Posts tagged with "Autodesk":

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DS+R's Olympic Museum rises and twists with anodized aluminum

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The United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum, located in the southwest corner of downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado, is being constructed as a 60,000-square-foot curatorial and event facility celebrating American Olympians. The project, designed by New York's Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), with architect-of-record Anderson Mason Dale, was inspired by the movement of athletes; the massing propels upward with shingled anodized aluminum panels and visually rests on a podium of glass curtainwall. DS+R first unveiled their design concept for the project in 2015, broke ground in 2017, and is on track for completion in 2020.
  • Facade Manufacturer MG McGrath Alucoil Oldcastle Building Envelope Viracon
  • Architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro Anderson Mason Dale (Architect-of-Record)
  • Facade Installer MG McGrath GE Johnson (General Contractor)
  • Facade Consultant Arup
  • Structural Engineer KL & A Inc.
  • Location Colorado Springs, CO
  • Date of Completion 2020
  • System OBE Reliance Casette system MG McGrath D-Set Panel System
  • Products Lorin anodized aluminum Viracon VE1-85 Insulating Glass
The massing of the project consists of four petal-like volumes that overlap one another and sprout from the center of the structure. Across each elevation, the facade breaks into distinct planes, bending and contorting as soffit, wall, and roof. "These petals are ruled surfaces, spiraling and twisting up from the ground and aspirationally gesturing toward taking flight," said DS+R Associate Yushiro Okamoto. "The outer skin wraps over the galleries and folds itself to form the walls in the atrium, just like origami. Where surfaces overlap, daylight enters the building and that orients the visitor and marks their trajectory through the museum." From the onset of the design process, the team envisioned a metallic skin and primarily weighed the two options: stainless steel or anodized aluminum. Ultimately, the project called for the latter due to its flexibility, cost, and relatively straightforward maintenance. Although no two of the project's 9,000 panels are the same, the average length ranges between 4-feet-8-inches for the long diagonal sections and 2-feet-8-inches for the short ones, and all are .63 inches thick. Minnesota's MG McGrath both fabricated and installed the museum's facade, and relied on 3D model-based fabrication methods facilitated by Dassault Systemes and Autodesk. Considering the unique qualities of the project, multiple mockups were constructed for the more complex moments of the facade such as the corners where multiple systems meet. Once on-site, each panel was tracked within the digital building model from delivery to installation. To conform with the twisting geometry of the museum, the design and installation teams collaborated with RadiusTrack to develop a curved sheathing, with cold-formed metal framing, which is attached to the primary steel structure with an axial connection. Each panel is fastened to the metal framing with two 3/8-inch Z-girts that run through to the sheathing. Collaboration between the fabricators and design team has proved crucial to the successful execution of the project. "We met weekly. On one end we were discussing the larger design ideas of geometry and expression represented in the layout of panels, on the other end, we were discussing the smallest details and installation tolerances," continued Okamoto. "It was, and still is, an exciting and collaborative learning process for both of us." DS+R associate Yushiro Okamoto and MG McGrath president Mike McGrath will be joining the panel “Facade Strategies for Curatorial Institutions” at The Architect’s Newspaper’s upcoming Facades+ Denver conference on September 12.
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Autodesk invests in prefab home startup to help with disaster housing

Autodesk is making a bet on the future of prefabrication for disaster housing with an investment in FactoryOS and the company’s California-based “Rapid Response Factory.” In addition to allowing the startup to begin experimenting with constructing post-natural disaster homes on the factory floor, the funding will reportedly allow the Bay Area startup to create a Factory Floor Learning Center that will focus on housing policy in partnership with UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation. FactoryOS founder Rick Holiday explained to Fast Company that after several major natural disasters in California, like the recent forest fires, he received requests to build disaster housing; however, the company was not equipped to meet that demand, nor to build the smaller homes required. Thanks to the investment from Autodesk, Holiday told Fast Company that FactoryOS is “going to explore if [they] can create a standardized unit that could be used for supportive housing, or could be stitched together to create a small-to-medium to a larger-sized building after a natural disaster quickly.” FactoryOS has been able to streamline homebuilding through vertically integrating the construction process and creating a factory floor that can be used in all weather by union labor while easily integrating digital design and manufacturing. They claim that this precision has allowed them to reduce waste over traditional construction by as much as 40 percent, and costs by over 30 percent. The company believes that prefabrication could be a major answer during this time of national housing crises, when productivity in construction is not only stagnating but decreasing. At the moment, FactoryOS reports that they can create four-to-six apartment units in a day, however, with their continued growth and the addition of the Rapid Response Factory, they are hoping to bring that number up to as many as 16 units in 2021. According to Fast Company, this new deal will also require intensive data collection and tracking of social impact metrics, as well as environmental impact and cost. FactoryOS, which previously received an investment from Alphabet, has also just received an influx of cash from a Citigroup-funded incubator focused on affordable housing, according to The Verge's weekly newsletter.
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Facades+ Boston will dive into the trends reshaping the city

