This week the U.S. Department of Energy announced the 20 collegiate teams selected to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and unveiled the competition’s location, the Orange County Great Park. caffeine junkie is disheartened by the decision "This is a real miss-step in my opinion.
In New, Energy-Efficient Technologies, Part II, the latest installment of the Contours feature, Sherin Wing, turned her attention to work from two teams at MIT who are developing the next generation of photovolotaic systems using metamaterials. Regardless of these advances however, Sherin concluded "Even then, when these super PVs do come online, to confuse availability with widespread, institutionalized use is to conflate two very different issues. Making them available will be half the battle."
In the latest In Focus feature Archinect interviewed Portland-based photo artist Jim Kazanjian. He received nothing but complements for his work in the comments.
For our third and final feature this week Columbia University GSAPP Fast Forward, Jason Ivaliotis, profiles a semesters worth of work by Columbia students made using the Vray RT rendering engine for 3D Studio Max . Therein we read "The components of the course exist as three forms of the same product: (1) the interactive component: a digital environment which is shaped from three moods or thematic concepts, (2) three still images rendered from this interactive component, and (3) a video tutorial which documents the generative design process, showcasing the and the ability of the photorealistic rendering engine to transition between moods and progressively update the virtual environment in real time."
This week the U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the 20 collegiate teams selected to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and unveiled the competition’s location, the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. caffeine junkie is disheartened by the decision "This is a real miss-step in my opinion. This competition did two things very well, it showed that solar housing was viable in a climate that represents a broad range of the US. It also put alternative energy at the feet of policy makers. Removing the Decathlon from the National Mall was a mistake. Removing it from Washington is a huge mis-step. Moving the competition to a climate that is known for its abundance of sun and dry climate reinforces the stereotypes that exist about alternative energy." and Fred Scharmen agreed that "This is bad - really, really bad."
David Galbraith whom Archinect featured in a past Working out of the Box feature, recently explored the notion that the flow of people and their interactions inside buildings, is similar in design to the flow of data and user interaction of Web apps and attempted to design a house like one would a web application. futureboy quibbled "Architects already do this, it's called a bubble diagram. They were really made popular at the GSD in the 1940s because of people like Gropius's interest in architectural space as response to pragmatic needs/desires. So, who needs to learn from who now?".
The Center for Urban Real Estate, a new research group at Columbia University has proposed a speculative real estate development plan centered on the creation of a new neighborhood LoLo, which stands for Lower Lower Manhattan. The neighborhood would be created by connecting Lower Manhattan and Governors Island with millions of cubic yards of landfill. Over 20 to 30 years, the center estimates, LoLo would create 88 million square feet of development and generate $16.7 billion in revenue for the city.
Micah McKelvey offered this criticism "despite that i feel like this proposal is ridiculous, what is the need for extending manhattan island and, essentially, destroying governor's island? where would that 16.7 billion in revenue go? the pockets of investors? everything about this seems suspicious."
Brad Cleopfil recently spoke with D.K. Row of the Oregonian about architecture, design in Portland, and Allied Works' first creative phase. Necter, Save Western noted a comment by Cloepfil about the riskiness or lack thereof when it comes to architecture in Portland. Cloepfil said Portland "lacks the spectacular building or the historically important piece of architecture" and Save Western agreed writing "Walking around the city, I've definitely noticed his comments about Portland. For being one of the best urban cities in the country it seems so uninterested in architecture that isn't adaptive reuse LEED certified. Why is that?"
Matthew at University of Illinois Chicago quoted from a book Clumsy Forms, which was the result last semesters research group led by Paul Preissner. The project assumes an Architecture divided in to two contemporary camps: "Sometimes, however, there is a desire for a formal project which neither quits on its good looks, nor overcompensates for its brand insecurity through bodybuilding". He also recommends a lecture entitled Four and a Half Earths are not Enough given by Robert Somol last year at Taubman College. Matthew writes "everyone and anyone interested in pedagogy, polemics, and the discipline to watch. The discussion of the Cool, 'ism', entropy, custom massification, and speech act are also covered through the lecture. Bob does not mince words with what he believes are the problems of the contemporary institution of architectural education and the discipline as a whole".
