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Expand Your Knowledge of the History of Architecture With This FREE Online Course from MIT

16:15 - 9 September, 2016

Have a little extra time this fall and looking to expand your knowledge of architectural history? Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is offering a 12-course online course titled “A Global History of Architecture” that will cover everything from architecture’s origins 100,000 years ago all the way up to 1600 C.E – and the best part? It’s totally free.

"An Alignment of Missions": Why MIT Will Be a Major Player in the 2016 Venice Biennale

10:10 - 16 May, 2016
"An Alignment of Missions": Why MIT Will Be a Major Player in the 2016 Venice Biennale, Brussels Foodmet. A large, mixed-use market building in the immigrant neighborhood of Anderlect, Belgium by ORG Permanent Modernity. The ORG project team includes MIT professor and ORG partner, Alexander D’Hooghe, and MIT alumnus Kobi Rutherberg. Image Courtesy of Filip Dujardin
Brussels Foodmet. A large, mixed-use market building in the immigrant neighborhood of Anderlect, Belgium by ORG Permanent Modernity. The ORG project team includes MIT professor and ORG partner, Alexander D’Hooghe, and MIT alumnus Kobi Rutherberg. Image Courtesy of Filip Dujardin

This interview was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "MIT on the Frontier: An Interview with Hashim Sarkis."

At this year's Biennale, "Reporting from the Front," MIT will have an unusually widespread presence. Ten full-time and visiting faculty, six alumni, and a handful of other MIT-affiliates (many invited by curator Alejandro Aravena himself) will contribute to over 15 installations, including "Rwanda Droneport," a full-scale earthen masonry shell designed by Norman Foster, which will serve as a small airport for drones delivering supplies to inaccessible areas of Rwanda, and "Courtyard House Plug-In," a prefabricated building system designed to be inserted into Beijing's dilapidated courtyard houses. To discuss MIT's significance on the architectural stage today, we spoke with the Dean of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning, Hashim Sarkis, who, it was recently announced, will also serve on the Biennale jury.

MIT Celebrates Centennial of Cambridge Campus with Two Architecture Installations

14:00 - 7 May, 2016
MIT Celebrates Centennial of Cambridge Campus with Two Architecture Installations, Photomontage of the Memory Matrix installation at night in front of the Wiesner Building, MIT campus. Image credit: Photomontage by Azra Aksamija, 2016. Original photo of the MediaLab by Steve Mann. Image Courtesy of Resnicow and Associates
Photomontage of the Memory Matrix installation at night in front of the Wiesner Building, MIT campus. Image credit: Photomontage by Azra Aksamija, 2016. Original photo of the MediaLab by Steve Mann. Image Courtesy of Resnicow and Associates

In honor of the centenary of MIT's move to the Cambridge Campus, the university has carried out a series of public events this spring, including the installation of two innovative architecture and design projects: Memory Matrix and Biaxial Tower.

Installed in the iconic arch of MIT’s Wiesner Building (designed by Pritzker Prize winner and MIT alumni I.M. Pei), Memory Matrix is a giant screen made of intricate pixel-like Plexiglass elements, arranged to form larger matrix-like screens that reveal an image of the recently destroyed Arch of Triumph in Palmyra. The image is only visible during the day through the movement of wind and light, and at night, through the illumination of the pixels. Spearheaded by Azra Aksamija, Memory Matrix will be on display from April 23 through May 7.

MIT Announce Ten Associated Installations at 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 2 May, 2016
MIT Announce Ten Associated Installations at 2016 Venice Biennale, The Foodmet Market houses a wide variety of uses, including; meat industries, indoor markets, rooftop farms, retail and parking. The building applies the use of the platonic panels as the first architectural step towards the realization of the district wide masterplan which envisions the conversion of an industrial slaughterhouse to a mixed urban environment. Foodmet Abbatoir, Brussels (2016). Image © Filip Dujardin
The Foodmet Market houses a wide variety of uses, including; meat industries, indoor markets, rooftop farms, retail and parking. The building applies the use of the platonic panels as the first architectural step towards the realization of the district wide masterplan which envisions the conversion of an industrial slaughterhouse to a mixed urban environment. Foodmet Abbatoir, Brussels (2016). Image © Filip Dujardin

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have announced that eight full-time or visiting faculty members and four alumni spanning five continents will be responsible for ten separate installations at the upcoming 2016 Venice Biennale. The institution have said that their "worldview for meaningful impact [is] deeply aligned with this year’s theme of architecture in action."

