Architecture in Space: NASA Seeks Architects’ Opinions on Habitat Design for Astronauts

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In the Interim Design Center parking lot of  State Polytechnic University, Pomona, students are constructing a 30 foot experimental structure that could house astronauts in space. Funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (), the year-long research and experimentation project challenges students to design a vertical habitat capable of housing four astronauts in space for a period of 60 days. Not only is this an extreme case of micro-living, but to design a living quarters with no orientation, where walls, floors and ceilings are non-existent, is unworldly.

More after the break…

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TED2013 Begins Today!

Courtesy of 2013

The latest incarnation of TEDTalks has finally arrived with TED2013: The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered. This year’s conference in Long Beach, California will host the largest number of speakers in TED history, more than 70, with more than half coming from TED’s global talent search (which found “some truly astounding youngsters”). Another interesting change for this year? Many will present shorter speeches (most hovering about12 minutes, rather than the traditional 18) .

This year’s conference features some speakers who are particularly interesting for the architecture world. See which ones from the Line-Up we’re most excited to hear from, after the break…

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The Architecture Foundation and We Made That Launch “The Open Office”

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The Architecture Foundation has recently launched a month-long initiative named The Open Office. The scheme, which is described as “part ‘Citizens Urban Advice Bureau’, and part functioning practice” is the brainchild of -based practice We Made That  and will take place in the offices of The Architecture Foundation in Southwark, London until 22nd March. Operating on a walk-in basis, and displaying all work openly, The Open Office aims to engage and educate local communities on issues of architecture, urbanism and planning.

Read more about The Open Office scheme after the break.

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Google Collaborates with NBBJ to Expand California Headquarters

Courtesy of NBBJ

One thing Google has become known for is their spectacular work environments. From playful employee lounges to environmentally sensitive design, the multifaceted internet giant has successfully transformed hundreds of existing spaces from around the globe into casual work environments that spawn innovation, optimizes efficiency, and boasts employee satisfaction. Much like many other California-based corporations, Google has been toying with the idea of building their own office space from scratch. Well, this dream will soon be realized, as the company has teamed up with Seattle-based NBBJ to expand their current, 65-building “Googleplex” in Mountain View, California. By 2015, Google plans to construct a 1.1-million-square-foot complex known as “Bay View” on a neighboring 42-acre site.

More on Bay View after the break…

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AD Recommends: Best of the Week

© Sergio Pirrone

Five great projects from last week that you may have missed! Check out the Hong Kong Institute of Design by CAAU, or the great Wisnu & Ndari House  designed by djuhara + djuhara. Don’t miss GGLLatelier’s Quinta dos Alcoutins in Lisbon, Portugal. Revisit the Xixi Wetland Art Village by chinese practice Wang Weijen Architecture. Finally, take a look at WFH House  by Arcgency, an interesting prefab house made out of containers.

MIT Collaborates with AIA to Research Solutions for Healthy Urban Futures

Courtesy of Flickr User Sandeep Menon Photography

American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) have announced a research collaboration to support  efforts through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), Decade of Design, a measure focused on improving the health of urban communities.  As the global population continues to shift toward urban environments, urban conditions of the past century have become too outdated to address the increase in population and pollution.  In order to advance the state of city livability, professionals in the design and planning fields must reconsider how urban environments need to be designed to work optimally in regards to social, economic and health challenges.  MIT’s collaboration with the profession-based organization of the AIA allows the school’s research to reach the professional world for application and development.  

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3D Printing ProtoHouse 1.0 and ProtoHouse 2.0 / Softkill Design

AA DRL ProtoHouse 1.0 – SoftKill

3D printing technology has made immense leaps in the last few years as equipment and specialized programming has been refined to produced fully occupiable and usable spaces.  In previous articles, ArchDaily has discussed the numerous advances in 3D printing technology and their potential applications. 3D-printed dwellings on the moon made of sand via D-Shape, full-scale rooms via the KamerMaker and a personal printer for your kids called the MakerBot are just some speculative and experimental prototypes that have emerged from extensive research and development.  The designers of the next experiment in 3D printing is design group, Softkill Design, which includes Nicholette Chan, Gilles Retsin, Aaron Silver, and Sophia Tang within the Architectural Association School’s Design Research Lab at the ‘behavioral matter’ studio of Robert Stuart-Smith.  Last year Softkill Design completed ProtoHouse 1.0, a high-resolution prototype of a house printed at 1:33 scale.  Research prototypes were generously supported by Materialise. 

More details on the technology and images of ProtoHouse1.0 after the break.