Woodbury School of Architecture San Diego announced that they will be launching a new Master of Science in Architecture, Landscape + Urbanism program in Fall 2012. The three-semester MSArch L+U degree will equip architects with the skills to lead through both the design of the built environment and the crafting of policy, to learn more about the program Mimi Zeiger interviewed MSArch L+U director Rene Peralta.
Lian at Harvard’s GSD finally posted images of her project from last semester’s studio with Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi on Evolutionary Infrastructure and Unfinished Utopias. The site of the project was the "Bridge Towers" that are built directly over the I-95 highway in northern Manhattan near George Washington Bridge and Pier Luigi Nervi's bus terminal.
Work Updates/Firm Updates/Blogs
Paul Petrunia, was recently working on the "Archinect iPhone app" and Melissa Elle Toman, posted an image, of a current project of hers under construction, a Light Straw Clay- Garage Retrofit.
dustinfjames started a blog to discuss earth architecture and sustainable land development ideas in Baja California, Mexico. Approximately two and half years ago along with a colleague he started a sustainable land development project 3.5 hours driving distance south of the border of Tijuana. In that time they have developed and constructed a completed Ecodome.
Levan Asabashvili put up the first post on the Urban Reactor’s blog. The post Operative social networks in Tbilisi Soviet microrayons, uses the narrative form to categorize and provide a guide to the social networks developed as survival strategies by the inhabitants of Soviet microrayons.
pale shelter started a discussion regarding the fact that the AIA has awarded The Gehry Residence with a 25-year award and he compares Gehry’s house to The Beer Can House which he recently saw on the PBS show, The Antiques Roadshow. Steven Ward, responded "So, to answer the question, 'What does it say about...', although it's a provocative question, ultimately I think the answer is: Nothing. These are two different things" and Donna Sink continued in this vein writing "pale shelter, you're joking, right? All those things Steven and others said: Gehry's house is important because it's intentionally a work of architecture, by someone considering architecture as a medium and figuring out how to push it in new directions. A beer can house - or tire house, bottle house, license plate house, etc. - is someone messing with a recognizable object by sticking stuff to it....I've been re-reading Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture recently and it's making me appreciate Gehry's early inventiveness all the more, even though the house came long after CaCiA was published.”
piero1910 asked How is the style of Rem Koolhaas Deconstructivism? FRaC answered "well, he takes classic mid-century masterpieces and sticks 'em in a blender and voilà you get a constructed construction that is deconstructed. sometimes the blender is set on 'rough chop' so some rectilinear shapes remain a.k.a. chunky-purée/tivism", whereas Will Galloway countered "his early work at least is straight from paranoid critical theory (huge influence by dali and surrealisme). much of that remains today, but decon is not really something that i would apply to OMA. roberto gargiani wrote a pretty good summary of the theory and history of oma practice that is worth reading if you are into oma from point of view of academic".
Finally, piero1910 also asked for opinions of Jennifer Kennedy’s ArchDaily article Reframing the Stats About Architecture. geezertect opined "Optimism is fine, but the article papers over too many real problems. The 13.9% unemployment figure is nonsense". While, J. James R. suggested, "People employed as architects have gone down. This is true. People employed in architectural and engineering services has actually gone up. Non-traditional, multidisciplinary firms are where the work is at these days".
Demilit is looking for answers regarding the recent announcement that Make, O'Reilly, and Otherlab have teamed up with DOD’s research arm DARPA to bring forth the next generation of "killer geeks," through a program dubbed MENTOR. In their own words, MENTOR has been described as a program to train the "next generation of system designers and manufacturing innovators" exposed to the "principles of foundry-style digital manufacturing." Demilit wants to know: Who's working for who?, What's being taught? and How will DARPA funding intersect with school politics?
In somewhat related news, did you miss the recent announcement by the Pirate Bay regarding Physibles? From the official pirate blog, "We believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical. We believe that things like three dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare sparts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years. The benefit to society is huge. No more shipping huge amount of products around the world. No more shipping the broken products back. No more child labour. We'll be able to print food for hungry people. We'll be able to share not only a recipe, but the full meal. We'll be able to actually copy that floppy, if we needed one. We believe that the future of sharing is about physible data. We're thinking of temporarily renaming ourselves to The Product Bay - but we had no graphical artist around to make a logo. In the future, we'll download one."