It's no secret that most architects who are also parents want their children to follow in their footsteps. But how can we encourage our children to think like architects – critically, spatially and creatively? For parents in Manhattan, for the past five years Rockwell Group's Imagination Playground has provided an answer. The educational play system consists of large-scale blocks of varying sizes and uses, allowing children to build whatever they can imagine – without the long hours and deadlines. Now, with the release of Imagination Playground 3D Builder, the creative platform is now available digitally, for free.
Continuing their streak of new apps for architects and designers, today Morpholio has released their latest work – a digital notebook known as “Journal.” An improvement to existing digital sketchbooks, Journal seeks to capture the day-to-day recording of ideas, inspiration, thoughts and recollections of an analog notebook as faithfully as possible. Unlike most digital sketchbooks, Journal allows users to combine the amalgamation of photos, images, hand sketches and drawings that a real journal might encompass, lending new material to the debate between digital versus analog. But could such an app ever really replace the role that analog journals have in the life of an architect? To find out, we spoke to the people of Morpholio about Journal and the future of digital and analog media.
Spanish architect Josep Lluís Mateo of Mateo Arquitectura has launched the “BCN Architecture Guide,” a free application to help travelers and architecture lovers explore Barcelona. The app guides users to both highlights of the city’s built environment as well as its natural environment, including some “places to experience nature in tension with the city, places to be rather than objects to look at.”
Adding to an already stellar range of apps for architects and designers, today The Morpholio Project has launched Crit, a messaging app for architects which allows users to critique designs, share ideas and send key information such as dimensions and materials. With modern architectural projects relying on increasingly large teams of architects, engineers, project managers and contractors, design decisions have to be shared with a large number of people - leading to slow decisions in an increasingly fast-paced world. According to Morpholio, the idea for the Crit App arose from the question: "What if photos, sketches, images, drawings, and comments could be instantly fused into a single legible “design” discussion?"
In 2014 renowned Dutch politician Neelie Kroes, then a commissioner for the European Union, stated that coding should be taught in elementary school in the Netherlands, arguing that “Coding is the reading and writing of the future” and that if the Dutch didn’t incorporate it into their education system it would fall behind school systems in other countries. The reactions to both Kroes’ statement and Michael Kilkelly's article "5 Reasons Architects Should Learn To Code" were quite similar. Those already capable of writing code agreed; many who have never even seen, let alone written any script responded negatively. Many reactions to Micheal Kilkelly's article covered the same ideas: “There's no time!” “Coding is not designing!” Or just plain, “No!”
A version of this article originally appeared on the Percolate Blog.
In spring of 2009, I graduated from architecture school. At the time, the post-recession economy was rough and not much was happening for architects. With an interest in entrepreneurship and technology, I took a risk and decided to try working at a tech startup. Much to my surprise, I fell in love with the industry and 5 years later, I’m now a Product Designer at Percolate in NYC, a company which produces web and mobile marketing software.
Since my career pivot, I’ve noticed many interesting parallels between architecture and product design. Although the mediums are different, it’s amazing to see how many of the design principles and processes are the same. To some degree, even the tools can be applied to both design industries. In this post, I will discuss how circulation is a fundamental property in the usefulness of both buildings and products.
One of the greatest lessons I learned in architecture school is the importance of circulation systems in the design of buildings.
As part of their quest to synchronise our digital and analogue worlds, sketchbook designer Moleskine have joined forces with the Adobe Creative Cloud platform to "simplify workflows" for illustrators, designers and architects. Suggesting that the initial stages of the creative process often occur offline, out of the studio or in transit, the team behind the collaboration note that as a portable, uncomplicated object, the Moleskine notebook "can be used anytime, anywhere and especially on the move. Sketching on paper is immediate, and can even be done on a crowded train."
Now users with a Creative Cloud subscription, combined with a special Moleskine sketchbook, can capture images of their drawings with the associated app (iOS only). These are then converted into smooth vector files which are automatically synchronised to desktop programs such as Photoshop (as a .jpeg) or Illustrator (as a .svg).