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Seattle Leads the Way in Tracking Building Energy Use

Courtesy of designbuildsource.com.au

Enthusiasm for water and energy data collection for commercial and residential buildings has been growing strong across the U.S. in major cities such as Austin, New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. It’s no surprise to learn that Earth-friendly is ahead of the game when it comes to tracking its buildings; reports show that the city is receiving data for a whopping 87% of its commercial and multi-residential buildings over 50,000 square feet, which totals to 1,160 individual properties covering over 200 million square feet of the city.

But that’s not all. New cities are hopping on the data collection bandwagon, most recently Minneapolis – the first city in the Midwest to adopt rules for energy benchmarking and disclosure. Other cities who already have a green reputation, such as , are upping their game to adopt this beneficial practice in an effort to create even healthier and more prosperous urban conditions. With the President himself expressing support for cutting energy use by constructing more energy efficient buildings at last week’s State of the Union address, water and energy data collection is finally receiving the attention and consideration it deserves.

More on tracking building energy use after the break… (more…)

Google Glass and Architecture

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Last year, founder Sergey Brin demoed Google Glass a new technology from the big G that puts an augmented reality display in front of your eye. The device is scheduled for early release to developers and creatives (in order to get feedback before the $1,500 product finds its way to the general public) in just a few weeks, but it has already been highly acclaimed by the media (including Best Inventions of the Year 2012 by Time).

On this video released by Google you can understand what all the hype is about. The 0.5″ display supported by a thin aluminium frame is placed in front of your right eye and thanks to its camera it serves as a two way interface with the Internet. As you can see on the video, natural language instructions (“Glass, take photo”, “Glass, record video”, “Glass, How long is the Brooklyn bridge?”) let you easily control the device and not only check emails or send messages, but also to display maps, definitions, and to share photos and videos in real time. In this aspect, the device opens a big door for architecture.

In our field, the experience is very important, and it is a dimension that hasn’t been able to be reproduced in its entirety through traditional media (plans, 2D or even 3D photos). Attempts to make immersive panoramas or the efforts of architecture photographers to embrace videos have extended the representation, but not in a significative way. And this is why travel is an important thing for the architect.

Imagine a tour broadcasted by the architects of the project, with the possibility of instant reader feedback to discuss a particular moment inside the building. Imagine finally experiencing the approach to the Parthenon like Le Corbusier did almost a century ago.

In this aspect, Google Glass will change the way we understand architecture media.

Ten Points for Liveable Cities: Lessons from Singapore

© Flickr User Chooyutshing

As urban populations expand, people are migrating to city centers in search of economic opportunities, which promise social mobility and access to , health resources, and jobs.  Nations once considered in the “third world” are making leaps to accommodate growing populations with thoughtful considerations in designing these new urban capitals.  Population trends have shifted considerably and have contributed to some of the densest urban cities never before seen in history.  The rise in the classification of cities as “mega-cities” and the problems that such high population densities face speak to the fact that our cities have reached a saturation point that needs to addressing.

, an island nation in the Asian Pacific, is the third densest country in the world. Last year the Center for Livable Cities and the Urban Land Institute participated in a summit of leading planners and policy makers to discuss the steps that Singapore was taking in its development in response to its growing urban populations.  The result of the conference was a list of ten points that contribute to making Singapore a livable high dense city.

Follow us after the break for more on the 10 Points for Singapore.

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AIA appoints Mary Ann Lazarus to lead Sustainability and Health Initiative

Haiti Orphanage and Children’s Center HOK and USHBC Partners

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has appointed HOK’s green-building leader , FAIA, to a consulting position as a Resident Fellow.  In this position, Lazarus will help guide and influence a program heavily based in and health as the AIA implements its ten-year pledge to the Decade of Design: Global Urban Solutions Challenge, a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.  The purpose of the commitment is to document, envision and implement solutions that leverage the design of urban environments through research, community participation, and design frameworks.  It is a commitment based in the interest of public health with special attention to the use of natural, economic, and human resources.

More about Mary Ann Lazarus’s work and future at the AIA after the break.

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PechaKucha Celebrates 10 Years!

via PechaKucha

After coming to the realization that architects tend to talk way too much, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture devised a lecture format that ended up revolutionizing the way we present. For the past 10 years, PechaKucha 20×20 has inspired creatives from 600 to informally gather in dimly lit spaces around the globe and conduct 400-second presentations to their friends and colleagues. The beauty of PechaKucha Night is that anyone can participate – as long as they stick to the 20 image, 20 second format – thus providing ample amounts of stimulating information, ideas and inspiration in just a short, booze-filled night. Who wouldn’t like that?

Cheers, PechaKucha, to ten years and many more!

