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Asian Architecture Is Leading The Way In Eco-Friendly Living

Architectural designs and techniques have always changed throughout history. As of late, Asian architecture is moving forward in their designing, echoing changes in styles, cultures, and civilizations. Asian design has always been intricate as well as minimalist. Between elaborate Chinese architecture and Japanese minimalism, there are Balinese romantic styles.

Asian architectural styles have always been influenced by the Western and European designs. They have taken the modern, contemporary Western cultures and blended it with the laid back culture of the Europeans. Architectures are now creating designs that reflect eco-friendly concepts that have become increasingly popular. Asian architectures have managed to blend their culture into modern homes and other structures. Due to Asia’s rich architectural unique history, you can easily recognize their culture that is deeply embedded in their designs.


Traditional and Modern Blended To Perfection

The Japanese have always been leaders in innovative ideas and are showing their skills with the materials and colors they choose which echo contemporary while still keeping their special traditional forms. Steep gable roofs with intricate overhangs and vertical timbered walls will always be a part of their architectural designs.

The Chinese are also toying with blending modern and traditional architecture. In the world of architecture, ancient Chinese architecture is still very important and must be maintained. This includes the use of stone carvings, timber frameworks in buildings and around courtyards. Visiting villages and cities around China still have these marvelous ancient elements but are now sharing their space with modern development. China has clearly shown that traditional and modern can work well together and there is no need to reject what has worked for centuries.

Consumed By Simplicity

The Japanese are consumed with a simplicity which has taken the world by storm. Minimalism has always played a very important role in their heritage from rooms containing only one item to just a cleaner, more simple design in furnishings. Rooms and furnishings, in the Japanese culture, should be functional vs decorative. They have always believed the philosophy that less is more.

Bringing Balance

Irregularity is found everywhere in modern day Chinese architecture from their palaces to their farm houses. The idea of open space has been created with openings in roofs that are replacing large, ancient courtyards.

Irregularity and Balance

Both of these elements are extremely important in Asian architectural designing. This includes the lines and colors of furniture. This concept compliments the traditional culture with a more modern approach to design.

Eco-friendly and Sustainability

Narrow residences are very common place throughout Osaka but these living spaces are offering better insulation and open areas allowing for natural light and air to enter the buildings. This has become a very popular choice of residents.

Singapore is also leading the way in building more eco-friendly buildings throughout the region. Clever designs and energy-efficient technologies are now what modern buildings are representing. Features such as skylights, solar panels, energy efficient elevators, good ventilation systems and carbon dioxide monitoring systems have taken the place of old ideas.

Developing countries, such as the Philippines, are now opting for condo-style homes and wanting more eco-friendly elements. Technologies that allow more natural light and air to flow through their living quarters is extremely important. Large openings in the building facade, three-story openings in the front and the back of the buildings are taking first place.

Without a doubt, Asian architecture is taking more responsibility with green structures that are being regarded as excellent investments.

Natural Materials For Construction

The typical Korean house in Hanok design, speaks clearly of the East Asian architectural trends. With strict Confucian techniques, prefabricated wooden structures are quickly assembled on location. These new homes are 100% natural, biodegradable, and can be easily recycled.

One of the most popular Asian tropical designs is Balinese architecture. These designs are created to be in complete harmony with nature. They are using natural, local materials for homes and buildings including thatch roofs, coconut wood, bamboo poles, bricks, and stone are now a part of the modern Balinese structures. A tropical atmosphere in Balinese architecture is still a strong influence in the modern world while adding romance and poetry to the mix.

Green Steel In Asia

Creating green spaces throughout the continent incorporates sustainable materials including bamboo. Bamboo is referred to as the green steel in Asian architectural design. It’s cheaper, a great deal more flexible, and much more sustainable. Local materials for homes and designer pieces have definitely taken over the architectural scene. You will find bamboo buildings throughout Japan, China, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The Philippines is one of the world’s leading producers of bamboo including the export of furniture and other items.


The most popular design in Asian condo buildings is tropical. Homes are being built with a double purpose. A place to call home or a serene getaway. It’s like having a home that serves as a holiday retreat. The homes have a resort atmosphere within the living features with beautifully landscaped lush gardens and Koi ponds. While Balinese designing has a very tropical atmosphere, Singapore is opting for sky habitats and greenery vs their common concrete designs of the past. Visitors have a sense of the tropics in a very urbanized country. The entire design gives people a place to escape to which is becoming very important in an overly modern world.


Peace, serenity, and zen come to mind when viewing this new Asian architectural design. You enter and find immediate calmness. Listen to the gentle sound of a waterfall or the air wafting with incense. Zen is everywhere.

