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Smart Buildings: The Latest Architecture and News

CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati Designs New Workplaces, Addressing Post-Pandemic Challenges

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.

London Launches Open Source App for Homebuilding

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.

SLICE Creates Apartments from Plugin Modules for Future City Living

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.

© Nasim Sehat© Nasim Sehat© Nasim Sehat© Nasim Sehat+ 7

Call for Entries: Tomorrow's Challenges in Today's Buildings

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?

CEBRA Wins Competition to Design Smart School in Russia

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.

Courtesy of CEBRA architecture Courtesy of CEBRA architecture Courtesy of CEBRA architecture Courtesy of CEBRA architecture + 10

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

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?