Author: Daniel Mathews

isbjerget night

Icebergs Become Iconic Architecture In Denmark

File under “Understatements:” a visually striking housing complex opened this spring in Aarhus, Denmark’s largest mainland city. It’s called Isbjerget, or Iceberg, for obvious reasons, but the architects insist that they did not have a berg flotilla in mind when… Read More
wall with braces

Move Over, Styrofoam; The Fungi Are Here

In the entire tiny-house movement, one tiny house stands out: it sounds the kookiest, but is the most likely to transform your world some day. Called the Mushroom Tiny House, it’s now growing in the upstate New York plant of… Read More

Perfecting Wood By Curing It

Wooden rods, lattices, and louvers turn up increasingly as architects look for modernist ways to screen south windows from excessive solar heat gain. If I were an architect, I might have a sinking feeling about whether or not the contractor… Read More

Carbon-Crammed Concrete: How It Works, What It Does

Around the world, engineers are busy working out ways to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete, which accounts for somewhere between 3 and 7 percent of global carbon emissions. (We’ve written recently about self-healing concrete, bendable concrete, and concrete incorporating… Read More
Deckhouse EXs

Building Affordably In A Small Dutch Town

Sophisticated prefab homes have thrived in Europe over recent decades, more than in the U.S. In one strikingly expansive example, a Dutch university town has set up a kit-home supermarket for first-time home buyers, who get to choose among diverse… Read More

Wood-based Sheathing That Breathes And Insulates

A German wood-based insulation product has entered the US market and found its way into new superinsulated homes. Agepan THD (AH-ga-pahn) doesn’t look at all revolutionary or high-tech, but it hits a sweet spot that makes it very useful. It’s… Read More

Alaskan Home Ultimate In Energy Conservation

They say a superinsulated Passive House can be heated with little more than a hair dryer. Could that be true even in the Arctic? Tom Marsik and Kristin Donaldson proved that it can. They built themselves a house in Dillingham,… Read More
dust north

A Desert House Stays Cool With Rammed Earth

You approach the Tucson mountain retreat by a 500-foot path through saguaro cactus and palo verde. The squat, earth-colored structure looks a little bunker-like at first, but from closer up the walls turn out to be not concrete but rammed… Read More

Minimalist Apartments Behind The Veil

A new apartment house in Istanbul offers a novel and very Middle-Eastern answer to the problem of how to seasonally adjust solar heat gain through south windows: the entire six-story facade is a glass wall behind a giant screen of… Read More

An Imaginative Design For Research In Amazonia

If you stay up to date on green design and architecture, you read a lot of posts about futuristic designs where no poster (except maybe the original designer) seems to have a clue whether the “project” has an actual client… Read More
Minimal House

Baltimore Architects Stand On Principle

Fans of the HBO series The Wire know that inner-city Baltimore is a land of narrow three-story row houses, many of them boarded up, interpersed with vacant land where similar row houses once stood. Fittingly, narrow three-story row houses to… Read More
The Met

Aga Khan Award Picks Work To Enhance Natural Ventilation

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture—the world’s most generous, and arguably most prestigious architectural award—has announced finalists for its 12th 3-year cycle. The awards go to the parts of the world where Islam has a significant presence. That generally means… Read More