MIT Mass Timber Design, a cross-disciplinary design workshop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have developed a building prototype that aims to tackle the world’s growing energy crisis, “one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.” Extensively using the wood-based building design and construction technology mass timber - a method growing in popularity within North America - the project utilizes the “efficiency, speed, precision and versatility” of prefabricated timber construction elements to realize a multi-functional, sustainable building. The longhouse typology, often one of the first permanent structures of a civilization, is a common across the world, but in adapting its construction to face modern-day issues, the team hopes to create a space that “builds upon this rich cultural icon.”
Group Project, a student group from MIT, is helping GrowingChange, a non-profit that works with previously incarcerated youth, to transform an old North Carolina prison into an agricultural community center. GrowingChange looks to take advantage of the small, decommissioned prisons scattered throughout the state's landscape. They see these sites as "places where communities can work together to provide clinical support, education, and vocational training as a means to divert youth from the criminal justice" system.
Read on for more about how prison flipping intends to "counter a legacy of incarceration."
Neri Oxman and MIT have developed programmable water-based biocomposites for digital design and fabrication. Named Aguahoja, the project has exhibited both a pavilion and a series of artifacts constructed from molecular components found in tree branches, insect exoskeletons, and our own bones. It uses natural ecosystems as inspiration for a material production process that produces no waste. “Derived from organic matter, printed by a robot, and shaped by water, this work points toward a future where the grown and the made unite.”
The MIT Press, in collaboration with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is set to digitize landmark out-of-print architecture and urban studies books published by the MIT Press, making them freely accessible online for discovery and research. Aided by a $157,000 grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, MIT Press are enabled to digitize a collection of “image-rich and intellectually prized architecture and urban studies titles” complete with the commissioning of new forewords for the works. Following the project’s completion, MIT Press intends to distribute a minimum of 25 titles for free on several platforms, including its own ebook service.
Among the titles to be released are Francoise Choay’s “The Rule and the Model: On the Theory of Architecture and Urbanism,” which links modern theory with classical and Renaissance architecture, and John Templer’s “The Staircase,” regarded as the first theoretical and historical analysis of the elemental stair. Books on the subject of famous architects will also be released, such as Donald Leslie Johnson’s “Frank Lloyd Wright vs. America: The 1930s” and Grant Hildebrand’s “On Leon Battista Alberti: His Literary and Aesthetic Theories.”
Global higher education analysis firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has revealed its rankings of the world’s top universities for the study of Architecture / Built Environment for 2018. The eight edition of the survey compared 2,122 institutions across the globe offering courses in architecture or the built environment, narrowing down the list based on criteria including academic and employer reputation.
For the fourth straight year, MIT has topped the rankings, once again coming out ahead of the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Read on for the full rankings.
Learning doesn't have to formal, or expensive. As education becomes increasingly commodified the world over, here are four courses from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) exploring architecture and landscape, urbanism, photography, and the production of space that are—significantly—free of charge and available to all.
In the past decade or so, smartphones and social media apps have revolutionized our culture's relationship to images. From Instagram to Facebook to Pinterest to Youtube, photographs and videos are now so ubiquitous that they have become literally disposable, with apps such as Snapchat trading on their promise to delete your images after a certain period of time. But while smartphones are a very visible driver of this change, what is often forgotten are the huge developments in image-editing software that have supported this revolution—from the HDR built into your smartphone's camera to the wide range of filters provided by Instagram.
Now, as reported by MIT News, Google and MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory may have created another cosmic leap forward: an algorithm that can provide automatic, professional-level image retouching so quickly that you can see a preview before even snapping the photograph.
As final juries draw to a close, graduating architecture students are left with a crucial decision to make. While some might take a plunge into the scary real world looking to gain professional experience, others might choose to further reinforce their architecture education and skill set. Of the latter, most enroll in an MArch program, or take well-trodden paths into urban design and planning, landscape architecture, historic preservation, or theory and criticism. But in an increasingly complex world faced with myriad problems, what about those graduate architects looking to bolster their education in other related disciplines that will give them a more unique perspective on design problems? Here, we shortlist seven alternative, interdisciplinary graduate programs offered by architecture schools worldwide.