Pixelmator, an app which has been familiar to Mac users since 2011, have released a version of their powerful photo editing software for iPad. Although the App Store is awash with photo editing and manipulation packages, Pixelmator's clean interface and collection of the most used features iPad users require, makes it a good substitute for desktop based software packages when on the move. Alongside allowing image enhancement, a "painting engine, precise colour correction, and live histograms" (allowing you to gauge real-time colour values as you edit), the app also takes step into providing "layers, non-destructive layer styles and a collection of professional-grade selection tools."
RoomScan is an app for iOS which draws floor plans in minutes - touching your device to a wall is the only input required. Using the iPhone's internal sensors, RoomScan recognises a sequence of flat vertical surfaces, measuring the distance in between and creating impressively accurate plans. When you come to a door, you just tap the phone to the door frame and continue. Claiming that measurements are accurate to the nearest 10cm (or 6 inches), this app - the basic features of which are available for free - is not only great fun to play with, but also considerably useful in every day situations.
As summer draws to an end and we enter into the last quarter of 2014, we decided to round-up a selection of the most useful articles we've published over the past three years. Ranging from The 40 Architecture Documentaries to Watch in 2014 to The 10 Most Overlooked Women in Architectural History, we've also brought together app guides, career tips, and city guides. Alongside links to open-source CAD files and cut-out people, we've also featured book recommendations, study tips, and links to our complete coverage of some of the world's major architectural events and prizes. Delve into our collection and discover what our readers have found most useful!
Need some help being productive or organizing your life? Ranging from Clear, an app that helps create tasks, reminders and to-do lists, to Grafio, which lets you organize your thoughts via diagrams, Apple has put 20 productivity apps in the iOS App Store on sale.
CurrentSet, one of a number of cloud-based digital apps for managing construction drawings on the go, seeks to foster collaboration among architects, project managers and on-site professionals. Uniquely, the app is offered free of charge before allowing users to add features as and when they require them.
Building upon our Top 10 Apps for Architects, this collection brings together some of the best quality and most valued technical apps for designing, sketching, calculating and collaborating. Although the majority of those featured here are designed solely for the iOS platform, every time we collate lists such as these it's clear that more and more high quality apps for the Android and Windows platforms are being developed. From condensed versions of large scale software packages that architects and designers use every day, to blank canvases to scratch ideas down onto, you might just find an app that could improve the way you work.
PlanGrid, touted as "the fastest blueprint viewer" available, is one of the most mature apps for viewing, amending and discussing construction drawings on a collaborative cloud-based platform. This week they launched PlanGrid for Education, allowing students full and uninhibited access to every feature of the app free of charge. According to the company, they currently have "40,000 blueprints being uploaded to PlanGrid daily and over 9 million blueprints stored digitally", making the platform one of the fastest growing in its market.
The Morpholio Project's latest iPhone application, Morpholio Frame, "is like having a DJ booth for your photos." The application allows users to merge, crop, and filter photographs before posting them to social media outlets like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Sounds typical, right? Not so fast.
The application gives users more control than most thanks to an interactive matrix approach. Users can select up to three filters and three related masks, creating an image with one of 64 million unique filter combinations. One of the most interesting filters for architecture fans is "sketch" – as seen in the image after the break.
Last June, we published our first list of must-see Instagram feeds to follow, but we knew it was only the tip of the iceberg. Once again we’ve scoured the web (and followed your excellent suggestions) to track down the 25 Instagrammers who will be sure to inspire – including dare-devil adventurer raskalov, up-and-coming architecture photographer nicanorgarcia, and our very own editor-in-chief.
See the 25 awesome architecture instagrammers, after the break…
Johnny Lee, a project leader in the Advanced Technology and Projects group at Google, wants our phones to experience the world more like we do: "we are physical beings that live in a 3D world, yet mobile devices today assume that the physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen", he says - which is why his team has been working on Project Tango, a mobile phone which uses movement and depth sensors to build a 3D model of the space around it.
The social life of cities is complex. Where once the networks which operated within cities could be understood - to an extent - through their physical infrastructure, in the internet age much of the network that supports city life is hidden, existing only through intangible data.
Invisible Cities is an app which makes this network tangible, using geocoded data from Twitter and Instagram to morph the landscape, displaying where the most activity is occurring. These hills of activity can then be linked by lines representing keywords, showing underlying affinities between different geographical areas.