Pritzker Architecture Prize

The Pritzker Architecture Prize

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually “to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture”. Founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy, the award is funded by the Pritzker family and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation. It is considered to be one of the world’s premier architecture prizes, and is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture.

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is said to be awarded “irrespective of nationality, race, creed, or ideology”. The recipients receive US$100,000, a citation certificate, and, since 1987, a bronze medallion. The designs on the medal are inspired by the work of architect Louis Sullivan, while the Latin inspired inscription on the reverse of the medallion—firmitas, utilitas, venustas (English: firmness, commodity and delight)—is from Ancient Roman architect Vitruvius. Before 1987, a limited edition Henry Moore sculpture accompanied the monetary prize.

The Executive Director of the prize, Martha Thorne, solicits nominations from a range of people, including past Laureates, academics, critics and others “with expertise and interest in the field of architecture”. Any licensed architect can also make a personal application for the prize before November 1 every year. (In 1988 Gordon Bunshaft nominated himself for the award and eventually won it.) The jury, consisting of five to nine “experts … recognized professionals in their own fields of architecture, business, education, publishing, and culture”, deliberates and early in the following year announce the winner. The prize Chair is Stephen Breyer; earlier chairs were J. Carter Brown (1979–2002), the Lord Rothschild (2003–2004), the Lord Palumbo (2005–2015) and Glenn Murcutt (2016–2018).

What is a curtain wall?

What is a curtain wall?

curtain wall system is an outer covering of a building in which the outer walls are non-structural, utilized only to keep the weather out and the occupants in. Since the curtain wall is non-structural, it can be made of lightweight materials, thereby reducing construction costs. When glass is used as the curtain wall, an advantage is that natural light can penetrate deeper within the building. The curtain wall façade does not carry any structural load from the building other than its own dead load weight. The wall transfers lateral wind loads that are incident upon it to the main building structure through connections at floors or columns of the building. A curtain wall is designed to resist air and water infiltration, absorb sway induced by wind and seismic forces acting on the building, withstand wind loads, and support its own dead load weight forces.

Curtain wall systems are typically designed with extruded aluminum framing members, although the first curtain walls were made with steel frames. The aluminum frame is typically infilled with glass, which provides an architecturally pleasing building, as well as benefits such as daylighting. However, the effects of light on visual comfort as well as solar heat gain in a building are more difficult to control when using large amounts of glass infill. Other common infills include: stone veneer, metal panels, louvres, and operable windows or vents.

Curtain walls differ from storefront systems in that they are designed to span multiple floors, taking into consideration design requirements such as: thermal expansion and contraction; building sway and movement; water diversion; and thermal efficiency for cost-effective heating, cooling, and lighting in the building.

What is interior design?

What is interior design?

Interior design is the art and science of enhancing the interior of a building to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the people using the space. An interior designer is someone who plans, researches, coordinates, and manages such enhancement projects. Interior design is a multifaceted profession that includes conceptual development, space planning, site inspections, programming, research, communicating with the stakeholders of a project, construction management, and execution of the design.

History and current terms

In the past, interiors were put together instinctively as a part of the process of building.

The profession of interior design has been a consequence of the development of society and the complex architecture that has resulted from the development of industrial processes.

The pursuit of effective use of space, user well-being and functional design has contributed to the development of the contemporary interior design profession. The profession of interior design is separate and distinct from the role of interior decorator, a term commonly used in the US; the term is less common in the UK, where the profession of interior design is still unregulated and therefore, strictly speaking, not yet officially a profession.

In ancient India, architects would also function as interior designers. This can be seen from the references of Vishwakarma the architect—one of the gods in Indian mythology. In these architects’ design of 17th-century Indian homes, sculptures depicting ancient texts and events are seen inside the palaces, while during the medieval times wall art paintings were a common feature of palace-like mansions in India commonly known as havelis. While most traditional homes have been demolished to make way to modern buildings, there are still around 2000 havelis in the Shekhawati region of Rajashtan that display wall art paintings.

In ancient Egypt, “soul houses” (or models of houses) were placed in tombs as receptacles for food offerings. From these, it is possible to discern details about the interior design of different residences throughout the different Egyptian dynasties, such as changes in ventilation, porticoes, columns, loggias, windows, and doors.

