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How Architecture Firms Can Safely Make the Switch to Cloud Storage

As an architect, whether you’re storing large design files, sharing them with colleagues, syncing files to your tablet to show clients in meetings, or filing away confidential patent documentation, the benefits of the cloud are increasingly on your side. Because the architecture industry relies so heavily on collaboration throughout the course of a project, it seems like a natural fit for using the cloud but nonetheless, many architecture firms generally dissuade cloud adoption, largely due to concerns about security and the necessity of protecting intellectual property.

To be fair, these concerns are not entirely unfounded: After all, nearly a quarter of cybercriminals are intellectual property spies, hoping to sell your designs to a competitor or release confidential plans to the public. So when you work in an industry where intellectual property is your bread and butter, it’s essential to regularly address security concerns and maintain strong contingency plans.

Explore Barcelona’s Architecture with This Free App by Josep Lluís Mateo

Spanish architect Josep Lluís Mateo of Mateo Arquitectura has launched the “BCN Architecture Guide,” a free application to help travelers and architecture lovers explore Barcelona. The app guides users to both highlights of the city’s built environment as well as its natural environment, including some “places to experience nature in tension with the city, places to be rather than objects to look at.”

The app is available for download in both the App Store and Google Play.

Architecture Gear Giveaway: Win the new 32” Samsung UD970 Monitor

The success of a design, from inception to construction, can depend on the extent to which designers can represent their intentions, but the days when architects used the drafting pencil and parallel edge to exercise physical control over their work are rapidly fading away. While computerization makes possible innovative forms and new methods of working, if not calibrated and engineered perfectly, digital technology can bring unintended consequences into the design process. Samsung’s UD970 monitor, however, resynchronizes the design process with the build environment through ultra-high definition (UHD) technology. Samsung partnered with leading designers, including Mark English Architects, to explore the importance of high-resolution detail in their work and ArchDaily has teamed up to bring these UHD monitors to our readers. To learn more, read on after the break.

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.

4 Ways Technology Can Improve Architecture for (and by) the Blind

Seven years after waking up without sight, San Francisco-based architect Chris Downey is helping to revolutionize the built environment with interactive technologies optimized for the blind. One of the world's leading blind architects, Downey intrinsically understands the issues facing blind and visually impaired people worldwide. As a consultant to a variety of organizations serving to advance universal access, Downey has played an integral role in the development and integration of new, non-invasive technologies designed to assist the blind. 

In a recent article in Dwell, Downey illustrates the various technologies currently being tested and implemented in San Francisco - a city notorious for its topographical challenges to differently abled residents. See four takeaways from Dwell's interview with Downey on how technology can help bridge the gap between architecture and universal access after the break.

Could Hovering Buildings be the Future of Sustainability?

Could Hovering Buildings be the Future of Sustainability?

If Arx Pax, a cutting-edge technology firm led by Greg and Jill Henderson, has its way, levitating objects could become a common sight. The team is developing what they call Magnetic Field Architecture (MFA), a technology which controls electromagnetic energy to make objects hover, and at the several months ago, they used it to produce Hendo Hover, a hoverboard capable of carrying a person. While the fact that Arx Pax was able to produce a hoverboard is fascinating, the technology could have much more serious applications: as an architect, Greg Henderson envisions that one day MFA technology could be used in buildings to produce sustainable structures which can better survive earthquakes and other natural disasters. Is this goal realistic?

PixPlant 3: Create Custom 3D Texture Maps for Rendering

Rendering has become the ultimate tool in the architect’s arsenal for communicating designs directly to clients. But with the seemingly infinite number of real-life material options that exist today, the textures built into rendering programs often fall short. In some cases, one may be able to find appropriate texture maps for their desired materials online, but when experimenting with new materials or unique colors the need for greater customization arises. In the past, perhaps you could attempt to manually create and edit your own texture maps, but this can be a long and arduous process.

Morphosis Architects Headline AIA's 2015 Technology In Architectural Practice Innovation Awards

The AIA has announced four projects as the winners of its inaugural Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Innovation Awards, with Morphosis Architects' Emerson College Los Angeles taking away the headline "Stellar Architecture" award. Started in 2005, the TAP Knowledge Community has led efforts to acknowledge and disseminate the best use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technologies, and the AIA hopes that the new TAP Innovation Award will "enliven the discourse on how these innovations can advance the profession and practice of architecture and further the mission of the Institute."

