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Joi Ito Explains His Theories of Organic City Design

00:00 - 2 January, 2014
Joi Ito Explains His Theories of Organic City Design, Joi Ito. Image © Flickr CC User Nokton
Joi Ito. Image © Flickr CC User Nokton

As part of their coverage of the Global Agenda Council on Design and Innovation, Grasp Magazine interviewed Joi Ito, director of MIT's Media Lab. He voices his opinion that current strategies for masterplanning do not work, as designers struggle to reliably "predict and cause a future to occur" (a better approach is to enable and empower innovation on a grass-roots level); that designers need to find the right balance between intuition and data; and that new technologies should not just improve existing systems, but preferably overhaul them entirely. You can read the full article here.

Design: A Long Term Preventative Medicine

00:00 - 15 December, 2013
Design: A Long Term Preventative Medicine, New York City's High Line. Image © Iwan Baan
New York City's High Line. Image © Iwan Baan

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism has produced a new report examining urban health in eight of the USA’s largest cities, which has been translated into a collection of meaningful findings for architects, designers, and urban planners. With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas - a statistic which is projected to grow to 70% by 2050 - the report hinges around the theory that “massive urbanization can negatively affect human and environmental health in unique ways” and that, in many cases, these affects can be addressed by architects and designers by the way we create within and build upon our cities.

3D Printing Moves Into the Fourth Dimension

00:00 - 11 October, 2013

While most of us are grappling with the idea of 3D printing, Skylar Tibbits - computational architect and lecturer at MIT - is spearheading projects towards a fourth dimension. Transformation, Tibbit claims, is an uncharted capability that enables objects - straight off the printing bed - to assemble themselves, changing from one form to another. "Think: robots with no wires or motors." Tibbits exhibits how a single strand - embedded with predetermined properties - can fold from a line to a three dimensional structure. "I invite you to join us in reinventing how things come together."

MIT Researchers Propose Self-Assembling Robots as Future of Construction

00:00 - 6 October, 2013
MIT Researchers Propose Self-Assembling Robots as Future of Construction, An exposed prototype of the M-Block, a new modular robotic system . Image © M. Scott Brauer
An exposed prototype of the M-Block, a new modular robotic system . Image © M. Scott Brauer

Picture this: self-assembling blocks that, when given a task, have the ability to reorganize themselves into new geometries. 

This is precisely what research scientist, John Romanishin, at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has long envisioned for a near future — robotic modules known as M-Blocks. Romanishin has teamed with his professor, Daniela Rus, and colleague, postdoc Kyle Gilpin, to prototype robotic cubes with no external moving parts, able to climb over, around and even leap onto each other.

Till now, robots have depended on arms or attachments to move themselves. "We wanted a simpler approach," says Romanishin, that uses fewer moving parts. Inside each M-Block is a flywheel that spins at 20,000 revolutions per minute, creating enough angular momentum when it brakes that the blocks assemble themselves in new configurations. On each face and edge of the cubes are magnets, naturally connecting the cubes when spurred by the flywheel.

Learn more after the break...

How to Construct Large Structures Out of Small Ones

00:00 - 22 August, 2013
How to Construct Large Structures Out of Small Ones, © Kenneth Cheung
© Kenneth Cheung

MIT researchers have developed a lightweight, interlocking composite component which can be snapped together to create airplanes, spacecraft and even larger structures. Likened to chain mail but based on a newly-developed geometry, the parts form a structure that is 10 times stiffer for a given weight than existing ultralight materials. The structure allows much less material to carry a given load and could revolutionize all moving vehicles, reducing their weight and the costs of construction while allowing greater design flexibility. To find out how it happens, read the full description here.

Fluid Crystallization / Skylar Tibbits + Arthur Olson

01:00 - 28 July, 2013
Fluid Crystallization / Skylar Tibbits + Arthur Olson, Courtesy of The Self-Assembly Lab, MIT
Courtesy of The Self-Assembly Lab, MIT

Text description provided by the architects. MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab has exhibited the Fluid Crystallization project as part of the 2013 Architectural League Prize Exhibition at the Parson’s Gallery in New York. The Fluid Crystallization installation - a collaboration between MIT Self-Assembly Lab director Skylar Tibbits and The Molecular Graphics Lab director Arthur Olson - investigates hierarchical and non-deterministic self-assembly with large numbers of parts in a fluid medium.

