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What materials composes the architecture of the future?

Thinking about architecture mixing sustainability and innovation is something urgent for the future of our species. However, in Brazil, the culture and legislation make us always come across the same techniques at the construction site, which interferes with the materials we specify for the projects.

For sure, you were intrigued when you first heard about buildings made entirely of wood, weren't you? They are beautiful, sustainable, and resistant, but there are still many people who doubt them. Fortunately, new ways of doing things are being developed by the Japanese, new ways that promise to combine architecture, sustainability, and innovation in practice. All tested and approved!

At ARCHITECTS OFFICE, the architect Andrea Bagniewski, our project leader, immersed herself in the subject, completing her Masters in the theme of "Materiality in Architecture" at the University of Tokyo, Japan.

Over the past 17 years, Andrea has worked in offices such as Atelier Tekuto, Nikken Sekkei, and Kengo Kuma. She has seen materials created by large offices in partnership with universities. The tests would often go on for years because, in the land of earthquakes and tsunamis, you can't get it wrong.

Some of the most interesting materials she found in her research:

Concrete with volcanic ash residues

This material emerged from the request of a client, who was looking for the look of concrete in a sustainable version in an Atelier Tekuto project. In partnership with universities, the architect Yasuhiro Yamashita tested some ideas and found Shirasu as a substitute for sand, which has deodorizing and anti-humidity properties. The concrete composition is 100% recyclable and even better: becomes more resistant over time due to pozzolanic reaction.

Photo: Jérémie Souteyrat
Residence R Torso by Atelier Tekuto

Mass timber

Shigeru Ban evokes traditional Japanese carpentry, with its perfect fitting system, made to resist all weather and still impress with light and harmonic constructions. The parts come ready for the construction site, where they are assembled resulting in a clean job. Also called Glulam, engineered wood is an amazing material.

Photo: Hiroyuki Hirai
Shigeru BanNine Bridges Country Club. Gyeonggi-do,South Korea.

Wavy acrylic

Would you imagine that the photo on the side is of a factory? The Sejima and Nishizawa office believed, and thanks to them we can see this facade. The circular-shaped Vitra factory has the appearance of a light, a suspended curtain. Its enclosure is composed of various vacuum molded acrylic panels to get the ondulated pattern - and many tests proved its success.

Photo: Christian Richters © Vitra
Vitra Fabric. Sejima and Nishizawa.

There are many other materials to be created, each one with its performance and properties to be evaluated. They can inspire a construction or the design of an object. Andrea concluded that cooperating with other professionals makes the path easier to create and apply materials in innovative ways.

After all, inventing and testing them also requires the creation of its own legislation and sometimes discouraging bureaucracy. And I believe that this is the design of a more sustainable, innovative, and diverse future.

Greg Bousquet, Founding Partner do ARCHITECTS OFFICE


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