold on the formal qualities of the physical in favour of a mode of experience that provides an interface that fully reflects the way we inhabit space today. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Brett Steele, former director of the Architectural Association's Design Research Laboratory (AADRL) and now director of the Architectural Association, reflects upon the DRL as a laboratory for the production of a different kind of student and teacher, and ultimately as a new model for architectural education. His ‘screenshots’ offer an informal image/text-based window through which to browse the general atmosphere of that research endeavour. The DRL was also very active in employing outside specialists from a variety of disciplines including computer programming and robotics. These interests were situated within the DRL's much larger ambition of rethinking the very definition of research itself, not isolated in the purely reflective interests of history and criticism but based on the projective desires of innovation. Moreover, the organisation of these new laboratories of design life begin to resemble their objects of study. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Michael Spens has an intimate working knowledge of the buildings of Alvar Aalto having supported a restoration programme for Aalto's Viipuri Library in Russia between 1993 and 1997, which involved professionals from Russia and Finland. Here he offers his thoughts on the recent Aalto exhibition at the Barbican. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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In the last few years, the introduction of new digital software has enabled the exuberant articulation of ornate surfaces and volumes. Marjan Colletti looks beyond technical innovation and observes a two-fold conceptual tendency that he labels the ‘ornaMental’ and the ‘pOrnamentation’, differentiating between the first's inclination to create form through abstraction and the latter's potential for the figural through sensation. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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The redefinition of European cities has created new opportunities for the greening of public urban spaces. Lucy Bullivant describes how three young practices in particular – West 8, Gross.Max and Mosbach Paysagistes – are leading the way with their highly dynamic and inventive narrative approaches to history, culture and the emergent city. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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A multidisciplinary team based at the Institute of Neuroinformatics, ETH, Zurich, was responsible for Ada: the intelligent room, an interactive space conceived of as a human being that responded to visitors at Exp02, the Swiss national exhibition at Neuchatel, where it was launched, writes Lucy Bullivant. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Fuelled by their passion for design, manufacturing and industrial production, Nick Callicott and partner Kris Ehlert have boldly stepped away from the London architecture scene and set up shop in new factory premises in Wienerode, Germany. Here Nick, author of Computer Aided Manufacture in Architecture, takes time to position their practice amongst the considerable expertise and knowledge of advanced fabrication techniques with illustrations of recent prototypes made for a future dwelling. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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A modest housing block for a run-down estate in Essex presented London-based Sergison Bates Architects with the opportunity to explore the cohesive effects of an assisted self-build scheme for a group of young tenants. Bruce Stewart describes the practice's strategic thinking behind the project and how the design intentions were, to some extent, frustrated by external forces. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Simulations are essential for designing complex material systems, and for analysing their behaviour over extended periods of time. As Michael Weinstock and Nikolaos Stathopoulos explain, working with simulations requires the development of a mathematical model of physical processes, and generative computational design can now inexpensively incorporate the advanced physics of nonlinear behaviour to explore the dynamic changes that structures and materials undergo in response to changing conditions. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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A textile approach to architecture offers unique opportunities to explore a structure's surface and texture. Through a discussion of the history of the technique of camouflage and her own projects with Design Research and Development (DR_D), Dagmar Richter demonstrates the potential for surface enrichment to exceed mere ornament or patterning. A ‘performative texture’, camouflage interacts with its context mimicking the natural and effectively disguising whatever it covers. With a now long military association, camouflage also provides anything but a neutral background for its cover. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Malte Wagenfeld tackles the difficult problem of visualising air, and in his physical experiments reveals a world of eddies, swirls and wafting particles circulating around moving bodies. Here he offers a literal and conceptual glimpse at the invisible nature of atmosphere. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Over the last century, elegance as a term has been conspicuously absent from discussions centred on both architecture and the philosophy of aesthetics. Elegance's time has, however, now come. David Goldblatt describes how the maturation of digital discourse has led to the onset of a new, multifaceted, sensual rationality that is evident in recent designs and constructed works. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Architecture's ability to realise large-scale effects permits its emphasis to shift aesthetics on a project-by-project basis. Elegance unleashes a specific visual intelligence that can be achieved by refinement and precision of surface. Here, Mark Foster Gage investigates how elegance can be designed into a project. This requires a ‘visual and formal expertise’ combined with a careful curation of mutation and awareness of ‘extreme differentiation’. Elegance often only reveals itself partially, acquired, in the design stage, through ‘isolated views and expertly calibrated moments’ and perceived fleetingly in built work. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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The notion of elegance tends to focus on the finished object - the complete and seamless work - rather than the expression of process per se. Here, Kivi Sotamaa shows how he set out with his Frozen Void ‘to achieve an elegant affect in the evolved object’. In so doing, he reveals how this type of intensification is, in fact, fundamental to the emergence of the new elegance, where intensity renders a greater potential for features within the surface to emerge to different parameters. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Contemporary design practice is being rescripted by digital technology. After advances in software engendered visualisation of new building form, followed by a mixture of scepticism and enthusiasm from the public, designers and builders, architects forged ahead to materialise speculative design. Julieanna Preston highlights an intellectual and industrial investment into the exchange between data (the means of communication as well as in-forming content) and the affect of its instrumentality. A 2006 exhibition, ‘Digital Exchange’, charts digital fabrication technology's capacity to marry method and concept. While capable of creating an infinite variety of surface effects, such technology is questioned for its resonant potential to influence an affective atmosphere. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Hélène Frichot's conversation with Olafur Eliasson reveals the depths to which his work mobilises atmosphere as an agent of human experience and social action, prompting a subjective transformation. Light and colour play significant parts in culling affective atmospheres open to multiple perceptions focused on the ephemeral. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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For a country that endured decades of racial segregation, cultural freedom has a particular poignancy. Iain Low of the University of Cape Town takes his cultural barometer to the new South Africa to measure up the challenges of broadening ‘the new mix’ within a housing landscape that only 10 years ago was dictated by the politics of separation. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Built in 1980, the Linnahall Concert Hall in Tallinn, Estonia, is a fairly recent but nonetheless controversial Soviet monument. Having been highly praised on its completion for its bold architectural solution, within a decade its close associations with the previous regime meant that it had fallen into disrepute. Developers, who realised the economic potential of the site, were quick to seize on its controversial history and called for its destruction. Andres Kurg looks at the changing role of the Linnahall in Tallinn over time and asks what the future might now hold for it. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Long associated with uncanny atmosphere, ghosts suggest a lingering presence of something past. Rachel Carley's examination of Rachel Whiteread's Ghost belies the role that the plaster-casting process makes towards visualising the invisible. In turn, the vestigial traces of a room's surface are refigured as a solid volume capable of depleting light and heat from the space of the museum. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Integrating qualities and aspects particular to their previously independent practices, the work of Ed Keller and Carla Leitao of collaborative design and research practice a|Um Studio spans scales and sites of application. The practice embodies a collective intelligence in a number of ways. At the scale of design practice the collaboration bridges the design cultures of Europe and the US. At the scale of urban practice, its large-scale planning proposals investigate forms of collective use and activity within the city. In addition, its interactive installations and gaming interfaces explore the potential of film and responsive technology to enable informational exchange and production. Copyright © 2006 Ed Keller & Carla Leitao. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
 
