MIT startup creates camouflage solar panels
Founded at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Sistine creates custom solar panels designed to mimic home facades and other environments, with aims of enticing more homeowners to install photovoltaic systems.
Sistine’s novel technology, SolarSkin, is a layer that can be imprinted with any image and embedded into a solar panel without interfering with the panel’s efficacy. Homeowners can match their rooftop or a grassy lawn.
— MIT News
The product caters to the growing "aesthetic solar" market which tries to attract homeowners that are considering going solar but fear the aesthetic impact of the traditional, bleak-looking dark solar panels on their home's appearance. Just last fall, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed a line of glass... View full entry
Designing Together in the Cloud: How architects and engineers use cloud collaboration to increase productivity
This post is brought to you by BIM 360 Team Your latest building design project is moving forward quickly. But you discovered a small hitch yesterday: the MEP engineers referred to an old version of the structural model while modifying the duct work. Luckily, the team spotted and resolved the... View full entry
How is BIM, the "Google Docs for building", shaking up architecture?
Architecture is in the middle of its biggest transformation since the introduction of computers. Building information modelling (BIM) is a simple enough idea: a single digital model of a building that everyone - architect, client, suppliers, builders, environmental managers - can work on. A Google Docs for buildings. But its implications could change the built environment.
A robot revolution is coming to the developing world
There’s a lot of talk these days about jobs—bringing them “back” and creating new ones. But, as Bloomberg reports, high labor costs incentivize corporations to automate. What’s more? Apparently robots are about to do what they did to US manufacturing in the developing world. According to... View full entry
For some Uber drivers, their cars double as beds
The vast majority of Uber’s full-time drivers return home to their beds at the end of a day’s work. But all over the country, there are many who don’t. These drivers live near, but not in, expensive cities where they can tap higher fares, ferrying wealthier, white-collar workers to their jobs and out to dinner—but where they can’t make enough money to get by, even with longer hours.
To maximize their time, drivers find supermarket parking lots, airports and hostels where they catch several hours of sleep after taking riders home from bars and before starting the morning commute. View full entry
Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, on why computers are superior to human designers
Essentially people, all of us when we go to design something we often go out and do it and will make one or we’ll have three designs and…then we run out of time or money or patience and we say good enough. The computer doesn’t get bored in that same way. It doesn’t run out of time so you can literally test millions of versions and get a much better answer. So really what we are doing is automating the building of these prototypes.
7-Eleven becomes first retailer to employ drone delivery
7-Eleven, the world’s largest convenience store chain, shared new numbers from its drone delivery experiment today. Seventy-seven customers in Reno, Nev., have now received items ordered from 7-Eleven delivered to their doorsteps via drone.
All 77 flights were from one store to a dozen select customers who live within a mile of the shop. 7-Eleven has partnered with the drone maker Flirtey for its delivery pilot.
It marks the first regular commercial drone delivery service to operate in the United States, flying ahead of other, potentially bigger drone delivery projects that haven’t yet been able to take off in the U.S. — like Alphabet’s Project Wing and Amazon’s Prime Air, the latter of which only... View full entry
Architecture education in the (even more) automated (near) future
In a robot-proof education, we have to focus on what humans do that robots cannot do: think creatively, work with others, think about ethics. For instance, suppose a scenario where a self-driving car can either hit three people and hurt the passengers, or save the passengers but hit 10 people. What is it going to do? Who’s going to program that? Who’s going to decide? You.
— Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun
In a Q&A between Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun and George Thrush, founding director of the School of Architecture, the two educators touched on the implications of automation for architectural education, among other things. "Creative thinking and innovation... View full entry
Whatever happened to China's futuristic Traffic Elevated Bus?
China's once-celebrated Traffic Elevated Bus (TEB) has been left abandoned in the middle of a Hebei city road, not having moved once in over two months. Originally touted as the futuristic solution to urban traffic jams, the "straddling bus" is currently causing them.
A local reporter recently checked up on "the future of public transportation" at its testing site in Qinhuangdao, only to find it forgotten in a rusted garage, covered in dust.
"To test its invention, the company actually leased part of a city road in Qinhuangdao. Since the bus now remains exactly where it was abandoned , it continues to block three lanes of traffic, annoying residents to no end."The 'road-straddling bus' previously in the Archinect news: Public transit... View full entry
Check out this stunning 108 feet long video wall by Obscura Digital
The San Francisco-based company Salesforce enlisted the creative studio Obscura Digital to craft a stunning LED video wall for the lobby of their flagship office. Stretching 108 feet long and containing over 7 million pixels, the video wall features incredibly sharp, HD video content that... View full entry
Is Your Architectural Firm a Practice or Business?
This post is brought to you by BQE ArchiOffice. In my experience, most firm owners don’t appreciate the significance of being at the helm of a business. At the risk of sounding cliché, they run a “practice” and they operate it as if they’re just… well… practicing. This problem is... View full entry
U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx on the future of transportation: "We had to do something different."
Car and Driver caught up with Foxx in Pittsburgh. The DOT chief, previously mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, reflected on the promise of autonomous and connected cars, the recent Smart City Challenge, the massive increase in traffic deaths, the potential of the shared vehicles unfolding right outside the window, and more. What follows is a transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for grammar and brevity.
Related stories in the Archinect news:U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx on the troubled relationship between infrastructure and race: "We ought to do it better than we did it the last time"Uber lets you hail its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh later this monthColumbus, Ohio wins DOT's $50M Smart... View full entry
Digital Demands in Architecture: Kennesaw State remedies digital expansion for students
This post is brought to you by Kennesaw State University. Architecture’s relationship to technology is as old as the primitive hut. Material and construction technologies have shaped design and detailing throughout history. But with the dawn of the information age came a new category of... View full entry
Quickly Recover from Missing Billable Hours and Miscalculated Project Costs
This post is brought to you by BQE ArchiOffice. Learn how this Brisbane-based architectural firm is enjoying faster cash flow now.AboutBased in West End, Brisbane, Tim Bennetton Architects is a small, private architectural firm with a single director and three employees. They work in an intimate... View full entry
Strelka Institute announces enrollment campaign for postgraduate education programme
This post is brought to you by Strelka Institute. During the new academic year Strelka students will answer the question: ‘What has become “The New Normal” in the modern world?’Strelka Institute for architecture, media and design launched the enrollment campaign for the postgraduate... View full entry