What is Architecture in the Age of Digital Networking?

00:00 - 11 July, 2013
What is Architecture in the Age of Digital Networking? , Silk Pavilion at the MIT Media Lab, a cross-disciplinary initiative. © Steven Keating
Silk Pavilion at the MIT Media Lab, a cross-disciplinary initiative. © Steven Keating

I get most of my knowledge about the current trends and interests of architects through social media and various websites. My Facebook newsfeed constantly shows an array of pictures, articles, and videos of things ranging from new buildings to data algorithms to bacteria evolution to (usually confusing) romantic, poetic statements about architecture. 

They all share one thing in common: they are posted on Facebook by architects and architecture students. To me, this shows the current disarray and lack of focus in the field. Architecture publications and websites only confirm my thoughts further. And nothing reaffirms this more than my daily experiences at MIT. 

Read more, after the break...

Silk Pavilion / MIT Media Lab

00:00 - 6 June, 2013
Silk Pavilion / MIT Media Lab, © Steven Keating
© Steven Keating

"Our research integrates computational form-finding strategies with biologically inspired fabrication", claims the 'about' page of MIT Media Lab's Mediated Matter Group. Though this may sound like run-of-the-mill architectural boasting, you are unlikely to find any more exemplary combination of scientific research, digital design and biomimetic construction than their recently completed Silk Pavilion.

© Steven Keating © Steven Keating © Markus Kayser Schematics of the human-constructed portion of the pavilion © Jorge Duro-Royo + 9

'Infrastructural Monument' Conference

00:00 - 15 March, 2013
'Infrastructural Monument' Conference, © MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism
© MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism

Taking place April 8-9 at MIT's School of Architecture and Planning the 'Infrastructural Monument' Conference hosted by the Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU), focuses on the development of infrastructural research agendas and projects which is a key mission for MIT’s CAU. This conference is the first in a series, devoted to a series of strategic design challenges facing cities worldwide. The conferences challenges you to answer the question, 'Can a typical American city be transformed from a collection of fragments assembled regionally by interstate highways, to a more durable regional constitution, using targeted infrastructural investment projects?' For more information, please visit here.

10 College Campuses with the Best Architecture

13:00 - 31 August, 2011
Photo by Rex Hammock
Photo by Rex Hammock

Architectural Digest has compiled a list of college campuses throughout the United States which have the most remarkable architectural traditions, which broadcast their innovative philosophy through design. A number of colleges have fully incorporated modern architecture into their campus schemes, for example MIT; while others have preserved their historical edifices through the course of the years, like the University of Virginia. The list involves some prestigious institutions, in addition to some surprises, all possessing their individual architectural languages.

See the 10 College Campuses with the Best Architecture after the break.

FAST Light at MIT

08:30 - 21 March, 2011
Courtesy of Skylar Tibbits
Courtesy of Skylar Tibbits

The FAST Light festival of art, science and technology celebrates MIT’s culture of creativity and invention. Beginning in February installations, pavilions and artwork have transformed the campus continuing thru May. Installations demonstrate how the tools of ‘technology, invention and fantasy can transform the physical environment in thought-provoking, breathtaking ways.’

ICEWALL / Yushiro Okamoto

12:00 - 10 March, 2011
Photographs courtesy of Yushiro Okamoto
Photographs courtesy of Yushiro Okamoto

As a part of MIT’s 150th anniversary celebration, a student competition was held for a installation to become part of the festivities. Yushiro Okamoto‘s winning proposal, ICEWALL, has recently been completed and has been submitted to share with us here at ArchDaily. Follow after the break to browse through a large collection of photographs of the project.

AD Futures #4: SPARC

14:20 - 23 February, 2009

HiDrone - 1st Prize Awarded London Architecture Gallery International Competition 2008

SPARC is a team of international architects at the MIT based in Boston, MA, with a multidisciplinary background at the MIT´s Media Lab. This has resulted on a continuous research on smart/responsive environments applied to the world of architecture, design, urbanism and landscape architecture.

This new relation between technologies and built spaces has opened a wide array of possibilities, that we are just starting to see. And that´s why I choose this practice for this week´s AD Futures.