Most Common Cladding Materials – A History

Posted by on Dec 2, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Most Common Cladding Materials – A History

Retrofit programs are dominating the construction industry. As a result, cladding, which is basically the application of one material over another, has become one of the most popular alternatives for remodeling the exterior of existing buildings. Claddings can give a building a new life and new look, but beyond aesthetics, it can also help save on electricity when used to address insulation and thermal issues.

What is Cladding?

Cladding refers to components that are attached to the primary structure of a building to form external, non-structural surfaces. If you think about a protective cover on something, that is cladding.

The Cladding itself is a multi-layered material that is most commonly made of composite, wood, metal, vinyl or plastic materials. The multiple layers in cladding provide a protective and durable barrier against the often unpredictable weather conditions. Cladding is not only made for its durability but is also recyclable, requires minimal maintenance, fire resistant, resistant to bugs and resistant to rot.

New materials and technologies are changing how our homes look. Your choice of external cladding will definitely determine how your home sits visually in the landscape or street, and so is clearly one of the most important design decisions you will make. Explore extensively for cladding you like that fits the style of home you’re building with its setting but don’t forget durability is as essential as aesthetic appeal. Last but not least, make sure your cladding is fitted according to manufacturer’s guidelines.

A Brief History of Cladding

The use of cladding in construction is not new, but the materials have improved significantly, of course. The first examples of external cladding include the construction of the Anglo-Saxon houses, timber cladding of Germanic tribes and the great pyramids of Egypt.

From the prehistoric times until the nineteenth century, the cladding in use was a tough material such as stone or wood, or something that would easily react to corrosion like bronze, copper, and brass. Cladding was applied to the building in many ways, though one of the most common methods was placing an exterior layer of individual bricks, shingles or clay tiles. Which were then held in place with pegs, mortar or wood.

As new materials were discovered, they were integrated into the types of cladding being used. As skyscrapers became common in urban areas, more ostentatious types of cladding were designed.

Cladding Material Options

There are many types of cladding materials depending on the nature of your renovation and construction project:

UPVC cladding

UPVC cladding is a common treatment for fascias. Admittedly, UPVC is one of the most durable materials today. One of the biggest advantages of using UPVC as a protective layer to fascias is its resistance to high moisture and heat. It preserves and protects your fascias color for a long time.

Stone cladding

Natural stone cladding is a great look for property of all ages, especially properties in rural areas. If you want the effect of stone cladding but without the expense of covering your whole home then you can add subtle touches such as to your garage, porch or the side of your house which takes the brunt of weather.

Metal cladding

Let’s face it: metal is an essential material for construction. If your property has been integrated with metal building materials, you can clad it with a protective layer to prevent corrosion.

Over cladding

This is very common in building and much preferred by builders. This is because it helps increase the resistance of walls from weather damages.

Wooden cladding

Popular choices include spruce and pine although cedar and larch are also great options as they can be used untreated. As wood can be cut and reduced to any size, you can select from a range of sizes to suit your home. As all trees are also different, wooden cladding can create a really unique look to your home.

Benefits of Cladding Your Home

When you think of cladding you most probably think of that old weatherboard house that looks like it has been through more hail storms than any other house on the block. Well, that is old fashioned cladding. Modern-day cladding is a contemporary, aesthetically pleasing and insulating system that would improve the look and feel of any home.

Many properties are exposed to the harsh weather elements and as a result experience a deterioration of the build and structure. With cladding, you can prevent damage to your property and enjoy a series of other benefits including:

  1. Noise Insulation

Noise can interfere with conversation, rest and sleep and cause stress, headaches, and fatigue. You need to reduce and contain noise to protect yourself from sources of noise to enjoy a healthy life. Cladding is designed with layers of material with varying densities; these designs absorb sound waves and as a result, noise too.

  1. Heat insulation

Thermal insulation is great for those who want to do their bit for the environment, as well as reduce their cooling and heating costs. External wall cladding will effectively trap heat to provide a warmer environment during the colder months.

  1. Durability

External wall cladding provides all weather solution to the exterior of your home by combining the toughness and longevity of wood plastic composite, this cladding is able to offer protection against the elements and environmental damage and changes.

  1. Aesthetic Appeal

There is nothing more fulfilling than being able to choose the type of finish that your home’s exterior enjoys. Cladding is available in a variety of custom order colors, including antique, light-grey, teak, maple, charcoal, and smoke white. Choose from a range of hues texture and shades that will complement the style of your home.

