Archinect - News 2018-03-21T11:00:15-04:00 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> The 'Tinder' for apartment swapping launches in the Netherlands Alexander Walter 2018-01-23T15:06:00-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Dutch social renters wanting to move to a new apartment can now use an app to swap houses with other renters. One precondition, both renters need to &lsquo;like&rsquo; each other&rsquo;s apartment to get a match. [...] Young renters with small apartments may swap with older residents who live in bigger apartments. In this way, the issue of scheefwonen (skew living &mdash; when people live in apartments that do not match their needs and desires) within the Dutch rental sector could be solved.</p></em><br /><br /><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><p><em>"After two apartments are matched, the users are introduced to each other, after which they have to find out if their rental agreements are compatible enough for the renters to swap house."</em></p> SCI-Arc Postgraduate Students Use Advanced Technology to Speculate on the Future of Historic Site Sponsor 2018-01-12T09:00:00-05:00 >2018-01-11T20:18:49-05:00 <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>New technologies come and go at a rate never seen before. Their capacity for substantially affecting a field and a discipline like architecture, long thought to be excessively slow and even conservative at keeping up with technological advances and innovations pioneered by other industries, has always seemed problematic to say the least. We can all watch with exhilaration the incredible landing of a, now reusable, Space X rocket onto a mobile robotic platform floating in the middle the ocean. It&rsquo;s a game changer. But there isn&rsquo;t anything like it in architecture. That&rsquo;s just not what architecture does. And it&rsquo;s okay! Architecture has a complicated relationship with innovation. As theorist Robert Somol has put it, Architecture is always trapped somewhere between past and future.</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><p>In the final studio of the SCI-Arc Architectural Technologies program, a year-long, three-term postgraduate program, a gr...</p> The Moscow That Never Was: new VR/AR tour showcases unrealized icons of Soviet architecture Alexander Walter 2018-01-04T15:24:00-05:00 >2018-01-04T15:26:27-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>New virtual reality tours are giving Muscovites the chance to see the Russian capital as the socialist utopia envisioned by the city&rsquo;s Soviet architects. The new project, The Moscow That Never Was, lets visitors&nbsp;glimpse shelved Soviet landmarks as they should have appeared on Moscow&rsquo;s streets using VR goggles.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The 2-hour virtual/augmented reality tours through central Moscow feature&nbsp;utopian architectural projects that never quite saw the light of day, including the infamous Palace of the Soviets (imagined as the world's tallest building, crowned with a 300-ft Lenin statue), an alternate Lenin Mausoleum, Stalin's eighth 'sisters' skyscraper in Zarayadye Park, the People's Commissariat of Heavy Industry HQ on Red Square, among others.</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><p>More information about the The Moscow That Never Was tours&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>All images via Retro Futuro.</em></p> Meanwhile in San Francisco: deploying security robots to keep away homeless people Alexander Walter 2017-12-13T13:27:00-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>In San Francisco, autonomous crime-fighting robots that are used to patrol parking lots, sports arenas, and tech company campuses are now being deployed to keep away homeless people. [...] Last week, the City of San Francisco ordered the SF SPCA to keep its robot off the streets or be fined up to $1,000 per day for operating on sidewalks without a permit [...]</p></em><br /><br /><p>When you're in Silicon Valley, everything looks like a tech solution. The same logic has been increasingly applied to San Francisco's overwhelming <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">homelessness crisis</a> where a growing legion of security robots &mdash; armed with lasers, sensors, cameras, and GPS &mdash; have been autonomously patrolling parking lots, campuses, and now also public sidewalks to deter houseless neighbors from setting up tent camps. <br></p> <p>One local non-profit recently drew the ire of the City of San Francisco though for operating their security robot "in the public right-of-way without a proper approval." <br></p><p>Attempts of incapacitating and attacking the SPCA robot have been reported, including feces of unknown origin <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">smeared</a> on it.<br></p> <p><br></p> Escape the most common design inefficiency traps Sponsor 2017-12-04T09:00:00-05:00 >2018-02-15T12:23:53-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><figure><p><a href=";utm_medium=Archinect" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><p><em><strong>This post is brought to you by <a href=";utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=3rd-party&amp;utm_campaign=amer-aec-getting-to-bim-global-campaign&amp;utm_id=729658&amp;" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Autodesk</a></strong></em></p> Pave the way to project success <p>The AEC industry is changing. Technology is opening up new opportunities, but for a lot of firms, increased productivity seems just out of reach.<br><br>But when you start to upgrade to a smarter way of working, you can easily break out of the inefficiency trap - sharing information more quickly, helping your clients understand your models better, cutting costs, and more.