Follow this link to watch video from the 10th anniversary celebration and search through some of the best presentations at pechakucha.org. (more…)

Zaha Hadid to Develop Plans for New London Airport

Zagreb Airport Competition Proposal / ZHA ©

As pressure mounts to solve the ’s aviation crisis, the Mayor of London has appointed Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) alongside a world-class team of aviation experts to develop plans for a new major airport in southeast England. The team is expected to resolve the debate on how and where the capital’s next multi-runway airport hub should be constructed, a decision that will play a critical role in the future of the British economy.

Zaha Hadid said: “This work is essential to deliver the most integrated transport solutions for London and the UK. It will enable London to maintain its position as one of the world’s most important economic, commercial and cultural centers; outlining the city’s future growth and development which has always been founded on global connectivity.”

See who made the list after the break…

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AIA College of Fellows Awards 2013 Latrobe Prize for “The City of 7 Billion”

Courtesy of Plan B Architecture & Urbanism, LLC

The American Institute of Architects () College of Fellows has awarded Bimal Mendis and Joyce Hsiang of the Yale School of Architecture and Plan B Architecture & Urbanism, LLC the 2013 Latrobe Prize of $100,000 for their proposal, “The City of 7 Billion.” The research will study the impact of population growth and resource consumption on the built and natural environment at the scale of the entire world as a single urban entity. An antidote to the fragmentary analyses of current practices, this project will remove arbitrary boundaries and reframe the entire world as a continuous topography of development: the city of 7 billion.

The grant, named for architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, is awarded biennially by the AIA College of Fellows for research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession.

More on “The City of 7 Billion” after the break…

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Do Architects Really Understand the End-User?

Project RE:FOCUS / University of Florida

Since the time of Vitruvius, we architects have pondered the effect that our work might have on those who use the spaces we design; unfortunately, however, we set ourselves up as universal models, judging what ‘works’ or not for the occupants, without any explicit evidence to substantiate those ideas.  Of course, the profession has changed over the last three decades; the experience of the occupant is paramount, and evidence-based design – particularly when it comes to performative environments for work, health and learning – has risen substantially in importance.

But as much as we claim – as architects, interior and urban designers – to understand the people who will occupy the spaces we design, how much do we really? Where does our knowledge come from and how do we use it? Do we help contribute to the evidence? Do our clients (and, if they do, do they pay for it)?

Architectural Research Consultancy (ARC), a company that researches how the built environment affects the way people think, feel and act, is attempting to find out the answers to just these questions. And they’re conducting a brief, anonymous online survey (it takes only 2 minutes) to learn more. They’ll be publishing their data later in the year, and we’ll be sure to share those results with you.

So take the survey here, and when you’re done, let us know in the comments – how much do you feel architects know about the social and psychological needs of occupants? And how much do they actually take them into account in their designs?

Gensler Designs New Silicon Valley Headquarters for Nvidia

Courtesy of Gensler and Kilograph

Silicon Valley visual-computing pioneer has joined the expanding list of tech moguls seeking to transform their work environment into the physical manifestation of their innovative business model. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has released the first schematic renderings – designed by Gensler - that depict a pair of 250,000 square foot triangular motherships centered around collaboration – a complete contrast to the typical, dated office building commonly found throughout Silicon Valley’s “oddly banal” landscape.

More after the break…

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Refurbishing America’s Shopping Mall

The Arcade Providence © PBN/Brian McDonald via PBN

One thing about a recession is that it accelerates the demise of dying trends and struggling establishments. In this case, it is America’s beloved shopping malls, which have been slowly in decline since their peak popularity in 1990. Now, in the wake of the 2008 economic catastrophe, American are riddled with these abandoned shopping meccas, from the mall to big box stores and shopping strips, whose oversize parking lots are equally as useless as the spaces themselves. The question is, how can we effectively repurpose these spaces?

A perfect example after the break…

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San Francisco Paves the Road to Zero Waste

© Flickr user Sudheer G.

Approaching zero-waste is a matter of changing the way our culture thinks about use and reuse.  It’s not an impossible task, and San Francisco is leading the march to establish a feasible means of enacting , structuring programs and educating the public on what it means to be “zero-waste”.  With a goal set for 2020, the Bay City hopes to keep 100% of its waste out of .  Mayor Ed Lee estimates that the leading waste management company “Recology” is diverting nearly 80% of trash from to be recycled or turned into compost.  This begins with a that sets a standard and gains traction as citizens embrace the goals of the city.  Support programs reinforce these guidelines that eventually become habits and a cultural response to treating our environment.

Read on after the break for more on San Francisco’s road to “zero-waste”.

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