Conclusion

Fed up with the drab exterior of your home? Worried about the durability and longevity of your business building or home? It’s time to spruce things up a bit and gain a great deal more than just exceptional aesthetic appeal. Cladding is not just the latest trend. It’s a product that will protect your home and add both convenience and comfort to your life.

 

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Design Options for Sound Reduction: An Architect’s Guide to Soundproofing

Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 in Architecture | Comments Off on Design Options for Sound Reduction: An Architect’s Guide to Soundproofing

Noise can interfere with conversation, rest and sleep and cause stress, headaches, and fatigue. Surveys show that noise is an important environmental concern for most Americans. Sound reduction is necessary for places like hospitals, auditoriums, workplaces, theaters, and schools.

Let’s face it: who among us doesn’t want some peace? You need to reduce and contain noise to protect yourself from sources of noise to enjoy a healthy life. Thoughtful practices and designs can lessen the impact of noise in our lives and improve the quality of our living environment.

Types of Noise

There are two types of noise: impact and airborne.

  1. Impact

Impact noise is produced when part of the building fabric is indirectly or directly affected. Energy passes through the structure and creates noise in nearby rooms. Examples are scraping furniture, plumbing noises, heavy footsteps, vibrations and loud music.

  1. Airborne noise

Airborne noise originates from common sound sources like radios, voices, and TVs. Quarters with lots of hard surfaces can be very noisy as they quickly reflect sound. Rugs, drapes, and soft furnishings can make a big improvement.

5 Major Sources of Noise Pollution: Understanding Noise Pollution

Noise can come from many places. Let’s see a few major sources:

  1. Industrial noise

Noise produced by industries is called industrial noise. It creates very serious large-scale noise problems; significantly affecting surrounding people as well as working people. Usually, it’s produced, at every stage in the industry by hammering, welding, sheet metal works, drilling, lathe machine work, running machinery, operation of cranes, motors, riveting, packing, compressing, transporting, etc.

  1. Road traffic noise

For most Americans road noise is the most important neighborhood noise issue as it affects a high proportion of the population, and the problem is growing as the traffic levels increase. Recent studies indicated that twenty percent of United States population was exposed to levels of road traffic noise that were well above those recommended by the world health organization.

  1. Social events

Noise is at its peak in most of the social events. Parties, places of worship, discos and other social events also create a lot of noise for the people living in that area. People normally flout rules set by the local administration and create nuisance in the area.

  1. Transportation noise

Underground trains, Airplanes flying over houses, a large number of vehicles on roads produce heavy noise, and people struggle to cope with them. The high noise leads to situations where a normal person loses the ability to hear properly.

  1. Neighborhood noise

This includes noise disturbance that may be present in the home, and in public places of entertainment or the open air, but excludes road traffic, aircraft, and industrial noise. This kind of noise impinges upon domestic life, and some of its main sources are loud radios and TV sets, domestic animals, motorcycles, children playing, etc.

Design Options for Noise Reduction

Site planning

It’s important to take into account noise sources such as hotels, shops, recycling, and garbage collection when renovating, buying or selling your home. There are several fencing options designed to prevent noise pollution. Fencing solutions can result in huge, possibly unsightly areas of vertical hard surfaces but can be corrected with the addition of decorative touches that also support sound reduction. Large masonry based sound fences and walls are fitting on the boundary of homes with more public areas rather than between homes and suburban backyards.

Put a sound reduction barrier between your home and the source of the noise.  For instance, thick vegetation can considerably decrease noise transfer in many ways. Stems and leaves scatter frequency sound waves, and soft earth surfaces decrease the intensity of low-frequency sound by absorbing its energy.

Building design and layout

The best defense against noise is to completely avoid making, or by ensuring that noise sources aren’t very close. Noise levels differ through different times of the day, so it’s useful to try and take account when the noise is generated. Sound leaks through gaps easily, so your layout, building’s construction material, and design can make a big difference.

Noise is problematic within high density and medium housing, and special care in design is necessary to prevent problems. If you’re unable to open windows to keep cool during the summer season, you might want to install a mechanical cooling system.

A passive home is specially designed to promote airflow that transfers cool air or heat through the building. This enhances sound reflection, and transmission qualities of internal surfaces are especially important.

