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Muji Unveils Tiny, Pre-Fabricated “Huts” at Tokyo Design Week

Following the release of their “Vertical House”, a prefabricated home designed for the tight, urban spaces of Japan, Japanese design brand Muji has showcased another set of ready-made habitats, this time a series of three minimalist “huts” at varying scales. Each hut, designed by a different designer, is intended as a retreat from urban activity and can be set-up in rural terrains.

The huts each explore a different material: an aluminum hut by Konstantin Grcic, a cork hut by Jasper Morrison,  and a wooden hut by Naoto Fukasawa.

Call For Submissions: Emerge Competition

Architecture students and designers are called to define the home of the future under the theme ‘Living Tomorrow’. This is an idea-based challenge and seeks for conceptually sound proposals. The site can be of any size or form but limited to the Zimbabwean future context.

The Architect as Furniture Designer: Bill Pedersen

Bill Pedersen is a renowned architect and founding design partner of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, which is currently leading New York City's Hudson Yards Project. Less known, but equally important, is Pedersen's design versatility. He holds multiple design patents and recently created a new line of furniture, Loop de Loop, that is beautiful, comfortable, and technically innovative. Join Pedersen and Donald Albrecht, the City Museum's Curator of Architecture and Design, for a conversation exploring not only the new furniture and its influences, but also the history of architect-designed furnishings. This event is part of the Museum’s ongoing Design Talks series examining the today's leading trends in design, architecture, graphics, and multimedia.

6th Annual IIDA Global Excellence Awards

This annual worldwide design competition was established to honor and celebrate outstanding originality and excellence in the creation of international Interior Design/ Interior Architecture projects in 13 categories. Any Interior Designer/Interior Architect may submit design project(s). The project(s) must be located outside of the United States; however, the design firm may be located anywhere (including the USA). The design project(s) must have been completed after Jan. 1, 2014. Photos of the winning projects will be featured on the IIDA website, on social media, and in the official Winners Brochure. A winners reception will be held at Maison&Objet Paris on January

Walk the Talk—Tour and Panel Discussion of "Missing Middle" Housing in Austin, TX

Walk the Talk—A talk and tour for people interested in learning more about “missing middle” housing in Austin. Join us for a panel discussion and self-guided tour of "missing middle" housing types—such as duplexes, fourplexes, courtyard housing, and accessory dwelling units—in the Blackland and Cherrywood neighborhoods. Our expert panel represents varied perspectives on the subject. After a Q&A session, participants can easily bike or walk to the missing middle sites in the neighborhood. We welcome you to join the conversation!

Nightscape 2050 Travelling Exhibition in Singapore

In celebration of the International Year of Light in 2015 and the practice's 25th anniversary, Lighting Planners Associates (LPA) is putting up an ambitious show Nightscape 2050, with the exhibition travelling from Berlin to Singapore and then to Hong Kong and Tokyo, from August 2015 to June 2016. Nightscape 2050 is intended to be one of its kind for Light and Lighting, in which visions of the future of lighting and the way LPA imagines to use this light are shared with the visitors.

BSA Space Announces Canstruction 2015

2015 marks the 20th Anniversary of Canstruction Boston. The 2015 theme is "Celebrate 20 years in Boston!" Canstruction Boston is a charity event and exhibition in which teams of Boston-area architects, engineers, contractors, designers and students compete to display colossal sculptures made out of canned goods. After the sculptures are dismantled, all the canned goods will be donated to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Sliden'joy Adds Two Extra Monitors to Your Laptop

A design team from Belgium is developing a new way to add real estate to your laptop. The Sliden’joy, founded by Charlee Jeunehomme, Laurent Wéry and Thomas Castro, is an attachment for Mac and PC that adds up to two extra displays to your laptop.

With the ability to rotate each (13”, 15” or 17”) monitors 180°, the attachment gives you 360° visibility of your screen. The thickness of the unit varies, depending on how many screens and which finish the user selects; the 2-screen unit is currently 1.7 centimeters thick, though the designers claim it could be thinner. Finishes include wood, leather and carbon.

Thomas Heatherwick on People, Plants, Buses and Buildings

In an exclusive hour-long interview with British designer Thomas Heatherwick, Monocle's Andrew Tuck discusses building a business in the world of design and architecture, the process behind revamping the iconic red London bus, and the inspiration behind placing people – and plants – at the heart of the River Thames. Heatherwick leads London-based Heatherwick Studio, a multidisciplinary design practice who have recently completed a distillery in England and a learning hub in central Singapore, They are currently collaborating with BIG on the new Google Campus in San Francisco having been recently labelled as among the top ten most innovative architectural practices of 2015 by FastCompany.

Listen to the interview in full below:

Morphing: Mathematical Transformations In Architecture

Cylinders, spheres and cubes are a small handful of shapes that can be defined by a single word. However, most shapes cannot be found in a dictionary. They belong to an alternative plastic world defined by trigonometry: a mathematical world where all shapes can be described under one systematic language and where any shape can transform into another. As digital tools are becoming increasingly complex, this book seeks to use mathematics "as a means to demystify the inner computational workings of digital tools" by proposing a framework to convey mathematical transformations as design tools.