<br><br>Interested in delving a little deeper? Then <a href=";utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=3rd-party&amp;utm_campaign=amer-aec-getting-to-bim-global-campaign&amp;utm_id=729658&amp;" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">read our eBook</a> and discover a more efficient, competitive way of working.</p> <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><p><br></p> Home is where your hard drive is. Anthony Morey 2017-11-17T13:45:00-05:00 >2017-11-17T15:59:33-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Within 40 hours of the project being announced in 2016, over 100,000 people had applied for citizenship on Asgardia's website. After three weeks, Asgardia had 500,000 applicants.</p></em><br /><br /><p>On November 12, a hard drive 'nanosat' containing the information of 18,000 newly naturalized citizens of Asgardia took off for its two-day flight to the international space station. The nanosat &mdash; it is roughly the size of a loaf of bread &mdash; contains 0.5 TB of data such as family photographs, as well as digital representations of the space nation's flag, coat of arms, and constitution.&nbsp;</p> <p>The project, lead by&nbsp;a 53-year-old rocket scientist&nbsp;Dr Igor Ashurbeyl, says its mission is to provide a "peaceful society," offer easier access to space technologies, and protect earth from space threats, such as asteroids and man-made debris in space.</p> <p><em>"I really want to be able to see if human beings are able to have more opportunity to express their opinions, The society we live in now &mdash; everything seems to be either capitalism or communism &mdash; there's a lot of conflict.&nbsp;As a human being, I would hope (to see) if we could have other ways (of living). For a better life, and for more options."</em> Says Dr Ig...</p> Scan-to-BIM Starts with Reality Capture Sponsor 2017-11-13T13:05:00-05:00 >2017-11-16T12:36:58-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><figure><p><a href=";utm_medium=Archinect" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><p><em><strong>This post is brought to you by <a href=";utm_medium=Archinect" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Autodesk Reality Capture</a></strong></em></p> <p>Unless you&rsquo;re designing a new building that&rsquo;s slated for construction in the middle of a flat and empty landscape, context matters.</p> <p>Whether it&rsquo;s a renovation, an addition, or new construction, the as-is geometry of adjacent buildings, nearby structures, and the surrounding terrain is critical for the design process. But conventional as-built drawings are notoriously unreliable, prompting expensive surveys and time-consuming manual measurements. </p> <p>However, new technology is quickly changing this situation. Laser scanning and photogrammetry solutions enable the digital capture of spatial information for integration into building design processes. Reality capture technology is not new, in fact, laser scanning originated in the early 1960s. But historically, the technology has been very expensive, data-intensive, and difficult to use. </p> <p>In the last several years, the cost of capture technologies dropped significantly while ease of us...</p> LafargeHolcim & Heliatek present photovoltaic concrete cladding system Alexander Walter 2017-11-08T14:44:00-05:00 >2017-11-08T14:46:22-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Photovoltaic (PV) concrete cladding is set to outperform rooftop solar, according to LafargeHolcim, which has developed a fa&ccedil;ade system with partner Heliatek. The team said that the photovoltaic energy-generating concrete facade has the capability to double the energy generation traditionally achieved by roof-based solar systems.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"A prototype of this new photovoltaic facade system will be presented at Batimat, the French construction fair in November, and a pilot project is planned in 2018,"&nbsp;LafargeHolcim writes in a recent&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">announcement</a>.</p> Social Media vs. Architectural Discourse: A Conversation Sponsor 2017-11-07T12:22:00-05:00 >2017-11-07T12:30:05-05:00 <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>Tom Wiscombe, Chair of the Undergraduate Program at <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">SCI-Arc</a>, hosts a series of B.Arch Salons&mdash;informal Friday gatherings held at Cafe Americano across the street from the school. A recent conversation was facilitated by Wiscombe and moderated by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Tony Avila</a>, a fourth year B.Arch student. It focuses on the role of social media in our lives and its impact on design thinking. The members of this discussion include four other fourth year B.Arch students&mdash;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Ann Gutierrez</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Hannah Lee</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Erik Valle</a>, and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Tucker van Leuwen-Hall</a>. They are developing their own personal interests in architecture by way of a &ldquo;proto-thesis&rdquo; project this Fall. In the 4A Studio, students define their architectural positions as individuals and as a generation as they prepare to defend those views within the discipline.</p> <p>Members of the conversation come from diverse backgrounds, giving them a wide range of experiences and perspectives. An...</p> Heating your home with...bitcoin mining? Alexander Walter 2017-11-06T15:24:00-05:00 >2017-11-06T15:26:42-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Two entrepreneurs have figured out how to heat their homes for free: bitcoin mining. Bitcoin transactions require a lot of processing power, which creates a lot of heat. So Ilya Frolov and Dmitry Tolmachyov built a wooden cottage in the Russian Siberian town of Irkutsk, and they&rsquo;re heating it with two bitcoin mines. The men pocket about $430 a month from bitcoin transactions, while keeping the 20 square meter space warm.