Archinect - News 2018-08-20T22:35:54-04:00 Swiss startup Energy Vault stacks concrete blocks as an efficient way to store energy Justine Testado 2018-08-20T20:05:00-04:00 >2018-08-20T20:07:10-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Once the crane arm locates and hooks onto a concrete block, a motor starts, powered by the excess electricity on the grid, and lifts the block off the ground. [Designed to withstand wind, the crane arm] can smoothly lift the block, and then place it on top of another stack of blocks&mdash;higher up off the ground. The system is &ldquo;fully charged&rdquo; when the crane has created a tower of concrete blocks around it.</p></em><br /><br /><p>A tower of the concrete blocks &mdash; weighing 35 metric tons each &mdash; can store a maximum of 20 megawatt-hours (MWh), which&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Energy Vault</a> says is enough to power 2,000 Swiss homes for an entire day. According to Quartz, the Swiss startup is planning to build their first commercial plants starting early 2019.</p> Vintage photos remind of the profession before AutoCAD Mackenzie Goldberg 2018-08-20T17:04:00-04:00 >2018-08-20T17:04:10-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Before the advent of AutoCAD and other drafting softwares, the engineering drawings were made on sheet of papers using drawing boards. Many equipments were required to complete a given drawing such as drawing board, different grade pencils, Erasers T-squares, Set square etc.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Check out this fun collection of photographs from the pre-CAD era...</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><p><br></p> What past designs for outer space can teach us about the future Hope Daley 2018-08-20T14:45:00-04:00 >2018-08-20T14:45:38-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>A drawing in [Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's] 1883 manuscript Free Space might be the first depiction of humans in orbital weightlessness. Four figures float in a spherical spaceship, each pointed in a different direction, disoriented... This basic design &mdash; primary thruster, secondary retro rockets, axial gyros for orientation &mdash; has been used by all crewed Russian and American spacecraft to date, including the International Space Station.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Looking back at the history of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">outer space</a> design, Fred Scharmen brings past innovations into the present with applications for our future. Starting back in 1883 with the first design for humans in outer space (seen below), Konstantin Tsiolkovsky imagined a new way of thinking about <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">spatial design</a>.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Free Space, 1883. Image: Russian Academy of Sciences.</figcaption></figure><p>Scharmen&nbsp;follows this path of design up through 1975 with&nbsp;Princeton physicist Gerard O&rsquo;Neill's project, funded by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">NASA</a>, to develop habitats for civilization in space. A team of&nbsp;engineers, space scientists, physicists, artists, urban planners, and architects were assembled to create isolated and controlled <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">interiors</a> for humans to live in.</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Bernal Sphere, 1975. Image: Rick Guidice/NASA Ames Research Center.</figcaption></figure><p>Habitats like the Bernal Sphere were created as exercises in imagining completely new systems of design.&nbsp;Scharmen&nbsp;advocates that these outer space design exercises are the key to innovation for design both on and...</p> Watch an urban planner play SimCity with real world commentary Hope Daley 2018-08-17T14:45:00-04:00 >2018-08-20T13:03:32-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>In this extended short, City Beautiful takes on the old school classic SimCity from the perspective of a professional planner 20 years later. Along the way, City Beautiful provides pertinent observations of game play versus reality.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Urban Design Ph.D student&nbsp;Dave Amos circles back around to the game that sparked his passion as a kid playing computer games. An advocate for sustainable living and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">diverse cities</a>, Amos plays through the old school <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">SimCity</a> game providing relevant insights learned over the years in his career.&nbsp;</p> Air conditioning's challenge for the built environment Hope Daley 2018-08-16T16:14:00-04:00 >2018-08-16T16:14:40-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The US expends more energy on air conditioning, for example, than the whole of Africa does on everything. Then again, it expends even more energy on hot water, which doesn&rsquo;t get the same rap. The question then is not whether to condition climate, but how. As long ago as the 1940s the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy demonstrated, with his village of New Gourna near Luxor, how traditional techniques of orientation, ventilation, screening and shading could be revived.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Rowan Moore dives into the history of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">air conditioning</a> and how the development of this technology shaped architectural design over the years. Rather than condemn its use, Moore advocates for optimizing both old and new techniques for <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">sustainable</a> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">cooling</a> with the current challenge to scale up for rapidly expanding cities.