See all four awarded projects after the break.

The building and site utilize best ‘green’ practices, including capturing stormwater in the landscape. Image © Tom Holdsworth The three main massing elements (south bar, atrium and north tower) are each designed with their own structural systems and floor-to-floor heights to maximize efficiencies. Image © Alene Davis The design's canted glazing intensifies reflections of immediate environment. Image © Point B Design A grand stair provides space for social gatherings, connecting the students to Sunset Blvd below with a view of the Hollywood Sign ahead. Image © Iwan Baan

AR Issues: Past Imperfect, Future Tense

ArchDaily is continuing our partnership with The Architectural Review, bringing you short introductions to the themes of the magazine’s monthly editions. In this introduction to the April 2015 issue, her final editorial at the magazine, Catherine Slessor reflects on the changes in her two-decade tenure as a member of the AR's editorial staff - from the technological change that has irrevocably changed the nature of architectural publishing, to the worrying decline in the relevance of the architectural profession.

Cyberpunk king William Gibson once remarked: "The future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed." But we’re getting there. The AR’s digital adventure has just climaxed with the recent launch of the AR app. Our lavish and incomparable banquet of criticism, culture and campaigning can now be savoured at your leisure, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. It’s a leap that completes the journey from paper magazine to digital multiverse, offering more and different kinds of content on your platform of choice.

Rem Koolhaas: "Soon, Your House Could Betray You"

In the latest of a series of polemical arguments against smart citiesRem Koolhaas has penned perhaps his most complete analysis yet of the role that emerging technologies and the way they are implemented will affect our everyday lives, in an article over at Artforum. Taking on a wide range of issues, Koolhaas goes from criticizing developments in building technology as a "stealthy infiltration of architecture via its constituent elements" to questioning the commercial motivations of the (non-architects) who are creating these smart cities - even at one point implicating his other erstwhile recent interest, the countryside, where he says "a hyper-Cartesian order is being imposed." Find out more about Koolhaas' smart city thoughts at Artforum.

Corporate Dystopia: Liam Young Imagines a World in which Tech Companies Own Our Cities

What if the manufacturers of the phones and social networks we cling to became the rulers of tomorrow’s cities? Imagine a world in which every building in your neighborhood is owned by Samsung, entire regions are occupied by the ghosts of our digital selves, and cities spring up in international waters to house outsourced laborers. These are the worlds imagined by self-described speculative architect, Liam Young in his latest series of animations entitled ”New City.” Read on after the break to see all three animations and learn more about what’s next in the series.

From "The City in the Sea". Image Courtesy of Liam Young From "Keeping up Appearances". Image Courtesy of Liam Young From "Keeping up Appearances". Image Courtesy of Liam Young From "The Edgelands". Image Courtesy of Liam Young

5 Reasons Architects Should Learn to Code

In his popular post on how architects can "work smarter, not harder," Michael Kilkelly suggests that you should "customize your tools to work the way you work" and "use macros to automate repetitive tasks." Both sound very helpful of course, but wouldn't those require you to to write some code? Yes - but according to Kilkelly this should be a tool available in every architect's toolkit. Originally published on ArchSmarter, here he offers 5 reasons that architects should learn to code.

As architects, we need to know a lot of stuff. We need to know building codes, structures, mechanical systems, materials. We need to know how to read zoning codes, how to calculate building area, how to layout office floor. The list goes on and on. Do we really need to know how to write computer programs as well?

How Supercomputers are Shaping the Future of our Cities

What possible use could architects have for a supercomputer? Well, of course it would be nice to produce that ultra-high-quality render in a matter of seconds rather than hours - but this post on the XSEDE blog recounts another use that is (arguably) much more important. XSEDE, an organization that helps researchers by providing them with access to supercomputers, has been working with a group from the University of Utah's Mechanical Engineering Department to simulate wind flow in cities, with the ultimate aim of providing architects and engineers with the tools to reduce wind tunneling effects, improve energy efficiency and lower pollution. Find out more about the research project here.