Sound attenuating windows, walls, doors, and roofs can be used as a blockade for external sources of noise. They are costly and tricky to reconstruct into existing homes so they shouldn’t be overlooked during the design stage of a new structure.

Construction

Thermal mass is a not good for heat-proofing but can provide acoustic insulation between apartments and rooms, or from outdoor noise, although it may also transmit impact noise and reflect sound. Sound transmission properties of the structure as a whole or on-site construction practices are often overlooked and not taken into account. This can reduce the effective value due to nearby sound transmission paths for example through structural components.

Construction and good design detail are crucial to the performance of both light and heavy construction. Avoid locating waste and construction pipes close to quiet rooms or ensure that they are adequately soundproofed. Always Pay attention to building components such as ceiling and floor plates and to the installation of power outlets and plumbing plates; insulate them acoustically if necessary to ensure the desired performance is achieved.

Conclusion

Sound control doesn’t have to be complicated if you have the right guidance! Creating effective attenuation requires a professionally trained designer who is well aware of the nuances of all these techniques. The nature of noise and its source are so highly variable that the viable solutions may be few and only partially effective. Consequently, discuss with your designer everything in detail and make sure he or she understands your concerns.

Noise pollution is not only maddening and irritating. It’s also detrimental to a person’s well being and overall health. This is why it’s important that you do something about it.

 

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Architectural Rendering Software Options in 2017

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Architecture, Design tools | Comments Off on Architectural Rendering Software Options in 2017

3D architectural rendering plays a vital role of endorsing and marketing architectural projects in the construction industry. It is one technique that is used to transform a 3D construction model into imagery that possesses photorealistic properties. Architectural renderings are used on a daily basis to present a general view of the plan design. This helps both clients and architects identify with the plan, in addition to seeing the necessary adjustments that need to be made; while also seeing the end-product before the building begins. This technique is highly popular in the field of architecture as it is used in demonstrating how a building will appear after the construction process.

Architectural rendering software comes in various price ranges, types, quality and features. The future of 3D architectural rendering is sure to see changes that will enhance and improve visual presentation through virtual enhancements. As new rendering software emerges, methods of presenting architectural plans are quickly changing. Businesses are now skipping certain aspects of conventional techniques in favor of employing the latest technology. Here are some of the most popular architectural rendering software options in 2017 used by designers, architects and artists.

VRay

VRay is currently considered the best 3D rendering engine. It has steadily risen to the top of architectural rendering software in the past few years. VRay has been developed by the Chaos Group and is praised for its massive collection of textures and unparalleled realism. This software is definitely for the savvy designer looking to restructure the most perfect natural colors, conditions, shadows and light themes.

While it can get a bit complicated for beginners as the interface is pretty complex, VRay has lots of online tutorials. Its versatility will surprise you as it is compatible as a plug-in with Cinema 4D, Sketch-up and Revit, among others. This renderer is not only popular with architects, but also artists. It is a great choice for product design, films and animation among other forms of applications.

Mental Ray

This rendering software works almost like VRay. Mental ray is considered to be easier to use compared to VRay. However, it doesn’t quite match its quality and level of convenience. Still, Mental Ray is a great choice and has undoubtedly earned its reputation as a top render engine. Developed by Mental Images, Mental Ray rendering software is mostly useful by architects because of its flexibility and ease of use. Mental Ray’s popularity stems from having lots of features that can be customized to deliver excellent architectural renderings. Besides, this render engine is a common choice for the design and film industries. In the right hands, Mental Ray works wonders.

Maxwell

Those who’ve had the chance to use Maxwell note that it is quite slow. However, if you are patient, this is render engine that can create some of the greatest renders that you’ve ever seen. If you use Maxwell, you’ll have first-hand experience as to why it’s so popular. Maxwell is a great addition for both architects and designers as it uses “unbiased rendering” (lighting engine) which uses real-life designing techniques.

Octane Render

Octane is not a big name in the world of visualization. Still, it indeed has a lot to offer architects and artists. This is the new guy in the block. Octane uses the power of your graphics card to stand out against the rendering giants, VRay and Mental Ray. For architects that possess high end graphics cards, this rendering engine will significantly trim down the time they spend rendering.