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> MIT study predicts autonomous vehicles to fuel construction boom Alexander Walter 2017-10-24T19:46:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>It&rsquo;s 2027 (or 2037) and the age of the self-driving car. City-dwellers have traded in their car keys for ride hails. Street parking has been replaced by wider sidewalks and bike lanes, while developers are busy converting garages into much-needed housing. That&rsquo;s one vision of how self-driving cars will affect U.S. real estate, laid out in a report by MIT&rsquo;s Center for Real Estate. But it&rsquo;s not the only one.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"Even as reclaimed parking spaces fuel a downtown building boom," <em>Bloomberg</em> reports, "autonomous vehicles will encourage builders to push deeper into the exurban fringe, confident that homebuyers will tolerate longer commutes now that they don&rsquo;t have to drive, according to the report [...]."</p> <p>Read the full report <em>Real Trends: The Future of Real Estate in the United States</em> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> Is that Augmented Reality in your pocket? Morpholio updates their apps to take advantage of Apple's new ARKit Paul Petrunia 2017-09-19T15:46:00-04:00 >2017-09-19T15:52:06-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p>Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 11, just released today. One of the biggest updates that should get the attention of architects is <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">ARKit</a>, Apple's new <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">augmented reality</a> framework. ARKit provides the opportunity to for Apple and 3rd party developers to create AR experiences anew, or to enhance existing applications for iPhone and iPad.</p> <p>Augmented reality is relatively old news, but the fact that this framework is now baked into the most popular mobile device in the world, soon to be married to Apple's latest AR-friendly hardware, is big news. Millions of people around the world will soon have some of the most advanced AR tools in their pockets, regardless if they want it. Businesses and app developers now have the opportunity to show the potential of AR to people without requiring them to purchase expensive new hardware and software.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Morpholio</a>, a company that we've covered previously on Archinect, is dedicated to bringing this new technology to architects and interior des...</p> From Chicago to Pittsburgh in 47 minutes: Hyperloop One Global Challenge announces 10 winning teams & routes in North America, Europe, South Asia Alexander Walter 2017-09-15T15:21:00-04:00 >2017-09-15T15:31:35-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p>Hyperloop One just announced the winners of its <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">global challenge</a>, unveiling ten teams from five countries with their proposals of the strongest routes for future <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Hyperloop</a> connections. As a next step, the company plans to work with the teams and expert business and engineering partners to determine technical feasibility and commercial viability.</p> <p>Architecture &amp; engineering giant <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">AECOM</a> was announced in a supporting function in a newly formed public-private partnership between Hyperloop One and the Colorado Department of Transportation to launch a feasibility study in Colorado examining transportation demand, economic benefits, proposed routes, regulatory environments as well as alignment with overall CDOT high-speed travel, rail and freight plans.</p> <p>The ten winning route proposals (listed below) connect 53 urban centers and impact nearly 150 million people in Canada, India, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the company says.<br></p> <p><strong>United States: Chicago-&shy;Columbus-&shy;Pittsburgh</strong><br>4...</p> Building a gentrification early warning system with big data Alexander Walter 2017-08-30T19:05:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>But what if there were a way to see gentrification long before the coffee shops, condos and Whole Foods appear? What if city planners and neighborhoods had an early warning system that could sniff out the changes just as they begin? [...] neighborhood advocates would have the opportunity to implement policies ranging from reserving affordable housing units to educating residents of their renting rights to helping small businesses negotiate long-term lease extensions.</p></em><br /><br /><p>In his <em>NPR</em> piece, astrophysics professor Adam Frank explains how various big data sets, like housing prices, eviction records, census data, or social media usage, can be utilized for "predictive analytics" to detect early onsets of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">gentrification</a> for specific neighborhoods at an increasingly high resolution&nbsp;&mdash; and what significant perils come with it.<br></p> Considering the downsides of Smart Home technologies Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-08-17T14:52:00-04:00 >2017-08-17T14:52:31-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Essey is an engineer at Uber and an early adopter of the Internet of things. He can control his lights with his Amazon Echo or an array of touchpad sensors he has installed throughout the home. Sensors tell him when there's water in the basement or a leak under the sink. While Essey's setup might sound a little like science fiction, it's a prototype of the future. Some critics are worried these devices won't be secure and that companies will use them to spy on us to make money.