Architects and designers everywhere know the amount of time it takes to get accurate floor plan measurements with a measuring tape, a pencil, and some graph paper, but now there’s an app that gives you the convenience of measuring right in the palm of your hand in a matter of minutes. The Magic Plan app, conveniently named, simply asks for certain areas of a specific room and is able to assemble a floor plan for you. The app also includes tutorials on how to use it effectively and get fully adjusted to it. Above is a video to give you an idea of how this magic app works and some images can be viewed after the break. (more…)
PointCrowd is a RhinoScripting workshop using the remarkably easy to learn Python programming language that is available in the upcoming release of Rhino 5. This three week mini-course will start with the basics of programming and move into the mathematics of space and Rhino’s representation of geometry. The workshop is designed specifically for architects and designers with little or no programming experience or those interested in learning a new platform for expressing geometrical ideas algorithmically. Anyone with a good working knowledge of Rhino is welcome.
Automation: Increase your efficiency by programming Rhino to complete tedious drawing and modeling tasks.
Optimization: Create a better design product by testing and improving your models against physical conditions like light and circulation.
Generative Design: Work through complex geometric ideas using simple Python scripts.
The class will also touch on topics such as scripting in Grasshopper and interfacing with other programs. Sessions will be held in DUMBO, Brooklyn on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:30-10pm to fit into the schedule of working professionals. Register by May 7th to save $100. Please visit www.pointcrowd.com for details.
Carnegie Mellon University has a building in its School of Architecture that is a lab. No, the building does not house experiments, it is the experiment. It is called the Intelligent Workplace Energy Supply System and it provides the Energy Supply System (EES) for Carnegie Mellon’s Intelligent Workplace, which is part of the School of Architecture’s Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics. It is a physical construction from 1997 that consists of offices, meeting rooms, and work spaces for faculty and students, all located atop the Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall.
What’s the goal? To study the viability of providing power, cooling, heating and ventilation to a building using thermal energy and renewable, bioDiesel fuel. The specific investigations range from design and installation to evaluation of both individual components as well as their ability to work efficiently in concert with one another. Ideally, once all this information is compiled, more comprehensive design strategies can then be identified and used by architects everywhere. (more…)
Dr. Margot Krasojevic is known for using digital parameters to explore the psychological effects of architecture – materials and spatiality – on its inhabitants. The Hanging Hotel / Suspended Campsite is one such project that was completed in October 2011 for Holden Manz Wine Estate Cape Town in Massif de L’ Esterel, (Gorges Du Vedron) South of France. The project is an investigation in the choreography of perceptions of the environment around us. In this particular project, catering to rock climbers, Dr. Krasojevic uses compound glass and a prism louver system to alter how the climbers see their environment and stimulates different psychological experiences based on these subtle shifts in vision.
More on this project after the break.
With the advent and proliferation of tablets, using a pen to annotate or even sketch is becoming more and more useful, if not necessary. Enter the Space Pen. Now, you can sketch or annotate 3D models on the web. Developed at the University of Washington’s Design Machine Group, this tool provides an ideal interface with another of the group’s projects, Spot, the daylight measuring tool for architects.
Is Space Pen really as simple as it sounds? Can you really just draw and edit any 3D model? Yes. But it is not just that you can draw on any surface, it also recognizes certain basic shapes to aid in the drawing process. It also automatically renders a 3D floor plan from one’s model in real time. Another boon is the addition of a “light pen” allows users to add directional light to the drawing. It’s also free. (more…)
GRAPHISOFT® recently announced it has joined forces with buildingSMART® International, Tekla® and several leading software vendors to launch a global program in order to promote Open BIM collaboration workflows throughout the AEC industry.
From their release: Open BIM is a universal approach to the collaborative design, realization and operation of buildings based on open standards and workflows. Open BIM is an initiative of buildingSMART and several leading software vendors using the open buildingSMART Data Model.
More info after the break. (more…)
The MIT Media Lab’s Mediated Matter group is perhaps not the first choice of exploration for architects and architecture students. What does “mediated matter” have to do with the design of urban and suburban space and structures? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Because the goal of this group is to develop “novel processes that enable and support the design of physical matter,” using computer design combined with “biologically inspired fabrication.”
Below, I look at three projects developed and directed by Neri Oxman, an assistant professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab. Professor Oxman also received her PhD in design computation from MIT.
