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Audi Urban Future Award 2014: Team Berlin's "Flywheel" Could Revolutionize Personal Mobility

One of three runners-up in the 2014 Audi Urban Future Award, the Berlin Team of Max Schwitalla, Paul Friedli and Arndt Pechstein proposed a futuristic and innovative concept for an entirely new type of personal transport. Drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as elevator technology and biomimicry, their designs offer a thought-provoking alternative to our existing transportation systems that could revolutionize the city as we know it.

Though their proposal ultimately lost out to Jose Castillo's Team Mexico City, the work of the Berlin team correlates closely with the aims of Audi's Urban Future Initiative, offering a compromise between the convenience and status of personal transport and the civic benefits of public transport. Read on to find out how this was achieved.

The "Flywheel" concept proposes a modular personal transport system that would connect with other units to save road space. Image © Audi Urban Future Initiative Proposal for the "Flyway" on the Siemens Line. Image © Audi Urban Future Initiative The Flyway would connect Tegel Airport to Jungfernheide station. Image © Audi Urban Future Initiative Audi worked with Team Berlin to create a series of possible designs for the "Flywheel" concept. Image © Audi Urban Future Initiative

Audi Urban Future Award 2014: Transforming Urban Mobility Through “Data Donors”

Every two years Audi hosts the Audi Urban Future Award (AUFA), which challenges cities from different parts of the world to investigate future mobility trends and come up with innovative solutions. This year AUFA selected Mexico City, Boston, Berlin and Seoul to participate in the challenge and respond to the question: how will data shape mobility in the megacities of the future? These four groups were asked to create a vision for how their city could use data in a strategic way, taking into consideration innovative energy solutions, sustainability, feasibility and the potential for their ideas to be implemented in other cities. 

Mexico City’s team took home first place with their “operative system for urban mobility,” which centered around a data platform that cities can use to structure their urban traffic planning. Their system was also based around the idea that citizens themselves can become “data donors” and use the system to make informed decisions on how they move about the city. The team was comprised of architect and urbanist José Castillo, researcher Carlos Gershenson and the city government’s experimental lab “Laboratorio para la Ciudad.” 

Learn more about the winning project after the break. 

Video: Why Should Architects be Concerned About Mobility?

With the rising success of electric cars and the highly anticipated introduction of self-driving cars, it is beginning to look like the 'end of the automobile age' which many predicted just a few years ago may never come. This was the sentiment presented by Audi CEO Rupert Stadler at the presentation of the Audi Urban Future Award last night: "The car has to be seen once again as a desirable object of progress," he demanded. "To achieve this, we have to tear down the walls between infrastructure, public transportation and individual traffic." Audi's New Urban Agenda therefore sets its sights on "solutions in which individual transportation makes a positive contribution in an overall system of different forms of mobility."

Höweler + Yoon Architecture wins Audi Urban Future Award 2012

Eric Höweler and J. Meejin Yoon of Höweler + Yoon Architecture have been announced as winners of the Audi Urban Future Award 2012, an international architecture competition focused on the future of urban mobility in the five metropolitan regions Boston/Washington, Istanbul, Mumbai, Pearl River Delta, and São Paulo. With “Shareway”, the Boston firm’s winning proposal called for the reinvention of the Boston-Washington, D.C., metropolitan region called “Boswash”.

Höweler+Yoon Architecture was one of the five architectural offices that were selected for the competition. Other participating firms were Superpool (Istanbul), CRIT (Mumbai), Node Architecture & Urbanism (Pearl River Delta), and Urban-Think Tank (São Paulo).

We had the chance to interview the practices and ask them about the role of the architect in our society. We also talked to Eric Höweler about this project during the awards ceremony, video coming soon.

Project Description by Höweler+Yoon Architecture:

ArchDaily Interviews: The role of the Architect at the Audi Urban Future Initiative

Last week we went to Ingolstadt, Germany, to attend the launch of the Audi Urban Future Initiative. The program, now in its second version, invited a group of six architecture offices from different regions of the world, all with big urban populations, to think about the future of mobility. During this stage, the architects presented their initial research and diagnosis of their respective regions. In October, the architects will present their projects and an overall winner will be announced.

During the event, we had the chance to talk with the architects and ask them about the role of the Architect in our contemporary society.

The first edition of this program took place in 2010, and included Alison Brooks ArchitectsBIGCloud 9J. MAYER H. and standardarchitecture. You can see J. Mayer’s winning entry previously featured at ArchDaily. More info about the program after the break:

BIG's proposal for the Audi Urban Future Award

“(Driver)less is more”, BIG’s proposal for the Audi Urban Future Award was one of the five finalists of the competition won by J. Mayer H. More images and architect’s description after the break.

Audi Urban Future Award exhibition opening

Five of the architecture offices invited to participate will be presenting the results of their work to the public in an exhibition designed by Raumlaborberlin.