</p></em><br /><br /><p>As the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Internet of things</a> becomes more ingrained in our daily lives, some people are turning ordinary homes into&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">smart homes</a>.&nbsp;One way of doing that is by integrating smart appliances (dishwasher, fridges, microwaves, toasters, etc). That strategy, however, can be expensive and not very efficient, since most of the devices are costly and often are not smart enough to communicate with each other, especially if produced by different manufacturers.<br></p> <p>The other way is to get sensors, and put them on everything you want to monitor. "But then those get really unwieldy and you've got all these things sticking around and they look ugly and socially obtrusive," Gierad Laput, a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University says. Laput and his team, in fact, built such a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">sensor</a>.&nbsp;When plugged into the wall, the 2-inch-square circuit board senses about a dozen different facets of its environment: vibrations, sounds, light color and so on. The sensor communicates wirelessly with a computer, which inte...</p> Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture launches digital photo archive Alexander Walter 2017-07-31T13:49:00-04:00 >2017-07-31T13:50:09-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>After three years of planning and design, the College of Arts and Architecture has launched a public, searchable photo archive of images from within the college. The online photo archive, Arts and Architecture Resource Collaborative (AARC), is the product of a partnership among the College of Arts and Architecture Alumni and Communications Office, the Visual Resources Centre (VRC), and Arts and Architecture Information Technology (AAIT).</p></em><br /><br /><p><em>"<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">AARC</a> features images provided by multiple photographers with search criteria customized for the college, including department names, keywords, proper names and dates. Through a series of focus groups with key users and uploaders, the AARC team built a robust metadata structure, providing easy access and user-friendly instructions for searching and uploading images."</em></p> The Amish men that are building America's RVs Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-25T13:38:00-04:00 >2017-07-25T15:08:01-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>When most Amish men were farmers, it was common for them to work seasonally with non-Amish in town, on more traditional things like cabinet making or carpentry, or even making cigar boxes, boats and band instruments. Nolt, who conducted interviews in the late &lsquo;90s with Amish workers in the boat-making industry, said interviewees pointed to the fact that making the wooden boats was similar to wood working.</p></em><br /><br /><p><em>According to Steve Nolt, Senior Scholar at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, most of the Amish men under 65 work in factories. The majority of these manufacturing plants either assemble RVS or supply parts such as cabinets or windows.</em></p> <p>Such increased involvement of the Amish&nbsp;in the non-Amish workplaces has had significant and transformative consequences on their community. Northern Indiana Amish, in particular, have always had some relationship to the outside world. According to Nolt's date, 56.3 percent&nbsp;of men in the Nappanee settlement and 53 percent in the Elkhart-LaGrange settlement are now employed by the RV industry. How did their working patterns shift so dramatically?&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The big reason, says Nolt, is what he called an &ldquo;economic squeeze and demographic crisis,&rdquo; a shift in the 1980s that pushed the Amish (and other farmers across the country) from the farms into the factory. By the time the 1980s Farm Crisis hit, Amish families had alre...</em></p> Amazon's patent for "Aquatic Storage Facilities" could turn lakes into underwater warehouses Alexander Walter 2017-07-13T15:53:00-04:00 >2017-07-13T15:54:31-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>American e-commerce giant Amazon has filed a patent with the US patents office for a system for storing and retrieving goods in an underwater facility. When an item is ordered for delivery, a sonic signal is transmitted from a buoy to the warehouse, which activates an air canister that inflates a balloon, allowing the chosen product to float to the surface where it would be dispatched to the customer.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Just last month, Amazon made headlines when it filed a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">patent for a drone tower design</a>, essentially a multi-level fulfillment center for unmanned aerial vehicles in densely populated areas.&nbsp;</p> <p>Now a recent Amazon patent for "Aquatic Storage Facilities" has surfaced, allowing us a glimpse into the engineers' quest to overcome limitations in storage capabilities, tackle inefficient use of space in vast fulfillment centers, and eliminate the extremely long distances staff members or robots have to cover when fulfilling orders.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>United States Patent Office</figcaption></figure><p>"Because today's online marketplaces offer a wide variety of items to customers [...]," the patent description explains, "fulfillment centers now include increasingly large and complex facilities having expansive capabilities and high-technology accommodations for items, and feature storage areas as large as one million square feet or more. Therefore, in order to prepare and ship an order that includes a large number or different types o...