AA Visiting School Hawaii

17:50 - 28 March, 2016
AA Visiting School Hawaii, AA Visiting School Hawaii 2016
AA Visiting School Hawaii 2016

The AA Visiting School Hawaii is an architectural workshop dedicated to the investigation of flying machines through fabrication and geometry as well as performance and choreography.

From their earliest use as measurement tools for the city, the 2000 year old history of flying machines is deeply rooted in architectural investigations.

Gliding between its leisure vocation and its scientific relevance, we will immerse into this legacy starting from the world’s oldest from of air-craft: the kite. 

Rock Print: The Remarkable Deinstallation of a Standout Exhibit at the Chicago Architecture Biennial

12:00 - 27 March, 2016

It’s a shame that the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial has already come and gone, and that the Windy City will have to wait until next fall for another dose of architectural euphoria. But it’s worth revisiting one of the event’s standout exhibits, an installation equally exemplary for its display as for its expiry. “Rock Print,” created by Gramazio Kohler Research of ETH Zurich and Skylar Tibbits of MIT's Self-Assembly Lab, was a four-legged, neo-primitive tower of stones and string that was erected without mortar or other reinforcement, meaning its disassembly would be the exact inverse action of its construction. The string, laid down by an algorithm, was the binder for stones laid by hand in thin stacks – the team called them “slices” – in what amounted to a type of analog version of 3D printing. The material process has been given the name “reversible concrete” and could be a paradigm shift in construction for its portability and versatility.

In the above video, the deconstruction of “Rock Print” is shown in abridged stages, where the structure’s string is dislodged and returned to a motorized spool on the gallery floor. The small stone fragments spew from the top of the structure like debris from the top of a volcano in the midst of eruption, and all that remains at the end is a small mound of concrete pebbles occupying a large circumference. A structure like “Rock Print” emphasizes that detritus can be avoided by adapting the process of building to vanguard materials that seek to match the brevity of contemporary construction with materials that curtail the waste.

The Top 100 Universities in the World for Architecture 2016

09:45 - 22 March, 2016
The Top 100 Universities in the World for Architecture 2016, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Image © Wikimedia user Fcb981 licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Image © Wikimedia user Fcb981 licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

QS has released its 2016 rankings of the top 100 schools for architecture in the world. The company has produced an annual survey of universities since 2011, now comparing including over 800 universities worldwide across 42 subjects, and rating the top universities based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. As they did last year, MIT came out top of the list in architecture. Read on for the full rankings list for architecture, and be sure to visit QS's site for the full rankings list which is sortable by subject, country or continent.

Designing A Place for Inventing the Future: The MIT Campus, Then, Now, Next

16:00 - 14 March, 2016
Designing A Place for Inventing the Future: The MIT Campus, Then, Now, Next

This two-day symposium is co-sponsored with the MIT 2016 Committee and the MIT Department of Architecture. It will examine architecture and cultures at MIT and their influences on education and student life on campus. Speakers, including David Adjaye and Hashim Sarkis, will explore the prescient design of the original buildings and the interdisciplinary, innovative research that they fomented, as well as imagine the teaching and maker spaces of the future.

edX Offers Free, Online Classes in Architecture, Engineering and Urbanism

06:00 - 14 March, 2016
edX Offers Free, Online Classes in Architecture, Engineering and Urbanism, via edX
via edX

Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX offers more than 800 free, online courses as well as certificates from top universities around the world, including Harvard, MIT and UC Berkeley. The courses cover everything from literature to poetry, medicine, biology, urban planning, engineering, history and architecture. 

Taught mostly in English, the courses have different weekly requirements, and generally require participants to be online at designated times of the day. There are also classes offered in other languages like Chinese, French, Spanish and Portuguese. They also offer certificates that can be purchased at the end of the course, costing between $50-$70.

MIT Students Win Competition to Design Hyperloop Pods

14:00 - 1 February, 2016
MIT Students Win Competition to Design Hyperloop Pods, Hyperloop pod concept provided by SpaceX. Image © AP
Hyperloop pod concept provided by SpaceX. Image © AP

A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineering students has won the first round of a competition to design transport "pods" for Elon Musk's ultra-fast Hyperloop. Selected from more than 100 other university teams, the top teams will now have the opportunity to build their pods for a trial run on the Hyperloop Test Track (now under construction) by April 2016. If successful, the pods will be able to transport up to 30 people at speeds of 700 miles-per-hour through the Hyperloop's 12-foot diameter tube. 

