Archinect - News 2018-09-21T17:38:29-04:00 Why 'smart homes' aren't really that smart yet Alexander Walter 2018-09-14T15:38:00-04:00 >2018-09-19T12:46:04-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Today you can have a fully connected home complete with sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, air quality, energy usage, and more, and check in on almost any appliance from anywhere in the world with just a smartphone. But even with all of the various connected appliances, virtual assistants, and copious sensors that can be installed in a modern smart home, the &ldquo;smart&rdquo; side of things is still rather lacking.</p></em><br /><br /><p><em>The Verge</em> senior editor Dan Seifert asks: <em>Wouldn't it be cool if my home could figure everything out on its own?</em></p> Japanese scientists to run space elevator experiment in orbit Alexander Walter 2018-09-05T13:31:00-04:00 >2018-09-08T22:36:43-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>A team made up of researchers at Shizuoka University and other institutions is set to conduct an experiment in September for a project to develop a "space elevator" connecting Earth and a space station by cable -- attracting attention as a possible dream vehicle for space travel and cargo shipments in the future.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The idea of a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">space elevator</a> has been around since 1895 when Russian/Soviet rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky&nbsp;(inspired by the newly erected Eiffel Tower in Paris) envisioned a very long cable running from earth's equator to space beyond geostationary orbit&nbsp;with a counterweight at the top to offset our planet's gravity&mdash;maintaining an upright tether,&nbsp;under tension, to run cars up and down.</p> First building awarded the Stirling Prize now slated for a primary school Hope Daley 2018-08-31T18:06:00-04:00 >2018-09-06T08:56:10-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The first building to win the RIBA Stirling Prize &ndash; Hodder Associates&rsquo; Centenary Building for the University of Salford &ndash; could be converted into a new primary school. The plans for the currently empty 23-year-old building form part of 5plus Architects&rsquo; emerging 99ha development framework for the university&rsquo;s existing campus and surrounding area.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Hodder + Partners's Centenary Building for the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">University of Salford</a> was the first to be awarded the RIBA <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Stirling Prize</a> back in 1996. Originally designed to be the School of Electrical Engineering, during construction plans changed for the building to house the&nbsp;Faculty of Art and Design Technology. Now, according to a consultation document, the structure is slated for <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">reuse</a> as an&nbsp;entry primary school.&nbsp;</p> Tokyo launches first autonomous 'robot taxi' ahead of 2020 Olympics Alexander Walter 2018-08-29T14:37:00-04:00 >2018-08-29T14:42:51-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>A venture firm and a major taxi company began trials of passenger-carrying autonomous taxi services on Monday with an eye on launching the full service around 2020 when Tokyo hosts the Olympics and the Paralympics. ZMP Inc., a Tokyo-based developer of autonomous driving technology, and Hinomaru Kotsu Co., said they are the first in the world to offer autonomous taxi services to fare-paying passengers in the test through Sept. 8.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Other tech companies and automakers have also been testing autonomous driving services in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. If the Tokyo RoboCar MiniVan trial is successful, officials hope to scale up the program to assist with the increased transportation demand during the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">2020 Summer Olympics</a> and, beyond that, help the rapidly ageing population in Japan's rural areas get around.</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> 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>... MIT Media Lab's new method of 3D printing allows for advanced complexity Hope Daley 2018-06-20T14:34:00-04:00 >2018-07-14T20:16:03-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>MIT Media Lab&rsquo;s Mediated Matter group has invented a new way to 3D print any&nbsp;object, regardless of how complex it is, with color and shape as detailed as a photograph. It&rsquo;s the equivalent of traditional CMYK printing, but in 3D. The results are stunning.</p></em><br /><br /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">MIT</a>&nbsp;Media Lab has come up with a new method of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">3D printing</a> that allows for much more complex models and typologies. Such complexity was previously not possible as all pieces of a model had to be connected with no floating parts in space. With this new method, different materials are used to create a solid transparent block that encapsulates the complex model allowing for detached parts to "float" inside the transparent material.