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On June 25, Facades+ is returning to Boston for the fourth year in a row. The conference, organized by The Architect's Newspaper, is a full-day event split between a morning symposium and an afternoon of workshops led by top AEC practitioners. Leers Weinzapfel Associates (LWA), a Boston-based firm with projects nationwide, is co-chairing the conference. Panels for the conference will focus on the changes underway in Boston, ranging from new educational structures, the city's new tallest residential building, and historic preservation projects. Participants for the conference's symposium and workshops include Behnisch Architekten, Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Bruner / Cott, Arrowstreet, Consigli Construction, Walter P. Moore, Autodesk, Atelier Ten, Harvard GSD, the Wyss Institute, and Okalux. In this interview with The Architect's Newspaper, LWA's designer and business development representative Zhanina Boyadzhieva and associate Kevin Bell, the conference co-chairs, discuss their firm's growing body of work and the developmental trends within the city of Boston. The Architect's Newspaper: Boston is known as a relatively quiet city with a predominantly low-slung skyline. How is current development reshaping that identity and what does it mean for the future? Zhanina Boyadzhieva: Boston is indeed a “quiet” city, but it is also a hub of innovation and creative thinking. In the past few years, we have observed dynamic design work, largely by local firms, on several fronts: 1) creative re-envisioning of historical landmarks through readaptations and additions such as Smith Center at Harvard University and Congress Square in downtown Boston 2) careful insertions of new landmarks in the skyline such as One Dalton 3) fast development and growth of existing or new resilient neighborhoods such as Harvard’s Allston campus. Each design solution addresses unique urban conditions and entails holistic thinking about city planning, resilience, and sustainability, coupled with a sense of function, form, materiality, and human experience. Naturally, facades combine all of these considerations and become dominant players in the reshaping of cities. The diversity of approaches we observe—controlled material juxtapositions of old and new, sculptural form-making, and playful screening strategies—are testaments to ongoing design experimentations here. There is a search for new methods to address creative reuse, high performance, material fabrication, and user experience.  AN: The city possesses one of America's largest concentrations of brutalist buildings, as well as large historic districts. How can Boston embrace its heritage while moving forward? Kevin Bell: The rich building history of Boston, including modern landmarks like City Hall, and its brutalist companions make for wonderful urban fabric for intervention and a great place for an architect to practice. This history should serve to elevate our expectations for new buildings and major renovations in the city. The recent warming to Boston’s brutalism, its strong geometry and bare materials, is welcome, encouraging designers to consider rather ignore these local icons. It presents the opportunity to consider adaptation and re-envisioning through sustainability’s lenses, the human experience, and materiality. If we can dramatically improve the energy efficiency and human use in these sensitive historic buildings, we can achieve the same in new construction and create a model for continued improvement. AN: What innovative enclosure practices is LWA currently executing? KB: As a firm, we have a legacy of designing efficiently in an urban context. Often, our site is an existing historic building or a tightly constrained sliver of land, or sometimes, there's no site at all. This fosters a sensibility within the studio toward compact volumes, materially efficient, with taut fitted skins, a practice that serves us well as we work to make evermore energy efficient and sustainable buildings. We're also redefining our performance expectations around our clients' commitments to energy efficiency, many of whom have established operational carbon neutrality as their aim by mid-century. The enclosures we design today will be part of that efficiency equation. They must be considered to be part of a carbon neutral organizational environment as a performance baseline above simple compliance with today's codes or target certifications. Envelope performance, especially the use of innovative glazing materials, is a logical extension of the way we think about reactive, efficient space and energy efficiency targets in building enclosure design. Our Dartmouth Dana Hall renovation and addition, under construction now, is an example of this process and practice. We worked closely with the college to define a program for building reuse around its energy use reduction targets that dramatically improved envelope efficiency. Through the design process, we worked with our design and construction partners to continually refine the design while holding to incremental improvement in energy efficiency at each step; our modeled efficiency improved even as we moved through cost reduction exercises. The result is a highly insulated building, triple glazed throughout, with a thermally improved, south-facing glass curtainwall system combining vacuum insulated high-performance glass modules with integrally solar shaded, triple glazed vision glass as part of a building with a predicted energy use index (pEUI) in the middle twenties before the introduction of site renewables. AN: Which materials do you believe are reshaping facade practices? ZB: Materials are the agents of larger design strategies shaping the practice such as resilience, sustainability, and human experience. The aim to rethink and cherish historical buildings, for example, leads to a careful layering of existing and new materials that contrast and simultaneously enhance each other. Heavy textured concrete at the Smith Center is supplemented by light and open transparent glass, green walls and warm wood. Traditional brick block at Congress Square is juxtaposed with a floating glass box on top of sculptural fiber-reinforced plastic panels. On the other hand, the vision to create new landmarks that celebrate and reshape the Boston skyline result in the careful sculpting of distinctive volumes as in One Dalton, a tall glass skyscraper with careful incisions of exterior carved spaces for human use. Finally, the goal to produce energy efficient but playful envelopes leads to a game of patterns composed of an inner insulated layer with an outer wrapper of perforated metal screens or angled aluminum fins. Each choice of material and its manipulation reflects a larger vision to create a unique experience in the city. Further information regarding Facades+ Boston can be found here.
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London-based researcher brings architecture to life—with billions of bacteria