Throughout the 17th and 18th century and into the early 19th century, interior decoration was the concern of the homemaker, or an employed upholsterer or craftsman who would advise on the artistic style for an interior space. Architects would also employ craftsmen or artisans to complete interior design for their buildings.

green wall

green wall

green wall is a vertical greening typology, where a vertical built structure is intentionally covered by vegetation. Green walls include a vertically applied growth medium such as soil, substitute substrate, or hydroculture felt; as well as an integrated hydration and fertigation delivery system. They are also referred to as living walls or vertical gardens, and widely associated with the delivery of many beneficial ecosystem services.

Green walls differ from the more established vertical greening typology of ‘green facades’ as they have the growth medium supported on the vertical face of the host wall (as described below), while green facades have the growth medium only at the base (either in a container or as a ground bed). Green facades typically support climbing plants that climb up the vertical face of the host wall, while green walls can accommodate a variety of plant species. Green walls may be implanted indoors or outdoors; as freestanding installations or attached to existing host walls; and applied in a variety of sizes.

Stanley Hart White, a Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois from 1922 to 1959, patented a ‘vegetation-Bearing Architectonic Structure and System’ in 1938, though his invention did not progress beyond prototypes in his backyard in Urbana, Illinois. The popularising of green walls is often credited to Patrick Blanc, a French botanist specialised in tropical forest undergrowth. He worked with architect Adrien Fainsilber and engineer Peter Rice to implement the first successful large indoor green wall or Mur Vegetal in 1986 at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris, and has since been involved with the design and implementation of a number of notable installations (e.g. Musée du quai Branly, collaborating with architect Jean Nouvel).

Green walls have seen a surge in popularity in recent times. An online database provided by for example had reported 80% of the 61 large-scale outdoor green walls listed as constructed after 2009, with 93% after 2007. Many notable green walls have been installed at institutional buildings and public places, with both outdoor and indoor installations gaining significant attention. As of 2015, the largest green wall is said to cover 2,700 square meters (29,063 square feet) and is located at the Los Cabos International Convention Centre designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero.

Modern Architecture

Modern Architecture

Modern architecture, or modernist architecture, was an architectural style based upon new and innovative technologies of construction, particularly the use of glass, steel, and reinforced concrete; the idea that form should follow function (functionalism); an embrace of minimalism; and a rejection of ornament. It emerged in the first half of the 20th century and became dominant after World War II until the 1980s, when it was gradually replaced as the principal style for institutional and corporate buildings by postmodern architecture.

Modern architecture emerged at the end of the 19th century from revolutions in technology, engineering and building materials, and from a desire to break away from historical architectural styles and to invent something that was purely functional and new.

The revolution in materials came first, with the use of cast iron, plate glass, and reinforced concrete, to build structures that were stronger, lighter and taller. The cast plate glass process was invented in 1848, allowing the manufacture of very large windows. The Crystal Palace by Joseph Paxton at the Great Exhibition of 1851 was an early example of iron and plate glass construction, followed in 1864 by the first glass and metal curtain wall. These developments together led to the first steel-framed skyscraper, the ten-story Home Insurance Building in Chicago, built in 1884 by William Le Baron Jenney. The iron frame construction of the Eiffel Tower, then the tallest structure in the world, captured the imagination of millions of visitors to the 1889 Paris Universal Exposition.

French industrialist François Coignet was the first to use iron-reinforced concrete, that is, concrete strengthened with iron bars, as a technique for constructing buildings. In 1853 Coignet built the first iron reinforced concrete structure, a four-story house in the suburbs of Paris. A further important step forward was the invention of the safety elevator by Elisha Otis, first demonstrated at the New York Crystal Palace exposition in 1854, which made tall office and apartment buildings practical. Another important technology for the new architecture was electric light, which greatly reduced the inherent danger of fires caused by gas in the 19th century.

The debut of new materials and techniques inspired architects to break away from the neoclassical and eclectic models that dominated European and American architecture in the late 19th century, most notably eclecticism, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and the Beaux-Arts architectural style. This break with the past was particularly urged by the architectural theorist and historian Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. In his 1872 book Entretiens sur L’Architecture, he urged: “use the means and knowledge given to us by our times, without the intervening traditions which are no longer viable today, and in that way we can inaugurate a new architecture. For each function its material; for each material its form and its ornament.” This book influenced a generation of architects, including Louis Sullivan, Victor Horta, Hector Guimard, and Antoni Gaudí.