</p> BIG designs first prototype for affordable vacation home company Klein Hope Daley 2018-08-15T15:12:00-04:00 >2018-08-19T16:26:03-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Behold the first prototype of the Brooklyn-based Klein, a new company that wants to make the process of building small houses more affordable all over the world.&nbsp;A45 is a 13-foot-long wood and glass cabin for one, two, or three people (if one of them is tiny) designed by the&nbsp;Danish architectural firm&nbsp;Bjarke Ingels Group [...] meant to be the first of many designs [that will fulfill the fantasy] of having a home outside the city...</p></em><br /><br /><p>Founder Soren Rose started Klein after leading the firm S&oslash;ren Rose Studio&nbsp;based in New York and Copenhagen. By providing small, cheap, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">prefab</a> houses the company aims to make vacation <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">home ownership</a> more affordable to a wider audience.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Klein prototype A45 by BIG. Image: Matthew Carbone.</figcaption></figure><p>While there are currently no set prices, homes are projected to range from&nbsp;$50,000 to $300,000.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Klein prototype A45 by BIG. Image: Matthew Carbone.</figcaption></figure><p>The first prototype, designed by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">BIG</a>, is the start of several options which will be fully customizable and ready within 6 months of placing an order.&nbsp;<br></p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Klein prototype A45 by BIG. Image: Matthew Carbone.</figcaption></figure><p>Klein is currently taking preorders on a case by case basis.&nbsp;<br></p> <figure><figure><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a><figcaption>Klein prototype A45 by BIG. Image: Matthew Carbone.</figcaption></figure></figure> The Lotus House Explores the Potential of 3D Printing for Sustainable Construction Liam Otten 2018-08-15T12:21:00-04:00 >2018-08-15T13:41:02-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p>From consumer goods to medical devices, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">3D printing</a> is reshaping the manufacturing world. But what about construction? Could this technology change the way buildings are made?</p> <p>That&rsquo;s the question posed by a team from Washington University in St. Louis.&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Over the past eight months</a>, students from the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Sam Fox School of Design &amp; Visual Arts</a> and the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">School of Engineering &amp; Applied Science</a>&nbsp;&mdash; with support from the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (InCEES)</a>&mdash;&nbsp;have used 3D printing to design and fabricate elements of&nbsp;Lotus House, an energy-efficient prototype residence unveiled this month as part of&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Solar Decathlon China 2018</a>.</p> <p>In this Q&amp;A, project manager Kinga Pabjan, a master&rsquo;s candidate in architecture and construction management, discusses Lotus House, 3D printing and the future of sustainable construction.</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Project manager Kinga Pabjan. (Courtesy Team WashU)</figcaption></figure><p><strong>Describe Lotus House. What inspired the design?</strong><br></p> <p>Lotus House is a 650-square-foot, single-story home. The...</p> Global heatwave is symptom of early stage cycle of civilisational collapse Orhan Ayyüce 2018-08-13T18:59:00-04:00 >2018-08-20T14:24:20-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>This summer&rsquo;s extreme weather has hit home some stark realities. Climate disaster is not slated to happen in some far-flung theoretical future. It&rsquo;s here, and now.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Penned by Nafeez Ahmed, investigative journalist, recovering academic, tracking the Crisis of Civilization, the article points to a more urgent than urgent times in terms of civilisation and not merely the climate change.&nbsp;<br></p> <p>Also an urgent quote from a friend internalizing the article for architecture, "I am surprised that with contemporary conditions that require a radical re-orientation and re-conceptualization of discipline and profession, architecture professors continue to talk about elements, tectonic, "Fundamentals", context, composition, scale, poche, sustainability... Bla,bla...&nbsp;Let's build a new ontology..."<br></p> <p>-Alex Santander, Architect. Tijuana, Mexico</p> Sidewalk Labs' Toronto waterfront smart city raises dystopian concerns Hope Daley 2018-08-10T14:40:00-04:00 >2018-08-10T15:40:17-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Sidewalk&rsquo;s vision for Quayside &mdash; as a place populated by self-driving vehicles and robotic garbage collectors, where the urban fabric is embedded with cameras and sensors capable of gleaning information from the phone in your pocket &mdash; certainly sounds Orwellian. Yet the company contends that the data gathered from fully wired urban infrastructure is needed to refine inefficient urban systems and achieve ambitious innovations like zero-emission energy grids.