Filmed at TEDxToronto in September 2013, this talk by architect, educator and theorist Rodolphe el‐Khoury is based on the inevitable “internet of things.” As TEDxToronto described, “More than ever before, the line between the digital and real worlds is increasingly blurred. Historically, computers and devices have functioned as a separate layer within our lives… In this world, our homes, workplaces, and the objects within them will all be digitally connected, intelligent, and responsive.” It is only a matter of time.
When Google Glass launched, we wondered how this wearable augmented reality device could add a whole other dimension to the consumption of architectural publications, by bringing the experience of space, matter, and light to our screens.
In our field, the experience is very important, and it is a dimension that hasn’t been able to be reproduced in its entirety through traditional media (plans, 2D or even 3D models). Attempts to make immersive panoramas or to embrace video have expanded the potential for representation, but not in a significant way. And this is why travel is a vital asset for the architect.
Imagine finally experiencing the approach to the Parthenon like Le Corbusier did almost a century ago. Imagine a tour broadcast by the architects of a project themselves, with the possibility for instant reader feedback in order to discuss a particular moment inside the building.
Google is about to release a new version of their device, and we had the chance to use it while walking around the PUC Design School by Sebastian Irarrazaval. Here’s a short video of what we recorded with the device; just imagine how this very same video would be when Google Glass overlays the physical, built world you’re experiencing with virtual information from around the web.
And stay tuned for more videos!!
CyArk, a non-for-profit 3D laser scanning organization, is scanning the world’s greatest monuments, hoping to preserve over 500 cultural heritage sites around the globe, The Independent reports. The portable laser system creates such a detailed, digital blueprint of structures and ruins that each building can then be reproduced in 3D, with a margin of error of only two millimeters. So far, the statues of Easter Island, the Tower of London, Mount Rushmore, the Tower of Pisa have been preserved. Check out more about the technology in Ben Kacyra’s TED Talk.
In a world where people live more mobile lifestyles than they have for centuries, cities are facing a problem they rarely planned for: their citizens move away. When jobs and resources start to decline, modern cities, such as Detroit, suffer difficult and often wasteful processes of urban contraction. In contrast to this, Manuel Dominguez’s “Very Large Structure,” the result of his thesis project at ETSA Madrid, proposes a nomadic city that can move on caterpillar tracks to locations where work and resources are abundant.
Of course this is not the first time that the idea of a nomadic city has been proposed. Ron Herron’s Walking City is one of the more recognizable Archigram designs from the 1960s, and has been influential to architectural theory ever since. However, the design for the “Very Large Structure” expands on the Walking City by including strong proposals for energy generation on board the city.
Read on to see more on this provocative project – including a full set of presentation boards in the image gallery.
Since the dawn of the modern era, there has been a strong relationship between architecture and the car, especially in the works of Le Corbusier.
Le Corbusier was fascinated by his car (the Voisin C7 Lumineuse); the aesthetics of this functional, mass produced machine deeply influenced his designs. Its focus on function translated into his concept that houses should be “machines for living” and inspired a series of experiments of mass produced, pre-fab houses (such as the Maison Citrohan). Most of these concepts were later materialized in the iconic Villa Savoye, whose floorplan was even designed to accommodate the car’s turning radius.
An interesting essay by Anthony Townsend in Design Observer investigates a largely unconsidered aspect of smart cities: what happens if (or perhaps when) they malfunction? Townsend argues that as technology seeps into every aspect of our life within a complex system such as a smart city, glitches and bugs are likely to be magnified many times. He also explains that many of the communications systems that smart cities will rely on are insufficiently resilient, meaning entire cities could be vulnerable to failure or attack – an issue that will not sit well with the AIA. You can read the whole essay here.
Powerful video projectors at an affordable price have opened the path for a young, impressive art form: 3D video mapping, a means of projection that uses the architecture itself as the screen. Artists and researchers initiated the movement, developing a new visual language to interpret architecture. Later, marketing adopted this technique for branding, with large-scale projections on skyscrapers; political activists have also initiated dialogues, turning ephemeral light interventions into eye-catching ways to point out and address urban design issues.
