What does it take to build a smart city from nothing? Or maybe the better question is, what does it take to build a smart city from nothing and make it successful? For over a decade, architects and urban planners worked hand in hand to create Songdo, a brand new business district that sought to represent South Korean advancements in technology and infrastructure. Songdo was once a model for how we would live in cities of the future- but now, the reality of what this smart city quickly became has us rethinking how the combination of technology and community might have gone wrong.
Smart Buildings: The Latest Architecture and News
CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati has created a pilot project for Sella Group’s Open Innovation Center in Turin, Italy, addressing post-pandemic challenges. The new workplace design features automated desk sanitizing, collaborative digital platforms, and smart windows to ensure health, safety, and sociability.
Bryden Wood, Cast, and the Mayor of London have launched a new app to speed up the capital’s home building. The freely-available app, titled PRISM, is aimed at the design and construction of high-quality, factory-built homes to address the current demand of 50,000+ houses per year.
Iranian architect and concept designer Nasim Sehat has developed an alternative living module driven by adaptability for the gig economy. SLICE is described as a “sustainable, people centric, connected, self-contained, and flexible plug’n-play urban solution” targeted at future city dwellers.
SLICE consists of a layered module of functional plugins, combined to create basic spatial configurations. In tandem with the design of SLICE’s spatial profile, Shanghai-based Sehat has proposed a shared, on-demand digital service for module rental, maintenance, and payment.
Designing Buildings Wiki have joined forces with BSRIA to launch a new competition looking for fresh and innovative ideas in response to the question: How can tomorrow's challenges be met by today's buildings?
Denmark-based architects CEBRA have won a competition to design a Smart School educational complex in Irkutsk, Russia. Their winning design, dubbed Smart School Meadow, fulfills the competition’s call for a new typology of school that combines architecture and landscaping into a learning environment and local community center.
The design integrates buildings and landscape together through a ring of individual structures connected by a large, ridged rooftop. With this roof, spaces between the buildings can be used as multifunctional, semi-covered learning spaces, activity zones, and flow areas, all of which diffuse into the central and outer landscaped areas.
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?