Bacteria often evoke a destructive image, with connotations of decay and illness. But like all living communities, as much as they consume, they also create (or, perhaps more accurately, excrete). And it's this creative power that London-based architectural researcher Bastian Beyer is harnessing in his “Column Project.” With designer Daniel Suarez, Beyer has created solid, structural forms from microbe-suffused textiles as a more sustainable, biodegradable alternative to carbon-intensive materials. The project's central innovation is a dual-use apparatus that combines a loom and a so-called bioreactor. Woven jute (tested in many patterns and weights) acts as a host for a whole environment of sprayed-on microorganisms—a microbiome—clinging to the textiles. The introduction of calcium chloride and urea spurs the sporosarcina pasteurii bacteria to action, catalyzing their production of a calcite structure that alters the underlying fibers and solidifies the knit matrix over about three days.These microbiomes are in constant (biological) exchange with their environment which varies in their activity depending on external and internal conditions,” said Beyer, speaking of the ways the environment, bacteria, and material interact. While the textile structure doesn’t have the strength of materials like carbon fiber or fiberglass, it still stands solid and can be used for “spatial dividers, shading features, reinforcement, and potentially even structural roof or wall systems,” according to Beyer. Given its unique biologically-focused design, there’s also the hope that it might be a self-repairing technology. Somewhat cryptically, or poetically, depending on your disposition, Beyer said that “the project can be understood as an architectural mediator of a multi-actor fabrication process, allowing the interdependent inputs from the digital, the microbiological as well as the human body to merge into one co-creating entity.” It collapses distinctions of biology and technology, of craft and natural processes. The project, which won a 2018 Autodesk ACADIA Emerging Research Award, is part of the broader ArcInTex initiative, a European program that supports explorations across the intersections of “architecture, interaction design, and textiles.”
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Will the new AutoCAD help kill the laptop?

On October 30, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music to unveil the tech giant’s new and improved iPad Pro tablet. The latest iPad Pro for the first time features the desktop engine of AutoCAD, with pro-users being able to create, edit, and view drawings directly on the mobile device. According to Marcus O'Brien, senior product line manager for AutoCAD, the new application required the team to “rearchitect” the entire core engine. What has this achieved? There is now a single engine powering AutoCAD across desktop, web, and mobile platforms, allowing the highest possible fidelity for members of the AEC industry to move DWG files from one device to the next. This is not the first collaboration with Autodesk for Apple's mobile devices. AutoCAD 360 Mobile was used for the iPad Pro’s initial launch in 2015. While this was a great first step for drawing and other simpler tasks on the go, the AutoCAD team wanted to provide best-in-class data fidelity for their customers on the mobile platform. The new AutoCAD mobile app works seamlessly with the Apple Pencil stylus. Freehand sketches are translated into AutoCAD objects instantly.  The Pencil puts CAD tools directly in the user’s hands allowing them to edit, add notes, and dimension drawings freehand.  Updates are easily shared with team members using earlier versions of the software such as AutoCAD LT. The app also allows for file management and syncing with Autodesk data management solutions as well as external cloud storage devices. What are the broader implications of AutoCAD’s rollout? O’Brien contends that the portability, ease of use, and the growing strength of pro-grade tablets fill a gap between cell phones and laptop devices. The team still sees drawings originating on the desktop with the tablet serving as a field tool to edit plans while on site; the seamless migration of data across devices is core to this strategy. O’Brien said, “With the new AutoCAD mobile app running on AutoCAD core engine, we’re enabling our customers to access any DWG, from anywhere, on any device with the same trusted AutoCAD technology they’ve always used.” The newly launched tablet is completely redesigned with a Liquid Retina display and face recognition for the first time. It also sports some impressive computing power. Utilizing the powerful new A12X Bionic chip, it is able to run five trillion operations a second and even enables advanced machine learning. In fact, it is faster than most laptops and has twice the graphics speed of earlier versions, making it perfect for augmented reality and immersive gaming. The USB-C connection provides high-performance connections to a variety of accessories including exterior displays and cameras. With that type of computing power and ease of use, the new iPad Pro can handle even the heaviest of rendering files and the most challenging of digital and graphic computing needs. Presales of both the 11- and 12.9-inch display version start today and they will be available November 7 with prices starting at $799 and $999 respectively.
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Startups are riding the tech wave to build the future of the AEC industry

