This Adaptive Micro-Apartment Concept Does it All in Half the Space

With the touch of a button on your smartphone, your furniture begins to reconfigure while new walls glide into place. In a matter of seconds, your bedroom can become the kitchen, dining room, or simply an empty room thanks to the ingenuity of architecture students at Delft University of Technology‘s Hyperbody design team. The Pop up Interactive Apartment occupies a mere 50 square metres of multi-use space optimized for specific real-time use, allowing the occupant to choose a configuration based on current needs.

Enter the hyper-efficient world of Pop up Interactive Apartment after the break.

Three Projects That Transform Low-Tech Materials Into Innovative Design

Top: Educational Building In Mozambique / Students. Middle: School Library Gando / Kere Architecture. Bottom: Umubano Primary School / MASS Design Group

The following article is presented by Materials, ArchDaily’s new US product catalog.

How many times in the last year have you heard 3d printing mentioned? What about double-skinned curtain walls or “smart” buildings? High-tech materials almost always seem to dominate the conversation – at least in architectural circles. But using the latest invention in material technology usually does not make a building “innovative.” More often than not, it just makes it expensive and flashy.

Low-tech materials like lumber, stone and brick, on the other hand, are often overlooked, even though the use of local and locally produced materials offers the lowest possible carbon footprint. And while these common materials may seem boring, with a bit of imagination and technical skill, an architect can transform these materials into something fresh. With that in mind, check out three truly innovative projects which use low-tech materials in different and exciting ways.

The Steel Age Is Over. Has The Next Age Begun?

As of now, carbon fiber has only been applied to small scale applications, such as the Textile Room by P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S. Image © Monica Nouwens

Andrew Carnegie once said, “Aim for the highest.” He followed his own advice. The powerful 19th century steel magnate had the foresight to build a bridge spanning the Mississippi river, a total of 6442 feet. In 1874, the primary structural material was iron — steel was the new kid on the block. People were wary of steel, scared of it even. It was an unproven alloy.

Nevertheless, after the completion of Eads Bridge in St. Louis, Andrew Carnegie generated a publicity stunt to prove steel was in fact a viable building material. A popular superstition of the day stated that an elephant would not cross an unstable bridge. On opening day, a confident Carnegie, the people of St. Louis and a four-ton elephant proceeded to cross the bridge. The elephant was met on the other side with pompous fanfare. What ensued was the greatest vertical building boom in American , with Chicago and New York pioneering the cause. That’s right people; you can thank an adrenaline-junkie elephant for changing American opinion on the safety of steel construction.

So if steel replaced iron – as iron replaced bronze and bronze, copper –  what will replace steel? Carbon Fiber.

Who Will We Consider Today’s Greatest Design Innovators, Tomorrow?

’s Butaro Hospital. Image © Iwan Baan

Often, it is only with hindsight that we can truly understand our world; looking back at how important certain events and people proved to be is much easier than predicting their importance at the time. Still, guessing who will be remembered in posterity is a fun game, so The Atlantic asked various industry leaders “Who Will Tomorrow’s Historians Consider Today’s Greatest Inventors?” The answers span across business, science, and design, and among the 9 nominations there are a few names that architects and urban designers may find interesting. Read on after the break to find out just who they are.

Finalists Create Next Generation of Sustainable Building Products

Straw Paneling System Among Finalists. Image Courtesy of Ecococon via

In attempts to better define what it really means to be green, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, in partnership with Make it Right, has selected products from ten companies as finalists in the Product Innovation Challenge. 144 applicants were screened by toxicologists and building professionals, proposing new alternatives from insulation grown from fungi and bricks from living organisms, to roofing made from waste limestone and recycled plastic. The ten finalists represent the shared values of practical sustainability and entrepreneurship, creating “a building product that is safe, healthy, affordable, effective and designed to be returned safely to nature or industry after use.”

Three winners will ultimately be announced on November 15, 2013 at the Institute’s Innovation Celebration in New York City, offering a $250,000 cash prize: $125,000 for first place, $75,000 for second and $50,000 for third. The jury members, who include executives from Google, US Green Building Council and the Schmidt Family Foundation, will judge each product based on five categories: material health, material reutilization, water stewardship, renewable energy and social fairness.

Without further ado, the 10 finalists are…

ArchDaily Innovation Challenge – Innovative Workplaces

A better workplace can foster better social dynamics, more creativity, an increase on production, and of course, improve the quality of life of the ones using it on a daily basis.

We have partnered with to recognize the projects that are pushing the boundaries in this area, creating remarkable spaces for work, and also to foster experimentation among students to think about the workplace of the future.

We have therefore divided the competition into two categories: for professionals and for students.

Professionals
Architects from around the world are invited to submit their recently completed workplace projects. The jury will award entries that are able to demonstrate innovations in this area in the form of sketches or diagrams.

Use your power of synthesis to show us why your project introduces to the workplace!

Students
Students from around the world are invited to design an innovative workplace within a given generic floor of office space. This constrain will force students to operate on actual market conditions.

Unleash your imagination within a delimited space to show us how innovation can be made possible in today’s structures, to foster tomorrow’s ideas!

Schedule, eligibility, prizes, and general rules after the break.

Can Architecture Make Us More Creative?

Courtesy of Riverhead Books – Steven Johnson’s “Where Good Ideas Come From” animation

What do MIT’s Building 20, the Ancient Greek Agora, 18th Century British teahouses, and early 20th century Parisian cafés have in common?

They were some of the most creative spaces in the world.

People who gathered there would interact. People, such as Socrates or Chomsky or Edison, exchanged ideas, argued about morals, and discussed technologies. They participated in an informal discourse driven by passionate involvement.

And these places, although for different reasons, fostered interaction by bringing people together and giving them a place to talk. As Jonah Lehrer put it, “the most creative spaces are those which hurl us together. It is the human friction that makes the sparks.”

The question, then, is how can contemporary architecture foster the same kind of creativity?

To learn more about architecture and its role in creativity and learning, keep reading after the break.