DETAIL 3/2019 — Concept: Research and Education


Places of Encounter

The digital revolution has hit research and education particularly hard. Why should students attend a lecture, when the corre-sponding script is available for download? Books are readily available online, and the latest research findings are often published on the internet before anywhere else. Nevertheless, there are many good reasons why institutes of higher learning and research need a strong spatial presence, and these should be reflected by compelling architectural concepts.

For our March issue on buildings for research and instruction, we have compiled a selection of university building projects that have recently been completed in places such as Cambridge, Kassel, Senegal and Peru. Most buildings that accommodate libraries, lecture halls, labs or large and complex programmes share one thing in particular: their architecture pointedly enhances common areas, providing their users with diverse opportunities for leisure and recreation. These can range from informal meeting spaces with comfortable seating, or indoor gyms for a quick game of handball during the lunch break, as found in the buildings of the new campus at Paris-Saclay. Shaded outdoor spaces or common areas flooded with natural light are also popular. The more convincing the spatial quality and benefits for the community, the sooner the architecture will be accepted. Some of the academic campuses are cleverly integrated into the surrounding historical district, as examined in our documentations of the Faculty of Radio and Television in Katowice and the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest.
As places of encounter, these institutions not only need good architecture but must also be met with a sense of open-mindedness and political support. How such issues are being handled in Hungary is explained in our article on the CEU.

Sandra Hofmeiste


Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee founded the architecture firm Johnston Marklee in 1998, in Los Angeles.

They served as Artistic Directors for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial. In 2018 they were named Professors in Practice at Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Mark Lee was appointed Chair of the Architecture Department. They have also taught at major universities including Princeton University, the University of California, Los Angeles, the Technical University of Berlin, and ETH Zurich and have held the Cullinan Chair at Rice University and the Frank Gehry Chair at the University of Toronto.

Johnston Marklee’s work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Menil Collection, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Architecture Museum of TU Munich.


Hill House
View House
Poggio Golo Winery
Grand Traiano Art Complex
House House
Court House
Chile House
Porch House
Butterfly House
Pavilion of Six Views
Hut House
Art Shed
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Ark House
Miami Design District
Casa Demont
Centro de Arte Green Line
UCLA Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios
Canal House


The number 197 of El Croquis is dedicated to the París based practice of Bruther, founded by Stéphanie Bru and Alexandre Therior in 2007, and presents their most relevant projects carried out between 2012 and 2018.

«A Conversation with Stéphanie Bru and Alexandre Theriot» (Free PDF)
Christian Kerez

«Bruther Machinism»
Laurent Stalder


Low Carbon House

25 Housing Units in Paris

Cultural and Sports Centre, Saint-Blaise

Central Library, Helsinki

Good Life, Public Facility

Super L, 160 Viviendas Sociales y un Aparcamiento

60 Social Dwellings, Merignac

New Generation Research Centre

Multifunction Sociocultural and Sports Facility, Le Havre

New Museum of the 20th Century, Berlin

Renovation of a High-Rise Building, Paris

New Life Science Building

Student Residence and Reversible Car Park, Palaiseau

Isalab Building, Engineering School in Anglet

Frame, Media House

14 Housing Units on Rue des Bergers

Julie-Victoire Daubié Residence for Researchers

Renovation of Galeries Lafayette, Pau

Learning Centre in Lumière Lyon 2 University campus

National Centre for the Plastic Arts and Mobilier National Storage Facility

Centro Coreográfico Nacional de Tours




Excerpt from the editorial of the issue structure – published by DETAIL 04/2018:

Not every good idea becomes a building. However, with tenacity and an adequate building budget, even innovative concepts can be occasionally realised. An example is the reverberation gallery in the renovated Berlin State Opera, the load-bearing lattice structure of which was moulded from phosphate ceramic.

The buildings also deal with the materialisation of completely different architectural concepts. Maximum transparency was required for the metro entrance structures in Brescia, while the roof of the Macallan Distillery in Scotland seamlessly integrates into a natural landscape. For the Morpheus Hotel in Macau, the engineers had to give a completely irregular shape a regular load-bearing structure. Teatro BioBío in Concepción was different again: a regular but slim orthogonal reinforced concrete grid frame had to be designed for earthquake loads.

A multistorey timber frame characterises the International House in Sydney and the Expo 2015 Chile Pavilion. In the latter, the structural engineers’ task was to design a building to be erected twice – first in Milan and then in its final location in Temuco, southern Chile. The fascination exercised by this “mobile building” was also recognised by the jury of this year’s Detail Prize. It awarded the pavilion the special prize in the category “structure”.

Jakob Schoof


The current edition structure 01/2018 introduces outstanding engineering accomplishments such as the new Queensferry Crossing cable-stayed bridge across the Firth of Forth in Scotland with its 210 metre (683ft) high towers and a total span of more than 2.7 kilometres (1.7 miles). It also documents other exciting structural solutions such as the open trusses of a deli market in Stuttgart or the expressive steel construction of a pedestrian bridge in Beer Sheba in Israel. A technology presentation centre in Chicago is the basis for showing how a piece of structural engineering that can be walked on can itself be an exhibition piece.