&nbsp;</p> How Amazon's patents shape our city of the future Alexander Walter 2018-06-08T15:00:00-04:00 >2018-08-18T13:01:04-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Taken as whimsical follies by the design press and broader culture, Amazon's architectural and logistical patents are altogether more sinister, signalling new, automated urban ambitions. [...] While some of these patents could be marked as routine publicity stunts, lurking beneath Amazon&rsquo;s bravado is an obsession with organisation and productivity: oriented towards abstract users, measured in data, and governed by algorithms.</p></em><br /><br /><p>In his piece for <em>Failed Architecture</em>, designer and writer Matthew Stewart investigates the implications of the overwhelming flood of architectural and logistical <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">patents</a> filed by Big Tech, and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Amazon</a> in particular, on our cities and expectations of the world of the future.&nbsp;</p> <p>"We&rsquo;ve been treated to an Archigram-esque world of walking cities, inflatable mega-structures and roaming blimps," Stewart writes. "This world has included proposals for <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">multi-level drone fulfillment centers</a>; mobile robotic warehouses; augmented reality furniture; inflatable data centers; <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">underwater</a> and flying warehouse facilities; infinitely expandable data centers; on-demand clothing manufacturing, automated shopping with image recognition systems and the ever-present spectre of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">drone delivery</a>."</p> Shared housing startups prepare for big business Alexander Walter 2018-05-23T15:54:00-04:00 >2018-05-26T13:31:04-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>A Crunchbase News analysis of residential-focused real estate startups uncovered a raft of companies with a shared and temporary housing focus that have raised funding in the past year or so. This isn&rsquo;t a U.S.-specific phenomenon. Funded shared and short-term housing startups are cropping up across the globe, from China to Europe to Southeast Asia.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Crunchbase reporter Joanna Glasner takes a look at the new crop of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">shared and short-term housing</a> startups that have recently raised millions of dollars in funding, such as Common, Starcity, Roomi, Ollie, HubHaus, and others.<br></p> Scientists build world's tiniest house using nanorobotic assembly Alexander Walter 2018-05-22T13:39:00-04:00 >2018-05-22T13:47:14-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>In order to demonstrate the capabilities of a new nanorobotic system, French scientists have built a "microhouse" that sits on the cleaved end of an optical fiber. The diminutive home was built by a team from the Femto-ST Institute in Besan&ccedil;on, France, using the new &mu;Robotex nanofactory system. That setup utilizes a robotically-controlled ion gun and a gas injection system, operating within a large vacuum chamber, to assemble microstructures on the tips of optical fibers with extreme accuracy.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The '<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Tiny Houses</a>' trend is so pass&eacute;&mdash;Micro Houses are all the rage now. This charming nanobungalow built by the French Femto-ST Institute sits on a plot measuring only 300 by 300 micrometers. <br></p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Credit: FEMTO-ST Institute</figcaption></figure><p>All you need to get started on your own fun projects is a large vacuum chamber, some ion guns, thin membranes of silica, with a little robotic piloting for the nanoassembly sprinkled on top.</p> <p>To learn how it really works, visit the full paper in the <em><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Journal of Vacuum Science &amp; Technology A</a></em>.<br></p> Jan Gehl has his doubts about 'Smart Cities' Alexander Walter 2018-05-07T14:52:00-04:00 >2018-05-07T14:57:29-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>I think we haven&rsquo;t thought through the challenge of technology for city mobility. We are stuck with some 120-year-old ideas that the industry is desperately holding on to. I tell students: Whenever you hear the word &ldquo;smart,&rdquo; beware, because that is somebody who wants to sell as many millions as possible of some new gimmick. And he is not necessarily giving you a better quality of life.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Annette Becker and Lessano Negussie, curators of the new exhibition&nbsp;<em><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">RIDE A BIKE! Reclaim the City</a></em> at the&nbsp;Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) in Frankfurt, Germany,&nbsp;interviewed the 81-year-old 'people-friendly city' evangelist for the show's accompanying book.</p> An augmented reality art exhibit hijacks MoMA's Jackson Pollock gallery Alexander Walter 2018-04-27T14:57:00-04:00 >2018-04-28T12:11:12-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>NEW YORK&rsquo;S MUSEUM of Modern Art is under siege. Well, a virtual siege, at least. A group of renegade artists has co-opted the brightly-lit Jackson Pollock gallery on the museum&rsquo;s fifth floor, turning it into their personal augmented reality playground. [...] those that have downloaded the MoMAR Gallery app on their smartphones, the impressionist's iconic paintings are merely markers&mdash;points of reference telling the app where to display the guerilla artists&rsquo; works.