Frank Lloyd Wright and Fay Jones on the Web: The Value of Online Exhibitions

Alexander Residence (Raheen) Swimming Pool. Image © Fay Jones Collection, Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries

Yesterday afternoon, I was able to visit the University of Arkansas “Fay Jones and Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture Comes to Arkansas” – without purchasing a ticket or leaving my apartment. This extensive on the life and development of these two notable architects was made possible through a collaboration between University of Arkansas Libraries’ Special Collections and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Library and Archives. Exhibitions such as this are part of a broader movement in recent years towards making archived content more easily accessible to the public through web platforms. The concept of the , however, is still in its infancy and there remains significant room for innovation.

Peripeteia: Exploring Space Colonization through Architecture

© Luis Daniel Pozo

Long after earth’s first journey to the moon, the idea of space colonization has continued to fascinate us. It is a subject repeated in countless science fiction works and even architectural proposals. For designers, this new frontier is seen as a tantalizing subject for exploration and will likely generate entirely new typologies for inhabitation. These fascinations formed the basis for Luis Daniel Pozo’s Diploma Project at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, from which he developed possible prototypes for “the city above the skies.”

The Architecture of Product Design: Cross-Disciplinary Sketching Tools

Courtesy of Percolate

A version of this article originally appeared on the Percolate Blog.

In spring of 2009, I graduated from architecture school. At the time, the post-recession economy was rough and not much was happening for architects. With an interest in entrepreneurship and , I took a risk and decided to try working at a tech startup. Much to my surprise, I fell in love with the industry and 5 years later, I’m now a Product Designer at Percolate in NYC, a company which produces web and mobile marketing software.

Since my career pivot, I’ve noticed many interesting parallels between architecture and . Although the mediums are different, it’s amazing to see how many of the design principles and processes are the same. To some degree, even the tools can be applied to both design industries. In this post, I will discuss hand-drawing, and learn how we apply architecture tools to at Percolate.

The Power Of The Plan: Drones And Architectural Photography

Boa Nova Teahouse / Álvaro Siza Vieira. Image © Joao Morgado

What is the draw of the aerial view? Whereas architects and designers often find solace in this particular spatial perspective there is a more inclusive, universal appeal to this way of seeing. The ease of access to online mapping services has increased our collective reliance on understanding our world from above.

Maps condense the planet into a little world inside our pocket, the commodification of which has universalised the ‘plan-view’ photograph. The question of whether or not their ubiquitous availability, having now been assimilated into our collective consciousness, is a positive step for the status of the plan is a discussion ongoing. Yet, in the face of this dilemma, architectural photographers are pushing the boundaries of drone in order to find new meaning.

Microsoft Reveals Holographic Features for Windows 10

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At their Windows 10 Event today in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft unveiled features for its forthcoming operating system that it feels could revolutionize computing, particularly for people who want to design, make or fix something in the real world: holographics. The company revealed both the Windows Holographic features that will be built into Windows 10 and HoloLens, an in-house designed headset that will be capable of placing holographic elements into the world around you – think of it as a combination of the flat augmented reality overlay in  Glass, and the immersive yet virtual-only presentation of Oculus Rift.

The video trailer above shows the far-reaching implications for a variety of designers, both professional and amateur (including a nod to the architecture profession at the 50-second mark), with TechCrunch explaining how the “offers a way for architects to survey and present their designs alongside clients even when separated by great distances.”

The Architect’s Time Machine

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a time machine – to skip ahead into a future when has solved all of our problems, or perhaps to go back to a simpler time when we didn’t have to deal with the complications that modern brings? However, in the wise words of Archibald, the animated architect: “Architecture is not a final destination in time; it is a journey through life.”  As architects and builders, we are constantly imagining and designing for the future, while attempting to deal with reality as it exists in the present.

Deciding when and how to modernize your business is potentially a make-or-break decision.  We know from working with engineers, architects, and construction professionals, that the move to digital interaction increases efficiency and is a desirable strategic goal.  However, there are also those who are comfortable with hard copy plans and trips to their local reprographer.  No matter where your business falls on the technology continuum, Blueprintsprinting.com is your design/build time machine – transporting you into the technological future without out any new grey hairs.

The Architecture of Product Design: Circulation in Mobile Apps

Courtesy of Percolate

A version of this article originally appeared on the Percolate Blog.