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Last fall Sidewalk Labs, a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Google</a>-affiliated company, announced plans to build a new <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">smart city</a> model on 12 acres of the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Toronto</a> waterfront named Quayside. The design would include infrastructure with sensors and data analytics with the claim of building an overall more streamlined, economical, and green urban space. Sidewalk Labs' partnership with Canada is the beginning of an urban model they hope to expand globally.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>While the goal may look utopian, many see an ominous future where governance is under threat rather than the projected promise of urban innovation. Concerns center around tech monopolies, the collection and commodification of city data, and a democratic process of decision making for our environments.</p> The final frontier: wheelchair accessibility in science fiction Alexander Walter 2018-08-01T15:29:00-04:00 >2018-08-01T18:44:06-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Space remains a vast, untamed place, penned in only by the limits of our own imaginations. So why the hell are there so many staircases in space? [...] Once you start realizing how many stairs there are stopping you in real life, it becomes impossible not to notice them existing in the sci-fi you adore. Turns out they&rsquo;re everywhere [...] our sci-fi imitates a real-world reliance on steps and stairs in our architecture.</p></em><br /><br /><p>With <em><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Staircases in Space: Why Are Places in Science Fiction Not Wheelchair-Accessible?</a></em>, Ace Ratcliff pens an excellent analysis of the pervasive presence of staircases in sci-fi that appear to foreshadow a future where universal accessibility for wheelchair-bound people like herself&mdash;and beyond that, the full inclusion in society&mdash;remain utterly unachieved.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Unfortunately, 50 years worth of Federation starship manifestations also means half a century of inaccessibility," writes Ratcliff. "The original USS Enterprise bridge has enough steps you could take the equivalent of an aerobics class just trying to get from the turbolift to the Captain&rsquo;s chair. The same level of inaccessibility goes for both the USS Voyager and USS Discovery, and if you&rsquo;re a wheelchair user, you better not try to grab an after-shift bottle of bloodwine at Quark&rsquo;s Bar unless you plan on dragging yourself up several steps to get there. In fact, the bridge from The Next Generation&rsquo;s Enterprise is the only one that...</p> A floating university by Berlin firm Raumlabor explores the future of architecture schooling Hope Daley 2018-07-30T16:31:00-04:00 >2018-07-31T06:13:00-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Created by architects&nbsp;Raumlabor, the&nbsp;Floating University in Berlin invites students and experts from all over the world to explore solutions for future urban challenges. It&rsquo;s said that the things we learn at university today will be outdated by the time we graduate. So what does a learning environment look like where students research cities of the future?</p></em><br /><br /><p>Berlin-based firm <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Raumlabor</a> have created a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">floating</a> university running through the summer months to explore new <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">learning environment</a> possibilities. Located in a rainwater basin in Berlin, the temporary structure is under constant development with students, professors, and experts implementing their ideas.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Floating University by Raumlabor, located in Berlin. Image: Raumlabor.</figcaption></figure><p>The floating university includes a library, workspaces, an auditorium with a pool, an experimental kitchen and bar, and a water-filtering system. Students are invited from the fields of architecture, design, arts, and sustainable technology to participate in this hands-on program. The University will be dismantled in September with all materials either rented and returned or used for upcoming projects.<br></p> The first digital art museum in Paris opens with a Klimt exhibition Hope Daley 2018-07-27T15:47:00-04:00 >2018-07-27T15:47:08-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The museum is in a former foundry and is operated by Culturespaces, a French museum foundation that specialise in immersive art displays. This is the opening exhibition at what Culturespaces calls its &ldquo;Workshop of Lights&rdquo;, and its larger space, La Halle, is dedicated to Gustav Klimt and a century of Viennese painting. There are also works by Egon Schiele and Friedrich Stowasser, better-known as Hundertwasser.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The museum foundation Culturespaces recently opened Paris&rsquo;s first digital <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">museum of fine art</a>, Atelier des Lumi&egrave;res, with an opening exhibition displaying works by Gustav Klimt. The former foundry has been transformed into an <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">immersive, multi-sensory&nbsp;space</a> expanding artworks across the entire architectural interior.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Atelier des Lumi&egrave;res, Paris. Image: E Spiller.