Category: Inspiration

The Story of a Super-Material: Concrete Then and Now

    The cornerstone of the global construction industry is, for better and worse, concrete. Builders ancient and modern have been drawn to the material’s durability, versatility, and efficiency, but its benefits come at an environmental cost. Researchers today are finding new ways to improve concrete’s performance and mitigate its expense.   Mukhtar Ibrahim, Head…

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A 100-Year-Old Glass Curtain Wall Ahead of Its Time

  Featuring the first glass curtain wall in the United States, the Hallidie Building in San Francisco still feels surprisingly modern 100 years after its completion.   When the Hallidie Building was completed in 1918, it presented a striking contrast to the heavy masonry structures that lined the streets of San Francisco and most other…

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‘Subtle and Bold’: A Tribute to Jørn Utzon at 100

Never one to imitate or repeat himself, Utzon’s designs are all rooted in the traditions of the places he worked. He drew inspiration from everything he saw and experienced, from the Mayan pyramids in Mexico to the design of a tea house in Japan.   Today, when we see the Sydney Opera House, it is…

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The Original Green City Planner: Alphand In Paris

  The engineer Adolphe Alphand led the multi-disciplinary planning office responsible for transforming and greening Paris in the 19th century.   While G.E. Haussmann is remembered mostly for piercing the historic urban fabric of Paris with wide boulevards, perhaps his best move was hiring the engineer J.C. Adolphe Alphand (1817–1891) in 1854 to direct the…

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The Elevator That Could Revolutionize Architecture, Again

  In 1854, the invention of the elevator heralded the invention of the skyscraper. Today, a new, dramatically redesigned “two-dimensional” elevator system may once again transform our skylines.   Structural steel framing made it possible for our buildings to reach great heights, but before the elevator no one wanted to reach any higher than five…

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The Smartest Building In The World?

  Referred to as “the first building in the world that interacts with people,” The Agnelli Foundation can create personalized atmospheric “bubbles” that follow inhabitants through the building.   The term “smart city” is a vaguely defined concept used to describe the integration of digital technologies into urban infrastructure to make the built environment safer,…

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Sustainable Materials — Building With Earth And Stone

  Solar panels and green roofs may be the most overt signs of a “green” building, but sustainable architecture begins with selecting sustainable materials. By Hugh Kidman, Chief Design Architect – October 2017   As Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region increasingly embrace sustainable architecture and design,…

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Stitching Past and Present: The Neues Museum, Berlin

  The reconstruction of the Neues Museum by David Chipperfield Architects artfully weaves contemporary forms into a tattered historic fabric, creating a sense of architectural continuity that reflects the passing of time and the events that shaped history.   Originally opened in 1855, the Neues Museum in Berlin was built to display archaeological artifacts gathered…

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How the Parc de la Villette Launched a New Era of Urban Park Design

  The Parc de la Villette in Paris, France, dramatically expanded ideas of what an urban park could be. The 1982 competition to design the park, won by the Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi, attracted more than 450 proposals from around the world seeking to envision “a park for the twenty-first century.”   Built on the…

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How the Milan Galleria influenced the architecture of shopping

  Opened in 1867, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II dramatically integrated modern shopping culture with urban public space. Consisting of an interior shopping street covered by a glass-and-iron roof, Milan’s magnificent shopping arcade connected two important public spaces, the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza della Scala. It was the epitome of a new building…

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How the Hajj Terminal welcomes pilgrims to Saudi Arabia

  The cable-stayed, fabric-roofed structure of the Hajj Terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia covers 40.5 hectares, making it one of the largest airport terminals in the world and a case study in climate-specific design.   The open-air structure, completed in 1981 to designs by architect Gordon Bunshaft and engineer Fazlur…

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EERO SAARINEN AND THE EXPRESSION OF STRUCTURE

  Transcending simple notions of style, Eero Saarinen was one of the most eclectic architects of his day.   Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen (1910 – 1961) brought form and function together in striking original ways. The son of architect Eliel Saarinen, the younger Saarinen made a name for himself in 1945 when he co-designed the…

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