VIDEO: “Bionic” Architecture That Moves When You Do

The Brooklyn based firm The Principals are known for their interactive design, industrial design and work. The video above hi-lights their latest “bionic” , which actually responds and reacts to human movement thanks to myoelectric sensors that pick up voltage increases on the skin when a muscle contracts. To learn more head over to their website - and make sure to check out all of The Principals other installations featured on ArchDaily.

Competition for LEED: GBI’s Green Globes Shakes Up Building Certification

The Clinton Presidential Center, in Little Rock, Arkansas, designed by Polshek Partnership and Hargreaves Associates received a rating of Two Green Globes from the GBI. Image © Timothy Hursley

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), with its advantages and disadvantages, has dominated the green building certification market for a long time. But now alternatives – like the GBI‘s Green Globes, the Living Building Challenge, and Build It Green – are beginning to emerge. So how does a competitor like Green Globes shape up in comparison to LEED? And what does this developing competition mean for green rating systems in general? To learn more, keep reading after the break.

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The World’s Fair New York State Pavilion to Be Digitally Preserved

CyArk And The Plan To Digitally Preserve The 1964 World’s Fair New York State Pavilion. Image © Marco Catini

If you haven’t heard of CyArk yet, make sure to check out their recent Kickstarter project. The not-for-profit company digitally preserves some of the world’s most important sites: including Easter Island, Mt. Rushmore and The Pantheon, to name a few. Now the group is headed to New York to preserve Philip Johnson and Lev Zetlin’s 1964 World’s Fair New York State Pavilion. Since the fair ended, the pavilion has fallen into disrepair and been heavily vandalized. With assistance from the University of Central Florida, they plan to release the digitally preserved 3D files to the public, for free. To help preserve this “National Treasure,” check out their Kickstarter page.

Unified Architectural Theory: Chapter 4

Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye manifests his “rules” for architecture: “Lift the building from sitting with its basement in the earth, to being suspended on posts (pilotis). Only curtain-wall construction is allowed. Roofs have to be flat. Windows can only be horizontal and will extend from one load-bearing pillar to another, which makes them very wide (narrow and long)”. Image © Flavio Bragaia

We will be publishing Nikos Salingaros’ book, Unified Architectural Theory, in a series of installments, making it digitally, freely available for students and architects around the world. The following chapter discusses the complexity of form languages and describes how to use the form language checklist to measure these complexities. If you missed them, make sure to read the introductionChapter OneChapters 2A and Chapter 2B, and Chapter 3 first.

There exists a volume of writings by architects in the early 20th century, and we can look through them for the form languages of Modernism. Unfortunately, the useful material turns out to be very little, most of it describing not a form language but rather marketing and declarations of a political nature. Moreover, those pieces of very personal form languages are presented as normative theories: a prescription of what to do and what not to do, with the weight of universal ethics, even though they are based solely on opinion, not empirical observations or systematic study.

Here are some practical lists of rules I have found by Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier.

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Happy Cities and Stranger Danger: An Interview with DIALOG’s Bruce Haden

© Trevor Brady

In this article, first published by Indochino as “What makes some buildings happy?” architect Bruce Haden, principal at DIALOG in Vancouver, discusses why some places feel good to be in and why some just have that awkward, quiet feeling.

Award-winning architect and urban planner. Dad. Researcher on happy vs. lonely cities. We talked to Bruce Haden about why some places feel good to be in, and some just have that awwwkward, quiet feeling.

Bruce Haden has only been an architect and a bartender. So ask him what he likes about it, and his answer is he doesn’t really know anything else. In high school, he didn’t want to pick between calculus and woodshop, so he ended up in a profession that’s part art, part engineering (and a fair amount of politics). Now, he works on a lot of large, public buildings. But he also spends a lot of time thinking about happy and lonely cities. He talks about how working with a client is like dating, why some buildings are worth being in and others are just empty, and whether adventure or luxury wins.

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Six “Miracle” Materials That Will Change Their Industries

The following six “miracle” could be headed straight into your home, office, car and more. Dina Spector at Business Insider recently rounded up the six most promising materials. As of now, their potential applications have just scratched the surface, but the possibilities are endless. Presented by AD Materials.