In spring of 2009, I graduated from architecture school. At the time, the post-recession economy was rough and not much was happening for architects. With an interest in entrepreneurship and technology, I took a risk and decided to try working at a tech startup. Much to my surprise, I fell in love with the industry and 5 years later, I’m now a Product Designer at Percolate in NYC, a company which produces web and mobile marketing software.

Since my career pivot, I’ve noticed many interesting parallels between architecture and product design. Although the mediums are different, it’s amazing to see how many of the design principles and processes are the same. To some degree, even the tools can be applied to both design industries. In this post, I will discuss how circulation is a fundamental property in the usefulness of both buildings and products.

One of the greatest lessons I learned in architecture school is the importance of circulation systems in the design of buildings.

Want a Virtual Reality Headset? Make One For Almost Nothing With Google Cardboard

© via the Cardboard Website

One of the most hyped stories in the world of technology is the development of powerful, affordable virtual reality headsets for the commercial market. For architects, the ability to immerse yourself in an imaginary world is an enticing prospect, for both professional and recreational uses – but at $200 and upwards for what is still a product under development, devices like Oculus Rift are not for the faint-hearted.

But now Google, ever the ambassador for the more fiscally-cautious tech junkie, has a solution that won’t break the bank. Their contribution to the emerging market is “Google Cardboard,” which creates a simple headset from an Android-powered smartphone and – you guessed it – some cardboard. Read on to find out how it works.

Video: Rem Koolhaas and Nest CEO Tony Fadell on Architecture and Technology

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How will that began in Silicon Valley change global urbanism and the elements of architecture? In this video from the 2014 Venice Biennale, inventor, designer and entrepreneur Tony Fadell discusses technology and its emerging impact on architecture with Rem Koolhaas. As a co-founder of Nest Labs, Fadell played a major role in developing the first Apple iPod and has taken his knowledge of interactive user interface with him to change one of the most basic interface elements in our homes – the thermostat. With adaptive technologies becoming increasingly prevalent in our daily lives, Koolhaas discusses the potential ramifications of technological architecture with concerns ranging from privacy to individual freedoms and more.

Audi Urban Future Award 2014: Team Berlin’s “Flywheel” Could Revolutionize Personal Mobility

© Audi Urban Future Initiative

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 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 Three-Dimensional City: How Drones Will Impact the Future Urban Landscape

Hawkins\Brown’s ‘Romance of the Sky’ proposal for the site of Heathrow Airport features drones – but does the urban design of the proposal accommodate the role of drones in the urban sphere?. Image © Factory Fifteen

Many have come to associate drones with the looming unmanned aircraft deployed in the defense industry, but as technology continues to improve drones have gotten smaller and progressively less expensive. Consumers can now purchase their very own drone for as little as $600 or less and the technology is already proving to be useful for a wide variety of purposes, including possible uses for architects in everything from site analysis to construction.

However, this technology could have much broader consequences on not only the airspace above our streets, but also in how we design for increasing civilian and commercial drone traffic. Just as other technologies such as and security surveillance have shaped our urban infrastructure, so too will an emerging network of infrastructure for pilotless technology. Particularly as drones become ever more precise and nimble, opportunities arise for their increased use in urban areas. If these devices can be programmed to learn from repeated maneuvers with the use of cameras and sensors, it is not unrealistic to say that they could soon learn how to navigate through increasingly complex vertical cities. But if drones become fixtures of our urban environment, what impact will they have on exterior spaces? And could they become as ubiquitous in our city’s skies as cars on our streets?

Why Are There Still No Built Traces of New York’s Tech Industry?

837 Washington Street. ImageImage via New York YIMBY

For many architects, the chance to make an impression on the landscape of New York City is a sign of distinction, an indication that they have “made the big time.” But it’s not just architects who have this desire: for decades, the city’s big industrial players have also striven to leave their mark. However in this article, originally posted on New York YIMBY as “How New York City is Robbing Itself of the Tech Industry’s Built Legacy,” Stephen Smith examines where it’s all gone wrong for the city’s latest industry players.

Strolling through the streets of Manhattan’s business neighborhoods, you can pick out the strata of the city’s built commercial heritage, deposited over generations by industries long gone. From the Garment District’s heavy pyramidal avenue office towers and side street lofts, dropped by the garment industry in the 1920s, to the modernist towers like Lever House and the Seagram Building, erected on Park and Fifth Avenues during the post-war years by the country’s giant consumer goods companies, each epoch of industry left the city with a layer of commercial architecture, enduring long after the businesses were acquired and the booms turned to bust.

