Japanese architects and designers integrate materials and light.
Japanese approaches to light have long fascinated Western audiences. Novelist Junichiro Tanizaki’s 1933 book In Praise of Shadows articulated the unique qualities of Japanese light found within the shadowy recesses of traditional Japanese dwellings. Tanizaki claimed that the Japanese approach to illumination prioritized subtlety, smoothness, and depth—in contrast with the West’s stark treatment of light. In today’s variegated design culture, contemporary Japanese designers explore light in myriad ways, but this subtle and meaningful treatment of light remains a principal characteristic of Japanese design and architecture. The following themes of atmosphere, integration, dematerialization, and emanation describe common approaches used by Japanese designers who are particularly adept at harnessing the complex interplay between light and material.
The tornadoes that devastated the southern U.S. raise questions about climate change—and also about fracture-critical design.
The massive tornadoes that hit the southern U.S. this spring left more than ruined neighborhoods in their wake. Questions about climate change have resurfaced, as has speculation about how to prepare for future disasters. The frequency and severity of natural disasters is sound cause for concern. “By now, most people get that you can’t attribute any single weather event on global warming,” Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon told The Dallas Morning News. “But some thing are clear: Temperatures have been going up, and models all agree that the temperature rise will continue unless we get some massive volcanic eruptions or the sun suddenly becomes much dimmer.” [...]
Today’s advanced technologies will drive the future of fabric structures.
Fabric is one of the oldest materials humans have used for shelter; it remains an important material with diverse applications in design and construction today, and it will play an even more important role in the constructed environment in the future.
Predictions of energy scarcity and resource depletion, exacerbated by the burgeoning middle class in developing countries like China and India, point to ensuing decades of high commodity prices and fuel shortages. In these circumstances, existing resources and structures will be valued more highly, and traditional, energy-intensive practices like “raze and rebuild”—in which buildings are demolished to make way for others—will be less attractive. Instead, architects and builders will have to be more resourceful in their treatment of existing contexts and materials. [...]