Alcoves, natural fiber, oriental items, and organic colors are now becoming a strong influence in Western architecture. Everything is moving way too fast in this day and age, people are reaching out to find some peace and tranquility. What better way than through zen designs that are becoming very high in demand. Architectural innovations are echoing throughout regions from homes to other buildings. The use of stone, wood and clean lines with subdued colors and geometric accents are simple and organic.

Asian architectural designs have always had a blend of tradition and culture. They have always been greatly influenced by their rich history, but that does not mean they are not moving forward with new ideas and eco-friendly ideas. Asian architecture now incorporates modern technologies that blend with nature. They have become the world leaders in green living and eco-friendly constructions that will definitely make important statements for generations to come. The Asians have found the perfect balance of modern living along with their very special culture still intact.

Western cultures are finally jumping on board with designs that are environmentally friendly and using materials that are sustainable and cost efficient. People, worldwide are looking for cleaner living alternatives and a special place to escape the hustle and bustle of modern and life and find a little tranquility.

Paying closer attention to Asian architecture, western architects are designing in a new fashion that everyone is looking for.


The value and influence of Professional Architectural Photography

Architects spend many years planning, designing and creating their architectural ideas and hoping for the recognition they believe should follow.  That said, most architects are not looking for the fame and the notoriety of someone like Frank Lloyd Wright, but everyone wants recognition for their hard work.  From the first sketch to the last cornerstone, it takes a great deal of vision and an enormous passion.

The upside for architects in today’s environment, they can be seen by their peers and many others through magazines and websites.Even though architectural websites and magazines might be interested in a given design, they do not want uninteresting, boring photos that you shot at various times of the day but do not showcase the architecture itself.  Professionals and novices, alike, are welcome to submit images to these places, but they must stand out and not lack inspiration.

Even though architectural websites and magazines might be interested in a given design, they do not want uninteresting, boring photos that you shot at various times of the day but do not showcase the architecture itself.  Professionals and novices, alike, are welcome to submit images to these places, but they must stand out and not lack inspiration.

This is where a new marketing niche has sprung up, the field of the architectural photographer!  Just because an architect has the gift of design and can create amazing structures, does not mean they are brilliant at photography!  Professional photographers who have jumped on this relatively new niche realize how important it is to create outstanding, captivating images of a given structure.  A good photographer fully understands that the images of an architect’s creation must command the same attention as the the architect’s vision.

Professional architectural photographers know that the beauty of a structure must be captured in their photographs.  They know that what they capture could decide the success of the architect’s work.  A leading architectural photographer will successfully capture the uniqueness of an interior, both in design and lighting while showcasing the building’s distinctive angles.  Photos should never appear as cold and distant but should apply time-sensitive shots that an amateur does not have the ability to do.

Architectural design firms are always looking for photographers that will bring their designs to life while enhancing their firm’s customer base.  The quality of excellent photography overrides what amateurs able to achieve.  Through natural lighting, attention to details, and emphasizing the structure will speak volumes.  Professional architectural photographers will go out of their way to stay away from distractions in order to capture the overall integrity of the photos.

One of the leading challenges for an architectural photographer is the best lighting.  Unless they are highly experienced with artificial lighting, they should stay away from it, especially with large structures.  Their shots must come across as simple and effortless while highlighting the best assets of a building in a very natural way without causing alterations to the image.


An architect must collaborate with the right people to complete their designs with the right finale.  When hiring the right photographer, an architect must take a few things into consideration:

The architect must decide why they want photographs taken and where or how they will be used.

They should interview professional architectural photographers by letting them understand why photographs need to be taken and provide the overall theme of the building.

When a professional photographer fully understands the actual architecture, they will appreciate the technical challenges that lie ahead of them.  The best time for photo shots of the building should be taken into consideration.  The interior of a building should be photographed when the building is brand new.  On the other hand, taking photos of the exterior should not happen for an entire year.  This gives the landscaping a chance to grow and mature which will accentuate the building’s structure.  Photographing the exterior directly after construction will make the building appear cold and unapproachable.

The architect must keep in mind, the photographs should reflect the quality, artistic style, credibility and professionalism of the entire design.  He or she should have a firm understanding of the design’s purpose in order to capture it correctly.  They must capture the personality of the building while transforming it into a beautiful work of art.

A professional, talented architectural photographer will be able to clearly see and highlight the artistic beauty and functional details of the building.  Their images should bring the building to life while drawing attention to its unique aspects.