</figcaption></figure><p>The museum utilizes 140 laser video projectors to display works across&nbsp;32-foot-high walls and over 11,000 square feet of surface area within the renovated 19th-century building. With the growing digital engagement of culture, the museum aims to disseminate art through relevant methods for future generations.&nbsp;<br></p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Klimt display at Atelier des Lumi&egrave;res, Paris. Image: E Spiller.</figcaption></figure> Liverpool aims to be world's first climate-positive city with blockchain technology Hope Daley 2018-07-26T16:20:00-04:00 >2018-07-26T16:20:46-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Liverpool City Council (LCC) has announced a new partnership with a blockchain platform company to offset more than 110% of its carbon emissions, with the city announcing its bid to become the world's first climate-positive city by the end of 2020. LCC will conduct a year-long trial with the Poseidon Foundation to use a blockchain platform to offset the carbon impact of all products and services in the city by supporting global forest conversation projects.</p></em><br /><br /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Liverpool</a>'s ambition to become the world's first climate-positive city by 2020 has been announced with the city's <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">blockchain</a> technology partnership. Committing to a year-long trial of this sustainable technology,&nbsp;Liverpool City Council strives to reduce its <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">carbon impact</a> by installing more than 15,000 energy saving LED streetlights across 2,000 streets to reduce streetlight energy consumption by 82%.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Poseidon&rsquo;s Foundation, Laszlo Giricz stated, &ldquo;This is a ground-breaking partnership not just for Poseidon and Liverpool, but globally. For the first time, a city will use blockchain technology to go beyond rebalancing its carbon footprint &ndash; leading the way in the fight against climate change."&nbsp;</p> MAD’s tent-like conference center breaks ground in China's rugged mountains Hope Daley 2018-07-26T15:08:00-04:00 >2018-07-26T17:03:38-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">MAD Architects</a>' new China Entrepreneur Forum Conference Centre has broken ground in the&nbsp;rugged, snow-capped mountains of Yabuli, located in&nbsp;northeastern <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">China</a>.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>China Entrepreneur Forum Conference Centre by MAD Architects, located in Yabuli, CN. Image: MAD Architects. </figcaption></figure><p>The new centre will act as a permanent venue for annual summits hosted by the China Entrepreneur Forum (CEF) in&nbsp;Yabuli.&nbsp;CEF commissioned MAD Architects,&nbsp;led by Ma Yansong,&nbsp;to design a building that embodied China's entrepreneurial industry.&nbsp;<br></p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>China Entrepreneur Forum Conference Centre by MAD Architects, located in Yabuli, CN. Image: MAD Architects. </figcaption></figure><p>Cited along the axis of a mountain, MAD designed a dynamic, tent-like structure defined by soft and sloping lines. The building reaches only 78 feet in height allowing the structure to quietly integrate into the surrounding landscape.&nbsp;<br></p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>China Entrepreneur Forum Conference Centre by MAD Architects, located in Yabuli, CN. Image: MAD Architects. </figcaption></figure><p>Organized into four floors, the st...</p> Researchers develop method to 3D-print inexpensive houses from peat Alexander Walter 2018-07-25T15:07:00-04:00 >2018-07-31T07:01:35-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Cut peat blocks were already being used for building houses thousands of years ago. Now, scientists at the University of Tartu have developed a material which could make it possible to print energy-efficient houses out of milled peat and oil shale ash using a 3D printer.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"As peat and oil shale ash are not very expensive, house builders would be especially happy about the price of the material. According to Liiv, scientists calculated that the cost for the construction of a house shell printed from this material with a floor surface of 100&ndash;150 square meters could be about &euro;5,000 (compared to the construction of the shell of a framed building of equivalent size, which would cost about ten times more). Thus, peat material could be used to build a very cheap house with an energy class A."</p> <p>H/T <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Global Construction Review</a></p> Facebook to double its London presence with new King's Cross buildings by AHMM and Bennetts Alexander Walter 2018-07-25T13:57:00-04:00 >2018-07-25T13:58:19-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Facebook is doubling its presence in London by acquiring office space across two buildings in King's Cross. The 600,000 square feet (56,000 square meters) of office space will be enough for more than 6,000 workstations. [...] The expansion follows the 2017 opening of its site at Rathbone Place, which added 800 jobs and opened its first in-house incubator program for startup businesses. It also has a location on Brock Street.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Considerably ramping up its workplace capacity by 611,000 sq ft in soon-to-be post-Brexit <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">London</a>, Facebook will be moving into new buildings at King's Cross: 11 and 21 Canal Reach, designed by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Bennetts Associates</a>, the ten and twelve-story-buildings already have detailed planning permission, as well as the nine-story-structure P2 by 2015 Stirling-Prize winning <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM)</a> with a pending reserved matters planning application.