Scientists are constantly on the look out for lighter, stronger, and more -efficient materials. Here’s a glance at some materials that will change the way we build things in the future.

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Architecture for Humanity Toronto Launches Lecture Series: “Incremental Strategies for Vertical Neighborhoods”

Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity

According to the most recent national census in Canada, almost half of Toronto residents are immigrants, one-third of whom arrived in the past ten years. To allow the city to adapt to this surging flow of immigrants, Architecture for Humanity Toronto (AFHTO) has called upon students and professionals from various backgrounds to rethink Toronto’s urban fabric – and, in particular, its high-rise developments – by establishing a series of lectures and workshops entitled “Incremental Strategies for Vertical Neighborhoods.”

At the inaugural event a few weeks ago, Filipe Balestra of Urban Nouveau* was invited to speak about his work and contribute to a design charrette inspired by the City of Toronto’s program. For more on Balestra and the event, keep reading after the break.

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The Hudson Yards – New Development, “Smart” Development

’s “Culture Shed” is awaiting approval, but other projects are already underway in the 28 Acre Hudson Yards development. Image Courtesy of and Rockwell Group

The largest private project New York City has seen in over 100 years may also be the smartest. In a recent article on Engadget, Joseph Volpe explores the resilience of high-tech ideas such as clean energy and power during Sandy-style storms. With construction on the platform started, the Culture Shed awaiting approval, and Thomas Heatherwick designing a 75-Million dollar art piece and park – the private project is making incredible headway. But with the rapidly evolving, how do investors know the won’t become obsolete before its even built?

A Delicate Endeavor: The Restoration of Modern Masterpieces by Schindler, Lautner, and The Eameses

Ehrlich Architects’ restored Rudolf Schindler house in Inglewood, Calif. Image © Grant Mudford

How do you make a space more livable by current standards, while simultaneously upholding the original architect’s design intentions? It’s a delicate endeavor, but one that was recently accomplished by a couple of architects in Southern California. Originally published by AIArchitect as “Pacific Coast Sun Rises on Modernist House Restorations,” this article investigates the thoughtful restorations of three homes designed by the pioneering modernists Rudolph Schindler, John Lautner, and .

Los Angeles’ early Modernist pioneers are no longer around to oversee the restoration of homes they designed more than a half-century ago, but their landmark projects are offering a new generation of designers historic case studies in Modernist preservation that grow more and more significant with each passing day. Vintage architectural renderings and drawings, photos, and notes are all ingredients these architects use to summon the spirits of Rudolph Schindler, John Lautner, and Charles and Ray Eames, to name a few, bringing their early works of California Modernism back to life.

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Big Ideas, Small Buildings: Some of Architecture’s Best, Tiny Projects

Suzuko Yamada, Pillar House, Tokyo, Japan. Image © Iwan Baan/TASCHEN

This post was originally published in The Architectural Review as “Size Doesn’t Matter: Big Ideas for Small Buildings.

Taschen’s latest volume draws together the architectural underdogs that, despite their minute, whimsical forms, are setting bold new trends for design.

When economies falter and construction halts, what happens to architecture? Rather than indulgent, personal projects, the need for small and perfectly formed spaces is becoming an economic necessity, pushing designers to go further with less. In their new volume Small: Architecture Now!, Taschen have drawn together the teahouses, cabins, saunas and dollhouses that set the trends for the small, sensitive and sustainable, with designers ranging from Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban to emerging young practices.

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Opinion: Architecture Should Not Cost Lives

Large construction site for a new mall at the beach located at Dubai Marina. Image © a-image / Shutterstock.com

Is it more dangerous to be a soldier or a construction worker? Astonishingly, it’s the latter. According to a recent report in the Guardian, 448 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan  since 2001. In the same period, 760 construction workers died on British building sites.