Installation: JB1.0: Jamming Bodies

04:00 - 15 October, 2015
Installation: JB1.0: Jamming Bodies, "JB1.0: Jamming Bodies", 2015. Lucy McRae and Skylar Tibbits with MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab. Storefront for Art and Architecture.
"JB1.0: Jamming Bodies", 2015. Lucy McRae and Skylar Tibbits with MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab. Storefront for Art and Architecture.

"JB1.0: Jamming Bodies" is an immersive installation that transforms Storefront’s gallery space into a laboratory. The installation, a collaboration between science fiction artist Lucy McRae and architect and computational designer Skylar Tibbits with MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, explores the relationship between human bodies and the matter that surrounds them.

David Adjaye Awarded the 2016 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT

12:00 - 9 September, 2015
David Adjaye Awarded the 2016 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT, via MIT, © Ed Reeve
via MIT, © Ed Reeve

David Adjaye has been selected as the winner of MIT's 2016 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts, which honors “individuals whose artistic trajectory reveals that they will achieve the highest distinction in their fields and continue to produce inspiring work for many years to come.” The award consists of $100,000 prize in addition to an artist residency at MIT in the spring of 2016. During the residency, Adjaye will participate in four different public events, including panels and symposia.

Rivington Place / Adjaye Assocates. Image © Lyndon Douglas Museum of Contemporary Art / Adjaye Associates. Image Courtesy of Adjaye Associates Francis Gregory Library / Adjaye Associates. Image © Edmund Sumner Sugar Hill Development / Adjaye Associates. Image Courtesy of Adjaye Associates +6

MIT Researchers Develop 10-Material 3D Printer Capable of "Smart" Printing

04:00 - 1 September, 2015

In the latest of a series of technological developments which are expanding the capabilities of 3D Printing, researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a 3D printer that is capable of handling up to 10 materials simultaneously, and uses a process called "machine vision" to dramatically increase the variety of objects which the printer can produce.

Mediated Matter's New Platform 3D Prints Glass with Stunning Precision

14:22 - 20 August, 2015

Glass can be molded, formed, blown, plated, sintered and now 3D printed. Neri Oxman and her Mediated Matter Group team has just unveiled their new glass printing platform: G3DP: Additive Manufacturing of Optically Transparent Glass. A collaboration with the Glass Lab at MIT, G3DP is the first of its kind and can 3D print optically transparent glass with stunning precision. 

"G3DP is an additive manufacturing platform designed to print optically transparent glass," Oxman told ArchDaily. "The tunability enabled by geometrical and optical variation driven by form, transparency and color variation can drive; limit or control light transmission, reflection and refraction, and therefore carries significant implications for all things glass: aerodynamic building facades optimized for solar gain, geometrically customized and variable thickness lighting devices and so on."

This New Brick by MIT-Researchers Uses Little Energy and Helps Deplete Landfills

11:30 - 15 July, 2015
Traditional Red Bricks. Image Courtesy of MIT Tata Center
Traditional Red Bricks. Image Courtesy of MIT Tata Center

India has one of the fastest growing populations in the world and to accommodate it, a better building material is needed. Currently over 200 billion of the country’s traditional clay fired bricks are manufactured every year, resulting in numerous pollution and environmental problems. To address these issues, a team from MIT –- composed of students Michael Laracy and Thomas Poinot, along with professors Elsa Olivetti, Hamlin Jennings and John Ochsendorf -- has developed Eco-BLAC bricks: an alternative to traditional bricks that reuses industrial waste and is low-cost and low energy. 

Sex and Real Estate, Reconsidered: What Was the True Story Behind Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House?

09:30 - 3 July, 2015
Unidentified woman, perhaps Edith Farnsworth, at Farnsworth House. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois.
Unidentified woman, perhaps Edith Farnsworth, at Farnsworth House. Undated. [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois.