</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>11 and 21 Canal Reach by Bennetts Associates. Image: King's Cross.</figcaption></figure><p>"The deal comes just weeks after Samsung Electronics announced an agreement to open &lsquo;Samsung KX LDN&rsquo;, a 20,000 sq ft showcase space at Coal Drops Yard, the new Heatherwick Studio-designed shopping and lifestyle district in King&rsquo;s Cross, in October," reads a King's Cross <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">statement</a>.<br></p> <p>The new offices are expected to open in 2021.<br></p> Should New York's subway rails be paved over for driverless cars? Hope Daley 2018-07-24T19:03:00-04:00 >2018-08-18T13:01:04-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Visions of the future [autonomous vehicles] will bring have already crept into City Council meetings, political campaigns, state legislation and decisions about what cities should build today. That unnerves some transportation planners and transit advocates, who fear unrealistic hopes for driverless cars &mdash; and how soon they&rsquo;ll get here &mdash; could lead cities to mortgage the present for something better they haven&rsquo;t seen.</p></em><br /><br /><p>With <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">new technologies emerging</a>, cities are debating the most effective transportation systems to fund. Caught in the midst of this struggle is the proposition of paving over the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">New York subway</a>&nbsp;in order to create an underground highway for <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">autonomous vehicles</a>. Those championing the idea believe this system would move the most people using the least amount of space, when theoretically services like Lyft and Uber no longer have to pay drivers.&nbsp;</p> <p>Many, however, believe this is an unrealistic faith in new technology to solve all of our cities transportation problems. If everyone uses their own private, self-driving car this could create enormous amounts of traffic. Not to mention the belief that there is something inherently better about everyone traveling together on public transit rather than in their own isolated vehicles. Should cities invest in these new transit models replacing <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">public&nbsp;infrastructure&nbsp;with private systems</a>? Or hold out for unknown future technologies?</p> MIT's mass timber longhouse is more sustainable than concrete Hope Daley 2018-07-23T15:15:00-04:00 >2018-07-23T15:15:30-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Changing the mindset behind short-term wooden constructions is MIT. A group of researchers at the university are leading an initiative to investigate new mass timber designs- wood-based buildings designed to be more efficient and cheaper than, yet just as durable as, concrete and steel buildings. The team proposes building mass timber longhouses - large wooden engineered houses built from massive pieces of timber.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Mass Timber Design, MIT's architecture workshop exploring <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">sustainable building design</a> at the intersection of architecture and technology, has developed a Longhouse prototype.&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Mass timber</a>, a wood-based building design and construction technology,&nbsp;has continued to be explored for its sustainability over other materials such as <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">concrete</a>.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>The Longhouse prototype by MIT's Mass Timber Design Workshop. Image: MIT.</figcaption></figure><p>A major environmental concern, concrete production accounts for about 5 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions alone.<br></p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>The Longhouse prototype by MIT's Mass Timber Design Workshop. Image: MIT.</figcaption></figure><p>The Longhouse draws on its historical background serving as a multi-functional building designed for shared communal space.&nbsp;<br></p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>The Longhouse prototype by MIT's Mass Timber Design Workshop. Image: MIT.</figcaption></figure><p>The structure consists of a series of timber laminated veneer lumber (LVL) arches spanning across the building&rsquo;s shorter dimension.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>The Longhouse prototype by MIT's Mass Timber Design Wo...</figcaption></figure> Biogenic, bacteria-powered solar cells can generate electricity even under overcast skies Alexander Walter 2018-07-20T15:00:00-04:00 >2018-07-20T15:01:46-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Their cell generated a current stronger than any previously recorded from such a device, and worked as efficiently in dim light as in bright light. This innovation could be a step toward wider adoption of solar power in places like British Columbia and parts of northern Europe where overcast skies are common. With further development, these solar cells&mdash;called &ldquo;biogenic&rdquo; because they are made of living organisms&mdash;could become as efficient as the synthetic cells used in conventional solar panels.