We begin with a project that combines local and global-based knowledge as they relate to construction. The Rapid Craft project basically mines local construction designs and techniques and combines them with the latest design technologies. (more…)
There are a lot of different approaches to making buildings more efficient with finite resources, and some of them have been highlighted in this series. Strategies like green roofs, passive heating and cooling, as well as more advanced technologies like newer materials to fabricate solar panels, are all important developments. And as we have seen, different architects and designers have deployed these strategies successfully. Most often, however, these strategies are just applied to a single building. It’s rare that an entire campus will be built using multiple strategies that try to re-use, preserve, and even incorporate such approaches into the curriculum.
Enter Muse, located in Calabasas, California. The brainchild of actress Suzy Amis Cameron and rebuilt by Ecovations, a design/construction/consulting firm, the school exemplifies a sustainable approach on a grander scale. (more…)
There are admittedly many differences from architecture school and working in the profession. One major difference is that while in school, people are in a mode of exploration, and any and all tools to facilitate that exploration are welcome. By the time one reaches the stage of “doing the work,” the suite of tools becomes far more narrow: AutoCad, Revit, Ecotect (maybe), and the occasional 3D program like Rhino. And if a person decides to hang out their own shingle, the computer tools becomes even more limited because of cost issues, unless bootleg copies are something you want to risk. (more…)
The [design machine group] at the University of Washington is a cross-disciplinary group from the College of Built Environments and the Department of Architecture. It’s directive is to explore and develop ideas “that will shape the future of design and information technology.”
Their research projects range from fabrication tools to new ways of rendering large-scale models. Amongst the most exciting is the SPOT tool. First of all, this tool is free, so anyone, anywhere in the world can use it. And because it was developed for architects, its features have the needs of architects in mind. (more…)
Architecture professionals often agree that CAD applications, whether in the PC or Mac platforms, could use some help. Revit of course offers some dramatic improvements but not everyone uses it. So some Engineering faculty at Washington State University have come up with an alternative solution. The Virtual Reality and Computer Integrated Manufacturing Laboratory or VRCIM offers a unique solution for increasing the effectiveness of CAD-based design and visualization.
The approach is very simple: embed VR capabilities into CAD to improve the tools and effectiveness of CAD. Basically, we are discussing the ability to perform such simple tasks as visualization and tracking to complete haptics drawing within the CAD platform. This first step in improving CAD involves the construction end of projects using VR and CAD. Thus, one can envision the assembly and disassembly of projects using VR versions of mechanical tools such as wrenches and the like. And the functionality is easily adapted to haptic devices. And of course, the team has designed templates that can be easily implemented. (more…)
The Morpholio Project seeks to create a new platform for presentation, critique, and collaboration relevant to all designers, architects, artists, or members of any image driven culture, through a dedicated mobile app for iOS devices. Created by a group of five architects, and academics, the app explores to re-image the portfolio: “Although essential to design culture, the current methods of creating and sharing design portfolios and presentations still ultimately rely on fixed notions of time, media and outdated technologies of sharing.”
Virtual Reality used to be the stuff of third-rate movies and tv shows with really fantastical plots that made one think, “how did these people get this job?” Fortunately, there are many university researchers who have constantly toiled at making real VR a useful and integral reality.
Take the VR learning site at Columbia. For anyone curious about western architecture there are some interesting structures to explore. It’s true that Columbia and the core Art History class that initially inspired this site is unfortunately Eurocentric: for example, French structures seem overrepresented. (more…)
I am, admittedly, a big fan of UCLA. At least in the U.S., college loyalty begins and ends as an undergraduate and if you happen to receive your graduate degrees at the same school, well, the deal is sealed, as it were. But we’re not discussing the basketball team, here. We’re actually talking about academic programs and research.
And it just so happens that because UCLA is a research university, there is a lot of interesting research going on there. For example, at UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design, there is a program that was begun back in 2002. It’s goal? To help everyone improve the energy efficiency of their homes. For free. It’s called HEED, or Home Energy Efficient Design.
What is it? Basically, it’s a set of tools that help people re-design housing to be more energy efficient. That goes for both new and existing structures. And even better, while it was initially developed for California homeowners who were identified by their utility providers—the project began in 2005—the software was restructured to serve professionals in the building industry. That means it was re-made to serve architects, contractors, engineers, and of course, the homeowner to restructure efficiency for both new and existing structures. (more…)
Working in a large space, at work or at school, makes one extremely sensitive to the idea of microclimates. Whether there is a skylight or window that uncomfortably irradiates the immediately surrounding area, or if there is a thermostat that just can’t be set warm enough, everyone has experienced the discomfort of the unadjustable microclimate. It’s not unusual, though it might be a bit disturbing, to see a co-worker swathed in a blanket (I’m not making that up, unfortunately), or a foot-heater discreetly tucked under a desk. Or you might be one of the unlucky persons either stuck under the artful skylight or near a south-facing, floor-to-ceiling window. That’s because most office spaces are designed for a uniform, master-control HVAC system.