Thermally modified wood, is wood that has been modified by a controlled pyrolysis process of wood being heated (> 180 °C) in absence of oxygen inducing some chemical changes to the chemical structures of cell wall components (lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose) in the wood in order to increase its durability. Low oxygen content prevents the wood from burning at these high temperatures. Several different technologies are introduced using different media including nitrogen gas, steam and hot oil.

Modification processes

The first technological approach of thermal modification processes of wood is the paper of Burmester.

There are five different thermal modification processes: Thermowood (or Premium wood) in Finland, Retification process (Retiwood, New Option Wood) and Les Bois Perdure in France, Plato process in Netherlands, Oil-heat treatment in Germany (OHT-Process).

Description of the process

Three of the processes are performed in one step, using oil (oil-heat treatment), nitrogen (Reti wood) and steam (Le-Bois Perdure).[1] The Thermo wood process consists of drying, heat treatment and finally cooling/conditioning, and takes up to 72 hours. The Plato process consists of hydrothermolysis, dry curing and conditioning, and can take up to 7 days. The required time depends on wood species, width and initial moisture content.

Westwood Process
Westwood is the most advanced modern thermo-modification process, patented in 2004. The process has initially developed for treatment hardwoods, which are more complicated compared to softwoods due to thermo-chemical reactions appeared in hardwoods during thermo-treatment. The fully automated Westwood control system allows to manage thermo-treatment of any hardwoods and softwood species.

Plato Process
A two step process which first subjects wood saturated with water to hydrothermal treatment at 160 °C–190 °C at a high pressure. After the moisture content in the wood is reduced to 10% then a curing step is performed at 170 °C–190 °C under 1 atm of pressure.

Retification refers to the French word rétification, which is the portmanteau of réticulation (creation of chemical bonds between polymeric chains) and torréfaction (roasting). Wood in this process must have a moisture content at 12% or lower which can be attained through simple drying processes. The wood is then placed in a high nitrogen atmosphere with no more than 2% oxygen content.

Les Bois Perdure
Freshly cut timber must first be dried and then will be heated in a steam environment using the leftover moisture in the wood.

Oil Heat Treatment
The wood is placed in an oil bath between 180 °C and 220 °C. This process can also be used with chemical additives to alter the wood in other ways.

This process is similar to the Les Bois Perdure treatment in that it uses a steam environment at atmospheric pressure to treat the wood. However, this process can also be used on “green” wood and was the most widely used commercial process as of 2004.

4 Top Tips for Home Design

4 Top Tips for Home Design

With so much to think about when designing a new home, it’s no surprise self builders can get overwhelmed. It’s easy to overlook key elements that could make a significant impact on the finished property. Below I highlight 4 things to remember when designing your home.

1. Budget beyond the construction work

Your design will be dictated considerably by your finances. While most people realise that they need to factor in the cost of the building work, it’s easy to forget about the other aspects that need to be accounted for on top of this.

Quite a lot of money has to be spent on things that seem minor on their own, but collectively can tot up to thousands of pounds.

Don’t forget to budget for:

  • landscaping
  • finance and insurance costs
  • professional and local authority fees
  • site surveys
  • access from the highway
  • service connections

The price of some elements can be fairly accurately predicted – such as planning fees and sewer connection charges – others have to be estimated.

Learn more: What can you Build for your Budget?

You’ll also need a contingency on top.

2. Reduce noise

Soundscape is often overlooked in house plans. Unwanted noise is a common problem, not least because of all the gadgets we now have for our entertainment.

It’s important for the fabric of your home to be robust, well-sealed and as solid as possible.

Contemporary Passivhaus in the countryside

Don’t forget to design a snug or separe living room when opting for open-plan layouts

The layout of the house also plays a key role in reducing disturbance. Children are noisy, so look into how to distance their bedrooms from others. You can try, for example, bathrooms or built-in wardrobes in-between the rooms.

Sound travels more easily to rooms below, which means a second floor or attic space is not always a good place for the loudest family members.