</p></em><br /><br /><p>MoMAR's augmented reality app and the unauthorized accompanying group show <em>Hello, we're from the internet</em> explore the intersection of private physical space and the public digital realm. "MoMAR is an unauthorized gallery concept aimed at democratizing physical exhibition spaces, museums, and the curation of art within them," the group explains on its <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">website</a>. "MoMAR is non-profit, non-owned, and exists in the absence of any privatized structures."</p><p><br></p> <p>Get the app on <a href=";hl=en" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Android</a> or <a href=";preserveScrollPosition=true#platform/iphone" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">iOS</a> and head to MoMA's Jackson Pollock room on the 5th floor to see <em>Hello, we're from the internet</em> until May 3.<br></p> How 'smart glass' at airports boosts alcohol sales Alexander Walter 2018-04-23T14:21:00-04:00 >2018-04-24T14:02:49-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The tinted world of tomorrow is coming, and&nbsp;airports&mdash;mini-cities of steel, concrete&nbsp;and lots and lots of glass&mdash;are interested.&nbsp;In a test last fall, Dallas-Fort Worth&nbsp;International Airport outfitted one of its gates with a new type of &ldquo;smart glass&rdquo; that can&nbsp;adjust for sunlight exposure. The obvious point is to keep travelers from getting overheated&mdash;but the exercise also brought a&nbsp;more lucrative benefit.</p></em><br /><br /><p>A <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Cornell</a>-led study at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport found that implementing a new type of electrochromatic '<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">smart glass</a>' at one of its gates not only led to cooler, more pleasant surface temperatures in the waiting area, but the tinted glass, and the resulting dimmer light in the neighboring bars and restaurants, also resulted in increased alcohol sales&mdash;by as much as 80%.</p> <p>More airports have announced plans to upgrade their lounges and terminals with&nbsp;'smart glass.'</p> The biometric identities of buildings Alexander Walter 2018-04-20T13:37:00-04:00 >2018-04-24T14:33:35-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>[...] iPhoto confused a human friend of mine &ndash; I&rsquo;ll call him Mike &ndash; with a building called the Great Mosque of Cordoba. [...] Rather than viewing this as a failure, I realized I had found a new insight: Just as people&rsquo;s faces have features that can be recognized by algorithms, so do buildings. That began my effort to perform facial recognition on buildings &ndash; or, more formally, &ldquo;architectural biometrics.&rdquo; Buildings, like people, may just have biometric identities too.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Peter Christensen, Assistant Professor of Art History at the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">University of Rochester</a>, elaborates on his research with 'facial recognition' on buildings to unlock architectural secrets.</p> You can now play Tetris with Soviet-style housing blocks Alexander Walter 2018-04-18T14:13:00-04:00 >2018-04-18T14:18:22-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p>If you've been around the 'architecture-can-be-fun-too'-focused internet for a while, you may remember Sergej Hein's semi-viral gem of a video, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Berlin Block Tetris</a>, which was exactly that: an animated version of the video game classic using building blocks that resembled socialist-era residential high-rises.</p> <p>Lithuanian designer <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Lukas Valiauga</a> has now taken the idea to the next, interactive, level and created the mobile app <em>Tower Block Game</em>.<br></p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Tower Block Game by Lukas Valiauga</figcaption></figure><p>"This game is a playful tribute to a not so playful reality of monotonous and bleak cityscapes built out of same prefabricated concrete blocks," the app description explains. "Very specific for Eastern-Europe but evident everywhere else, too. These relic tower blocks usually mark failed social programmes and neighbourhoods planned as clumsy as some failed building block game&hellip; On that note, build and demolish one for yourself!"</p> <p>Tower Block Game is available for Android from the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Google Play store</a>.</p> <p>Not much of a gam...</p> New key-less Moscow apartments use facial recognition to open doors and elevators Alexander Walter 2018-04-17T15:26:00-04:00 >2018-04-17T15:28:32-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>A new Moscow apartment building has unveiled a fully-functioning facial recognition system designed to replace residents&rsquo; keys. [...] As well as allowing homeowners to enter the building without a key, the system&nbsp;automatically selects each resident&rsquo;s floor when they enter the lift, and keeps tabs on&nbsp;cars and pedestrians leaving the complex.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> How financial technology benefits from architectural design Hope Daley 2018-04-16T16:13:00-04:00 >2018-04-16T16:15:06-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Design lies at the heart of both architecture and software. People continuously try to define what design is (which maybe means designers are not good at designing design), and the reason is perhaps because there is no single type of design but several. Here I&rsquo;m going to talk about three that are relevant to both architects and fintech: blueprint-based design, recipe-based design, and systems design.