It’s important not to confuse the availability of different technologies with widespread, institutionalized use because to do so is to conflate two very different issues. So while this technology may have been around in bits and pieces, it has yet to be combined into comprehensive tools. And as for implementation, many in the architecture industry have experienced the resistance to both passive and advanced energy efficient technologies. (more…)
Maide Inc. recently released an app that controls 3D programs over the wifi network from the iPad. The app now works with Maya, 3DS Max, Sketchup, Rhino and Solidworks (Beta). The company is just one step closer to controlling all CAD software through multi-touch applications. Check out the video above for a demo on the app.
When architects use SketchUp Pro as a tool for making more-accurate bubble diagrams, they create “rooms” whose areas match the ones in the program, group each one, and arrange them three-dimensionally. This is useful until one of the rooms changes size, which can throw off the whole process.
That’s where the SketchUp interoperability in Trelligence Affinity comes in. Affinity is Windows software made specifically for the architectural programming and schematic design phases. It includes neat tools for visualizing program information in different ways and using that information to guide your design. The new Affinity plug-in for SketchUp lets you easily connect your shoebox model to Affinity, creating a permanent connection between the model, the spreadsheet and all the underlying data about the building requirements.
Digital fabrication has been a popular discussion among architecture and design professionals. Students are digitally fabricating their models and building their own personalized 3D printers. What was impossible to build by hand is quickly assembled through digital fabrication. As the technology rapidly evolves, larger objects are being fabricated at more affordable prices. Today we may be digitally fabricating furniture and tomorrow we might be 3D printing our house. Architects and designers are jumping on board and exploring the capabilities of this game changing technology.
Diatom Studio is currently working on releasing SketchChair. This program offers easy to use, open-source software that allows you to design your own personalized digital furniture. With a few clicks of a mouse, you can view your masterpiece and digitally occupy it in order to test its comfort level and structural capabilities. Options range from personalized ready-made designs to more advanced features that allow you to design your chair from scratch.
Satisfied with your design? Perfect. The SketchChair allows you to export your masterpiece to any digital-fabrication service instantly. In a matter of days, you will receive your customized CNC-milled plywood parts for quick hand construction. Digital fabrication is changing the world of design and becoming available to the masses.
GRAPHISOFT recently released an innovative, interactive BIM communication tool for architects. The add-on for ArchiCAD 15, BIMx, is an easy-to-use mobile design demonstration tool for exploring, communicating and sharing building concepts.
Through BIMx, ArchiCAD 15 users gain unprecedented ability to share entire BIM models with anyone through an interactive community on Facebook or through iOS devices. BIMx demonstrations can be executed on a desktop computer or laptop as well. More information and some images after the break. (more…)
Autodesk recently released their Project Vasari 2.1, an easy-to-use, expressive design tool for creating building concepts. Vasari goes further, with integrated analysis for energy and carbon, providing design insight where the most important design decisions are made. And, when it’s time to move the design to production, simply bring your Project Vasari design data into the Autodesk Revit platform for BIM, ensuring clear execution of design intent.
Project Vasari is focused on conceptual building design using both geometric and parametric modeling. It supports performance-based design via integrated energy modeling and analysis features. This new technology preview is now available as a free download and trial on Autodesk Labs. More videos and information on the software after the break. (more…)
Phoenix-based Orcutt|Winslow (O|W) has been hired to design a verdant, green residential tower that will soar into the sky above Mumbai, India. The project, currently in a conceptual phase, addresses India’s burgeoning housing demand by creating an alternative to Mumbai’s densely-packed extensive horizontal communities, which have erased the once-lush tropical landscape. Embracing a trend toward vertical development, the design provides opportunities to re- introduce nature at the ground plane and improve the quality of life for Mumbai residents. Offering breathtaking views of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link to one side, as well as panoramic views of the city, Sahana Pride at Sion encompasses a challenging and compact footprint. O|W focused the building design on allowing residents to reconnect with nature, despite being located in the center of a bustling city such as Mumbai. Rising from a strong base, surrounded with vegetation, the proposed building expands to provide a wide range of activity spaces. (more…)