SCI-Arc Offers Emerging Systems, Technologies & Media Post Professional Program

A dynamic post-professional program in Emerging Systems, Technologies, & Media (ESTm) offered by the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles has been charged with examining core contemporary issues facing architecture and design today. Spanning topics from advanced manufacturing methodologies to new building systems, this one year Master of Design Research track allows professionals to rethink architecture and design through the experimental hands-on approach of the SCI-Arc community.

The ESTm program tests new levels of environmental performance as it prepares students to successfully integrate formal, technical, logistical, and material processes into advanced architectural designs. The program is open to graduates in architecture, engineering, product design, computer sciences and other professionals who wish to develop advanced research and design skills in light of continuously evolving materials and new production paradigms of the 21st century.

Digitized Stone: ZAarchitects Develop “Smart Masonry”

When one hears the term masonry architecture, digital fabrication and automated construction processes are probably not the first ideas to come to mind. By its very nature, the architecture produced with stone masonry is often heavy, massive, and incorporates less natural light than alternative methods. However, with their research proposal for "Smart Masonry," ZAarchitects are proposing to change masonry buildings as we know them and open opportunities for digital fabrication techniques in stone and other previously antiquated materials. Read on after the break to get a glimpse of what these new masonry buildings could look like and learn more about the process behind their construction.

Courtesy of ZAarchitects Courtesy of ZAarchitects Courtesy of ZAarchitects Courtesy of ZAarchitects

Places Journal Launches New Tool for Sharing Articles about Architecture, Landscape, and Urbanism

Do you have a stimulating read on architecture, landscapes, or urbanism you want to share with the world? Places Journal has launched an innovative interactive feature called Reading Lists designed to spread the word. Whether you have videos and websites to share with a peer, articles and books to compile for future perusal, or an annotated bibliography to create, Reading Lists is sure to simplify the process through its user-friendly and interdisciplinary platform. Check out the Featured Lists for inspiration and start your own list, here.

Material Minds: Digital Ceramic Printing in MVRDV's Glass Farm

If you search the web for information on MVRDV's Glass Farm, you'll find plenty of people writing about the project's 33-year history, and about its context in the small town of Schijndel. You'll even find plenty of people theorizing on the nature of those glass walls, and the relationships between image and authenticity and between modern technology and modest tradition. But strangely, you'll find almost no information on how the project made use of Digital Ceramic Printing, a relatively new process which was able to handle the many colors, variable transparency and fine tolerances required to display an entire farmhouse facade across a thousand glass panels.

In this new installment of our Material Minds series, presented by ArchDaily Materials, we spoke to MVRDV's project leader on the Glass Farm Gijs Rikken, and to Niv Raz, an Architect at Dip-Tech - the company who produces the printers, ink, software and support required for the process.

© MVRDV © MVRDV © MVRDV © Persbureau van Eijndhoven

The Robot Revolution: Coop Himmelb(l)au Founder Wolf D. Prix on the Future of Construction

With a recently released animation entitled “We Start the Future of Construction,” Coop Himmelb(l)au announced their intention to take digital fabrication to a radical new scale, demonstrating how technology is impacting almost every aspect of the architectural profession. The advent of building information modeling and other modeling software has transformed how architects and engineers navigate the construction process, allowing us to achieve increasingly complex forms that can be modeled with the aid of CNC machining and 3D Printing, but still there remains a wide gap between the technologies available to architects and those employed by builders. When it comes to a building’s actual construction we have been limited by the great costs associated with non-standard components and labor - but now, the automated practices that transformed manufacturing industries could revolutionize how we make buildings.

Last week, ArchDaily sat down with co-founder, Design Principal and CEO of Coop Himmelb(l)auWolf D. Prix for his thoughts on the future of construction and the role of the architect in an increasingly technological practice. Read on after the break to find out how robots could impact architectural design, construction, and the future of the profession.

Screenshot from Video. Image Courtesy of Coop Himmelb(l)au Screenshot from Video. Image Courtesy of Coop Himmelb(l)au Screenshot from Video. Image Courtesy of Coop Himmelb(l)au Screenshot from Video. Image Courtesy of Coop Himmelb(l)au