In an accompanying feature article in the first part of the edition Werner Sobek points out the comprehensive responsibility that the engineers must carry for the construction of the future. Finally, two technical articles deal with very different and special structural solutions made with concrete: a complex shell form as a roof structure and a folded-plate roofing with a large span for an office building.


One of the most unusual building sites of ­recent years, the summit station for the Zugspitze cable car, shows how engineers also have to find appropriate solutions for building under extreme conditions. An article in this ­issue of structure describes the special challenges of this project.

The other projects demonstrate that special situations can call for unconventional structural engineering solutions –such as the delicately proportioned and open vehicle decks that allow extensive views from the inner-city parking garage in Bordeaux. In the conversion of the Alstrom warehouses into the new Nantes School of Art, the designers replaced most of the existing sawtooth-roof structure with a modern version, yet still managed to draw on the atmosphere of the original halls. A place of transcendental character was created with the Memorial Hall at Herzlberg west of Jerusalem. The interior is defined by a central sculpture made of ingeniously connected ­aluminium blocks. All the articles emphasise the important role in society played by civil and structural engineers.

Andreas Gabriel


Excerpt from the editorial of the issue structure – published by DETAIL 03/2018:

A large proportion of building projects today involve the conversion of existing stock. On economic and ecological grounds, the transformation of existing structures will play an even greater role in construction in the future. The modification of structures to meet new ¬requirements or urban planning conditions is not only necessary, it is also an extremely ¬interesting and challenging task. How the precise integration of the existing and new can become the key issue in a building redesign is demonstrated in the conversion of the former Schlotterbeck car garage in Zurich into a striking commercial and residential complex. Unconventional ideas and approaches from structural engineers contributed considerably to the success of this project. The unconventional was also evident in the design of the ESO Supernova, the new planetarium at the European Southern Observatory on TU Munich’s Garching campus. The free-form wall shells comprising the structure and facade were designed using software specially adapted for this project to achieve the highest precision in design and construction. Despite the extraordinarily complicated urban context in which the new Kienlesberg Bridge in Ulm was built, the designers still achieved a coherent blend of structural engineering and architecture. Just in time for the opening in September 2018, structure highlights the special challenges of the design process.

Andreas Gabriel


The new magazine focusses on engineering work that enables outstanding structures. It showcases selected buildings and structures with in-depth documentation and thus highlights the diverse contributions of structural engineers to the build environment.

4 issues per year (Mar., June, Sept., Dec.)

Topics 2019structure 1.19 (March) 
 Steel construction | Bridge building | Fastening technology | BIM
▪ structure 2.19 (June) 
 Timber construction |Unitised construction | Glass and facade | BIM
▪ structure 3.19 (September) 
 Masonry construction | Lift and transport technology | Heat and humidity insulation | BIM
▪ structure 4.19 (December) 
 Concrete construction, reinforcement and formwork technology | Tunnel construction | Fire and sound insulation | BIM
(Subject to change)

Can architecture lie? In other words, when is a building “honest” about the materials used in it? The debate regarding the authenticity of materials, on the one hand, and artful disguise, on the other, has been an integral component of architectural discourse for centuries. In the current issue of Detail, we explore how categories are shifting in the light of new technical possibilities.

In Zürich, for example, Diener & Diener enveloped the new administrative centre of Swiss Re in a filigree curtain of curved glass. The gentle wave effect not only adds depth to the outside of the building but also divides it up in a classic way, i.e. into base, middle section and two attic storeys. In Stockholm, Urban Design and Gottlieb Paludan Architects covered the steel skeleton of a combined heat-and-power station in large terracotta tiles. Finally, in Grândola in southern Portugal, Aires Mateus enclosed the new sculpture-like old-people’s meeting centre in a smooth-plastered composite thermal insulation system. Is that dishonest? And how is material honesty defined in the case of composite materials like the large sandwich panels that Alejandro Soffia used for a semi-detached house on the Pacific coast of Chile?

In all the projects in this issue, the materials used determine what the building expresses. And all of them show that previous certainties applied to the evaluation of materials have begun to change, a fact that is especially true where 3D printing is used to join materials together. This method is adopted in order to print sandstone elements with bonding agents made of synthetic resin or a steel bridge where nobody exactly knows whether the material used in it can even absorb tensile stress. These and other examples in our technical article show that a new technology looks for the appropriate design language, whereby the task of separating useful approaches from inappropriate ones often still has to be performed. Nevertheless, we will undoubtedly continue to use 3D printing – the hoped-for time- and cost-savings as well as the freedom of design associated with it are simply too big.

Sandra Hofmeister, Jakob Schoof and the editorial team


Эта книга является руководством для архитекторов по цифровому проектированию, которое представляет различные инструменты, проверенные многолетним опытом, и практические рекомендации. В современной архитектуре и дизайне интерьера процесс проектирования практически полностью компьютеризован, а проекты должны быть представлены качественными и информативными визуализациями. В книге использованы примеры из практики бюро UNStudio.