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Big Data: The Latest Architecture and News

Firms Like Zaha Hadid Architects Are Revolutionizing Office Design Using Big Data

09:30 - 1 May, 2018
Firms Like Zaha Hadid Architects Are Revolutionizing Office Design Using Big Data, The Analytics and Insight unit at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has developed data-driven space-planning models for workplaces that can be changed or adapted in real time. The team, led by architect Uli Blum and Arjun Kaicker, applies their research directly to ZHA projects, including the Sberbank Technopark at the Skolkovo Innovation Centre, Moscow, Russia (seen here), and the Galaxy SOHO Beijing, which was built in 2012. Image Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects
The Analytics and Insight unit at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has developed data-driven space-planning models for workplaces that can be changed or adapted in real time. The team, led by architect Uli Blum and Arjun Kaicker, applies their research directly to ZHA projects, including the Sberbank Technopark at the Skolkovo Innovation Centre, Moscow, Russia (seen here), and the Galaxy SOHO Beijing, which was built in 2012. Image Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

This article was originially published by Metropolis Magazine as "Architects, Armed with Data, Are Seeing the Workplace Like Never Before."

A workplace that improves employee productivity and efficiency has been a white whale of corporate managers for decades. But even before the office as we know it today was born, designers and innovators were already studying sites of labor, such as the factory, to devise strategies to boost worker performance. By the 1960s, Robert Propst, the inventor behind Herman Miller’s Action Office line of workplace furniture, and others were conducting workspace research that would ultimately lead to the creation of the modern cubicle.

These developments relied largely on observation and intuition to organize office workers in purportedly effective ways. Now, advances in technology allow designers to take a more sophisticated approach, using sensors, internet-connected furniture and fixtures, and data analytics to study offices in real time. “You can take into account every single employee, and people are very different,” says London architect Uli Blum. “It’s about solving the fundamental problems of getting people the environment they need. And the easiest way is to ask them,” he adds. But finding out the needs of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of workers can quickly become an exercise in futility.

5 Tech Innovations to Help Manage Project Data and Create New Ways of Designing

09:30 - 20 March, 2018
5 Tech Innovations to Help Manage Project Data and Create New Ways of Designing

This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication under the title "5 Technology Innovations Can Help Your Architecture Practice Work Smarter."

Before airplanes, it took mail carriers on horseback months to transport letters across the country. Before washing machines, it took a full day of physical exercise to wash and dry a family’s laundry. And before cranes, it took decades—sometimes centuries—to build large structures such as castles and cathedrals.

The point being: Whatever you do, technology probably gives you a better way to do it.

How Microsoft Is Making Data-Driven Decisions to Craft its New Workplace Design Language

10:30 - 21 February, 2018
How Microsoft Is Making Data-Driven Decisions to Craft its New Workplace Design Language, The “Design Language for Place” guidelines emphasize craftsmanship, authentic materials, and locally inspired design details. In Buildings 31 and 32 on Microsoft’s Washington Redmond campus, this means evoking the outdoor culture and woodsy aesthetic of the Pacific Northwest. Image © Aaron Locke
The “Design Language for Place” guidelines emphasize craftsmanship, authentic materials, and locally inspired design details. In Buildings 31 and 32 on Microsoft’s Washington Redmond campus, this means evoking the outdoor culture and woodsy aesthetic of the Pacific Northwest. Image © Aaron Locke

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "The Big Ideas Behind Microsoft’s New 'Design Language.'"

Microsoft is undertaking an ambitious overhaul of its 800 offices around the world and uncovering great insights about the intersections of technology and workplace design in the process. The technology giant’s global director of workplace strategies, Riku Pentikäinen, speaks to Metropolis’s Avinash Rajagopal about the company’s new workplaces, collaborating with designers and furniture manufacturers, and how his team takes a data-driven approach to office design.

The design of Microsoft’s 106,000-square-foot London office (pictured) and the flagship Milan office was informed by a new tool called space-utilization technology. Using data points collected over 180 days through Wi-Fi, Microsoft can now analyze how people use its office spaces. Image © Hufton + Crow In Microsoft's Milan office, designed by DEGW in Herzog & de Meuron’s Feltrinelli building, space-utilization technology was applied to optimize the square footage. Image Courtesy of Microsoft Nowhere is this better exemplified than in two conference rooms tucked among the fir trees. The log-cabin aesthetic notwithstanding, both are fully equipped with Wi-Fi. Image Courtesy of Microsoft The landscape design was optimized to invite people to step outside, while a series of decks, plazas, and play areas—fitted out with colorful furniture from Loll Designs and Blu Dot, among others—allows them to socialize or work together with equal ease. Image © Aaron Locke + 11

24H Competition: 23rd edition - bigData

14:00 - 19 February, 2018
24H Competition: 23rd edition - bigData, Ideas Forward - bigData
Ideas Forward - bigData

Ideasforward wants to give young creative people from around the world the opportunity to express their views on the future of societies through their innovative and visionary proposals.
We are an experimental platform seeking progressive ideas that reflect on emerging themes.