</p></em><br /><br /><p>David Galbraith, previously&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">featured in our Working Out of the Box series</a>,&nbsp;explores what financial <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">technology</a> can learn from architectural design by diving into&nbsp;three design types.&nbsp;Galbraith has worked for <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Norman Foster</a> and&nbsp;Fisher Park, and is currently a partner with Anthemis Group, a VC firm that focuses on financial services.</p> What it means to add 20,000 Waymo self-driving robot taxis to America's roads Alexander Walter 2018-04-03T18:19:00-04:00 >2018-04-11T12:01:03-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>On Tuesday, Waymo announced they&rsquo;d purchase 20,000 sporty, electric self-driving vehicles from Jaguar for the company&rsquo;s forthcoming ride-hailing service. [...] They estimate that the Jaguar fleet alone will be capable of doing a million trips each day in 2020. [...] if Waymo is even within 50 percent of that number in two years, the United States will have entered an entirely new phase in robotics and technology.</p></em><br /><br /><p>In his piece for <em>The Atlantic</em>, Alexis C. Madrigal looks beyond the technological and economic implications of Waymo's latest announcement to add 20,000 electric self-driving Jaguar I-Pace SUVs to its rapidly growing ride-hailing fleet by 2020 and instead think about the social (how comfortable/uncomfortable will we be around so many robots?), legal (what if a city wants to declare itself a "robocar-free zone"?), and urban planning effects (how will infrastructure redevelopment change our existing cities in the 21st century?).</p> Watch these robots build a timber house structure in Switzerland Alexander Walter 2018-03-30T14:57:00-04:00 >2018-03-30T15:12:07-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>A team of researchers from Swiss university ETH Zurich is to use robots to help assemble prefabricated timber modules into a 100 sq m, three-storey house. [...] The robots use information from a CAD model to cut and arrange the beams, then drill holes and connect them. Human workers bolt the beams together.</p></em><br /><br /><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Photo: NCCR Digital Fabrication / Roman Keller</figcaption></figure><p>The Spatial Timber Assemblies robotic research project, with support from Switzerland's&nbsp;National Centre of Competence in Research Digital Fabrication, is the first large-scale architectural&nbsp;application for the construction robots at the new&nbsp;Robotic Fabrication Laboratory at the ETH Zurich.</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Photo: NCCR Digital Fabrication / Roman Keller</figcaption></figure><p>"Unlike traditional timber frame construction, Spatial Timber Assemblies can manage without reinforcement plates because the required rigidity and load-bearing result from the geometric structure," the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">NCCR project description</a> explains.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Photo: NCCR Digital Fabrication / Roman Keller</figcaption></figure><p>"Not only does this save material; it also opens up new creative possibilities. A total of six spatial, geometrically unique timber modules will be prefabricated in this way for the first time. Lorries will then transport them to the DFAB HOUSE construction site at the NEST in D&uuml;bendorf, where they will be joined to build a two-...</p> Bitcoin's opportunities and challenges in real estate Alexander Walter 2018-03-21T18:31:00-04:00 >2018-03-26T01:31:03-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Today, listings from one coast to another tout Bitcoin as a way to make a property transaction. A new collection of haute residences in Hollywood with Los Angeles skyline views go for $1.21 million or its Bitcoin equivalent; in Washington, D.C., two-bedroom condos are on the market for between 36 and 84 Bitcoins. In Austin, the seller of one ranch is offering a &ldquo;signficant discount&rdquo; if the buyer pays with Bitcoin.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Great longform <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">piece</a> by Andrew Zaleski for <em>Curbed</em> on how <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Bitcoin</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">blockchain</a> technology, and&nbsp;other&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">cryptocurrencies</a>&nbsp;have changed&mdash;or not changed&mdash;the real estate industry. "While there are laws in Arizona and Vermont that allow blockchain technology to play key parts in property sales and proving property ownership, in most states, aspects of the process still involve traditional financial institutions&mdash;and Bitcoin as a currency isn&rsquo;t necessarily a safe enough bet for the relatively risk-averse world of real estate."</p> Carbon-free nuclear fusion power within reach, according to MIT Alexander Walter 2018-03-09T13:55:00-05:00 >2018-03-09T14:02:33-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The dream of nuclear fusion is on the brink of being realised, according to a major new US initiative that says it will put fusion power on the grid within 15 years. The project, a collaboration between scientists at MIT and a private company, will take a radically different approach to other efforts to transform fusion from an expensive science experiment into a viable commercial energy source.