</p></em><br /><br /><p>While this isn't the first&nbsp;effort to build biogenic,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">bacteria</a>-powered solar cells, scientists at the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">University of British Columbia</a> claim to have <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">discovered</a> a novel, highly cost-effective, and much more sustainable way to use the photosynthesis capabilities of certain bacteria to convert light (even dim&nbsp;light) to energy.&nbsp;</p> <p>"They genetically engineered E. coli to produce large amounts of lycopene&mdash;a dye that gives tomatoes their red-orange colour and is particularly effective at harvesting light for conversion to energy," explains the UBC announcement. "The researchers coated the bacteria with a mineral that could act as a semiconductor, and applied the mixture to a glass surface. With the coated glass acting as an anode at one end of their cell, they generated a current density of 0.686 milliamps per square centimetre&mdash;an improvement on the 0.362 achieved by others in the field."</p> <p>More research is needed to turn this newly discovered method into market-ready biogenic solar panels.</p>... A call to embrace automation in the job market with a collaborative vision Hope Daley 2018-07-18T17:17:00-04:00 >2018-07-18T19:07:47-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>This partnership between human and machine is what lies ahead as automation tools permeate our lives at a quickening pace. As many worry about the potential for robots to steal our jobs (or lead a violent overthrow of society), the reality may be more nuanced: They may end up being something more like creative collaborators [...] We must re-tool the workforce, be ever learning, and open to rapid change to reduce the negative impact.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Brooks Rainwater asserts <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">urban spaces</a> as the testing grounds for the impending automation revolution and asks whether this will simply eliminate <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">jobs</a> or create new, better ones. While job displacement estimations vary, there is no denying the tremendous impact <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">emerging technologies</a> will have on our future workforce. Rainwater empowers present decisions of embracing these inevitable changes through forming collaborative partnerships with automation.&nbsp;</p> Record setting 12-story timber tower slated for downtown Portland gets the axe Mackenzie Goldberg 2018-07-17T19:52:00-04:00 >2018-07-20T15:41:55-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p>In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided to run a&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">pilot program</a> to support two tall wood demonstration projects in order to test the potential of the increasingly popular building material. The first was a&nbsp;10-story residential tower in Chelsea designed by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">SHoP</a>. The second, a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">12-story</a> high rise slated for downtown Portland's Pearl District that would've been the tallest building in the country to use cross-laminated timber.<br></p> <p>The New York project was scrapped last year, made unfeasible by a cooled-off real estate market and regulations prohibiting wooden towers over six stories that would've required onerous finagling. The deal to build Oregon's record-setting wooden tower, though, was still moving forward.&nbsp;</p> <p>Designed by the Portland-based firm <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">LEVER Architecture</a>, the project had received a promising amount of support and pledge of public dollars. Money from&nbsp;the USDA's Tall Wood Building award helped fund testing and research; the Portland Housing Bureau had promised $6 milli...</p> New report presents staggering amount of parking in US cities Hope Daley 2018-07-16T15:13:00-04:00 >2018-07-16T15:13:56-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Groundbreaking research presents credible estimates of the total parking supply in several American cities, and it's not pretty. Parking spaces are everywhere, but for some reason the perception persists that there&rsquo;s &ldquo;not enough parking.&rdquo; And so cities require parking in new buildings and lavishly subsidize parking garages, without ever measuring how much parking exists or how much it&rsquo;s used.</p></em><br /><br /><p>A new report from&nbsp;Eric Scharnhorst at the Research Institute for Housing America, an arm of the Mortgage Bankers Association,&nbsp;estimates the total parking supply in&nbsp;five US cities. Looking at satellite imagery and tax record data,&nbsp;Scharnhorst tallied&nbsp;on-street <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">parking</a>, surface parking, and garage parking in New York, Seattle, Philadelphia, Des Moines, and Jackson, Wyoming. The results show staggeringly high amounts of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">land use</a> dedicated to parking with low use percentages.&nbsp;</p> Is Instagram changing the way we design the world? Shane Reiner-Roth 2018-07-12T15:47:00-04:00 >2018-07-12T15:52:05-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>&ldquo;Designing from Instagram for Instagram seems like a snake eating its own tail. Everywhere looks like everywhere else and the eye grows tired of bananas or concrete tiles or mirror rooms.&rdquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p>The built environment, this article from Bella Mackie&nbsp;suggests, is increasingly being designed as a 'backdrop;' a stage for those masses which might otherwise be disinterested in the fields of aesthetics and art production. This phenomenon can be felt when traveling the world just as apparently as in one's own backyard.&nbsp;</p> <p>If the pressures of photogeneity are indeed shaping the built environment, how can depth and meditation be championed as a reflex? Or, alternatively, how might the architectural practice boldly go forth into a culture of the superficial?</p> Is vertical farming the future of agriculture? Hope Daley 2018-07-11T14:36:00-04:00 >2018-07-11T16:18:49-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The astronomical capital costs associated with starting a large hydroponic farm (compared to field and greenhouse farming), its reliance on investor capital and yet-to-be-developed technology, and challenges around energy efficiency and environmental impact make vertical farming anything but a sure bet. And even if vertical farms do scale, there&rsquo;s no clear sense of whether brand-loyal consumers, en masse, will make the switch from field-grown produce to foods grown indoors.</p></em><br /><br /><p>A look at the benefits and costs to <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">vertical farming</a> taking into account new technologies, the architecture and economics of production, and consumer demand. In these indoor spaces food is being grown hydroponically, meaning without soil and using artificial LED lighting. As new innovations emerge disrupting the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">agriculture</a> industry, the impact of indoor farming remains open ended.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>LED lighting used for an indoor farming operation. Image: Agritecture.</figcaption></figure> Keller Easterling discusses her latest book "Medium Design" with Failed Architecture Hope Daley 2018-07-09T23:07:00-04:00 >2018-07-09T16:14:51-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>In her latest book Medium Design, Easterling turns this idea of disposition to our ways of thinking, and rehearses a set of tools to address unfolding relations in spatial and non-spatial contexts. She rejects the righteousness of manifestos and certainty of ideologies, urging ways of thinking better attuned to complexity and ambiguity.</p></em><br /><br /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Keller Easterling</a>, architect, theorist, writer and Professor at <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Yale University</a> School of Architecture, discusses her new book, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><em>Medium Design</em></a><em></em>, with Hettie O&rsquo;Brien.&nbsp;In this conversation she expounds on the ideas around no new master plans or right answers, tying together concepts from her previous book <em>Extrastatecraft</em>.&nbsp;Easterling asserts,&nbsp;&ldquo;Culture is good at pointing to things and calling their name but not so good at describing the relationships between things or the repertoires they enact.&rdquo;</p> Foster + Partners' extra-terrestrial habitats will be displayed at Goodwood Festival 2018 Hope Daley 2018-07-06T15:31:00-04:00 >2018-07-06T17:52:21-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p>Continuing with&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">designing for space</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Foster + Partners</a> will showcase their vision of life on Mars and the Moon as part of the Future Lab showcase at the 2018 <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Goodwood Festival</a>. The firm will show a range of models, robotics, and futuristic designs to explore the future of life in space.</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Habitation pod design by Foster + Partners. Image: Fost + Partners.</figcaption></figure><p>Foster + Partners takes a central position at this year&rsquo;s FoS Future Lab, which is focused on space exploration, autonomous transport, robotics, and personal flight.&nbsp;<br></p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Habitation pod design by Foster + Partners. Image: Fost + Partners.</figcaption></figure><p>The firm will be showing their latest award-winning projects carried out for competitions organized by NASA in the event&rsquo;s second edition of the Future Lab innovation exhibition.<br></p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Habitation pod design by Foster + Partners. Image: Fost + Partners.</figcaption></figure><p>At the center of the firm's display will be a scale model based on the Mars and lunar habitation pods they designed. Visitors will be able to "walk through" a vir...</p> A manual on traffic engineering excuses opens the gates for pointed criticism Hope Daley 2018-07-02T15:16:00-04:00 >2018-07-02T15:16:07-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Im developing a new guide called the &lsquo;Manual on Uniform Traffic Engineer Excuses&rsquo; or #MUTEE,&rdquo; tweeted Boise-based planner Don Kostelec in a moment of genius. &ldquo;You get to name the chapters. Go!&rdquo; The responses were swift, and hilarious, and like so much humor carried painful truths.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Don Kostelec recently opened the door to <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">traffic</a> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">engineering</a> jabs with a call for chapter titles on his&nbsp;<em>Manual on Uniform Traffic Engineer Excuses.</em> Some of these cutting responses are all too real...