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In their bound form, aggregates are by far the most ubiquitous materials in architectural construction. However, there are few precedents for using loose aggregates in any significant way, despite their ability to swiftly interact with a given environment. Michael Hensel and Achim Menges argue for a better understanding of the behaviour of such materials in order that they can be used in their loose form. Aggregates are formed not through the connection of elements with joints or a binding matrix, but through the loose accumulation of separate elements. This approach therefore requires a radical departure from architectural design based on assemblies and assembly processes. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Rarely has a single building represented and fostered so completely the notion of public realm by serving its public first before drawing attention to itself. James Madge finds the Agora at Dronten, in the Netherlands, one such triumph. Through analysing Martin Pawley's review of the building in AD in 1969, Madge wonders if it could only have been built in the Netherlands and whether we in the UK will ever learn. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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Brian McGrath and Danai Thaitakoo survey the ecosystem of Bangkok, ‘an amphibious city’ situated on a silted tidal delta. Influenced by Western planning ideas, the major roadways and infrastructure projects constructed since the Second World War remain out of kilter with local conditions. It is as if a consumer society, networked to global media and transport links, has been ‘superimposed on a wet rice-cultivating landscape’.
 
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Could urban agriculture be the next design revolution? Gil Doron explains how horticulture, a subject that has until now remained remote from the concerns of contemporary architects, is ripe with potential, bringing with it many ecological, economic and social benefits for the city dweller. He also points out that at all levels, whether at the scale of window boxes, balconies or roof gardens, or on the scale of full-blown farms, vegetation and agriculture exist in most cities in the world right underneath our noses.
 
Top-cited authors
Achim Menges
  • Universität Stuttgart
Patrik Schumacher
  • Architectural Association School of Architecture
Michael Ulrich Hensel
Jan Knippers
  • Universität Stuttgart
Neil Leach
  • Harvard University