Fabricators watch as an artificial hip joint comes together on the tray of a 3D printer. This, doctors say, is the high-tech future of joint replacement. The printer's lone nozzle squirts plastic polymer out into the precise shape. However, in the time it takes to make a new joint, you could watch half a season of The Bachelor, or drive from New York City to eat poutine in Montreal. One company is addressing the time barrier with a new software that enables faster, and much bigger, 3D printing. https://vimeo.com/157523884 Autodesk is creating a 3D printing system, dubbed Project Escher, will be able to create large objects in one pass. Project Escher divides larger designs into smaller instructional packages. The packages are sent to groups of printheads which work in tandem to produce the finished object. This factory-line approach speeds up the often painstakingly slow printing process for large, high-resolution pieces. The customization goes further: Project Escher's printheads are modular, making it easy to swap out different tools. For example, you could swap a printhead with a tool that removes supporting structures while the other five printheads churn out a product. This video shows just how this would happen. Printing large objects could have positive ramifications for architects: facades like this one could be fabricated in one session. Ornate wall-to-wall moldings or whole ceilings could be reproduced without interruption. Currently, larger-scale 3D printing is currently employed by archeologists replicating ancient buildings destroyed by ISIS in the Syrian city of Palmyra. To be clear, Autodesk is not building a new printer, just the software. The printer-savvy can build their own machines to accomodate the software, mere amateurs will have to wait for the hardware to catch up.
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This netted, aerial sculpture above Boston's Rose Kennedy Greenway looks like lace but is stronger than steel
A multicolored aerial sculpture lords over the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston in spiderweb fashion, casting rippling shadows over the pedestrian-friendly highway topper. While it appears to be as delicate as lace, the contraption, comprising over 100 miles of knotted fibers, is 15 times stronger than steel and weighs in excess of one ton. Artist Janet Echelman hand-spliced and knotted the colored rope into half a million nodes, with the entire structure suspended from three adjacent skyscrapers like a hammock 600 feet above the traffic below. Mystically titled As If It Were Already Here, the mid-air spectacle symbolizes the history of its location. The three voids in the sculpture are a nod to the three hills of Boston, which earned the city its “Tri Mountain” appellation before the mountains were razed in the 18th century to extend the land into the harbor. “It is a physical manifestation of interconnectedness and strength through resiliency,” Echelman wrote on her website. Meanwhile, the bands of color in the netting refer to the former six-lane highway that once dichotomized downtown and the waterfront. In 2008, it was converted into the Rose Kennedy Greenway. By day, the sculpture blends almost entirely with the sky, so that the striated colors appear as a misty, mirage-like sheen that shifts according to wind speed changes detected by sensors that register fiber movement and tension. This data also determines the color of the light projected onto the sculpture, so that when any one element moves, the entire sculpture is affected. By night, the sculpture illuminates in various colors. The intricate feat of engineering was first modeled on a software program developed in connection with Studio Echelman and Autodesk, featuring a custom plug-in for exploring net densities, shape, and scale while simulating gravity and wind. The sculpture will be on view from May through October 2015 as part of the Greenway Conservancy's Public Art Program.
Communicating information—both the visual and verbal varieties—in an accurate, timely fashion comprises the heart of any construction project. There are myriad programs and apps on the market that offer to streamline design problems, decision making, and materials selection. Here are some new tech tools that we think really make a difference. Autodesk A360 Collaboration for Revit Autodesk Overcoming the barriers of corporate firewalls and physical location, A360 Collaboration for Revit enables true centralized access to Revit models by team members in all disciplines from multiple firms or sites. It also replaces work-arounds for sharing models such as use of FTP sites, sharing software, or inefficient use of email with PDF attachments. As a cloud-based service, the software does not require costly or complex IT setup and maintenance. ViraconGlass Viracon This app allows users to select from twenty-five different coatings on fifteen substrates, presenting transmitted and reflective glass color on a variety of building types. The models can then be viewed under different lighting conditions from both interior and exterior perspectives, and can be compared to one another. Field Assets InfraWorks 360, Autodesk With this program, owners and operators will be able to collect, mark-up, and share date on infrastructure assets in real-time so teams can make better-informed decisions on how to deploy their field workforce for asset inspection and maintenance, key to optimal productivity and financial performance. SIMplexity Launch LT Introspective Systems This software enables architects to uncover and prioritize the underlying goals of each project, and create a road map from inception to completion. It captures data associated with a project in any format (email, video, images, databases, spreadsheets, PDFs, and more) and connects each piece of information to its role within a job—owner request, regulation, LEED target, or any user-created category—to produce a 360-degree view of the project. HD Home Viewer Cosentino This design tool allows users to change the materials by clicking on virtual countertops, facades, wall coverings, floors, furniture, and bathroom elements to visualize surface clad in the entire range of colors and finishes of Silestone quartz, Dekton ultra-compact material, and recycled Eco. HD Home Viewer is based on HTML5, permitting use on all portable and desktop devices running Android, iOS, and Windows. ColorSnap Studio Sherwin-Williams This iPad app makes it easy to find the closet-matching paint colors within an image and to fine-tune colors using lightness, saturation, and hue features. The Color Visuallizer toole facilitates experimenting with thousands of color combinations by applying color to an image without complicated edge-masking: Simply touch the color and "fingerpaint" the hue into the image.
