Picture this: self-assembling blocks that, when given a task, have the ability to reorganize themselves into new geometries.
This is precisely what research scientist, John Romanishin, at MIT‘s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has long envisioned for a near future — robotic modules known as M-Blocks. Romanishin has teamed with his professor, Daniela Rus, and colleague, postdoc Kyle Gilpin, to prototype robotic cubes with no external moving parts, able to climb over, around and even leap onto each other.
Till now, robots have depended on arms or attachments to move themselves. “We wanted a simpler approach,” says Romanishin, that uses fewer moving parts. Inside each M-Block is a flywheel that spins at 20,000 revolutions per minute, creating enough angular momentum when it brakes that the blocks assemble themselves in new configurations. On each face and edge of the cubes are magnets, naturally connecting the cubes when spurred by the flywheel.
Learn more after the break… (more…)
32BNY in collaboration with Spirit of Space has released its fifth videopolemic, entitled Firminy: José Oubrerie. In this video José Oubrerie, a French architect and protégé of Le Corbusier, currently teaching at the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University, remembers his time working for Corbu, working on the Church in Firminy.
32BNY was launched in February 2013 as a website dedicated to the potential of cinematic architectural discourse. Previous videopolemics included Steven Holl and Sanford Kwinter on Lebbeus Woods, Vito Acconci on Art and Architecture, Drawing as Thought, and Existential Sensitivity: Jeffrey Kipnis and Steven Holl. Although 32BNY admit they do not know what the terms ‘cinematic architectural discourse’, or ‘videopolemic’ mean, they are undeterred from their exploration. You can find out more about them and their work on their website.
The first two days of the World Architecture Festival 2013 have been intense. Keynotes by Charles Jencks and Dietmer Eberle, and several other lectures, have filled the auditorium and the festival hall stage, while hundreds of architects watch the live “crits,” where firms present their projects in front of the jury and the audience. As a jury for the Health and Future Education categories, I’ve seen architects from firms from all ranges, sizes and trajectories present their shortlisted projects, a very strong selection of buildings.
After these two days the winners of each category have been announced, and today the super jury will choose the World Building of the Year, followed by a lecture by Sou Fujimoto. Stay tuned for updates via Twitter!
“From the subtle to the spectacular, from a four room house to an 80 storey tower, the sheer quality and diversity reflected in the array of projects shortlisted today demonstrates the increasingly global nature of the event. All eyes are now on the festival’s venue, the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, where the architects will battle to win their individual categories, with the victorious projects competing for the coveted World Building of the Year award” – Paul Finch, Director of the WAF.
Check the full list of winners, highly commended entries and the jury’s comments:
Night photographs of the Brazilian capital created by architectural photographer Andrew Prokos are among this year’s winners at the International Photography Awards competition. Entitled “Niemeyer’s Brasilia” the series of photographs capture the surreal architecture of Oscar Niemeyer, who shaped the Brazilian capital for over 50 years.
More fantastic photographs and information on the awards after the break.
Following the news that the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize was been won by Witherford Watson Mann for Astley Castle at a ceremony in London last week, the critical response to the project has been extremely positive. Joseph Rykwert (who recently won the RIBA Gold Medal) said that “Witherford Watson Mann have been gentle surgeons, saving the essential, eliminating the incidental”. Check out the critical responses from The Financial Times’ Edwin Heathcote, The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright, Building Design’s Ellis Woodman, and the Architects’ Journal’s Rory Olcayto after the break…
In recent weeks both the national papers and the London Evening Standard have been reporting dramatic increases in the price of houses in the capital. Up 8% in a year they say. This isn’t great. Rents are also rising sharply. Soon, many, particularly young, Londoners will be trapped, unable to rent or buy. No doubt this is increasingly the case in many big cities. But England is still arguably in a recession, the worst for nearly a century.