Big Data Becomes Architecture in This CNC-Milled Screen Wall for IBM

12:00 - 29 April, 2017
Big Data Becomes Architecture in This CNC-Milled Screen Wall for IBM, Courtesy of Synthesis Design + Architecture
Courtesy of Synthesis Design + Architecture

Responding in part to recent debates on how big data will affect our built environments, Synthesis Design + Architecture have teamed up with IBM Watson Analytics to design an interior feature wall for the Watson Experience Center in San Francisco. The project, named Data Moiré after the dizzying patterns created by overlapping sets of lines, uses data from the influence of mobile phones on monthly consumer spending to create a precise screen material that defines the wall.

Courtesy of Synthesis Design + Architecture Courtesy of Synthesis Design + Architecture Courtesy of Synthesis Design + Architecture Courtesy of Synthesis Design + Architecture + 31

How MASS Design Group’s Approach to Data Could Save the Architectural Profession

09:30 - 28 February, 2017

On Thursday, December 22nd, an email arrived in the inboxes of ArchDaily’s editors that made us sit up, shake off our holiday-induced lethargy, and take notice. MASS Design Group’s Year in Review email might initially have blended in with the many other holiday wishes and 2016 recaps we receive at that time of year—it recapped such highlights as Michael Murphy’s TED Talk in February or the launch of the first African Design Center—but it had one thing that we hadn’t seen from other firm’s years-in-review: detailed statistics about the firm’s achievements that year.

In recent decades, certain aspects of architecture have become increasingly open to scientific analysis, most notably when it comes to a building’s environmental impact. It’s no surprise, therefore, to see MASS Design Group’s claims that their work uses 74% less embodied carbon than typical building projects, or that 78% of their materials are sourced within 100 kilometers, but alongside these were some more unusual metrics: since it was founded, the firm has invested 88% of construction costs regionally, created 15,765 jobs, and in 2016 alone, their work served a total of 64,580 users. These numbers suggest a way of thinking about architecture that few have attempted before—a way that, if widely adopted, could fundamentally change the way architecture is practiced and evaluated. We spoke to MASS co-founder Alan Ricks to find out how these statistics are calculated, and what purpose they serve.

What Do 16,000 Photographs Say About Moscow?

04:00 - 5 May, 2016
What Do 16,000 Photographs Say About Moscow?, Courtesy of Strelka Magazine, Alla Shvydkaya
Courtesy of Strelka Magazine, Alla Shvydkaya

Once a photograph is uploaded to social media, it ceases to be part of one’s private archive and becomes public property – as well as an object of study for researchers. There have been many attempts to study photographs on the scale of "Big Data." Take, for example, the numerous and well-publicised projects by Lev Manovich’s Big Data Lab. Evidently, using the results of one study of the huge online archive of photographs to make conclusions about society at large, is not necessarily a good idea. It’s fair to say that our society is not evenly represented online: a 19-year old woman may be posting her selfies daily, but it doesn’t mean that same goes for a sixty-five year old man. That said, we can learn a lot about cities and their inhabitants from the results of studies such as these.

Conference: Parallelism in Architecture, Environment And Computing Techniques, (PACT)

16:23 - 8 March, 2016
Conference: Parallelism in Architecture, Environment And Computing Techniques, (PACT), Parallelism in Architecture, Environment And Computing Techniques, (PACT)
Parallelism in Architecture, Environment And Computing Techniques, (PACT)

The theme of Parallelism in Architecture, Environment and Computing Techniques (PACT) 2016 explores the relations between computational design in architecture, organizational and global, ever-changing and pervasive contexts. PACT 2016 aims to gather practitioners and researchers interested in investigating and improving the state of practice of computational design software in the architectural discourse, where practicing design computing experts can explain the challenges they face in their day-to-day practices, and collectively induce an impact on the future of the field.

"Array of Things" is A Ray of Hope for Big-Data-Based Urban Design

10:30 - 3 March, 2016
"Array of Things" is A Ray of Hope for Big-Data-Based Urban Design, © Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

For a number of years now, Smart Cities and Big Data have been heralded as the future of urban design, taking advantage of our connected, technological world to make informed decisions on urban design and policy. But how can we make sure that we're collecting the best data? In this story, originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "'Array' of Possibilities: Chicago’s New Wireless Sensor Networks to Create an Urban Internet of Things," Matt Alderton looks at a new initiative in Chicago to collect and publish data in a more comprehensive way than ever before.

If it hasn’t already, your daily routine will soon undergo a massive makeover.

For starters, when your alarm clock goes off, it will tell your coffeemaker to start brewing your morning joe. Then, when you’re on the way to work, your car will detect heavy traffic and send a text message to your boss, letting her know you’ll be late. When you arrive, you’ll print out the agenda for today’s staff meeting, at which point your printer will check how much ink it has left and automatically order its own replacement cartridges.