BIM continues to transform the process of design and building. Dynamo for Autodesk Vasari is a leading open source visual programming environment that extends the parametric capabilities of Revit and Vasari. April’s facades+PERFORMANCE conference in New York includes two conference tech workshops focusing on Dynamo. Gil Akos of Mode Lab will lead Enhanced Parametric Design with Dynamo (4 AIA CES LU credits). Participants will learn the fundamentals of parametric design within Dynamo, with attention to how the application can be used during every stage of the design process. The workshop will also feature a preview of work-in-progress versions of the open-source software.Workshop attendees will receive a one-month complimentary subscription to Mode Lab, a source for in-person and online education in digital design tools. Mode Lab and Autodesk are also hosting a live Q&A on Dynamo on March 21, 2014. Learn more here. For conference-goers interested in how Dynamo can be used to design for better environmental performance, there’s Solar Radiation and Daylighting Analysis with Dynamo (8 AIA CES LU credits). Mett Jezyk and Ian Keough, both of Autodesk, will lead the workshop. In the morning session, participants will learn how to use Dynamo to evaluate solar radiation on a building exterior and set up a recursive optimization strategy. After lunch, the workshop will focus on using Dynamo as a cloud service to access daylighting analysis capabilities. Both workshops take place on April 25. Register for a facades+PERFORMANCE tech workshop today on the event registration page.
On Tuesday Autodesk launched the global Autodesk Foundation. The initiative looks to invest and support non-profit organizations using design to tackle pressing world issues like climate change, access to water, and healthcare. “We want to support and accelerate the design-led revolution currently underway, by investing in design-driven entities that are pursuing scalable solutions with measurable impact,” said foundation CEO and Autodesk Senior Director of Sustainability, Lynelle Cameron. Through their Impact Design Program, the foundation selected four pilot grantees currently engaged in such ventures. —Kenya-based KickStart International designs simple agricultural irrigation tools that help local farmers. —MASS Design Group builds healthcare facilities for parts of the world where they are needed most. —D-REV creates products like prosthetic limbs meant to aid the well-being of those living on less than $4 a day. —Samuel Mockbee's Rural Studio at Auburn University was the final recipient of an inaugural grant for their 20K Project, to a campaign create affordable energy-efficient housing in Alabama.
Take advantage of a valuable course at the inaugural DesignX, hosted by the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, and learn about Autodesk 360. Discover how the program takes software capabilities beyond the desktop and allows users to access information anywhere, anytime, and on several platforms. The comprehensive cloud-based design structure offers tools and services that simplify work and has the ability to scale up or down to meet business requirements. Anyone interested in learning about cloud-based design tools and services are encouraged to participate in the workshop on Monday, May 20 from 2:30 to 3:30 PM. Reserve your space here and check out other workshops online. This course offers 1 AIA CEU and is taught by Roger Liucci.
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A geometric ceiling installation creates an organic, light-diffusing shape in a new Port Washington restaurantNew York-based architecture and interiors firm Bluarch has become known for innovative designs that have people looking up. The group has created ceiling installations for residences, restaurants, and retail locations across the world. One of their latest projects is close to home, at Innuendo restaurant and bar in Port Washington. Located on Main Street, the restaurant’s seamless storefront reveals a cloudlike ceiling installation with integrated lighting designed to create an ever-changing atmosphere. Drawing on the idea of fractal geometries, the ceiling’s shapes are the same whether observed from near or far. As the viewer’s distance from the shape increases, “the visual understanding of the form multiplies with the same detail, thus being non-differentiable,” explained Bluarch principal Antonio Di Oronzo. Using Rhino and Autodesk 3ds Max, Bluarch created every layer of the ceiling with simple 6-inch cubes as its basic unit. The design files were handed off to Brooklyn-based fabricator Interiors Palace, who manufactured the cubes with ½-inch-square poplar members. Pieces were preassembled with small metal fasteners into larger sections for installation. Though composed of cubes, the pieces take on a softer form when viewed as a whole. From a functional standpoint, the cloud also softens the space by absorbing sound and providing a surface across which integrated lighting can play. Recessed light fixtures with 60-degree MR 16 RGB LED bulbs fitted with DMX controllers are installed in the ceiling above the cloud, creating points of color and shadow throughout the dining room.
Imagine snapping away at a favorite building, fountain, or desktop tchotchke, then uploading your photos to that super-computer in the sky we call the cloud, and after a just few short minutes being presented with a detailed three-dimensional digital model. That future, it appears, is finally here. Core 77 tipped us off that a new product by Autodesk called 123D Catch performs that basic photo-to-3D-model conversion, and the best part (if you're running a PC) is that you can try out the beta version for free. We're on Macs here at The Architect's Newspaper HQ so we haven't had a chance to test drive the software ourselves, but if it's anything like Autodesk's slick video demonstration (after the jump), we'll be sending our photo archive cloud-side soon!