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Mit Media Lab: The Latest Architecture and News

MIT Press to Make Landmark Architecture Books Freely Accessible Online

16:00 - 30 April, 2018
A selection of out-of-print books are soon to be made available by MIT Press. Image © Niall Patrick Walsh
A selection of out-of-print books are soon to be made available by MIT Press. Image © Niall Patrick Walsh

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.”

Rem Koolhaas, Neri Oxman and Kevin Spacey to Speak at AIA National Convention 2016

16:00 - 18 February, 2016
Rem Koolhaas, Neri Oxman and Kevin Spacey to Speak at AIA National Convention 2016, Mediated Matter's Silk Pavilion in the MIT Media Lab. Image © Steven Keating, courtesy of Mediated Matter
Mediated Matter's Silk Pavilion in the MIT Media Lab. Image © Steven Keating, courtesy of Mediated Matter

Update: In addition to the previous announcement of Neri Oxman and Kevin Spacey as keynote speakers, the AIA has now announced Rem Koolhaas as the headline speaker for day three of this year's convention in Philadelphia. Koolhaas' speech will be titled "Delirious Philadelphia," a playful twist on his seminal book Delirious New York. The following article was originally published on February 11th.

Neri Oxman and SOM Among Fast Company's Innovation By Design Award Winners

16:09 - 18 September, 2015
Neri Oxman and SOM Among Fast Company's Innovation By Design Award Winners, © Design.Lab.Workshop via FastCoDesign
© Design.Lab.Workshop via FastCoDesign

From interlocking 3D printed bricks to SOM's "All Aboard Florida" train station in West Palm Beach Fast Company has named 13 winners for their 2015 "Innovation By Design Awards." Each winner was selected from over 1,500 projects worldwide for being "big ideas" with "meticulously though out details" and a "clear viewpoint about how we live now—and how it could be better."

This year's winners include...

The Architectural League Announces Emerging Voices of 2015

01:00 - 3 February, 2015
MANUEL CERVANTES CESPEDES / CC ARQUITECTOS, Equestrian Project | photo by Rafael Gamo
MANUEL CERVANTES CESPEDES / CC ARQUITECTOS, Equestrian Project | photo by Rafael Gamo

Eight practitioners from the US, Canada and Mexico have been selected to receive The Architectural League of New York’s 33rd annual Emerging Voices award - one of the most coveted awards in North American architecture. Each recipient was selected for being a “distinct design voice” with the “potential to influence" disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism.

“This year’s Voices critically re-envision solutions for contemporary design concerns—programmatic, typological, and tectonic—that have the potential to inspire new approaches to building and form,” says program director Anne Rieselbach.

This year’s emerging voices are…

Animal Printheads, Biomimicry and More: How Nature Will Shape the Built Environment of the Future

00:00 - 8 August, 2014
Animal Printheads, Biomimicry and More: How Nature Will Shape the Built Environment of the Future , © John Becker
© John Becker

Biomimicry is quickly emerging as one of the next architectural frontiers. New manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, coupled with the drive to make buildings more environmentally sustainable, have led to a wave of projects that are derived from natural phenomena or even constructed with biological materials. A recent example of this trend is “Hy-Fi,” this summer’s MoMA PS1 design that is constructed of organic and compostable eco-bricks. Other projects such as MIT Media Lab’s Silk Pavilion have taken biological innovation a step further by actually using a biometric construction processes - around 6,500 silkworms wove the Silk Pavilion's membrane. “Animal Printheads,” as Geoff Manaugh calls them in his article "Architecture-By-Bee and Other Animal Printheads," have already proven to be a viable part of the manufacturing process in art, and perhaps in the future, the built environment as well. But what happens when humans engineer animals to 3D print other materials?

The Living’s Hy-Fi, winning design of the 2014 Young Architects Program. The Museum of Modern Art and MoMAPS1. Image © The Living MIT Media Lab's Silk Pavilion. Image © Steven Keating Silkworms weaving MIT Media Lab's Silk Pavilion. Image © Steven Keating © John Becker + 10

When Buildings React: An Interview with MIT Media Lab's Joseph Paradiso

01:00 - 15 April, 2014
Responsive Environment lab "Chain mail" project ("a flexible, high-density sensor network"). Image Courtesy of MIT Media Lab
Responsive Environment lab "Chain mail" project ("a flexible, high-density sensor network"). Image Courtesy of MIT Media Lab

Not so far in the future, smartphones and laptops will go the way of the beeper and fax machine, fading into obsolescence. Soon, according to MIT Media Lab's Joseph Paradiso, we will interface with the physical world via wearable technologies that continually exchange information with sensors embedded all around us.

Paradiso has been at the forefront of these developments for decades, exploring new applications for sensor networks in everything from music (he will lead a presentation of the lab’s musical innovations later this month at Moogfest) to baseball. In recent years, his group’s research has focused increasingly on smart buildings. I spoke with him about the implications of his work for the future of architecture and the built environment.

You run the Responsive Environments group at the Media Lab. Can you describe some of your work in the building realm?