Modo

Modo is a comprehensive modeling and rendering engine. Modo stands out from the crowd due to its ability to render and model in the same app. You don’t have to switch between programs or wait for a middle man. Moreover, while most of the previous renderers have preview features, Modo is in reality the fastest of the group. Even with a partial amount of computing power, Modo lets you sample views with reasonable precision in less time compared to the previous rendering engines. This is a great product for architects as it works quickly. The only downside with Modo is that, it doesn’t have a lot of options. However, if you’re looking for a simple software that has the ability to do most important tasks and is reasonably priced, then Modo is worth checking out.

Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D is not your average rendering software – it’s the total package. It offers designers and architects the power of having 3D architectural rendering features and showcasing quality in one nice package. From texture, to animations, to design, you can do virtually anything with Cinema 4D, that is if you take your time to dig deeper.

3DS Max

While not really the most acclaimed piece of architecture rendering software, no one can dispute that 3DS Max is a very popular modeling product. Those who’ve moved to more convenient render engines still use Max from time to time. 3DS Max is mostly preferred as it is compatible with Autodesk products such as Revit.

Conclusion

Photo-realistic 3D architectural rendering has been used all over the world among architects and artist. Architectural rendering software has indeed become widespread in the construction industry. They are not only popular marketing tools, but also aid in finding any design flaws before the building process begins.

 

Check out the quality results of VRay as an example of what’s possible for these kinds of software programs:

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How to Create Architectural Sketches on Paper

Posted by on Jun 10, 2017 in Architecture | Comments Off on How to Create Architectural Sketches on Paper

In architecture, ideas often have to be communicated visually, and the quickest way share an idea is through sketching. Yet many new architecture students lack the innate ability to sketch properly. They depend on mentors to clarify the fundamentals of sketching which is time-consuming if such mentors are found at all. It’s easy to get discouraged when you create sketches that are out of proportion and odd. Don’t panic, but keep trying, and understand that it takes a bit of time to get the hang of it.

The following tips will help newbie architects overcome challenges in architectural sketching:

Assemble all the Materials

Before an architect sits down to sketch his designs, he should make sure all the necessary tools are in place in order to minimize movement. Assembling the necessary tools will also create a more relaxed atmosphere when the actual sketching starts. These are some of the items that will be needed to create an architectural sketch on paper: tracing paper, architectural scale, tape measure, pens, pencil, sketch pad, eraser and rolling paper.

Don’t Move Your Pencil by Flexing Your Elbow or Wrist

According to professional architects, the most important thing once you start drawing is that you don’t move your pencil or pen by flexing your elbow or wrist. Lock your elbow and wrist in a comfortable position and only move your entire arm if you want a different angle. As you get more skilled, you can start by moving your wrist then ultimately your elbow. To draw straight lines, try limiting your movement to the entire arm.

Take Control

Positioning your hand closer to the end of the pencil gives you more precision and control over your drawing. On the flip side, positioning your hand away from the tip of the pencil makes you less in control, creating lighter markings.

Architects put pen to paper with the aim of producing work that will be used in constructing multi-million dollar projects. Consequently, every twist and curve has to be well thought of, calculated and accurate considering what will be on the ground. There is little room for error in architectural sketching.

Use of Line Weight

As an architect, it’s important to use line weight to help convey depth to your sketch. More gifted architects take care of depth by using shading techniques and hatches so eventually that’s something you can take on. For starters, you can use two pens to get some profile lines into your sketches.

Profile lines are used to show all the visible edges of an object. The thickness or weight of these lines is varied. An Architect uses various pen weights to highlight what is and what is not important in the sketch.

Diversify Your Lines

To make your sketch interesting and lively, try using different lines by shifting from thin to thick lines and from dark to light shades. This can be tough for newbie architects, but it gets easier by practicing using different pencil grades and holding the pencil at different angles. What differentiates the pens in question is the kind of lines that they draw. Some draw thin lines, others blurry, and some are for shading. Therefore, an architect has to use the right kind of pencil.

The pencils used are characterized according to the kind of lines that are drawn. The hardest pencils available are called H pencils. They are named depending on how hard they are, e.g., 8H, 6H, 4H, and 2H. The higher the prefix numbers in the name, the harder the pencil. These hard pencils draw in a straight line, and their sketches appear to be thin. Conversely, pencils that are the softest are known as B pencils. Pencils such as 8B, 6B tend to be very soft and draw blurry lines. In both cases, the prefix 8 denotes either the hardest or softest pencil.