With open-plan living becoming commonplace, don’t forget to factor in a snug or living room isolated from the main areas of activity. This will provide an oasis of calm for quieter activities such as reading or homework.

Explore the house plans: Paul & Belinda Wilson designed a lounge separate from the kitchen-dining-living room

3. Storage solutions

A major gripe from owners of new homes is often the lack of storage space. In the early stages of a design it’s easy to underestimate how many possessions you own or are going to acquire in the future.

This is one reason why most garages are rarely filled with cars. Instead you are likely to find bikes, gym equipment, unwanted Christmas presents and other debris.

Storage by Neville Johnson

This nifty home office built under the stairs was designed by Neville Johnson

Lots of storage space can be incorporated at little extra cost or loss of floor area, but you’ll need to plan this at the beginning of the design process.

Built-in storage can extend the full height of rooms and also work to become a design feature, making it more efficient than free-standing chests of drawers and wardrobes.

Read more: Storage Design Ideas for your Home Interior

Another thing to consider is a pantry, for separate kitchen storage – sturdy shelves allow easy access to kitchenware and produce that might otherwise be awkwardly crammed into standard cupboards.

4. Home maintenance

Sooner or later every element of the construction of a house will need maintenance. Predicting your home’s upkeep should influence how materials and fittings are integrated into the design.

Roof tiles and bricks will last for many decades without attention, but other materials require work more frequently. For instance, plastic fascias and barge boards are popular, but have to be redecorated regularly atop a tall ladder.

This home designed by Scandia-Hus features self cleaning glazing

An open roof over a stairwell with skylights and a centrepiece chandelier looks dramatic; however, it also presents a challenge for whoever has to change the light bulbs or clean the glass.

Self-cleaning glazing and cables that allow the light fitting to be hooked across to the landing will solve these problems but redecoration may require scaffolding and is therefore a specialist job.

Unblocking gutters is another difficult chore, especially for high level valleys between pitched roofs. A lot of effort can be spared by putting roof windows in the attic, which will allow you to reach out safely with a rake.

Smart home technology

Smart home technology

Smart home technology which may also be termed Home automation is the use of devices in the home that connect via a network, most commonly a home network (such as local LAN) or the internet. It uses devices such as sensors and other appliances connected to the Internet of things (IoT) that can be remotely monitored, controlled or accessed and provide services that respond to the perceived needs of the users. It stands for Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology. The technology was originally developed by IBM and was referred to as Predictive failure analysis. The first contemporary Smart home technology products became available to consumers between 1998 and the early 2000s. Smart home technology allows users to control and monitor their connected home devices from smart home apps, smartphones, or other networked devices. Users can remotely control connected home systems whether they are home or away. This allows for more efficient energy and electric use as well as ensuring your home is secure. Smart home technology contributes to health and well-being enhancement by accommodating people with special needs, especially older people . Smart home technology is now being used to create Smart cities. A Smart city functions similar to a Smart home, where systems are monitored to more efficiently run the cities and save money and help people.

Smart home technology is now found in a wide range of household devices, including:

Lighting control system (lights control and smart lamps / lightbulbs)
Smart thermostats and HVAC control system for climate control
Home security and Security alarm
Home energy monitor
Door locks
Building automation
Smart garden irrigation
Smart appliances
Domestic robots
Robotic vacuum cleaner
Robotic lawn mower
Smart refrigerators
Laundry machines
Smart devices, Smart objects, and Smart environment
Twilight switch
Water detectors
Smoke detectors
CO2 detectors
Gas detectors
Radeon detectors
Wireless speaker systems (not the same as Smart speakers)
Smart speaker (not the same as Wireless speaker systems)
System integrations
Home network
Home server
Internet of things
Web of Things
Artificial intelligence of things

As of 2015, the most common piece of smart home technology in the United States were wireless speaker systems, with 17 percent of people owning one or more. Smart thermostats were the second most prevalent piece of smart home technology, with 11 percent of people using such devices. A 2012 consumer report that pulled data from the National Association of Home Builders looked at what kinds of smart home devices homeowners wanted most and found that the top five were wireless security systems (50%), programmable thermostats (47%), security cameras (40%), lighting control systems (39%), wireless home audio systems (39%), home theater systems (37%), and multi-zone HVAC systems (37%). Industry forecasts predict that by 2021, the average North American home will have 13 Smart devices in their home.

