Wood is one of architecture’s more magnanimous materials which allows architects to develop structures which are complex and yet retain the features of minimal designs and is a versatile enough material that it can be used to demonstrate traditional craftsmanship while presenting a modern, corporate image and a whole host of sustainable benefits which will be covered below.
Location: Santiago, Chile, Architect: Alberto Mozo
Constructed in 2007 by Chilean architect Alberto Mozo, this three-story structure is made from laminated timber and can be dismantled and reconstructed again on another site or location. This is one of the designs key sustainable qualities as it avoids the need for demolition and gives more consideration to future town planning. Wooden beams are used for the exterior, interior and the ceiling with large glass walls allowing a good amount of natural light to penetrate into the building. One particular highlight is that the building has a rotated column spiral staircase which appears to be moving visually.
Location: Lohne-Kroge, Germany Architects: Despang Architekten
Designed as a new corporate centre for German company Krogmann, the new office needed to illustrate the company’s position as leaders in the construction industry as well as providing a catalyst for future growth. To achieve this it was necessary to find a balance between the inherent characteristics of wood with the modern approach to German craftsmanship. The structure benefits from passive solar gain as it is constructed on a south-eastern plot and the trapezoidal shape rises up to its apex on the south side allowing for unhindered daylight and expansive panoramic views which reduce the need for internal lighting.
Location: Cahuita, Costa Rica Architects: Gianni Botsford
This intimate double pavilion was designed by Gianni Botsford and awarded the RIBA international Award and the Lubetkin Prize in 2008 as well as being named the most outstanding building outside the EU by a RIBA member. Located in Costa Rica the building consists of a main studio space, library, writing desk and grand piano. Ten meter roof beams are used to provide a column less interior while the main façade is covered in louvered glass windows with views of the sea shore. The architect successfully brings together indigenous techniques and materials with modern design technologies. Locally sources materials are used throughout the build to enable the building to blend both visually and environmentally with its surroundings.
Location: Madrid, Spain Architects: Foreign Office Architects
Situated in the Carabanchel district on the outskirts of Madrid, this social housing project is state subsidised, five storeys high and covered in bamboo; an incredibly eco-friendly, versatile, and durable material making this building incredibly sustainable. This highly innovative design merges environmental consciousness with the needs of an urban population and achieves the architect’s goal of establishing a low cost residence with the maximum amount of space and quality. Residents can also add an element of personalisation to the building by adjusting the bamboo louvres.
Location: Manhattan Beach, California, USA Architects: XTEN Architecture
The structure has a rather abstract quality which overtime will start to blend more with its natural environment and start to shed its manmade feel as the ocean winds, sand and sun will cause the building to take on a more worn appearance. XTEN, the architects who designed the building wanted to maximise space, light, and views while at the same time creating a sense of privacy. The interior is light and airy with bamboo flooring glass walls which allow the owners to bring the outside inside.
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