Remember to use different line weight to help convey depth to your sketch. If you want to produce unique and dynamic sketches, go for irregular lines. They can turn dull, smooth and flat sketches into interesting ones.

Avoid Being too Symmetrical

Drawing balanced artwork is crucial, but perfecting a detailed symmetrical sketch might look tedious. A good way to prevent this is to add some subtle changes, but keep the general line symmetrical to give your drawing an interesting look. Keeping some elements asymmetrical helps avoid repetition.

Add Some Texture

Texture is the apparent feel or look of the surface of an art object. When using water colors, you can add a gritty touch to your drawings. So avoid adding water over the entire sketch to gain a lively look.

Stay Clear of Smudging

Don’t let smudges mess up your design. Always put an extra sheet of paper under your hand to avoid smudges. Additionally, begin shading from right to left if you are left-handed and from left to right if you are right-handed. Conversely, if you want to add some intentional smudges for a smoother shade, you can use a piece of tissue paper.

Silhouettes

To ensure your characters look amazing, sketch their silhouettes by tracing around your character using a tracing paper then fill in with a solid color. Drawing silhouettes is a wonderful technique to confirm if your characters are distinct enough to be noticed only from their shadows.

Mirror with Tracing Paper

Mirroring a drawing with tracing paper affords you the opportunity to view your sketch in a different angle to highlight any alterations that must be made.

Conclusion

Architects should sketch. You may not think you’re good at sketching, but it helps you work through your thoughts. Furthermore, sketching is considered to be a skill and not a gift; therefore, anyone who practices the skill can perfect it. Practice how to hold your hand, how to draw and shade, how to outline, and how to use the roll paper.

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Why Don’t Skyscrapers Fall Over

Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Architecture | Comments Off on Why Don’t Skyscrapers Fall Over

When it comes to man’s greatest achievements, skyscrapers cannot be left out. Known for their strength and durability, they are indeed different in both structure and design. Skyscrapers hold an appeal across all cultures and nations. Taking a look at the Great Pyramid of Giza found in Egypt, built about 4500 years ago, you get to understand that the fascination in building higher and higher to the sky is nothing new.

In the present era, the construction of the “Tallest Skyscraper in the World” has indeed become an ide fixe. This mine is bigger than yours match has been going on between countries for sometime now. Ego-filled individuals, enterprises and nations have been obsessively constructing taller and taller skyscrapers, which at times hold little to no economic viability. The US held the trophy for over four decades with the Empire State Building. It is 380 meters tall and holds 102 floors, however, it is now insignificant when compared to the latest super tall buildings, a majority of which find their home in Asia.

Skyscrapers allow congested urban areas to support the assembling of numerous businesses, forming densely occupied spaces where large populations can move about easily. When you look at these buildings, the whole thing looks outrageous as they don’t fall over. What’s their secret? The structures must endure massive forces just to remain upright, not to mention regular lightning strikes, force of gravity and strong winds.  While not everywhere, earthquakes are another major concern. While they get their inspiration from the ancient pyramids, why don’t skyscrapers topple over?

Keeping strong winds aloof

Architects who design skyscrapers are witness to the fact that strong winds are a major concern. The speed of wind increases as you go higher, so a mild breeze on the road might be a strong gust at the top of a building. When there’s too much wind, the sideways pressure can mount on the skyscraper to mind-boggling levels. How do these tall structures actually stay upright in very strong winds?

Normally, the human mind thinks that the wind is happening high above; however, the effects are strongly felt beneath our feet. If the wind is extremely strong, it can easily cause the foundation of a building to shift.

Skyscraper engineers usually make a strong middle of thick concrete walls, which creates a stiff backbone for the building. This way, it is possible to control how the building moves. Earlier skyscrapers such as the Empire State building were built with the main elevator shafts reinforced by a set-up of steel bars to hold the center of the building firmly. Modern skyscrapers are built with several concrete centers built into the center of the building to provide a firm core for the construction.

While effective, this method needs some reinforcement. Engineers also use rigid beams and columns on the exterior of the building where a strong tube is designed across the whole building. If both methods are used, a building can rise even higher into the sky, which also allows skyscrapers to have eccentric designs, an example being the Gherkin in London.

Burj Khalifa, the tallest skyscraper in the world is conventionally built with the ability to move a few meters, just like a swaying tree, to help reduce pressures on the building. So, if you are standing at the top of a skyscraper and feel as if the floor is moving, well, it probably is.