In an attempt to find affordable homes people move further away from their work, especially those on low wages, and spend too much of their salary and their time commuting. The cost of housing affects what we eat, whether we exercise and how much spare time we have. It affects our quality of life.
So, this is not about business or property. It’s more important. This is about home. Home is a refuge. It’s our emotional harbour. In fact it is a human right. As the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states: it is ‘the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate … housing’.
Can architects help? Yes. As architects, we need to ask what home actually is, and, how it fits into the city. Indeed, the answer is as much anthropological as it is architectural, as it lies in re-thinking the house itself, in creating – not housing – but homes.
The 2013 RIBA Manser Medal has been awarded to Carl Turner Architects for Slip House in Brixton, London. The Manser Medal is awarded for the best newly designed private house, and this year was announced in a ceremony at Central Saint Martins in London, along with the winners of the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize. The jury’s citation for Slip House noted that “inside and out this house is immaculate in its detail, coordination and execution.”
Everyone is familiar with the stresses of moving to a new house, but the residents of Kiruna, a small town of 18,000 in Sweden, face a more daunting task: moving their entire city.
For more than 100 years, residents of Kiruna have developed their city center around the world’s largest iron mine, operated by the state-controlled company, Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB). In 2004, LKAB determined that to continue extracting iron would mean digging deeper, unsettling the ground beneath 3,000 homes as well as the city hall, train station, and century-old church.
In response, city officials have decided to pack up and move their downtown two miles eastward.
Learn more after the break…
Starting your own firm is a daunting task, especially if you’re not completely sure of what you’re getting yourself into. Author Mark LePage, founder of Entrepreneur Architect knows this firsthand. This guide, originally published on Entrepreneur Architect, discusses the financial implications of starting your own firm and acts as a guide through the challenge, leading you to success.
How much will it cost to start my own architecture firm?
That is a question that many of my readers ask me each week. The answer will certainly differ depending on whom you ask. When architects ask me how much it will cost to launch an architecture firm, I say, “as much as you need.”
Below I will discuss the very basics required to launch a sole proprietor architecture firm. Depending on your circumstance and the region in which you live, the numbers may vary for you.
As young people migrate to cities in ever growing numbers, so grows the concern for the future of agriculture. Prototypes for urban/vertical farms have been developed and, considering projected urban growth, seem a likely forecast for our future.
In the offices of Pasona, the future has already arrived. The Tokyo based recruitment agency has dedicated 20% of their 215,000 square foot office to growing fresh vegetables, making it the largest urban farm in Japan.
The AIA has decidedly found its latest buzz word: Resiliency.
Just this week at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, former-president Bill Clinton announced the American Institute of Architects’ participation in the 100 Resilient Cities Commitment: an initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation to provide 100 cities with “chief resilience offers,” responsible for developing and financing new, resilient urban infrastructures. So far, over 500 cities have requested to participate; on December 3rd, the Rockefeller Foundation will announce the winning cities.
Along with Architecture for Humanity, the AIA will then train those cities’ resilience officers, “architects in their communities,” by creating “five Regional Resilient Design Studios that build on our profession’s collective expertise in helping communities recover in the wake of major disasters.”
But the “resilience” doesn’t stop there.
In the 1970s roughly 20 percent of all US college courses were taught by adjuncts. In recent years, especially since the global financial meltdown, the number of adjunct professors has exploded to the point where they might be considered a floating population of migrant laborers. According to a report from the National Education Association (NEA), currently more than half of all US college courses are taught by adjuncts, or what Sarah Kendzior calls “Academia’s Indentured Servants.”
The 2013 American Association of University Professors annual report paints an even bleaker picture, finding that 76 percent of the academic workforce is made up of adjunct, part-time faculty, teaching graduate students, and non-tenure track, full-time professors.
We have entered an era in higher education where many alarming forces are converging.