At lunch, you’ll think about dinner and use your smartphone to start the roast that’s waiting in your slow cooker at home. And when you come home a few hours later, your house will know you’re near, automatically turning on the lights, the heat, and the TV—channel changed to the evening news—prior to your arrival. It will be marvelous, and you’ll owe it all to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Tech, Big Data, and the Future of Retail Design

11:00 - 25 November, 2015
Tech, Big Data, and the Future of Retail Design, The new Watches of Switzerland store in London designed by Callison. Image Courtesy of Callison
The new Watches of Switzerland store in London designed by Callison. Image Courtesy of Callison

With the rise of the internet, old-fashioned brick-and-mortar stores have struggled, as online ordering services have increasingly made it unnecessary to actually go to a store. The answer for the physical stores of the future? Make spaces not for purchasing the things people need, but experiencing the things people want, as explored in this article by Matt Alderton originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "How Technology and Big Data in Retail Are Shaping Store Designs of the Future." Alderton looks at how forward-looking stores are being designed to appeal to customers, finding that the same technology revolution that threatened to make stores obsolete might also play a key role in saving them, too.

Shopping used to be stimulating. Although its end was sales, its means was a mix of status and spectacle. It was social commerce in which partakers transacted not just cash, but also cachet.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the earliest department stores, whose architects designed them to be destinations. In London, for instance, Harrods boasts the motto “Omnia, Omnibus, Ubique”—Latin for “All Things for All People, Everywhere.” Established in 1849, it has seven floors, comprising more than 1 million square feet across more than 330 departments. The store installed one of the world’s first escalators in 1898, opened a world-famous food hall in 1902, and sold exotic pets such as lion cubs until the 1970s.

Takhassussi Patchi Shop by Lautrefabrique Architectes. Image © Luc Boegly dpHUE Concept Store by Julie Snow Architects. Image © Paul Crosby Owen Launch by Tacklebox Architecture. Image © Juliana Sohn for OWEN Designed by Callison, the new Watches of Switzerland store in London features an interactive touch screen. Image Courtesy of Callison + 9

Using Big Data to Determine the Extent of China's Ghost Cities

16:00 - 8 November, 2015
Using Big Data to Determine the Extent of China's Ghost Cities, Chenggong. Image © Barnaby Chambers via Shutterstock.com
Chenggong. Image © Barnaby Chambers via Shutterstock.com

In recent decades, China has undergone the most dramatic urban migration in the history of the world, so you might be forgiven for thinking all that is required from urban planners is to "build it and they will come," so to speak. However, as the Western media often reports with much schadenfreude, China's unprecedented urban explosion has not come without a few missteps, and many new cities are widely claimed to be "ghost cities," empty of residents even as more gigantic apartment blocks are being built. Such stories are usually accompanied by anecdotes of empty public spaces and a rough count of the number of homes left in the dark at night, but little further empirical data. So exactly how underpopulated does a city have to be to be a "ghost city," and just how rife are such places in China?

As reported by MIT Technology Review, one Chinese web company has started looking for answers to just such questions. Baidu, effectively a Chinese version of Google, has used their "Big Data Lab" to investigate the commuting patterns of their 700 million users, establishing exactly which cities are dramatically underpopulated.

NYU and Hudson Yards to Use Big Data to Improve Cities

00:00 - 16 April, 2014
NYU and Hudson Yards to Use Big Data to Improve Cities, Phase One Visualisation © Nelson Byrd Woltz; Courtesy of Hudson Yards
Phase One Visualisation © Nelson Byrd Woltz; Courtesy of Hudson Yards

New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress has teamed up with the developers of Hudson Yards to transform the future 28-acre mixed-use neighborhood into the nations first “quantified community.” As Crain’s New York reports, the aim is to “use big data to make cities better places to live.” Information, from pedestrian traffic to energy production and resident activity levels, will be collected in order to study how cities can run efficiently and improve quality of living. You can read more on the subject, here.

Software Engineers Map All the Buildings in the Netherlands

00:00 - 8 September, 2013
Software Engineers Map All the Buildings in the Netherlands, Aerial of Amsterdam. Image Courtesy of Waag Society
Aerial of Amsterdam. Image Courtesy of Waag Society

The Waag Society, together with designer and software engineer Bert Spaan, have put the Netherlands back on the map - the data map. After several months of coding and design, the partnership has managed to account for all 9,866,539 buildings in the country, visualized in varying colors to identify old and new buildings. After a user clicks on a specific block, additional building and city information displays square footages, addresses, populations and programs, among other stats. Users can navigate from Amsterdam to the Hague experiencing hundreds of years of urban development along the way, from the pre-1800s to post-2005 buildings, indicated by the red to blue gradient.