To prevent those at the top from getting seasick due to the speed of wind, these majestic buildings are usually designed with asymmetrical shapes which disrupt the wind and stop it from becoming a problem. It may look like an architectural flourish, but the unique serrated outlines of the Shard and the Burj are more for safety than anything else.

Building strong foundations

As they grow taller and heavier, skyscrapers need huge steel and solid structure for support. With modern equipment and technology, there is now much rivalry, and skyscrapers can be seen all over the world.

While foundations are crucial when it comes to buildings anchorage, many skyscrapers around the world are not built on solid ground. Take London for example, many its largest buildings are erected on the city’s soft clay. Think of the Shard for instance, it has 95 floors and is the tallest in Western Europe; its foundation runs deep into the ground to help it stay up.

The Shard is held up by a huge concrete slab which is supported by numerous concrete piles. The concrete piles are necessary to take the weight and go 53m downwards into the clay until they get to a deposit of stiff sand. This is actually deeper than most skyscrapers go in New York, as the foundation of the Empire State Building is quite shallow with a mere 16 meters downwards.

The Burj, found in Dubai, was faced with one big challenge at the time of construction – salty water running underground in the rocks, soil and sand. This water is very corrosive as it has proven time and again to be eight times saltier than normal seawater. So, engineers had to use a superior concrete that did not let a lot of salty water to pass through. They also used cathodic protection – a process whereby another metal is added to the solid concrete base to shield the steel in the base. If by any chance, any salt water gets through the concrete, then the other metal will corrode and leave the weight-bearing steel strong and standing.

Managing lightning strikes

While overlooked at times, lightning can be very disastrous. Fortunately, there’s a way to work around it. During construction, the engineers wire together the building’s steel coating; from the window frames, to every single steel bar and down to the foundations. It looks like the wire mesh found on microwaves which is a protective enclosure of its contents.

Conclusion

All in all, when the building is anchored firmly into the ground, the center of gravity is also buried with it deep into the ground. That way, it will never fall. That’s why; skyscrapers manage to remain high in the sky without toppling over.

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Top 7 California National Historic Landmarks You Need to See

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Architecture, Landmarks | Comments Off on Top 7 California National Historic Landmarks You Need to See

California offers a myriad of landscapes, including 1,100 miles of beachfront properties, sprawling deserts, towering mountain ranges, national parks, and major metropolises. Apparently, it is super easy to get historical landmark status in California, seeing as though we have more than a thousand of them. Because they’re so many, knowing which ones are actually worth seeing is sort of impossible.

California historical landmarks are sites, buildings, and structures, or places that have been said to have National Historical significance by fulfilling any of the criteria listed below:

  • Associated with a group or individual having great influence on the history of California.
  • The only, last, first, or most important of its type within a large geographical region (central, southern, or northern California).
  • A prototype of, or an outstanding example of an architectural movement, a period, style or the best existing work in a region of a pioneer designer, master builder or architect.

Although some Historical Landmarks are located more than 700 miles apart, with careful planning, you can explore some of the State’s most iconic Landmarks.

Alcatraz Island

Aside from being one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco, California, Alcatraz Island Prison has a lot of enjoyment and history to offer. Okay okay, I admit. We’ve all seen the documentaries and movies on Alcatraz, but until you experience it in person, you won’t really get it. Alcatraz Island, also known as ‘The Rock’ boasts a long history that ended with some of the most infamous prisoners and daring escapes. If you love history, photography, a scenic boat ride and much more, you will enjoy touring one of the most Historic Landmarks in the United States.

Baldwin Hills Village

Baldwin Hills Village, currently dubbed Village Green, is a condominium complex located in the Crenshaw District, and a locality at the foot of the Baldwin Hills, within the city of Los Angeles, California.

The Baldwin Village is well-known globally as a progressive and pivotal experiment in the multiple-family housing. Interesting enough, the village is among a few projects that stand out as a fundamental improvement in both architecture and planning. Believe it or not, it is the only garden apartment complex in California nominated as a National Historical Landmark.

California Powder Works Bridge

The Powder Works Bridge is an engineering marvel and an outstanding example of the 19th century covered bridge construction. Constructed in 1872, its unique design features a distinct curved entrance overhang and diagonal trusses that are strong and light. The bridge is the longest among the twenty-three well-known historic examples of a Smith truss remaining in the United States.