Life is cheap at the dirty end of architecture and not just in the UK. The number of fatalities of largely migrant workers from the Indian subcontinent imported to implement Qatar’s architectural ambitions, notably the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup, has been the subject of much hand-wringing discussion. And rightly so − over 400 Indian and Nepali building workers died in Qatar in 2013, and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has warned that up to 4,000 workers may die before a ball is finally kicked in 2022.

If 400 people perished in a plane crash, there would be exhaustive inquiries into aircraft safety, lessons would be learnt and strategies of improvement implemented. There would also be a palpable sense of loss and accountability. But a fatality here and there on a construction site over a period of time does not have the same galvanizing impetus.

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Twenty Years Later, What Rural Studio Continues to Teach Us About Good Design

Lions Park Scout Hut. Image © Rennie Jones

Hale County, is a place full of architects, and often high profile ones. The likes of Todd Williams and Billie Tsien have ventured there, as have Peter Gluck and Xavier Vendrell, all to converge upon Auburn University’s Rural Studio. Despite the influx of designers, it is a place where an ensemble of all black will mark you as an outsider. I learned this during my year as an Outreach student there, and was reminded recently when I ventured south for the Studio’s 20th Anniversary celebration. While the most recent graduates took the stage, I watched the ceremony from the bed of a pick-up truck, indulging in corn-coated, deep-fried catfish, and reflected on what the organization represents to the architecture world.

Since its founding in 1993 by D.K. Ruth and Samuel Mockbee, the Studio has built more than 150 projects and educated over 600 students. Those first years evoke images of stacked tires coated with concrete and car windshields pinned up like shingles over a modest chapel. In the past two decades, leadership has passed from Mockbee and Ruth to the current director, Andrew Freear, and the palette has evolved to feature more conventional , but the Studio remains faithful to its founding principal: all people deserve good design. Now that it is officially a twenty-something, what can Rural Studio teach us about good design?

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Trading “Should” for “Could”: Opening up Debate on the Obama Library Design

The Clinton Presidential Center, in Little Rock, Arkansas, designed by Polshek Partnership and Hargreaves Associates. Image © Timothy Hursley

Originally published in as “Possibilities over Prescriptions,” this article by Marshall Brown suggests that we open up the conversation to a wider range of possibilities for the Barack Obama Presidential Library. Brown asks “Rather than narrowing the president’s choices based on race, what if the field of candidates could be expanded?”

The official process to build the Barack Obama Presidential Library has finally been launched. After years of gossip and rumors about architects and sites, this could be the moment for some intelligent and informed debate among the design community. Unfortunately, the conversation so far has been dominated by narrow prescriptions about what the library should be, who should design it, and where it should be located, as opposed to broader speculation about what it could be. So I propose that, rather than making prescriptions to the president based on a narrow set of perceived realities, we can help him by expanding the conversation and laying out a broader set of possibilities.

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Terunobu Fujimori’s Soft-Hard Zinc House Opens Near Tokyo

Soft-hard looking zinc house. Image © Maria Novozhilova

A new private house designed by an exceptional Japanese architect, , has opened. The new building is located in a small provincial town near to Tokyo. Neighbored by typical one-family residences, the newcomer comes to the fore. Different, shiny and apparently soft metallic façade catches the visitor’s eye. 

Yet the scale of the building is much smaller than one might expect. Every height, width and depth are accurately measured and left from a certain point of view spatially stingy: no waste is admissible here.

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O+A: In Search of Optimal Office Design

The Giant Pixel Corporation: This software development company in San Francisco occupies three tight floors of largely open-plan space. “We tried to provide different levels of acoustical privacy,” says O+A cofounder Denise Cherry. “The fully enclosed conference room is for confidential conversations, but you also have in-between spaces, like the canopied cabanas, which are connected to the work area—connected to the open plan—but still have some acoustic and even some visual separation.” Conference room ceiling made of recording-studio foam manufactured by Auralex. Image © Jasper Sanidad

Although office design has dramatically and drastically changed over the course of the 20th century, we aren’t finished yet. San Francisco firm O+A is actively searching for today’s optimal office design, designing work spaces to encourage both concentration and collaboration by merging elements from the cubicle-style office with those popularized by Steve Jobs. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “Noises Off,” Eva Hagberg takes a look at some of their built works.

