courtesy the researchers from MIT, Caltech, and ETH Zürich

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and ETH Zürich in Switzerland have completed a new study into materials made from "precisely patterned nanoscale structures," also known as "nanoarchitected" materials, according to an MIT announcement. Using nanometer-scale carbon struts, the researchers developed an ultra-thin, ultralight material that, after a series of microparticle impact experiments, proved highly resilient, especially when compared to steel, Kevlar, and aluminum of comparable weights. "Nanoarchitected materials truly are promising as impact-mitigating materials,” said MIT professor and the study's lead author Carlos Portela in the same release. “There’s a lot we don’t know about them yet, and we’re starting this path to answering these questions and opening the door to their widespread applications.” [MIT]

In more nanoscale structure news, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a material that they're calling "metallic wood," according to a Penn press release. Composed of a nanoscale nickel strut lattice, the material has a wood-like porosity while maintaining the strength of titanium. The lattice also gives the material a distinctive shimmering quality that can reflect a rainbow of colors. "Our new manufacturing approach allows us to make porous metals that are three times stronger than previous porous metals at similar relative density and 1,000 times larger than other nanolattices,” said researcher and Penn professor James Pikul in the same release. [University of Pennsylvania]

The Nabeshima Shoto Park Toilet in Tokyo, by Kengo Kuma
courtesy The Nippon Foundation The Nabeshima Shoto Park Toilet in Tokyo, by Kengo Kuma

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, Hon. FAIA, founder of his eponymous firm Kengo Kuma & Associates, has revealed his contribution to the Tokyo Toilet Project, in which 16 designers reimagine 17 public restrooms in the city. To date Tadao Ando, Hon. FAIA, Shigeru Ban, Hon. FAIA, Nao Tamura, Fumihiko Maki, Hon. FAIA, Takenosuke Sakakura, Masamichi Katayama, and Nigo have also completed public restrooms for the project. Located in Tokyo's Nabeshima Shoto Park, Kuma's project takes the form of a five-hut "toilet village," according to The Nippon Foundation, which manages the project. Each hut is clad with "eared cedar board louvers installed at random angles," aimed at creating the feeling that a visitor is walking through the woods. [The Nippon Foundation]

When a nearby strip mall disrupted the serenity of their Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Mäntylä residence near Duluth, Minn., Peter and Julene McKinney tried to sell the house. But, after the house sat on the market for 10 years, the couple decided to save the house by shipping it almost 1,000 miles away. Tom and Heather Papinchak, owners of Polymath Park—a resort in Acme, Pa., with several Wright-designed or Wright-inspired rentals—carefully dismantled the house and reconstructed it in Polymath Park, where visitors can now rent it for $575 a night. [CBS]

courtesy University of Sussex

Aiming to provide users with an accessible sound-management technique, the London-based materials manufacturer Metasonixx, a spin-out brand from the Universities of Sussex and Bristol, will soon test its SonoblindTM sound-control panels in U.K. hospitals. Developed by researchers from the universities, the lightweight, transparent panels—made from low-cost plastic sheets "re-engineered into 'acoustic metamaterials,'" according to the company—allow light and airflow to pass through while mitigating sound with the same effect as two-inch-thick plywood. As it tests the panels in health care settings, Metasonixx hopes that its panels, which require no energy to use, "reduce the constant noise on busy wards," according to a release from the University of Sussex, mitigating the stress and reduced performance that can result from excessive noise. [University of Sussex]

When global leaders and academics began encouraging companies to monitor and report on their environmental, social, and social good performance, they hoped it might hold massive corporations to account. Over the past two decades, however, some of those corporations have benefited from ESG ratings while inequality and environmental damage have largely risen around the world. "Worse yet, the focus on reporting may actually be an obstacle to progress—consuming bandwidth, exaggerating gains, and distracting from the very real need for changes in mindsets, regulation, and corporate behavior," writes Kenneth Pucker in the latest issue of The Harvard Business Review. [The Harvard Business Review]

Researchers from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center for Architecture Science and Ecology in Troy, N.Y., are using upcycled water bottles to build outdoor dining cabins, hoping to provide safe and sustainable dining structures following the COVID-19 pandemic. Designed in partnership with the Arlington, Va.-based manufacturer Friendship Products, the four-person, timber-framed Friendship Cabins comprise 2,144 interlocking bottles and can withstand winds up to 105 miles per hour. [Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute]

courtesy Gensler and Relativity Space

The global architecture firm Gensler will partner with the Los Angeles–based aerospace manufacturer Relativity Space (makers of the first 3D printed rocket) to redesign a former 93-acre Boeing C-17 manufacturing plant in Long Beach, Calif., transforming the structure into Relativity Space's new headquarters. In addition to providing office space for over 2,000 employees, the 1 million-square-foot project will house a metallurgical laboratory, "DMLS printers, mission control center, as well as dozens of the company’s proprietary Stargate 3D printers, the largest metal 3D printers in the world," according to Relativity Space. [Relativity Space]

It's been just over a week since a 12-story condominium in Miami-Dade county collapsed, killing 20 people, and leaving as many as 128 individuals unaccounted for. The Washington Post interviewed structural engineers and examined photos and videos of the building for its detailed visual investigation into possible causes of the collapse. [The Washington Post]

Christopher Barrett

By 2050, two-thirds of today's commercial buildings will still exist and have a predicted median age of 70 years old. So how can architects retrofit some of these residential structures for a greener future? The Chicago firm HPZS walks ARCHITECT through the process for its Yannell PHIUS+ House, the first single-family passive house renovation in the Midwest. [ARCHITECT]