Researchers at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab have recently developed an adaptable material that reacts in response to changes in heat. Known as Heat-Active Auxetics, the material functions in a similar manner to the pores on human skin, tightening and loosening based on exposure to various temperatures.
Contrary to most common materials, which tend to thin out while being pulled or stretched, this technology expands in all directions instead and completely shrinks when compressed. This provides insulation in colder conditions and added airflow and ventilation when it is warmer, all depending on the material’s porosity.
Global higher education analysis firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has released in 2017 rankings of the world’s top universities for the study of Architecture & Built Environment. This year, for the seventh edition of the survey, QS has expanded the ranking to list the world’s top 200 schools, including institutions across all six inhabited continents.
Thresholds 46: SCATTER!
Editors: Anne Graziano and Eliyahu Keller
From treatises to TED talks; postcards to propaganda; etchings to drawings, films, and blogs, architecture moves in diverse and curious ways. It is these currencies, which give architecture its agency, its authority and life. And yet, despite the varied modes of its circulation, the majority of architecture’s discursive knowledge reaches only a familiar audience. While contemporary means of information production and dispersal continue to exponentially grow and quicken, the circle of professional and discursive associations remains confined. Circulation, distribution, and access to knowledge are not exclusive matters of the discipline. Rather they extend past architectural limits to catalyze inquiries into hidden geographies and infrastructure, restricted access, and equity.
MIT has published new research revealing how the reconstruction of the British Houses of Parliament paved the way for legislation to tackle air pollution in Victorian London. Through original archival work into the 1840-1870 reconstruction, MIT architectural historian Timothy Hyde has revealed that work on the Parliament building was so hindered by air pollution that the British government ordered an inquiry into the effects of the atmosphere on new buildings.
Known for its light weight and high strength properties, graphene has been promised to us as the material of the future for quite some time now. But difficulties in translating its 2D strength into 3-dimensional applications have so far held it back from common use. Now, thanks to new research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), that future may now be closer than ever before. In the school’s latest experiment, researchers have discovered how the material could be shaped into to sponge-like form to resist forces 10 times greater than steel.
Following last year’s introduction of MultiFab, a multi-material 3D printer, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has pioneered a system for designing multi-material objects. The new interface, Foundry, is meant to be accessible to non-programmers, whereas multi-material 3D printing technology has historically been prohibitive both with respect to cost and user-friendliness.
Thinking of continuing your studies but don't want to start a master's or a doctorate just yet? Around the world, short-term courses taken remotely are increasingly popular alternatives, and platforms such as edX, created by Harvard and MIT Universities make it even easier to dive deeper into the most diverse topics.
Of course, for long-term and undergraduate courses, the face-to-face experience cannot be replaced by online classes. However, being able to follow lessons and participate in discussions with people from around the world online is definitely an important advantage offered by the internet.
We have compiled a few courses in areas ranging from video game design to bio-cellular engineering, and from the history of Japanese architecture to courses in architectural imagination. See our list below:
In the ancient world, traditional death masks were believed to strengthen and protect the soul of the dead as they progressed to the afterlife. It was this mythical notion of transition from death to new life that inspired Vespers, a collection of death masks from Neri Oxman and her team at MIT’s Mediated Matter Group.
The MIT School of Architecture’s Self-Assembly Lab has teamed up with Google to create Transformable Meeting Spaces, a project that utilizes woven structure research in wood and fiberglass pods that descend from the ceiling, transforming a large space into a smaller one. Designed as a small-scale intervention for reconfiguring open office plans—which “have been shown to decrease productivity due to noise and privacy challenges”—the pods require no electromechanical systems to function, but rather employ a flexible skeleton and counterweight to change shape.
This skeleton is composed of 36 fiberglass rods, which are woven together into a sort of textile or cylindrical braid. Thus, the structure behaves “like a Chinese finger trap: The circumference of the pod shrinks when it’s pulled, and expends when relaxed.”
Have a little extra time this fall and looking to expand your knowledge of architectural history? Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is offering a 12-course online course titled “A Global History of Architecture” that will cover everything from architecture’s origins 100,000 years ago all the way up to 1600 C.E – and the best part? It’s totally free.