Creating notoriety and recognition in the architectural world will take more than the sketching of a vision and the final cornerstone.  The final structure must be brought to light for the whole world to see.  All your years of creating the perfect design and implementing it into a blueprint are wasted with poor photography.  Your photographer must understand your vision and capture it for years to come.

The field of architectural photography has exploded and design firms are looking for those who will bring their designs and artists recognition.  A highly qualified, professional photographer is in great demand.  Understanding what the architecture is saying and its impact on the surrounding area is imperative.   This is just as critical as when Frank Lloyd Wright took the surrounding environment and implemented designs that made them become one.  Unlike Wright, today’s architects have the internet and power of the press.  Somewhere out there is the next Frank Lloyd Wright looking for the architectural photographer to capture an amazing moment for future recognition.


Some Techniques Used By Photographers:

Walk around the exterior and interior of the building.  Look around at the ceiling, moldings or a beautiful staircase.  The obvious subject might not be what’s directly in front of them but just a little bit off.

Tripods are used for a number of reasons but especially to prevent movement or while using a much slower shutter speed.

Always remain patient when looking for the perfect light.  When shooting interiors, light coming through a window can offer a very dramatic affect and add quality to an image.  Early morning or late afternoon light have totally different affects on textures and patterns.

White balance is very important when shooting at night or indoors.  Photographers will keep a close eye on the color temperature of artificial light as it can change the perceived color of the building.

Photographers can take advantage of a cloudy or rainy day.  Whether conditions can soften lines and shadows for a new perspective.  Puddles can add an interesting look for the exterior of a structure.

Reflections, if worked properly, can be quite dramatic.  Mirrors or windows reflect light but will also reflect the photographer if he or she is not careful!

Textures on walls, floors or ceilings will interact with the light that is present at the time.

A good photographer must know their equipment.  The best shots will come from a camera that is set to its native resolution.  Digital cameras operate at best when set to their native ISO for the best results.

Zaha Hadid 1950 – 2016

On March 31st, 2016 the world lost one of the foremost architects and pioneers in the industry. Zada Hadid was just 65 years old when she passed away from a heart attack, but she managed to live an extraordinary life that made her one of the most unique architects who ever lived.

The work of Zaha Hadid over her lifetime was truly remarkable. She brought a zest for style and beauty that was unlike anything seen before in the design of buildings. Her accomplishments are many and her followers a growing part of the architect community. What impressed me most about her work was the fearlessness of her work in abandoning the standard geometry of architecture to create sweeping, fluid visions that reflects modern life.

Her story is one that has garnered considerable interest and her accomplishments will inspire architects for many years to come.


The Story of Zaha Hadid

Born on October 31st, 1950 into an upper-class Muslim family in Baghdad, Iraq, Zaha’s father was a very wealthy industrialist who came from Mosul and co-founded the al-Ahali group in 1932. He later co-founded the National Democratic Party in Iraq while her mother was a noted artist who had travelled abroad. Perhaps it was the combination of influences that inspired Zaha to pursue her own future as an architect.

Like her parents, Zaha also saw much of the world in her younger days, studying mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving to London in 1972 and studying at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. Her talents were immediately noticed after her graduation by her now former professors. She worked for them in the Office of Metropolitan Architecture located in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Although she faced many challenges as a woman in a male-dominated field, her talents were encouraged by those like Rem Koolhaas and Peter Rice, an engineer who helped guide her career and provide some of the confidence needed for her to succeed.


Zaha’s Career Takes Off

Thanks to the support she receive, but mostly through her own drive and determination, Zaha established her own architecture practice in London in 1980 and over the next several years started earning more respect and admiration for her work. However, it was the exhibition called “Deconstructivism in Architecture” in 1988 that really broke out her work. A submission of some of her drawings were put on display at the New York Museum of Modern Art during the exhibition which garnered considerable acclaim for the beauty, power, and originality of her designs.

By this time, Zaha had taught at the Harvard Graduate School of design and achieved a Kenzo Tange Professorship in the Architectural Association. By the turn of the 1990s, her teaching career in the field of architecture was growing by leaps and bounds thanks to serving as a guest professor at various universities around the world


Zaha’s Work Comes to Life

At this point, Zaha began doing various high profile work that garnered her considerable attention and fame thanks to her vibrant, beautiful designs that captured the imagination of all those who saw what she could accomplish. She created the notable Mind Zone at the Millennium Dome in London and showed her hand at furniture design at Home House, a private members club located in Marylebone, and even crafted a design for a three-wheeled vehicle, the Z.Car which is hydrogen powered. In addition, Zaha impressed everyone with her fashion designs as part of her association with Locoste, a clothing brand. There was seemingly no limit to her work or incredible designs that flowed across different landscapes. Her vibrant imagination combined with her extensive training in mathematics to make her bold, fierce designs a reality. While she enjoyed considerable success in these fields, it was architecture that ultimately gave her the best platform of her imagination.