</p> <p><br></p> <p>Responses included chapter titles such as:</p> <ul><li>Appendix 99 &ndash; A Listing of All Mandatory Design Features for All Forms of Alternative Transportation [This page intentionally left blank]</li><li>Chapter 16: Sharrows: How to Apply the Single Ply Toilet Paper for Bike Infrastructure</li><li>Chapter 13: Two-way Cycle Tracks Mean Highly Complex Intersections; Why You Should Just Use Sharrows Instead</li><li>Chapter 44: Someday Dark Clothing Will Go Out of Style</li><li>Introduction: Why the World Is Designed for Peak Hour Car Use and Not 24-Hour Use by Everybody Else</li><li>Chapter 12: Induced Demand and Widening Projects: Tall Tales, Lies, and Other Falsehoods</li><li>Chapter 5: How to Remove a Crosswalk &ndash; It&rsquo;s too dangerous for pedestrians to cross here, wouldn&rsquo;t want to give them a false sense of security.</li></ul><p>Check out Don&nbsp;Kostelec&rsquo;s Twitter feed @...</p> From an All-Women-Led Collective to a Multi-Billion Dollar Startup; Miguel McKelvey Shares His Story Paul Petrunia 2018-06-28T18:08:00-04:00 >2018-08-18T13:01:04-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p>Last Wednesday, on the eve of the AIA National Convention, I had the pleasure of talking with Miguel McKelvey, co-founder of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">WeWork</a>.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><p>The conversation was held in Midtown Manhattan, in the Project 6 by AF showroom to an invited crowd of 75 architects. The event was co-hosted by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Project 6 by AF</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Designer Pages</a>,&nbsp;and sponsored by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Graff</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Julien</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Geberit</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Kaldewei</a>&nbsp;and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Wetstyle</a>.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>WeWork Paddington, London, photo courtesy of WeWork</figcaption></figure><p>For those of you unfamiliar, WeWork is a co-working startup currently valued at somewhere between $20B and $35B, with almost 400 locations scattered around the world in 69 cities. While WeWork wasn&rsquo;t the first company to enter the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">coworking</a> space, they approached it in a very different way, focusing on creating physical environments that connected&nbsp;with workers and business owners, while crafting a culture of super-dedicated members.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>WeWork Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, photo courtesy of WeWork</figcaption></figure><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>WeWork Montes Urales, Mexico City, photo courtesy of WeWork</figcaption></figure><p>Migu...</p> Startup Katerra wants to revolutionize the construction industry Hope Daley 2018-06-27T15:18:00-04:00 >2018-06-27T17:58:33-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>A Menlo Park company called Katerra announced that it had acquired Michael Green Architecture, a 25-person architecture firm in Vancouver, British Columbia. On June 12, the company revealed that it had bought another, larger architecture firm, Atlanta-based Lord Aeck Sargent. This comes five months after Katerra raised $865 million in venture capital from funders led by SoftBank&rsquo;s Vision Fund, which has also invested heavily in the co-working startup WeWork.</p></em><br /><br /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Startup</a> Katerra looks to revolutionize the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">construction</a> industry through streamlining the entire process with their design-build model. The company has acquired <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Michael Green Architecture</a>, known for&nbsp;designing tall wood buildings, and&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Lord Aeck Sargent</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>With these two firms obtained, Katerra will now consolidate by designing and building its products in house. <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Michael Green Architecture</a>'s influence can be seen as Katerra is developing a catalog of mass timber products for residential and commercial building projects. Uniquely Katerra has also created a system to guarantee price early on, a rarity in the industry.</p> AERIAL FUTURES release a new video exploring integration of airports and cities Hope Daley 2018-06-27T14:28:00-04:00 >2018-06-28T08:03:19-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p>AERIAL FUTURES, a non-profit think tank exploring innovation in the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">architecture of flight</a>, have created a new film titled <em>Urban Constellations</em>&nbsp;looking at the relationship between a city and its <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">airports</a>. Using NYC as a case study, this video asks how fragmented pieces of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">infrastructure</a> can be reimagined more holistically, in order to simultaneously improve air travel and urban life.</p> <p>The film features experts who discuss the challenges and opportunities for the future of NYC&rsquo;s aerial infrastructure, drawing on the New York think tank&rsquo;s focus on urban design and digital interfaces.&nbsp;</p> <p>The next public AERIAL FUTURES event will take place on Thursday, July 19 at the Denver Art Museum. This edition, entitled Constructed Landscapes, will ask how airports influence the future of mobility and transportation.&nbsp;</p>