More on the ways artists and groups develop this visual language for urban storytelling, after the break…
Imagine driving your car into a sizable aluminum pod and being shot 800 miles per hour through an elevated, shotgun-like barrel to arrive at a city 400 miles away within 30 minutes. According to Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla Motors, Californians will be doing this within the next decade.
Nearly a year after mentioning the possibility of a hyper-speed transit system and voicing discontent over the state’s “expensive, slow and impractical” high-speed rail proposal, Musk has unveiled a detailed synopsis of his solar- and wind-powered “Hyperloop.” The idea, originally inspired by the vacuum tubes used to transport checks at bank drive-throughs, has the potential to revolutionize mass transit.
SKALGUBBAR is a library of free high-resolution images of people that can be used in renderings and photomontages. The idea for this immense virtual library came to Teodor Javanaud Emdén when he was in architecture school. He realized that it was complicated to find images of people on the internet, and that when he did find them the color quality and resolution were not good enough. Because of this, he decided to photograph his friends and use their likenesses in his projects; his friends also used these images in their own projects since Teodor shared his pictures on a website.
This website motivated him to keep producing images of people for renderings — especially images of people acting out unexpected scenarios. What’s been most interesting is that the people “created” by Teodor can be seen in presentations for competitions and in the renders of some of the world’s large architecture firms. The site has a variety of categories, covering a wide range of people and actions (such as bike riding, laughing, jumping walking the dog, etc). Ultimately, you’ll be able to find the right image, saved in .png format and ready to be inserted directly into a montage or render. All you have to do is scale the people correctly. Click here to check out the more than 200 images available on SKALGUBBAR.
Last year interdisciplinary architecture firm Höweler + Yoon Architecture was announced the winners of the Audi Urban Future Award for the project Boswash:Shareway 2030. The City Dossier in Boston, held this May, was organized as a series of workshops between Höweler + Yoon Architecture and Audi experts in developing steps to realize aspects of the Boswash: Shareway vision. Part research project, part feasibility study, part road map to the future of mobility – the focus of the workshops is to propose a pilot project that can be tested in the proposed region of Boston – Washington.
We featured the project last year as it highlights how the landscape of urban development has changed. The focus of “Shareway” is the string of high-density metropolitan areas, their suburbs and ex-urbs along I-95 between Boston, MA and Washington, DC. The I-95 corridor caters to some fifty million inhabitants, many of whom commute into metropolitan areas for work. Mobility and transportation are critical to the economic vitality of these urban areas; “Shareway” proposes an intentionally re-engineered “highly orchestrated and deliberately produced platform from which we might imagine alternate paths, different trajectories, or new cultural dreams” whereby imagining an “alternate life for the road” is imagining a new American Dream.
Read on for more on the progress of this project after the break.
The Mapdwell Project is a collaborative effort of researchers, academics, and professionals from MIT from a range of fields – design, building technology, engineering, environmental sciences, finance, and computer sciences – to develop a community resource of research-driven and tested information of sustainable practices. The Sustainable Design Lab at MIT collaborated with design studio MoDE (Modern Development Studio), which designed the online viewer. The fundamental goal of Mapdwell is to deliver a tool that enables communities to make informed decisions about how to incorporate sustainable practices into their lifestyles through community awareness, and access to information about energy efficiency and smart development.
More details on this tool after the break.
Meagan Durlak and James Frankis, both students studying Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons New School for Design, have developed a mobile mapping tool to unveil the true dynamics of informal slum communities, as revealed by Metropolis Magazine.
The system, called Mark, is being tested in the Heliopolis favela of Sao Paulo, Brazil, after which the duo hope it will be “scalable and adaptable” enough to be applied to other informal settlements all over the world. The SMS-based tool is designed not only to provide information about the settlements to external organizations, but also to be a sharing platform for the residents who become cartographers of their own neighborhood.
Read about the motivation behind the Mark project after the break
There are many ways that the architecture profession has lead the way in environmentally friendly design – but when it comes to the process of creating buildings themselves, the industry works its way through huge amounts of paper. Frank Gehry, through his offshoot technology company Gehry Technologies, is aiming to change that.
The company has recently announced that its GTeam software, which has so far been available for less than a year, will now make use of Box, a cloud based storage system that is well suited to large files associated with complex 3D models that are often required in designing buildings.