The Works of Zaha Hadid

There are numerous projects that were completed in her lifetime as well as ongoing projects that will be developed from her designs over the next several years. Here is a partial list of some of the most inspired and important works from Zaha Hadid.
•    Bergisel Ski Jump, Innsbruck, Austria
•    Hotel Puerta America, Madrid, Spain
•    BMW Central Building, Leipzig Germany
•    Vitra Fire Station, Weil am Rhein, Germany
•    Ordrupgaard Annex, Copenhagen, Denmark
•    Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
•    Maggie’s Centres, Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, Scotland
•    Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion
•    R. Lopez De Heredia Wine Pavilion, Haro, La Rioja, Spain
•    Bridge Pavilion, Zaragoza, Spain
•    London Aquatics Centre, 2012 Summer Olympics, London, England
•    Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
•    Pierresvives, Montpellier, France
•    Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
•    MAXXI: National Museum of 21st Century Arts, Rome, Italy
•    CMA CGM Tower, Marseilles, France
•    Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, USA
•    Library and Learning Center, Vienna University of Economics and Business
•    Roca London Gallery, London, England
•    Evelyn Grace Academy, Brixton, London, England
•    Mandarin Oriental, Dellis Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands
•    King Abdullah Petroleum Studies & Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
•    Citylife Office Tower, Milan, Italy
•    Jockey Club Innovation Tower, Hong Kong
•    Napoli Afragola Railway Station, Italy
•    Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul, South Korea
•    Salerno Maritime Terminal, Salerno, Italy

Zaha’a remarkable wealth of designs is only partially complete as a number of them that are still being constructed or pending remain to be brought into this world. However, for her great gifts at architecture, there are five personal favorites of mine that stand out from the rest.


Five of My Favorite Zaha Works
Of the many works that she accomplished in her lifetime, there are some that rank as the most remarkable of her career and inspiration for architects to think outside the box when it comes to fashioning designs. Her greatest strength was the ability to channel her interior vision into reality and creating something that had never been seen before. Plus, far from being impractical or simply odd designs, Zaha managed to make them leap to life in a manner that was both dreamlike and grounded in reality. They defied the standards of our time, yet they became inspirations for architects of today and tomorrow to learn and reach into their own interior visions that truly make them special.



Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre, Baku, Azerbaijan: While much of Zaha’s work is defined by straight and angular lines, this particular building is noted for its curved, wave-like appearance. With sections that seem to bubble up like a wave forming on the ocean, this remarkable design is one that inspires real beauty. There is a pleasant, clean appearance to this incredible design that is certainly one of her most eye-catching.


Libraryand LearningCenter

Library and Learning Center, Vienna, Austria: Another astounding work, this one seems to leap right from a dream as most of the building appears to be stacks or layers built from the ground up to carry the large section that almost teeters over the side. Striking, beautiful, and marvelous to behold, this is certainly one of the most stunning works from Zaha’s vivid imagination.



Phaeno Science Center, Wolfsburg, Germany: Sharp angles and bold design are a part of Zaha’s trait when it comes to architectural originality and this work follows those lines beautifully. It truly stands out for its unique shape and vibrant design.



Riverside Museum, Glasgow, Scotland: The wave-like structure of the walls that help make up this museum stand as a testament to Zaha’s own interior vision and making it a reality. The result is a sweeping accomplishment that is simply one of the most breathtaking of her career.



Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, Ohio: Completed in 2003, this particular work is very inspiring not only because it is Zaha Hadid’s first design constructed in the United States, but also because of the simple, unique nature of the building itself. It is a work of art thank to the unique structures that create separate environments within a single, uniform design. This work is very special and brought out Zaha’s talent for her dream-like vision grounded in mathematical reality as it flows evenly.

All of these works and the many more that bless the Earth came from her active imagination that was grounded in mathematical reality. However, it must be noted that new, more flexible materials and improved construction techniques paved the way for many of her visions to become reality. While they must be recognized for the contribution to the success of Zaha’s designs, it was still her vibrant imagination that brought them into our world.

We lost Zaha Hadid at the way-too-young age of 65 from a sudden heart attack as she was being treated in a Miami hospital. However, while she is no longer on this Earth to create even more of her marvelous works, what she has accomplished in terms of being a Muslim woman who became a pioneer in the field of architecture will stand the test of time.