NASA to start testing inflatable "space house" concept
NASA is hoping a new expandable habitat might one day give astronauts a little more alone time. The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, will be ferried to the ISS later this spring for a series of tests expected to last several years...experiments will help determine the viability of expandable habitats, which weigh less and occupy less space on a rocket, as laboratories and living quarters for future deep-space missions.
More on Archinect:How to turn Martian soil into concreteThe Mars Ice House envisions the day Earthlings can live with ease atop the Martian surfaceNewly patented space elevator could take astronauts 12 miles up into the stratosphere View full entry
New app monitors the urban environment and its affects on mental wellbeing
As the number of people moving to cities continues to rise, with 66% of the global population expected to live in urban areas by 2050, it is critical to understand how urban living is affecting us
— Urban Mind
Living in a concrete jungle has its pros and its cons, but how exactly does urban living affect mental wellbeing? A new cross-disciplinary project intents to find out by using a smartphone app called Urban Mind. The app is designed to monitor various aspects of a metropolitan environment... View full entry
Another study warns that 3D-printers pose potential health risks for users
So 3D printing didn’t even have much of a chance before the railing began regarding fumes and toxicity and in general, the question of how sick we might be getting while the filament takes its time melting nearby...[A recent University of Texas at Austin] report seems to offer up fairly common sense information, although they do state that more studies should be done regarding exposure to fumes and potential carcinogens, and should be weighed against usage patterns while 3D printing.
This health concern isn't brand new, but it's surely something that deserves further research.More on Archinect:3D printing will recreate destroyed Palmyra archMIT presents 3D printer that can print 10 materials simultaneously without breaking the bankESA proposes a village on the moonAmsterdam... View full entry
UCL researchers present a new kind of self-cleaning nano-engineered window
Researchers at University College London (UCL) claim that a “revolutionary” new type of window could cut cleaning costs in tall buildings and reduce heating bills by up to 40% thanks to a new combination of nano-scale engineering inspired by the eyes of moths, and thermochromic coating.
The prototype, revealed today, has conical nanostructures engraved on its surface that trap air and prevent all but a tiny amount of water coming into actual contact with the glass.
"The lead UCL researcher said this would be a big draw for high-rise building owners, since the cost of cleaning the windows surpasses the cost of installing them after the first five years."Related news stories on Archinect:MIT researchers have created a new material that stores and releases... View full entry
MIT researchers have created a new material that stores and releases solar energy
According to a team of researchers at MIT, both scenarios may be possible before long, thanks to a new material that can store solar energy during the day and release it later as heat, whenever it’s needed. This transparent polymer film could be applied to many different surfaces, such as window glass or clothing.
[...] the new finding could provide a highly efficient method for storing the sun’s energy through a chemical reaction and releasing it later as heat.
Related stories in the Archinect news:MIT's new "Kinetic Blocks" enhances ability to build using Microsoft KinectMIT presents 3D printer that can print 10 materials simultaneously without breaking the bankZoom In, Zoom Out: Hashim Sarkis, Dean of MIT's School of Architecture + Planning, on... View full entry
AIA creates new Commission to further investigate equity in architecture
Six months after the AIA voted in favor of the Equity in Architecture resolution, it looks like the organization is turning their words into actions. Most recently, they announced the establishment of the Equity in Architecture Commission, a 20-member panel of leading architects, educators, and... View full entry
2015 Phyllis Lambert grantees Pelletier de Fontenay to expand on winning Insectarium Montreal proposal
The annual Phyllis Lambert Grant puts the Montreal design scene in the spotlight. Established in 2007 by the City and named in tribute to Montreal native architect Phyllis Lambert, the grant recognizes a locally based designer or firm — who has no more than 10 years of practice — for... View full entry
Admire the diversity of African vernacular architecture in this growing online database
[Jon] Sojkowski worries that these building types, made with materials that are abundant in Africa and sustainable, will soon be lost to history because of a misconception that they are inefficient, outdated and only used by the poor. At one point during his research, he met a man who told him he wanted a Western-style metal roof. 'I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because then I would be somebody,' Sojkowski recalls.
Since architect Jon Sojkowski launched his African vernacular architecture database last year, he has amassed a broad range of photos showcasing the traditional building techniques and materials from 48 countries. Photo submissions are also welcome.You can also check out video clips from... View full entry
2015 Wheelwright Prize awarded to Erik L’Heureux
Another year has gone by for the Harvard University Graduate School of Design's $100K 2015 Wheelwright Prize. Hosted by Harvard GSD since 1935 and previously open only to Harvard GSD alumni, the prestigious travel grant is in its third year as an international open competition for any individual... View full entry
Dubai unveils plans for its flashy Museum of the Future
Dubai continues to treat city planning like a simulation game with the cheats turned on, unveiling its latest architectural wonder: the Museum of the Future. The building is set to open in 2017, and while we're not quite sure how to describe its shape (a lopsided torus? An aerodynamic donut?) it serves an interesting dual purpose as both museum and research lab.
The "Bigger than a Breadbox" competition, exploring the medium of installation, nears its final deadline - Last chance to submit your proposals!
Just a few days left to submit your ideas to the Bigger than a Breadbox, Smaller than a Building competition! Entries need to be received by Sunday, February 15, 2015 via the competition website btabb.archinect.com.Khôra exhibition curators Robert Trumbour and Aaron Willette are the organizers... View full entry
Stand on the shoulders of giants as CERN's architect in residence
A year before discovering the Higgs boson, aka “God”, particle, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) established its own arts residency. Formed in 2011, the Collide@CERN program pairs artists with CERN physicists in Geneva to collaborate on art and research projects, banking... View full entry
Read the Urban Land Institute's full report on the micro unit housing trend
The Urban Land Institute (ULI) recently published a report titled "The Macro View of Micro Units", which shares the latest findings in the revived trend of micro dwellings in the United States. The report arose from a ULI Foundation research grant that the Multifamily Housing Councils received in... View full entry
Landscape research project takes on Long Island's Jamaica Bay
Landscape architect Catherine Seavitt, along with her team at the City College of New York, take those approaches to Jamaica Bay a step further as part of the larger Structures of Coastal Resilience study, which includes three other East Coast bays attended to by university-based teams. As Seavitt explains, her studio follows a growing trend in the field of landscape architecture toward experimental and science-based design processes and active participation in policy discussions.
Urban Omnibus travels the Brooklyn-Queens Divide
As a researcher interested in the intersection of urban form and place, Joseph Heathcott set out to explore how one of New York’s borders shapes the lived experience and physical environment of its surroundings. Through historical research, photography, and deep observation, he traces the city’s only major internal land boundary — the Brooklyn-Queens border — and draws out the social and spatial conditions of this largely invisible urban seam.