21 Projects Where Kengo Kuma (Re)Uses Materials in Unusual Ways

Kengo Kuma uses materials to connect with the local context and the users of his projects. The textures and elementary forms of constructive systems, materials, and products, are exhibited and used in favor of the architectural concept, giving value to the functions that will be carried out in each building.

From showcases made with ceramic tiles to the sifted light created by expanded metal panels, passing through an ethereal polyester coating, Kuma understands the material as an essential component that can make a difference in architecture from the design stages. Next, we present 21 projects where Kengo Kuma masterfully uses construction materials.

From Stone Walls to Skyscrapers: Understanding Structural Masonry

The Monadnock Building in Chicago began construction in 1891 and is still in use today. The building features a somber facade without ornamentation and a colossal height - at the time - of 16 floors. It is considered the first skyscraper built in structural masonry, with ceramic bricks and a granite base. To support the entire load of the building, the structural walls on the ground floor are 1.8 meters thick, and at the top, 46 centimeters. One hundred and thirty years later, this construction system remains common and allows for the erection of taller buildings with much thinner walls, accomplishing even new architectural works economically and rationally. But what is structural masonry about, and how can designers use it in architectural projects? And for what kinds of buildings is this system most suitable?

Rewilding in Architecture: Concepts, Applications, and Examples

In an age where humanity's detrimental impact on the environment has become increasingly evident, the concept of rewilding is emerging as a powerful approach to conservation and ecological restoration. In line with growing attention on landscape architecture in recent years, the idea of removing human intervention from our natural surroundings in order to restore a stable equilibrium seems to offer a low-effort, ethereal way to right fundamental climate wrongs. But is a lack of meddling in nature really all there is to rewilding, and how does this relate to architecture and design? We look at key concepts, applications, and examples to find out.

A Guide To Starting a Bamboo Building Project

As the world increasingly recognizes the importance of adopting sustainable construction practices, bamboo’s versatility, strength, and renewable qualities are generating significant momentum in the transition toward a circular material economy. From initial idea to completion, this article will provide you with valuable insights to begin your bamboo building project, from the perspective of Bamboo U.

Exposed Brick in Interiors: 5 Examples of Rustic Warmth

There is no material more diverse and timeless than brick - which can be seen as a staple in both ancient and modern architecture. In many cases, stripping away the drywall of a historical building can reveal beautiful brick walls, which bring a great deal of texture, warmth, and character into a living space. Whether left raw or painted, the look lends itself to a range of styles from rustic to industrial. 

Infographic: The Evolution of 3D Printing in Architecture, Since 1939

For many years, often spoken in tones of anticipation and excitement, we have heard that 3D printing will revolutionize the architecture industry as we know it. But if we stop for a moment, reflect on the present and look back at the past, it becomes evident that the technology has long been reshaping the field, continuously undergoing profound transformations and ushering in new eras of design, construction and spatial creativity. Operating as a layer-by-layer additive manufacturing process, 3D printing uses digital models to create customized three-dimensional objects with a remarkable level of precision and efficiency, saving time, generating zero waste, reducing labor costs and opening avenues for rapid prototyping and iterative design. It enables architects to explore creative opportunities and regain autonomy by designing complex, non-standardized elements within an industrial and mass-customized process.

24 Examples of Dithered, Halftone, and Other Illusion Patterns Used to Create Surface Gradients

Architects and designers are often looking for ways to make building facades and interior surfaces stand out from the crowd. But sometimes just the smallest change can have the biggest impact once you step back and see the whole picture. By employing an illusionary pattern such as dithering pixels or halftone dots, or by making subtle but intentional changes to the position or orientation of materials, flat surfaces can be transformed into curved, moving forms.

Seamless Transitions and Superior Insulation Through Frameless Glass Facades

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In the past, glazed surfaces tended to be small and almost opaque; but this began to change throughout the years due to the growing trend of increasingly larger glass panes in construction. Accompanied by thinner frames, they dilute the boundaries between the inside and the outside, and have become ubiquitous in modern buildings. In fact, it is increasingly rare to find a contemporary work of architecture that does not include the remarkable presence of glass: this material is present in the most diverse architectural scales, and its transparency provides harmonious integration with the surroundings and generous natural light for buildings. Traditional systems with frames are still predominant, but frameless glass facades are gaining ground in specific architectural projects, as they create perfect connections between the glass and the structure of the building, resulting in a singular aesthetic with soft and harmonious transitions. By eliminating heavy frames, a project's aesthetics can be enhanced while also improving the quality of life inside.

Natural or Artificially Pigmented Materials? Exploring Color Variations and their Effects

Materiality is a determining factor in shaping the character and experience of a building. Playing with the aesthetic and tactile qualities of materials, the design process encompasses their analysis, selection, and arrangement to create purposeful and sensory-rich spaces. Alongside textures and patterns, exploring materiality also involves the study of color possibilities. The versatile role of color in architectural materials extends beyond mere aesthetics, as it can broaden design opportunities and influence emotional responses, functionality, cultural relevance, and environmental performance. 

Natural Pigments in Architecture: Sources, Applications and Why to Use Them

In the face of a climate emergency, various fields are under pressure to reformulate their operations and actions, and architecture is no exception. After all, the built environment and the construction industry are responsible for a considerable percentage of carbon gas emissions into the atmosphere. Rethinking and restructuring the construction chain - from design to execution - is the order of the day for construction professionals.

Color in Hospitality Design: 20 Restaurant Interiors that Set the Right Tone

In the competitive world of restaurants – particularly at a time when influencers are gaining more and more control over the sphere of fine dining –, creating a memorable meal experience is crucial for attracting and retaining customers. While factors like food quality and service certainly play pivotal roles in making diners return to their eatery of choice, the impact that restaurant interiors can have on an establishment's longevity should not be overlooked. Among the various elements contributing to a memorable ambiance, color takes center stage. We delve into the significance of striking the right tone in restaurant design through 20 projects from our ArchDaily database.

Algorithm-based Architecture: Flexible Bricks to Wrap Architectural Spaces

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There are many building materials that have experienced minimal changes since their initial inception in the field of architecture. However, this does not imply that they are outdated, but rather that their qualities and simplicity make them highly versatile materials also demonstrate the resilience and durability of materials that withstand the test of time. An example of this is brick, a timeless material that has been able to adapt over the years, serving functions such as walls, cladding, and flooring, among others. Under this premise, Louis Khan referred to the expressive possibilities of brick, stating, "Even a brick wants to be something. It aspires."

Symbiocene Living: Exploring the Potential of Mycelium Blocks for Sustainable Architecture

The geological period we currently inhabit is known as the Anthropocene, defined by the substantial human impact on Earth's ecosystems and geology. In contrast, the Symbiocene, a term coined by Australian philosopher and environmentalist Glenn Albrecht, presents a vision of the future characterized by a positive and symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural world. In the Symbiocene era, humans actively collaborate with nature, acknowledging their interdependence with Earth's ecosystems and striving to regenerate and restore the natural environment, thus creating a more harmonious and sustainable world.