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Potentially an inexhaustible and carbon-free source of energy, the dream of making fusion power commercially viable appears to be getting a lot closer, according to a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">new announcement</a> from researchers at <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">MIT</a> this morning. <br></p> <p>"Fusion is the true energy source of the future, as it is completely sustainable, does not release emissions or long-term waste, and is potentially inexhaustible," said Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Italian energy company Eni which is currently collaborating with MIT on the project. "It is a goal that we are increasingly determined to reach quickly."</p> <p>The research team is confident to have a first working reactor up and running within 15 years.<br></p> Driverless technology is about to reshape the real estate industry Alexander Walter 2018-02-16T18:06:00-05:00 >2018-02-20T18:01:03-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The link between property and transport has been perhaps the most durable in human history. Since the ancients, few things have delivered higher land values with more certainty than advances in transport, from roads to canals, railways to highways. [...] But now, the dawn of the driverless car&mdash;promising a utopia of stress-free commutes, urban playgrounds and the end of parking hassles&mdash;threatens to complicate the calculus for anyone buying property.</p></em><br /><br /><p><em>Bloomberg Technology</em> explains how the real estate industry is already preparing for all that sweet, sweet valuable space to open up for development once the widespread arrival of driverless vehicles makes parked cars &mdash; and the blocked square footage they occupy &mdash; a thing of the past.&nbsp;</p> Scientists develop method to make wood harder than steel — or even transparent Alexander Walter 2018-02-12T17:55:00-05:00 >2018-02-12T17:57:59-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>[...] scientists say a simple and inexpensive new process can transform any type of wood into a material stronger than steel, and even some high-tech titanium alloys. [...] The results are impressive. The team&rsquo;s compressed wood is three times as dense as the untreated substance, Hu says, adding that its resistance to being ripped apart is increased more than 10-fold. It also can become about 50 times more resistant to compression and almost 20 times as stiff.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Wood, so hot right now. Thanks to new and improved construction methods, there is barely a month going by without the announcement of record-breaking wooden structures and rapidly increasing height limits for <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">cross-laminated timber skyscrapers</a> around the world.&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile material scientists are pushing the qualities of one of the planet's most abundant building materials beyond existing boundaries: researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park <a href=";" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">have published</a> their method of turning any kind of wood into <em>densified wood</em>, a material that exceeds the strength of steel while being lightweight and cheap to regrow. <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">The same UMD scientists</a>, as well as <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">competing colleagues</a> at the&nbsp;KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, are also working to make a wood material that is&nbsp;transparent &mdash; potentially replacing conventional glass in certain applications.</p> London MSG concert venue confirmed; new Sphere designs unveiled for Las Vegas Alexander Walter 2018-02-09T16:08:00-05:00 >2018-02-09T16:13:29-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) confirmed on Friday that it wants to build the Sphere, a glazed orb with up to 18,000 seats and room for 5,000 standing, beside the Olympic Park in east London. Designs of a similar &ldquo;sphere&rdquo; planned for Las Vegas suggest that the vault of the roof will become a giant screen for vast projections, which could evoke the sensation of being underwater or in a forest.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Rumors about a monumental <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">sphere-shaped music venue proposal for London</a> seem to be gaining substance: <em>The Guardian</em> reports that the New York-based Madison Square Garden Company confirmed its plans to build a glazed orb &mdash; designed by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Populous</a> &mdash; for over 20,000 concert goers near the Olympic Park. <br></p><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>This interior rendering of Sphere Las Vegas suggests the capabilities of the dome's projection screens. Image: The Madison Square Garden Company</figcaption></figure><p>MSG also just revealed designs for a similar venue in Las Vegas, called <em>Sphere</em>, which will already break ground later this near the Venetian and Palazzo complex. The surface of Sphere reportedly boasts 190,000 linear feet of LED lighting on the exterior and 180,000 square feet of high-resolution screens on the interior, turning it into a giant, domed 360-degree screen for image and video projections, depending on the needs for each event that is being hosted.