In the year 1940, Armour Institute and Lewis Institute merged in Chicago to create the Illinois Institute of Technology. The merging of these two schools called for a new master plan for the university, and Mies van der Rohe was commissioned for the job. Mies’ plan for the IIT campus was one of the largest projects he ever conceived and he developed it for twenty years. Today the campus contains 20 of his works, including the famous Crown Hall. Enjoy the video and don’t forget to check our AD Classics on the IIT Master Plan and Buildings.
The 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize has been won by Witherford Watson Mann for Astley Castle (Nuneaton, Warwickshire). The winner was just announced at a ceremony at London’s Central Saint Martins, a building designed by last year’s winner Stanton Williams. Astley Castle was also voted as BBC readers’ favourite earlier this week. Jury-member Stephen Hodder stated that “engaging with the building was such a surprise for [the jury],” and described it as an ”unassuming” building with great “rigour.”
Design is subjective, and often quite personal. So, in a field where being able to explain yourself is critical, is designing by instinct foolish? In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “Designing with Metaphors,” IDEO Boston manager, Michael Hendrix, argues that not only is it sensible, it can make for truly evocative and powerful work.
When you make a design choice, how do you justify it to others? Do you wrap it in a layer of industry jargon? Do you construct an elaborate post-rationalization? I admit I’ve done both when I’ve been at a loss to express my intuition. But new scientific research confirms it is exactly that intuition—built upon universal experiences and human truths— that determines whether a design is relevant or not.
ArchDaily got the chance to briefly speak with Pritzker-prize winning Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura when he (along with the Porto Metro Authority) received the Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design earlier this month. His design for the Metro system in Porto, Portugal garnered high praise from the jury, with member Rahul Mehrotra explaining that the project “shows generosity to the public realm unusual for contemporary infrastructure projects.” Upon receipt of the award, the head of the Porto Metro, João Velez Carvalho, thanked Souto de Moura for his efforts in this “urban revolution” and touted Porto as a destination in which people actively and enthusiastically seek out the architecture of Souto de Moura and fellow Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza.
Souto de Moura spent a few moments with us to describe both the challenges and rewards of working on a project that saw the completion of 60 new stations constructed in 10 years within the sensitive fabric of the city of Porto—a UNESCO World Heritage site.
ArchDaily: What is your opinion of architecture prizes?
Eduardo Souto de Moura: I won’t be modest, I like describing my opinion about them because the profession is so tough and difficult that is it complicated to achieve a high level of quality. So when you’re awarded a prize it’s like a confirmation of your effort. But the other thing is that a project is not the act of an individual, it’s a collective act. When there’s a prize, the press and the people, the “anonymous people,” go see the project and talk about it, critique it. That’s what gives me the motivation to continue in the profession. And every time it gets more difficult.
In his TedxTalk, Australian-born, Tasmanian-raised architect Ross Langdon begins by reading from the book The Rabbits, a children’s tale which depicts Australia’s colonizers as an invasive, destructive species: rabbits. “I realized I didn’t want to be a rabbit any more,” Langdon explains. “So I thought it might be better to be like a chameleon, able to adapt and change and blend with our environment, rather than conquer it.”
It was this impetus that drove Langdon, who had worked for John McAslan and David Adjaye in London, and even started his own London-based firm, Regional Associates, to Uganda, where he was completing an HIV Center; unfortunately, Landon and his partner, Elif Yavuz, were among the victims killed in the siege of the Westgate Shopping Centre this weekend. According to the Architect’s Journal, the “couple had relocated to be closer to Nairobi’s hospitals because Yavuz – who worked as a vaccines researcher in Tanzania for the Clinton Foundation – was expecting her baby within two weeks.”
To remember Langdon’s life and work, we’ve included the video of his TedxTalk, which closes with the inspiring philosophy behind “chameleon” architecture. In Langdon’s words: ”We believe that to create architecture that is born of the place, in both developing and developed worlds, that we need to source materials locally, we need to use construction methods that are available locally, wherever possible, to recycle, to upcycle, and to be resourceful, and, most importantly, be present in order to discover beauty in unexpected places.”