In the beginning was the cubicle. And the cubicle was almost everywhere, and the cubicle held almost everyone, and it was good. Then there was the backlash, and the cubicle was destroyed, put aside, swept away in favor of the open plan, the endless span of space, floor, and ceiling—punctuated by the occasional column so that the roof wouldn’t collapse onto the floor plate—and everyone talked about collaboration, togetherness, synergy, randomness and happenstance. Renzo Piano designed a New York Times building with open stairways so writers and editors could (would have to) run into one another, and everyone remembered the always-ahead-of-the-curve Steve Jobs who, when he was running Pixar, asked for only two bathrooms in the whole Emeryville building, and insisted they be put on the ground floor lobby so that designers and renderers could (would have to) run into each other, and such was the office culture of the new millennium.

And then there was the backlash to the backlash. Those writers wanted their own offices, and editors wanted privacy, and not everyone wanted to be running into people all the time, because not everyone was actually collaborating, even though their bosses and their bosses’ bosses said that they should, because collaboration, teamwork, and togetherness—these were the new workplace buzzwords. Until they weren’t. Until people realized that they were missing—as architect Ben Jacobson said in a Gensler sponsored panel on the need to create a balance between focus and collaboration—the concept of “parallel play,” i.e. people working next to each other, but not necessarily with each other. Until individuality came back, particularly in San Francisco in the tech scene, and particularly in the iconoclastic start-up tech scene, where people began to want something a little different.

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Artist Fills Paris’ Negative Space with Whimsical Illustrations

© Lamadieu Thomas

When you’re surrounded by buildings on all sides, what do you see? In his SkyArt series, French artist Lamadieu Thomas gives us his answer. He takes claustrophobia-inducing photographs of urban landscapes through a fish-eye lens, framing the sky with rooftops and filling the negative space with playful illustrations. Thomas describes his whimsical approach to as an attempt to show “what we can construct with a boundless imagination” and ”a different perception of urban architecture and the everyday environment around us.” To see more from the collection, continue after the break.

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The Evolving Symbiosis Between Architects & Developers in the UK

Victoria Library Housing and Office by Patrick Lynch for Land Securities. Image Courtesy of Design Curial

Although the design world has maintained a negative opinion of property for a very long time, the relationship between architect and developer has begun to evolve in the United Kingdom. In this article, first published in Blueprint issue #333 as “Why Architects Are Working for Property Developers,” the cultural shift is explained and explored through case studies.

Developers have not, traditionally, enjoyed a very good reputation within the architectural fraternity – or with the general public, for that matter. At worst they are seen as sharp-suited pirates of urban space, stripping out centuries-old residential or commercial buildings to replace them with shoddy, design-by-numbers structures, thrown up with no driving objective other than maximising their cash before they move on.

But times have changed. Whether it’s economic necessity – driven by the lack of buyers for bad housing or poor office space – or just good sense, there is a growing number of developers out there that appear to be cherry-picking some of the UK’s better practices to transform our urban wastelands and unloved spaces. This new breed appears to enjoy and understand the value of architecture and design. Some of them even consider architects their natural collaborators – the creative yang to their commercial yin.

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Seaweed, Salt, Potatoes, & More: Seven Unusual Materials with Architectural Applications

The “Saltygloo” project is an igloo made of printed translucent modular salt panels. Image Courtesy of Matthew Millman

The following article is presented by ArchDaily Materials. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine, Lara Kristin Herndon and Derrick Mead explore seven innovative architectural and the designers behind them. Some are byproducts, some will help buildings breathe and one is making the leap from to 4D printing.

When Arthur C. Clarke said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, he was speaking from the spectator’s point of view, not the magician’s. As our list of smart materials shows, technology solves difficult problems, but getting there requires more than just a wave of the magic wand. Each of the following projects looks past easy answers. Whether it’s a new way of looking at old problems, a new material that maximizes the efficiency of an old technique, or a new method to tap the potential of an abundant or underutilized resource, here are seven innovators who take technology out of the realm of science fiction.

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