<br></p> Bringing Augmented Reality for architects to the small screen: Morpholio launches Trace app for iPhone Alexander Walter 2018-02-07T18:24:00-05:00 >2018-02-09T15:39:46-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p>If you've already liked or used <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Morpholio</a>'s popular <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Trace</a> app on the iPad Pro, you can now also get excited to put it to work on your small screen: TracePro just launched for iPhone and presents a powerful architectural application of Apple's ARKit <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">augmented reality</a> framework in a pocket-friendly format.<br></p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>AR drawing</figcaption></figure><p>The app positions itself as a helpful tool in the field where critical design decisions have to be made consistently&nbsp;&mdash; with the amount of on-site design often outweighing planning in Concept and SD combined. <br></p> <p>"Not only do budgets, scope changes and fast track schedules force important design decisions on site," Morpholio explains the need for TracePro, "but unforeseen field conditions, contractor errors and never ending client changes can all keep your team designing and problem solving throughout CA."<br></p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>Scale photos</figcaption></figure><p>Five so-called "CA Super Tools" are the app's key features designed to make architects' lives in the field easier:</p> <ol><li><strong>AR Drawing on Site:</strong> utilizing the iPhone's pow...</li></ol> Laser scans uncover thousands of ancient Mayan structures Alexander Walter 2018-02-05T14:06:00-05:00 >2018-02-05T14:06:59-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>In what&rsquo;s being hailed as a &ldquo;major breakthrough&rdquo; in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala. Using a revolutionary technology known as LiDAR (short for &ldquo;Light Detection And Ranging&rdquo;), scholars digitally removed the tree canopy from aerial images of the now-unpopulated landscape [...]</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> Social Media vs. Architectural Discourse 2.0: The SCI-Arc Conversation Continues Sponsor 2018-02-05T09:00:00-05:00 >2018-02-02T20:57:43-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><p><em><strong>This post is brought to you by&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)</a>.</strong></em></p> <p>Instagram is an integral part of how we communicate architecture today. It&rsquo;s unclear how many offices, architects, or students use the social media app, but what is clear is that for many of us who have grown up as digital natives, it is increasingly fundamental to how we work. The app, which has become one of the most popular forms of social media for the general public, has found an interesting niche within architectural discourse. In recent years it has transformed from a mindless pastime to a powerful communications tool. Through hashtags and search engines, architecture students are able to connect with one another, tracking the development of projects across the world that they would otherwise never see. It is undeniable that Instagram has a presence in the hallways of our schools, one that has crept up rather unconsciously. Prompted by Tom Wiscombe, Chair of the B.Arch Program at SCI-Arc, ...</p> Kansas Architecture Dean Mahesh Daas on the future of robotic architecture Alexander Walter 2018-02-01T14:37:00-05:00 >2018-02-01T14:37:49-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>a new book co-written and co-edited by Mahesh Daas, dean of the University of Kansas School of Architecture &amp; Design, argues that robotics can and soon will be even further integrated into the design processes at the heart of architecture. [...] "We talk about robots and artificial intelligence for design," Daas said. "How we use robots in the design process, moving from the design process to prototype things."</p></em><br /><br /><p>"In that sense, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">robots</a> become partners in exploring and designing," <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Kansas Architecture</a> Dean Mahesh Daas says. "So it's not that robots are going to take over, but the distinction between robots and us begins to get blurred. One becomes the extension of the other."</p> The case for a semi-permeable architecture Alexander Walter 2018-01-29T20:18:00-05:00 >2018-01-29T20:19:59-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Our current built environment squanders too much fresh water and other vital resources, and tips too many poisonous substances into our surroundings. To develop a more sustainable relationship with the natural world, we need to allow chemical exchanges that take place within our living spaces, and between the inside and the outside. We need to embrace permeability.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Professor of experimental architecture, Rachel Armstrong, endorses a renewed symbiotic relationship between the built and the natural worlds and explains the benefits of permeability with the help of recent technological developments in the field of biodesign, such as <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">mycotecture</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">algaetecture</a>, bioplastics, and a variety of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">bioreactors</a>.</p>