The downside of giant banks of windows or glass walls, though, becomes obvious when the relentless afternoon sun makes the heat and stuffiness inside intolerable [...].
The makers of “smart glass” say they can address this problem. Smart-glass windows transform from transparent to opaque, and every shade in between, in seconds. They often rely on electrochromic thin films embedded in the glass.
The upshot: Less energy is needed to heat or cool a building. Shades and blinds become optional. — qz.com
After a flurry of speculation, the Chinese tech giant [Baidu] has confirmed it's gunning for driverless electronic bikes. Baidu is China's largest web services company—in the region, it commands upwards of 73 percent of the search market—and it has apparently pursued a "secret plan" to debut a prototype of a self-driving electric bicycle by the end of the year.
Baidu calls it, simply. the 'smartbike.' — Vice Motherboard
In the 1990s, Frank Gehry pioneered... “smart” digital design in architecture, by using software to optimize designs and translate them directly into a process of fabrication and construction.
Now known in the industry as parametric design and building information modeling, this approach has ushered in a new era of architecture, according to art historian Irene Nero: the era of “technological construction” [...]
How did an architect who doesn’t use computers start a technology company? — Priceonomics
In an article for Priceonomics, Lian Chang looks at the role Frank Gehry and his team had on the development of parametric design, aka building information modeling. Beginning with Gehry's fish-inspired pavilion for Barcelona’s 1992 Olympics, Chang traces the various construction impasses and...
We have new technologies in architecture those makes us feel excited when we see them applied on a facade, a roof etc. or simply used for designing. That gives us ideas about what we can design with which technologies. And we honestly believe that designing a building with high ecologic qualities...
Recently, the Indian cabinet green-lit a £10 billion scheme that will be divided equally between building 100 smart cities, and rejuvenating another 500 cities and towns over the next five years. Yet many experts and planners fear that such “insta-cities”, if they are made, will prove dystopic and inequitable. Some even hint that smart cities may turn into social apartheid cities, governed by powerful corporate entities that could override local laws and governments to “keep out” the poor. — The Guardian
Open data, and the interactive mapping and data visualization that can come of it, has become a de facto engagement and storytelling tool among contemporary journalists, social justice activists, and civic-minded technologists. But despite its allure, open data’s potential for fostering civic engagement and creating transparency and dialogue is plagued by issues of usability, access, and quality control. — urbanomnibus.net
KONE has initiated the first stage of elevator and escalator installations at Saudi Arabia’s 1km-tall Kingdom Tower.
The Finnish lift firm is currently fitting elevator guiderails at the project, which is being developed by Jeddah Economic Company (JEC) and is set to become the world’s tallest building on completion. — constructionweekonline.com
It’s a myth almost universally believed, that sits at the core of liberal technocratic thought, and has been embedded in practically every other work of speculative fiction for the last half century. You can sum it up like this: 'When we go into space, we will all magically become nice.'...It’s early days, but if we really want to create a progressive new world then issues like these should be at the hearts of our efforts from the very start. — The Guardian
The longtime space-age Manifest Destiny of humans inhabiting Mars and the prominently white, European male perspective that narrative perpetually emphasizes has become a bubbling multi-faceted discussion among science bloggers as Elon Musk's staunch ambitions to ultimately turn humans into a...
Instagram may very well have enabled a whole generation of false artisans—and even encouraged cliché street imagery by promoting hashtags like #middleoftheroad and #strideby through its Weekend Hashtag Project—but the effect may not be so terrible. Quoted in The Telegraph in 2011, Teru Kuwayama, a photojournalist who is now photo community manager at Facebook, compared the rise of Instagram to the advent of electronic music, both of which stimulated “amateur expression.” — americanphotomag.com
Mock-ups of the so-called ‘crabots’ are featured in lengthy planning documents submitted to the City of Mountain View Council in Silicon Valley [...]
‘Our objective is to create a solution that can be assembled efficiently and economically within pre-erected canopy structures by means of small, easily manoeuvrable cranes.’
‘Through the life of the buildings this [will] allow reconfiguration and maintenance…of the canopy envelope from within.’ — architectsjournal.co.uk
The new Googleplex campus expansion, designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studios in collaboration to accommodate 20,000 new Mountain View employees, will be constructed by "an army of robot-crane hybrids", the Architect's Journal reports. Citing planning documents Google submitted to Mountain View...
Can a high-profile company led by a celebrity CEO come within two weeks of bankruptcy without anyone noticing? In early 2013, ...Tesla Motors came so close to running out of cash that its brash leader, Elon Musk, approached Google about buying the company, according to a new Musk biography. A surge in sales of the company’s pricey Model S sedan staved off disaster. Musk broke off the Google talks, no longer needing a white knight. And no one outside the two companies knew about it. — SF Gate
[Mark Herrema] and Kenton Kimmel, a high school classmate, founded the Irvine, California-based company Newlight Technologies in 2003. After years of research, the team unveiled a way to produce plastic from carbon emissions that is actually more affordably priced than oil-based plastics.
The "secret sauce" is a biocatalyst that combines air and methane, and reassembles all of the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules into a thermoplastic the makers call AirCarbon. — Smithsonian
Newlight's work appears really interesting, addressing two separate but related issues: "first, oil dependency, by replacing oil with captured carbon emissions, and second, climate change, by creating a market-driven carbon capture platform." Basically, the technology comprises using a biocatalyst...
Place cells, which fire when the brain recognizes a corresponding geographical landmark (like your house, or the Space Needle) [offer] a two-dimensional map of familiar environments [...]
Grid cells ... are not tied to particular places — but are adjusted as needed to mark off the space around us [...]
Now, researchers from University College London have shown how grid cells help us combine mental maps, joining rooms into a house, blocks into a neighborhood and neighborhoods into a city. — nextcity.org
A Chinese construction company is claiming to be the world’s fastest builder after erecting a 57-storey skyscraper in 19 working days in central China.
Broad Sustainable Building, a prefab construction firm, put up the rectangular, glass and steel Mini Sky City in the Hunan provincial capital of Changsha, assembling three floors a day using a modular method [...].
The company now has ambitions to assemble the world’s tallest skyscraper, at 220 floors, in only three months. — theguardian.com
But supplementing that aesthetic of “the future” sketched in imaginary edifice, the full SF vision of the future city is a mosaic, constructed from fragments of the cities that we recognize, including symbols that are decidedly from the past. [...]
If SF functions by taking the world we know and altering it with a constructed future fantasy, the Statue of Liberty serves as the junction point, the axis where the speculative fantasy begins and ends. — motherboard.vice.com
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