Hotel Del Coronado

Built and opened in 1888, Hotel Del Coronado debuted as an architectural masterpiece, was selected a National Historic Landmark in 1977. Located on America’s most beloved beach, the Del is much-admired for its world famous weather and breath taking seaside setting. Pimped with every modern amenity, it attracts a wealthy clientele from Europe, East Coast, and the Midwest.

Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel

Located at the NASA Ames Research Center, the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel is a research facility used widely to test, design and redesign postmodern air crafts, both military and commercial. The nine by seven-foot supersonic wind tunnel was completed in 1955. The Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel continues to provide aerodynamic data for NASA’s manned spaceflight efforts whose goal is to create spacecraft and rockets necessary to take explorers to the moon, earth orbit, and finally, to Mars.

Golden Gate Bridge

Dubbed “the bridge that couldn’t be built” it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This marvel of modern engineering, maybe San Francisco’s most famous landmark, connects Marin County with San Francisco. With its sensational 746-foot tall towers, art deco styling, distinct orange color, and sweeping main cables it’s a sensory experience featuring sound, light, and color.

Redwood National and State Parks

Located just below the Oregon border, Redwood National Park was established in 1968 and is home to old-growth coastal redwoods. Crazily enough, these magnificent trees can live to be two thousand years old and can grow to over three hundred feet tall. When you stand underneath a redwood tree, even if you can astonishingly see the tree’s top, you won’t be able to comprehend its true scale and size. Moreover, the intense forest’s ecosystem they help create is far more visually appealing than their shocking height. The marine and land life are equally remarkable, particularly the bald eagle, California brown pelican and sea lions.

Conclusion

There are more than a thousand sites designated by the state of California as historic landmarks. This post is an effort to highlight the Top 7 California National Historic Landmarks.

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Architect Santiago Calatrava – 3 Buildings

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in Architecture | Comments Off on Architect Santiago Calatrava – 3 Buildings

The architect Santiago Calatrava has been gracing city sky lines around the globe with sweeping, clean, angelic expressions of art and design since the 1980’s. Born and raised in Valencia, Spain, he quickly spread his education and practice throughout Europe.

Three of his many buildings stand out with their iconic ‘wing like’ spires. Two of the buildings featured here today are art museums, one is a transportation hub.

1) In 1994 the city of Milwaukee approached Calatrava to propose a design to renovate and expand the Milwaukee Museum of Art. Calatrava was inspired by the location of the site, which is situated at the end of Wisconsin Avenue, a major vein in the city’s grid, and the fact that Wisconsin was Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthplace. His proposal wowed the original committee. Funding accumulated and the plans expanded which allowed Calatrava to fully flesh out his vision.

His architecture took inspiration from the many sailboats that dot nearby Lake Michigan, the feeling of motion and energy of the area of land, and the culture and change of the local weather. Employing a sort of modern Gothic vibe, the museum displays arches, flying buttresses, naves and ribbed vaults. Construction was completed in 2001 to great reviews and adoration from the city and architectural world. The spanning ‘wings’ open at 10 am, close and re-open at noon, and settle in for the night at 5 pm during regular museum days.

2) 2009 saw the completion of a similarly crafted wing-like building in Calatrava’s hometown of Valencia. El Ágora, or “The Agora” in English, is located in the City of Arts and Sciences complex. This entire complex is full of architectural beauty.

Similarly to Milwaukee, the immense hall is studded with white steel arches and a glass roof which have moveable ‘wings’. Not only functioning to filter in more natural light, these wings add a sense of upward breadth. This multi-use hall can hold up to 6,000 people at a time. This stunning building bridges the realms of geometric form and abstract design in a quintessential ‘Calatravian’ way.

3) Santiago Calatrava designed the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in Manhattan, which is a new train station with a spacious and open mezzanine located beneath the National September 11 Memorial Plaza. The ‘Oculus’ has soaring wings like the two building mentioned above, and symbolizes a bird being released from a child’s hand.

The original design included longer spires and an opening and closing mechanism, but budget and space constraints necessitated a shorter, fixed structure. Between the arches, a skylight is able to open on pleasant days and annually on September 11th. Even though this station was equally celebrated and scorned upon it’s unveiling in 2016, the architecture speaks to an angelic and spiritual side that the site deserves.

 

Check out this video about Santiago Calatrava.

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