Landscape design

Landscape design

Landscape design is an independent profession and a design and art tradition, practiced by landscape designers, combining nature and culture. In contemporary practice, landscape design bridges the space between landscape architecture and garden design.

Landscape design focuses on both the integrated master landscape planning of a property and the specific garden design of landscape elements and plants within it. The practical, aesthetic, horticultural, and environmental sustainability are also components of landscape design, which is often divided into hardscape design and softscape design. Landscape designers often collaborate with related disciplines such as architecture, civil engineering, surveying, landscape contracting, and artisan specialties.

Design projects may involve two different professional roles: landscape design and landscape architecture.

Landscape design typically involves artistic composition and artisanship, horticultural finesse and expertise, and emphasis on detailed site involvement from conceptual stages through to final construction.
Landscape architecture focuses more on urban planning, city and regional parks, civic and corporate landscapes, large scale interdisciplinary projects, and delegation to contractors after completing designs.
There can be a significant overlap of talent and skill between the two roles, depending on the education, licensing, and experience of the professional. Both landscape designers and landscape architects practice landscape design.

Design approach

The landscape design phase consists of research, gathering ideas, and setting a plan. Design factors include objective qualities such as: climate and microclimates; topography and orientation, site drainage and groundwater recharge; municipal and resource building codes; soils and irrigation; human and vehicular access and circulation; recreational amenities (i.e., sports and water); furnishings and lighting; native plant habitat botany when present; property safety and security; construction detailing; and other measurable considerations.

Design factors also include subjective qualities such as genius loci (the special site qualities to emphasize); client’s needs and preferences; desirable plants and elements to retain on site, modify, or replace, and that may be available for borrowed scenery from beyond; artistic composition from perspectives of both looking upon and observing from within; spatial development and definition – using lines, sense of scale, and balance and symmetry; plant palettes; and artistic focal points for enjoyment. There are innumerable other design factors and considerations brought to the complex process of designing a garden that is beautiful, well-functioning, and that thrives over time.

The up-and-coming practice of online landscape design allows professional landscapers to remotely design and plan sites through manipulation of two-dimensional images without ever physically visiting the location. Due to the frequent lack of non-visual, supplementary data such as soil assessments and pH tests, online landscaping necessarily must focus on incorporating only plants which are tolerant across many diverse soil conditions.

Green building

Green building

Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This requires close cooperation of the contractor, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages. The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. In doing so, the three dimensions of sustainability, i.e., planet, people and profit across the entire supply chain need to be considered.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings which was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Other certificate systems that confirm the sustainability of buildings are the British BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) for buildings and large-scale developments or the DGNB System (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen e.V.) which benchmarks the sustainability performance of buildings, indoor environments and districts. Currently, the World Green Building Council is conducting research on the effects of green buildings on the health and productivity of their users and is working with the World Bank to promote Green Buildings in Emerging Markets through EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) Market Transformation Program and certification. There are also other tools such as Green Star in Australia, Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) used in the Middle East and the Green Building Index (GBI) predominantly used in Malaysia.

Building information modelling (BIM) is a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places. Building information models (BIMs) are files (often but not always in proprietary formats and containing proprietary data) which can be extracted, exchanged or networked to support decision-making regarding a building or other built asset. Current BIM software is used by individuals, businesses and government agencies who plan, design, construct, operate and maintain diverse physical infrastructures, such as water, refuse, electricity, gas, communication utilities, roads, railways, bridges, ports and tunnels.

Although new technologies are constantly being developed to complement current practices in creating greener structures, the common objective of green buildings is to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:

Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity (see healthy building)
Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation
A similar concept is natural building, which is usually on a smaller scale and tends to focus on the use of natural materials that are available locally. Other related topics include sustainable design and green architecture. Sustainability may be defined as meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Although some green building programs don’t address the issue of retrofitting existing homes, others do, especially through public schemes for energy efficient refurbishment. Green construction principles can easily be applied to retrofit work as well as new construction.

A 2009 report by the U.S. General Services Administration found 12 sustainably-designed buildings that cost less to operate and have excellent energy performance. In addition, occupants were overall more satisfied with the building than those in typical commercial buildings. These are eco-friendly buildings.