5 Reasons Architects Should Learn to Code

© scyther5 via Shutterstock

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, . 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

© Arash Nemati Hayati, Department of Mechanical Engineering, the University of Utah via XSEDE

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

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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, , 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”

Courtesy of ZAarchitects

When one hears the term 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 is often heavy, massive, and incorporates less natural light than alternative methods. However, with their research proposal for “Smart ,” Zaarchitects are proposing to change masonry buildings as we know them and open opportunities for digital fabrication techniques in stone and other previously antiquated . 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.

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

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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 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

© Persbureau van Eijndhoven

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 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.

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 ,” 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)au, Wolf 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.

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 : 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 online exhibition, 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 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 . 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-, 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 ©

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 technology 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 Google 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 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 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 virtual reality 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 technology 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 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 .

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?