Read more about Gehry Technology’s new software collaboration after the break
Arguably the biggest buzzword in urbanism right now is the ‘Smart City’. The idea, although certainly inclusive of eco-friendly practices, has even replaced “sustainability” as the major intent of cities planning for positive future development. Smart City thinking has been used successfully in countries as diverse as Brazil, the US, the UAE, South Korea, and Scotland (Glasgow just won a £24million grant to pioneer new schemes throughout the city).
But what exactly are Smart Cities? What benefit do they bring us? And, more importantly, how can we best implement them to secure our future?
The answer, in my opinion, lies in the hands of architects.
More on the potential of Smart Cities after the break…
Graphic designer and curator Kenya Hara has put together a three week-long exhibition in Tokyo focusing on the future of the Japanese house. Hara argues that the housing industry can no longer be isolated but must be combined with other industries, technologies and ideas, including energy, transportation, communication, household appliances, the “vision of happiness” pursued by adults, the representation of Japanese traditions and aesthetics as well as a future vision of health. All of these elements he hopes to present and discuss at the House Vision Exhibition where more than ten types of futuristic houses are on display and daily seminars with expert urban planners, developers, contractors, architects, telecom and even gas organizations have been taking place.
Read more about the exhibition after the break.
Robots fascinate us. Their ability to move and act autonomously is visually and intellectually seductive. We write about them, put them in movies, and watch them elevate menial tasks like turning a doorknob into an act of technological genius. For years, they have been employed by industrial manufacturers, but until recently, never quite considered seriously by architects. Sure, some architects might have let their imaginations wander, like Archigram did for their “Walking City”, but not many thought to actually make architecture with robots. Now, in our age of digitalization, virtualization, and automation, the relationship between architects and robots seems to be blooming…check it out.
Keep reading to see five new robots making architecture.
3D printing technology has made immense leaps in the last few years as equipment and specialized programming has been refined to produced fully occupiable and usable spaces. In previous articles, ArchDaily has discussed the numerous advances in 3D printing technology and their potential applications. 3D-printed dwellings on the moon made of sand via D-Shape, full-scale rooms via the KamerMaker and a personal printer for your kids called the MakerBot are just some speculative and experimental prototypes that have emerged from extensive research and development. The designers of the next experiment in 3D printing is design group, Softkill Design, which includes Nicholette Chan, Gilles Retsin, Aaron Silver, and Sophia Tang within the Architectural Association School’s Design Research Lab at the ‘behavioral matter’ studio of Robert Stuart-Smith. Last year Softkill Design completed ProtoHouse 1.0, a high-resolution prototype of a house printed at 1:33 scale. Research prototypes were generously supported by Materialise.
More details on the technology and images of ProtoHouse1.0 after the break.
Last year, Google founder Sergey Brin demoed Google Glass a new technology from the big G that puts an augmented reality display in front of your eye. The device is scheduled for early release to developers and creatives (in order to get feedback before the $1,500 product finds its way to the general public) in just a few weeks, but it has already been highly acclaimed by the media (including Best Inventions of the Year 2012 by Time).
On this video released by Google you can understand what all the hype is about. The 0.5″ display supported by a thin aluminium frame is placed in front of your right eye and thanks to its camera it serves as a two way interface with the Internet. As you can see on the video, natural language instructions (“Glass, take photo”, “Glass, record video”, “Glass, How long is the Brooklyn bridge?”) let you easily control the device and not only check emails or send messages, but also to display maps, definitions, and to share photos and videos in real time. In this aspect, the device opens a big door for architecture.
In our field, the experience is very important, and it is a dimension that hasn’t been able to be reproduced in its entirety through traditional media (plans, 2D or even 3D photos). Attempts to make immersive panoramas or the efforts of architecture photographers to embrace videos have extended the representation, but not in a significative way. And this is why travel is an important thing for the architect.
Imagine a tour broadcasted by the architects of the project, with the possibility of instant reader feedback to discuss a particular moment inside the building. Imagine finally experiencing the approach to the Parthenon like Le Corbusier did almost a century ago.
In this aspect, Google Glass will change the way we understand architecture media.