In 1951, Mies van der Rohe completed a house in Plano, Illinois that was the epitome of his modernist ideals; with a steel structure surrounded entirely by glass walls the building perfectly connected the user with its idyllic natural setting, and it was - and is - venerated as a masterwork. A lesser-known story about the work is how its owner Dr Edith Farnsworth attempted to sue her architect, in a story of bitterness and unrequited love - but even less well-known, argues Nora Wendl, is the story of what really happened. In this excerpt from her essay "Uncompromising Reasons for Going West: A Story of Sex and Real Estate, Reconsidered," published in Thresholds issue 43: "Scandalous," Wendl examines the overblown and dubious assertions made about Farnsworth's intentions, finding that the truth may be much more simple: perhaps the Farnsworth House is just not a pleasant place to live.

“I have decided to speak up.”

Such is the threshold between a private affair and a public scandal: one person speaks. These are also the opening lines to “The Threat to the Next America,” which appears in the April 1953 issue of House Beautiful. Penned by editor Elizabeth Gordon, the article describes an unnamed, but “highly intelligent, now disillusioned, woman who spent more than $70,000 building a 1-room house that is nothing but a glass cage on stilts.”[1] Gordon warns readers of a design movement sweeping the nation:

Something is rotten in the state of design—and it is spoiling some of our best efforts in modern living. After watching it for several years, after meeting it with silence, House Beautiful has decided to speak out and appeal to your common sense, because it is common sense that is mostly under attack. Two ways of life stretch before us. One leads to the richness of variety, to comfort and beauty. The other, the one we want fully to expose to you, retreats to poverty and unlivability. Worst of all, it contains the threat of cultural dictatorship.[2]

Farnsworth House, south façade and terrace. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois. Farnsworth House, interior. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois. Farnsworth House, looking northwest from the interior of screened-in porch, furnished by Farnsworth. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois. Farnsworth House, exterior, view of south façade and east end of terrace with Farnsworth’s sculptures. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois. +15

Light Matters: Heightening The Perception Of Daylight With Henry Plummer (Part 2)

10:30 - 7 May, 2015
Light Matters: Heightening The Perception Of Daylight With Henry Plummer (Part 2), Monastery of La Tourette, Éveux-sur-l’Arbresle, France by Le Corbusier. Image © Henry Plummer 2011
Monastery of La Tourette, Éveux-sur-l’Arbresle, France by Le Corbusier. Image © Henry Plummer 2011

Architecture professor and photographer Henry Plummer has heightened the transformative power of daylight with his cameras and published several remarkable books about light and architecture. His deep interest in light, and his lyrical writing perspective, were formed through his contact with the designer and art theorist György Kepes while studying at MIT. Within his numerous photo journeys Plummer has documented the various facets of daylight in Japan and the Nordic Countries, and of masters like Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. As a Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Plummer also still has ambitious plans for future book projects. In the second part of this interview, Plummer reveals how changing technologies have affected his photography, and discusses his thoughts on phenomenology and developing a poetic language of light.

If you missed it, you can read part one of this interview here.

Galician Center of Contemporary Art, Santiago de Compostela by Álvaro Siza. Image © Henry Plummer 2002 Guerrero House, Zahora, Spain by Alberto Campo Baeza. Image © Henry Plummer 2005 Männistö Church, Kuopio, Finland by Juha Leiviskä. Image © Henry Plummer 1995 Nanzenji Temple, Kyoto. Image © Henry Plummer 2013 +7

Light Matters: Heightening The Perception Of Daylight With Henry Plummer (Part 1)

10:30 - 3 May, 2015
Light Matters: Heightening The Perception Of Daylight With Henry Plummer (Part 1), Therme Vals, Switzerland by Peter Zumthor. Image © Henry Plummer 2000
Therme Vals, Switzerland by Peter Zumthor. Image © Henry Plummer 2000

Architecture professor and photographer Henry Plummer has heightened the transformative power of daylight with his cameras and published several remarkable books about light and architecture. His deep interest in light, and his lyrical writing perspective, were formed through his contact with the designer and art theorist György Kepes while studying at MIT. Within his numerous photo journeys Plummer has documented the various facets of daylight in Japan and the Nordic Countries, and of masters like Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. As a Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Plummer also still has ambitious plans for future book projects. In the first part of this interview, Plummer shares a variety of insights about understanding light and approaching buildings for photography.

San Francisco de Asís, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. Image © Henry Plummer 2012 Center Family Dwelling House, Pleasant Hill, Kentucky. Image © Henry Plummer 2006 The Redentore, Venice by Palladio. Image © Henry Plummer 2012 Avila Chapel, Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome by Antonio Gherardi. Image © Henry Plummer 2012 +7