</p> The sideways elevator that will revolutionize building has arrived Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-11T13:06:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Until now, architects have had to design around the elevator shafts, which can comprise 40 percent of a building's core. Multi could allow them to install elevators almost anywhere, including the perimeter. Strong magnets on every Multi car work with a magnetized coil running along the elevator hoistway&rsquo;s guide rails to make the cars float. Turning these coils on and off creates magnetic fields strong enough to pull the car in various directions.&#8203;&#8203;</p></em><br /><br /><p>After three years of work, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">ThyssenKrupp</a>, a&nbsp;company synonymous with elevators, is testing the Multi in a German tower and finalizing the safety certification. Zooming up, down, left, right, and diagonally the new <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">elevator</a> was just sold to a residential building under construction in Berlin, and is expected to be sold to other developers soon.</p> <p>"Multi moves to-and-fro through exchangers, which you can think of as sophisticated railway switches that guide the cars. Bearings called "slings" mounted to every elevator car allow it to change direction&mdash;say, move to the left, or even go diagonally&mdash;while keeping the car level with the ground. &ldquo;The cabin never moves during an exchange,&rdquo; company CEO Patrick Bass says.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Image courtesy of ThyssenKrupp</figcaption><p>Designed to move 1,000 to 1,400 feet per minute, far slower than the 1,968 fpm experienced in Dubai&rsquo;s <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Burj Khalifa</a>, the new elevator prioritizes volume over speed. (Speeds over 2,000 feet per minute lead to ear problems and nausea.) Free of the cables...</p> Google's Dandelion startup wants to make geothermal energy more affordable for homeowners Alexander Walter 2017-07-10T14:49:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Google parent Alphabet is spinning off a little-known unit working on geothermal power called Dandelion, which will begin offering residential energy services. [...] Dandelion chief executive Kathy Hannun said her team had been working for several years "to make it easier and more affordable to heat and cool homes with the clean, free, abundant, and renewable energy source right under our feet," and that the efforts culminated with the creation of an independent company outside of Alphabet.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"In the U.S., buildings account for 39% of all carbon emissions, mostly from the combustion of fossil fuels for heating and cooling," <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Dandelion</a> CEO Kathy Hannun explains on the company's <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">blog</a>. "In the Northeast, heating and cooling is particularly carbon-intensive due to the relatively high use of fuel oil or propane as a heating fuel.&nbsp;This also leads to unpredictable costs for homeowners; if fuel prices rise during a particularly long and cold winter, their wallets take a hit."</p> <p>Hannun describes how designing a better drill was the key to reducing cost, time, hassle, and environmental impact of the drilling process: "After months of testing, we hit upon a design for a fast, slender drill that hit our objectives. It could drill just one or two deep holes just a few inches wide, and compared to typical installation rigs, it produced less waste and took up much less space as it operated. It left a typical suburban backyard relatively undisturbed, so we could minimize landscaping costs ...</p> Tinkering connections between architecture and neuroscience Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-06-06T15:54:00-04:00 >2017-06-06T16:57:24-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The importance of urban design goes far beyond feel-good aesthetics. A number of studies have shown that growing up in a city doubles the chances of someone developing schizophrenia, and increases the risk for other mental disorders such as depression and chronic anxiety.</p></em><br /><br /><p>While it might appear as common intuitive knowledge, humans are strongly influenced by their context. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in studies on the connection between <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">neuroscience</a> and architecture.&nbsp;</p><p>Last month, London's&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Conscious Cities Conference</a>&nbsp;brought together architects, designers, engineers, neuroscientists and psychologists to encourage more multidisciplinary engagement. Some of the recent psychological studies focus on defining a stimulating space through the use of&nbsp;wearable devices that monitor skin conductance, various apps, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">VR</a> and EEG headsets for either visualizing or&nbsp;measuring brain's activity and mental states. Other <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">findings</a> include data on the impact of building facades on our moods, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">green space</a> on our health, and urban environments on our <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">social interactions</a>.</p><p>Analyzing the ways in which the built environment affects our brains through evidence-based research can grant architects the insight needed for making healthier and more socially-consc...</p>