But 50 or 100 years into the future, when our grandchildren and great-grandchildren stroll through the neighborhoods of Midtown South that are today thick with technology and creative firms, they are not likely to find much left over from the likes of Facebook or . There will be no equivalent of Grand Central or Penn Station, Terminal City or the Hotel Pennsylvania, left over from the early 20th century railroad tycoons, or SoHo’s cast iron buildings, developed by speculators seeking to feed the growing textile and dry-goods trades of the late 19th century. Perhaps unique among New York’s large industries, the tech and creative tenants that have become the darlings of the current market cycle are leaving very little behind for future generations to admire.

ThyssenKrupp Promises to Revolutionize Skyscraper Design with Elevator Innovation

© ThyssenKruppe

Elevator manufacturer ThyssenKrupp has unveiled its latest technological advance, a cable free, multi-car, multi-directional elevator that has the potential to revolutionize the size and shape of future skyscrapers. Run using magnetic similar to that used by Maglev trains, with each cabin running its own individual motor, the “MULTI” elevator system opens up the potential for elevator cabins to move horizontally as well as vertically. This in turn offers the potential for multiple cabins to operate in a single system, with cabins going up one shaft and down an adjacent shaft.

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

© Urban Future Iniative

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, , 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.

Light Matters: 7 Ways Lighting Can Make Architecture More Sustainable

Sustainable lighting at HDI Gerling Headquarters. Architects: ingenhoven architects, www.ingenhovenarchitects.com. Lighting design: Tropp Lighting, www.tropp-lighting.com. Image © Hans Georg Esch, www.hgesch.de

Sustainable lighting design offers various well-being and environmental benefits in addition to economic advantages for clients and users. Although daylight provides a free lighting source,  for most spaces the amount and time of daylight is not sufficient and electrical lighting is necessary. A focus on becomes essential for minimizing energy consumption and improving the quality of life. Even though efficiency has significantly increased with LED , electrical lighting is still more widely used. Often the ambition for renovations or new applications goes along with a higher quantity of lighting instead of finding a better lighting quality with an adequate amount of energy.

Read on after the break for Light Matters’ 7 fundamental steps to achieve sustainable lighting.

Ohio State Researcher Team Invents Combined Solar Cell and Battery

Nanometer-sized rods of titanium dioxide (larger image) cover the surface of a piece of titanium gauze (inset). The holes in the gauze are approximately 200 micrometers across, allowing air to enter the battery while the rods gather light. Image Courtesy of Yiying Wu, The

A new technology developed by researchers at Ohio State University has the potential to increase the efficiency and decrease the cost of generating and storing the sun’s energy. Led by professor of chemistry and biochemistry Yiying Wu, the team has created a combined solar cell and lithium storage battery with an efficiency of electron transfer between the two components of almost 100%, in a design which they believe will reduce costs by up to 25%.

“The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy,” Wu said. “We’ve integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost.”

Read on after the break for more on the news

Architect Develops the World’s First Hoverboard

© Hendo via Kickstarter

Architects can do far more than design buildings. In fact, some of history’s most acclaimed innovators were not only architects, but also inventors. Leonardo da Vinci himself, the epitome of the Renaissance man, sketched buildings alongside ideas for flying machines. Buckminster Fuller was the ultimate futurist and invented the geodesic dome in addition to his Dymaxion Car, an automobile that was far ahead of its time. Now, an architect has developed “the world’s first hoverboard,” and the has far-reaching implications for not only transportation, but also buildings themselves. Read on after to break to learn more about what this could mean for the future.

Light Matters: Smart Flying Pixels Create a Floating Glow

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Imagine luminaires that could fly and visualise new buildings or individually guide you through space. What would happen if you could even interact with these flying pixels? These concepts could be realised in the near future as the first prototypes and experiments are being introduced. Software-driven LED pixels combined with drone swarm technology provide extraordinary possibilities for inducing new forms of spatial experience. These luminous pixel clouds emerge as digital patterns, but at the same time they emanate a romantic quality with their unique star formations twinkling in the night sky. The first projects have shared a playful note, but laboratories such as MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, ARES Lab and Ars Electronica Futurelab have shown an intriguing future in for guidance systems or envisioning real estate developments, as advances in battery technology and wireless control have opened new perspectives for a life with smart flying pixels.