"Winter Stations" Bring Warmth to Toronto's Frozen Beaches

Five finalists have emerged from the 196 submissions of Toronto’s first international Winter Stations design competition. Drawing proposals from 36 countries around the world, the competition challenged entrants to transform the lifeguard stations on Toronto’s east beaches into public art pieces for the winter. The finalists’ designs were constructed in mid-February and will be displayed until March 20, 2015. 

Take a look at the completed installations, after the break. 

Sling Swing. Image © Eamon MacMahon Driftwood Throne. Image © Eamon MacMahon HotBox. Image © Nicolas Croft Snowcone. Image © Remi Carreiro

Enter the Mesmerizing World of Rainbow Coloured Maps with "Crayon the Grids"

A new series of maps by California-based artist-scientist Stephen Von Worley give colour coding an entirely new meaning. With his latest algorithm-generated project, "Crayon the Grids," Von Worley has taken maps of ten major metropolitan areas and coloured them based on geographical orientation of the urban grid. Each street is assigned a colour specific to its orientation, varying in hue and weight depending on its cardinal direction and length. The result is a dizzying technicolor of urban planning, creating completely new demarcations for some of the world's most recognizable cities.

Enter the chromatic world of coloured city grids after the break

Los Angeles. Image Courtesy of Stephen Von Worley Chicago. Image Courtesy of Stephen Von Worley Berlin. Image Courtesy of Stephen Von Worley Washington, D.C.. Image Courtesy of Stephen Von Worley

A Practical Study in the Discipline of Architectural Modelmaking

Why do we make models? From sketch maquettes and detail tests to diagrammatic and presentation models, the discipline of physically crafting ideas to scale is fundamental to the architect's design process. For architect and educator Nick Dunn, architectural models ultimately "enable the designer to investigate, revise and further refine ideas in increasing detail until such a point that the project's design is sufficiently consolidated to be constructed." In Dunn's second edition of his practical guide and homage to the architectural model, the significance and versatility of this medium is expertly visualised and analysed in a collection of images, explanations, and case studies.

Courtesy of Laurence King Publishers Courtesy of Laurence King Publishers Courtesy of Laurence King Publishers Courtesy of Laurence King Publishers

Is The Design Museum Dying?

In an article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote asks "what are design museums actually for?" Noting that we are living through a "boom time" for the typology, Heathcote argues that when we are overwhelmed by design in our day to day lives, what will fill these spaces? London's Victoria & Albert Museum sprouted from the legacy of the 1850 Great Exhibition, where the concept of a design museum originated, as an attempt to "display the fruits of Britain’s industrial revolution." Ironically in the very same museum in 2013, curator Kieran Long acquired a print of the world's first 3D printed gun for the permanent collection. Will the ubiquity of 'design' soon negate the need for dedicated spaces? Read Heathcote's conclusions in full here.

Zaha Hadid on Russian Artist Kazimir Malevich

In an article for London's Royal Academy of Arts Magazine entitled Plane Sailing, Zaha Hadid discusses the influence of Russian Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich on her own design work. In Hadid's early work, such as The Peak Blue Slabs (1982/83), the visual connections to Malevich's strict, regular shapes and lines are evident.

Painting: Vitra Fire Station. Image © Zaha Hadid Relief Model: Vitra Fire Station. Image Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects Painting: Vitra Fire Station. Image © Zaha Hadid Vitra Fire Station, Germany. Image © Wojtek Gurak

PlanGrid Launches Educational Offering

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.

Happy Birthday Charles Eames

Today Charles Eames - the taller half of modernism's greatest power couple, Charles & Ray Eames - would have turned 107. Although perhaps best known for their furniture design (particularly the Eames Lounge & Shell Chairs), the couple is well known in architectural circles for the home they designed in 1945 and subsequently lived in: the Eames House (or Case Study House No. 8, as it was part of the Arts & Architecture magazine's "Case Study" program).

In honor of Charles Eames' birthday, we've rounded up some fantastic videos: produced by the Eames themselves, HOUSE (a tour of their home) and Powers of Ten (their 1977 exploration of the universe's magnitudes), this 1956 clip of the pair's first TV appearance, a video of the construction of the Shell Chair and, at the Vitra Campus, the Eames Loungethe TED Talk delivered by the pair's grandson, and the trailer to The Architect & The Painter (the must-watch documentary on the pair's lives). See all the videos after the break!

The Draftery: Dispelling the Belief That Architectural Drawing is Dead

Fig. 03. Image Courtesy of The Draftery
Fig. 03. Image Courtesy of The Draftery

Fig. 01/02. Image Courtesy of The Draftery Fig. 01/02. Image Courtesy of The Draftery Fig. 01/02. Image Courtesy of The Draftery Fig. 01/02. Image Courtesy of The Draftery

The Draftery, a printed platform to "discuss the role of architectural drawing today", brings together a fascinating collection of images and words in a publication on three distinct platforms. Figures, Captions and Archive facilitate a multi-disciplinary conversation about how drawings are made and their role in the built environment. Now approaching their third anniversary, how far have they come and where is the project headed?

January 2013 saw the re-launch of The Draftery and the total reconstruction of the project. Their crisp publications now have a strong editorial thread which compliments the carefully curated collections of architectural drawings. Seeking to "demonstrate that drawing, more than mere representation, is a method of acting in the world", good drawings provide a moment of visual solice in a fast paced profession.