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Top 5: Products stories 2021

Words:
Isabelle Priest

‘Keep it sustainable’ looks to have been a major motivation among readers procurement browsing this year, but interesting design details were sought-after too

Number 1

2021 was the year that people searched out sustainable alternatives to traditional building materials - here these K-Briqs have just one tenth of the embodied carbon of traditional kiln-fired bricks.
2021 was the year that people searched out sustainable alternatives to traditional building materials - here these K-Briqs have just one tenth of the embodied carbon of traditional kiln-fired bricks. Credit: Zero Waste Scotland

Brick that decimates embodied carbon set to start production

Published: 16 April 2021

The first commercial production line for an eco-friendly brick with around one tenth the carbon footprint of a regular brick is due to start operation in Scotland later this year.

The facility, which is run by Kenoteq, a start-up company set up by engineers from Heriot-Watt University, will initially manufacture 10,000 ‘K-Briqs’ a day and scale up to produce a total of over 2 million bricks in 2022...

Continue reading about this sustainable brick here


 

Number 2

Ventanilla House by Kevin Sulca was this year's Norbord SterlingOSB Zero/ RIBAJ competition winner to design a multigenerational home, it responded uniquely to the climatic conditions of Lima, Peru.
Ventanilla House by Kevin Sulca was this year's Norbord SterlingOSB Zero/ RIBAJ competition winner to design a multigenerational home, it responded uniquely to the climatic conditions of Lima, Peru. Credit: Kevin Sulca

Off Grid 2030 winner: Ventanilla House

Published: 23 September 2021

This multigenerational home responding to the unique climactic conditions and context constraints of Lima, Peru, emerged as winner in the face of stiff competition. In a sensitive and well-researched way, this proposal addressed issues affecting Lima’s Ventanilla district (the area with the least green space in the city and where the precariousness of housing made for uncomfortable conditions during the pandemic), standing out as a simple but original and tangible response to the brief...

Continue reading about Sulca's Ventanilla House


 

Number 3

The write-up of a webinar chaired by editor Eleanor Young that included Herbert Lui, Annelie Kvick Thompson, Lionheart and Carolina Grudzien. Here showing tactile finishes on buildings at the Barbican, London.
The write-up of a webinar chaired by editor Eleanor Young that included Herbert Lui, Annelie Kvick Thompson, Lionheart and Carolina Grudzien. Here showing tactile finishes on buildings at the Barbican, London.

Review: Texture in architecture webinar

Published: 5 October 2021

Bitter, sweet, umami… We have an extensive vocabulary to articulate our sensory experiences of taste. But, says webinar chair Eleanor Young, there is no comparable lexicon for touch; to describe it we must resort to similes and comparisons. This linguistic insufficiency does a disservice to architecture; when advocating for a particular specification, perhaps, or arguing against value engineering, it poses a challenge for designers if there is a struggle to express the haptic qualities of a material...

Read more about the Texture webinar here


 

Number 4

Another webinar review, this time about how the explosion of colour has returned in bathroom design. The event was chaired by Isabelle Priest and included a talk from Adam Nathaniel Furman and panellists 2LG Studio, Nicolo Stassano, Andrew Stembridge and Roberto Palomba.
Another webinar review, this time about how the explosion of colour has returned in bathroom design. The event was chaired by Isabelle Priest and included a talk from Adam Nathaniel Furman and panellists 2LG Studio, Nicolo Stassano, Andrew Stembridge and Roberto Palomba. Credit: Conca range, Ideal Standard

Webinar: Tomorrow's Bathrooms flourish with more comfort and colour

Published: 17 May 2021

From the outdoor latrine to the en suite with touchless technology, the bathroom has come a long way. With complex plumbing, electrics, heating and ventilation to keep it hygienic and safe – making specifying incredibly complex – the bathroom punches above its weight in the demands it caters to, which are both functional and elemental. Can one small room be all things to all people?

RIBAJ managing editor Isabelle Priest kicks off proceedings with a brisk walk through bathroom history. The the last five years have seen rapid design evolution, raising questions over which needs should be prioritised, and what is a passing trend or a more substantial change in thinking?

Catch up with the latest thinking in bathroom design here


 

Number 5

Another sustainable product that caught reader's eyes this year: the world's most efficient PV cell. Will you be specifying it?
Another sustainable product that caught reader's eyes this year: the world's most efficient PV cell. Will you be specifying it? Credit: Oxford PV

Solar eclipse: Oxford firm develops world's most efficient PV cell

Published: 5 February 2021

An Oxford University spin-off company has developed the world’s most efficient solar cell, and plans to begin mass production at its European factory next year.

Oxford PV’s perovskite-silicon tandem cell was independently proven to convert 29.52 per cent of solar energy into electricity, a new world record and well above the current practical maximum of 26 per cent achievable using regular solar cells...

Find out more about how this efficient PV cell works here


 

Evergreen Products story 2021 - the most popular archive article that you kept coming back to again and again

 

The perennial question of what are the best types of flooring and the important considerations when specifying for people with dementia was this year's most popular article from RIBAJ's archive. Getting the texture, pattern and colour underfoot right are the important considerations as cognitive changes occur.
The perennial question of what are the best types of flooring and the important considerations when specifying for people with dementia was this year's most popular article from RIBAJ's archive. Getting the texture, pattern and colour underfoot right are the important considerations as cognitive changes occur.

How to choose flooring that will help rather than hinder dementia patients

Published: 2 June 2015

Choosing dementia-friendly flooring requires a completely different approach to specification. As well as the usual balancing of practicality, budgets and aesthetics, specifiers need to prioritise the changes to perception and sight of those with dementia. Get it wrong with an ill-judged texture, pattern or use of colour, and the result can raise stress and increase the risk of falls among an already vulnerable user group...

Continue reading about what matters when specifying flooring for dementia patients here


 

Latest

Join us for this RIBA Journal PiP Housing & Residential Developments Webinar on 1st February

A slender 40m-span structure replaces the flood-destroyed structure that gave the town of Pooley Bridge its name has been shortlisted for the MacEwen Award

40m-span structure replaces the structure that gave the town of Pooley Bridge its name

Askew Cavanna Architects' redesign of a community centre for black-led charity Full Circle@Docklands has been shortlisted for the MacEwen Award

Askew Cavanna Architects' redesign of a community centre for black-led charity Full Circle@Docklands

Alex Dutton / SNUG Homes' Lockleaze factory in one of the city's most deprived neighbourhoods has been shortlisted for the MacEwen Award

Alex Dutton / SNUG Homes' Lockleaze factory is in one of the city's most deprived neighbourhoods

Dallas-Pierce-Quintero's Culture Palace demonstrates the importance of arts and culture in the recovery of the high street

Dallas-Pierce-Quintero's Culture Palace demonstrates the importance of arts in the recovery of the high street