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Science: The Latest Architecture and News

Carlo Ratti Associati's Proposed Milan Science Campus Features Robotically-Assembled Brick Facades

Carlo Ratti Associati has released details of their schematic design for the University of Milan’s new science campus, featuring robotically-assembled brick facades, porous communal areas, and natural oases. Working in collaboration with Australian real estate group Lendlease, the “Science for Citizens” proposal will sit within a new Milan Innovation District, located on the site of Milan’s 2015 World Expo.

Located within this new district, and home to over 18,000 students and 2,000 researchers, the “Science for Citizens” proposal seeks to “put forward a vision for an open campus that becomes a testing ground for innovative education while fostering exchanges between the university and the surrounding innovation neighborhood.”

Donghua Chen & Partners Release Details of "Science Island Loop" Proposal in Lithuania

Donghua Chen & Partners released details of their proposal for the Lithuanian National Science and Innovation Center, an initiative known colloquially as “Science Island.” The competition saw entries from 144 teams, making it the largest design contest ever held in Lithuania. Donghua Chen & Partners were one of three finalists for the competition, with the entry by SMAR Architecture Studio ultimately chosen for realization.

The Donghua Chen & Partners proposal named the “Science Loop” sees a series of systems, including social, skyline, circulation, devolution, and recycling loops, organized as an integrated network.

Courtesy of Donghua Chen & PartnersCourtesy of Donghua Chen & PartnersCourtesy of Donghua Chen & PartnersCourtesy of Donghua Chen & Partners+ 22

Bernard Tschumi Team Wins Competition for University Research Complex in Paris

Bernard Tschumi Architects has been awarded one of the largest university commissions in France, with the design and build of a €283 million ($350 million) state-of-the-art educations and research center at the Université Paris-Sud in Saclay, just south of the French capital. The “METRO Center” will form part of the biology, pharmacy and chemistry wing of the university, comprising six buildings connected by flying bridges, featuring teaching facilities, research labs, offices, restaurants, and logistics areas.

Having won a competition against teams containing Herzog & De Meuron and MVRDV, Bernard Tschumi will work in collaboration with Bouygues Construction, Groupe-6 and Baumschlager Eberle Architekten for the scheme’s realization and operation.

© Luxigon© Luxigon© Luxigon© Luxigon+ 9

SMAR Architecture Studio Selected as Winners of Science Island Design Competition

Kaunas City Municipality has announced SMAR Architecture Studio as the winners of the Science Island International Design Contest for Lithuania's new National Science and Innovation Center. SMAR's design was the highest ranked of three winners in the Design Contest, which was the most popular in Lithuania's history attracting 144 teams from 44 countries.

Florence Experiment To Show How Watching Movies Impacts Plant Growth

Courtesy of Michele Giuseppe Onali
Courtesy of Michele Giuseppe Onali

Throughout the spring and summer of 2018, the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy will host a new site-specific project seeking to further our understanding of ecology, and the relationship between humans and the natural world. “The Florence Experiment” will connect internal and external spaces of the famed Renaissance palace through two separate experiences: an intertwined set of 65-foot-high (20-meter-high) slides, and a “live analysis” of the impact of human emotion on plant growth.

The Florence Experiment has been devised by German artist Carsten Höller and plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso, with the vision of turning the Palazzo Strozzi’s façade and courtyard into engaging areas of scientific and artistic experiment. Inspired by the Renaissance alliance between art and science, the project aims to create a new awareness of the way we see, understand, and interact with plant life.

© Martino MargheriCourtesy of Michele Giuseppe Onali© Martino MargheriCourtesy of Michele Giuseppe Onali+ 8

ARCHITECT's 12th Annual R+D Awards

ARCHITECT magazine is now accepting entries for its 12th Annual R+D Awards! We would be grateful if you could share the competition details below with your network. The winners will published in ARCHITECT’s July 2018 issue and on our website. As with previous years, full-time students and faculty are eligible for a reduced registration fee!

This World-Leading Building Researcher Believes That Architecture Is Afraid of Science

Steven J Orfield in his anechoic chamber at Orfield Labs, which has been certified by Guinness World Records as the quietest place on earth. Image via screenshot from <a href='http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2016/06/26/finding-minnesota-orfield-laboratories/'>a WCCO video</a> about the chamber
Steven J Orfield in his anechoic chamber at Orfield Labs, which has been certified by Guinness World Records as the quietest place on earth. Image via screenshot from a WCCO video about the chamber

This article was originally published by Common Edge as "A Top Building Researcher Asks: Why is Architecture Afraid of Science?"

Recently we’ve written a fair amount about the state of architectural research. The general consensus appears to be that it lacks rigor and, even more importantly, is not grounded in good science. Steven J Orfield has some strong opinions about architectural research. He’s been conducting it—for architecture and design firms, as well as Fortune 500 companies—at his Minneapolis-based Orfield Laboratories for more than three decades now. Late last week I talked to him about why architects are afraid of science, how he would introduce it into the schools, and his work in the field of universal design.

The Experience of Architectural Space: A Design Experiment

What is architectural space? How is it perceived and experienced by the user? What reactions does it produce within the human mind and body? The Experience of Architectural Space is a interactive design experiment conducted by students of Hunter College. The experiment takes place within Natasha Johns-Messenger's interactive installation within El Museo de Los Sures, ThreeFold, curated by Melissa Bianca Amore.


The installation plays with the participant's perception of the gallery space and ultimately with the very act of perception itself. Subjects in the experiment will enter the gallery space and have their pulse read at three critical junctures within the

Laboratory Design: It's Time for a Breakthrough

As science continues to propel forward, it seems that the architecture to support scientists and their advancements is falling behind. The problem of laboratory design was recently brought up in an article by The Financial Times' Edwin Heathcote, who cited labs around the world, from Mendelsohn's Einstein Tower to Cern's giant timber globe, as great examples of an architecture of collaboration and experimentation. If some of our greatest discoveries today are often happening in mundane environments, what would happen if the architecture of labs and offices began to support and inspire innovation? Read the full story here.

From STEM To STEAM: The Value of Art

In a recent article for the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Barney Mansavage champions the idea of transforming STEM into STEAM (Science, Technology, ART, and Mathematics). He argues that overlapping science and art helps launch cross-disciplinary conversations and relationships, and in turn, promote experimentation; he thus suggests that educational spaces be designed to bring these fields together. Check out the article here, and more about the TED talk that inspired it, here.

Designers Don't Get Science (And That's A Dangerous Thing)

This article, by Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros, originally appeared in Metropolis Mag as "Science for Designers: The Meaning of Complexity."

Today’s designers seem to love using new ideas coming from science. They embrace them as analogies, metaphors, and in a few cases, tools to generate startling new designs. (Computer algorithms and spline shapes are a good recent example of the latter.) But metaphors about the complexity of the city and its adaptive structures are not the same thing as the actual complexity of the city. The trouble is, this confusion can produce disastrous results. It can even contribute to the slow collapse of an entire civilization. We might think that the difference between metaphor and reality is so obvious that it’s hardly worth mentioning. And yet, such confusion pervades the design world today, and spreads from there into the general culture. It plays a key role in the delusional expectation that metaphors will create reality.

Psychiatrists speak of this as an actual disorder known as “magical thinking”: if our symbols are good enough, then reality will follow. In the hands of designers, this is very dangerous stuff. 

More after the break...