There’s a perfect storm brewing in the AEC industry with respect to technology, and startup tech companies are stoked because the waves are finally rolling in. A number of factors are contributing to the sudden surge. An increasingly urban population along with a changing climate is placing unprecedented pressure on the built environment, according to Jesse Devitte, co-founder of Borealis Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm geared toward the AEC industry. Fortunately, mobile devices, cloud computing, and endless sensors capturing data have reached near-ubiquitous status just as a slew of game-changing technologies such as BIM, AR/VR, and Blockchain are arriving, he notes. “It really does feel like the industry is at a unique moment in time,” Devitte said. “I can tell you one thing for certain: in my three decades of involvement in AEC software I have never seen so much activity. In fact, I wake up to a new startup in my email every single morning, seven days a week.” As a veteran who was part of Autodesk’s former Softdesk team and who organized the company’s AEC business unit, Devitte is well versed in venture capital. Upon leaving Autodesk, he co-founded Borealis Ventures to support the next generation of software entrepreneurs. “Today, we are focused on overcoming the traditional fragmented and resulting industry inefficiency by backing startups focused on driving data across the entire building lifecycle,” he explained. The Borealis team identifies and works with teams and technologies materially improving how the built environment is designed, constructed, operated, and experienced—and the potential for a startup to achieve industry disruption has never been better, he says. “That doesn’t mean it is easy,” Devitte pointed out. “You are still selling to project-based businesses, which, on the design side, have more work than ever but are facing narrower margins,” he said. On the construction side, he paints a rather harrowing picture. Likening it to upgrading a plane mid-flight at low altitudes, Devitte says construction professionals are “attempting to safely deliver the highest quality product on time and budget for the real estate owners, who have their own challenges including the phenomena of ‘space as a service,’ which is the opposite of the long-term investment/cash flow ROI model that built the asset class.”

Welcome to the Start Tank

But shifts of this magnitude are precisely what’s needed to create waves for real market transformation. “These big waves may indeed be the proof that digital transformation of this industry has reached an inflection point—and that is the ideal time to invest for maximum return,” Devitte observed. To those willing to test the tech-infested waters, they’ll have the opportunity to dive in during Start Tank, shark tank-like feature for exhibiting start-ups to pitch their winning ideas to potential investors and customers at this year’s TECH+ expo in New York City on May 22nd. Led by Devitte and featuring special guest judges Dareen Salama (Lehrer) Justin Hendrix (NYC Media Lab), and Greg Schleusner (HOK), Start Tank will enable startups to get their stories out to the market. “For potential customers it is a unique opportunity to learn about solutions they can deploy to advance their businesses,” Devitte said. “To make sure we deliver on both of those fronts, the judges are industry professionals who are potential customers for the startups. And as we say in the venture business, we will see if the ‘dogs eat the food,’ all while having fun in a positive environment.”
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Autodesk puts R&D first with its BUILD Space in Boston

Meet the incubators and accelerators producing the new guard of design and architecture start-ups. This is part of a series profiling incubators and accelerators from our April 2018 Technology issue.  Located on the first two floors of a concrete-framed former army base in South Boston, Autodesk’s BUILD Space (BUILD stands for building, innovation, learning, and design), which opened in 2016, has become one of the software company’s best tools for keeping up with architecture’s hyper-speed technology changes. The cavernous 34,000-square-foot facility, whose adaptive reuse was carried out by Boston and New York-based SGA, contains two chief components: First, it houses every piece of digital manufacturing equipment under the sun, from CNC routers and multi-axis robots to microelectronics, metal fabrication tools, and a giant crane; second, it hosts over 70 organizations and 500 people, including architecture and design firms, start-ups, and universities, who use the facilities, supported by Autodesk’s software engineers. In return, Autodesk gets to make important new contacts and learn how to position its software for the coming years. “By investigating these technologies with these teams, it gives us a view of what may be coming, and what we need to start thinking about,” said Rick Rundell, Autodesk’s senior director, who has carefully curated the community with his colleagues. “I could hire a team of 30 researchers to use this equipment,” said Rundell. “Instead, I have 500 researchers that I’ve been able to curate. They’re doing their own work, but it keeps us in touch in a way that would be much harder otherwise.” The word has gotten out, encouraging the company, with SGA, to grow the space by another floor. “We get five or six calls a week,” noted Rundell, who has hosted researchers from the Middle East, all over Europe, and the far corners of the U.S. “We only review the most promising.” To prepare the space for all this activity, SGA implemented some R&D of its own, employing carbon fiber supports to help brace the building after it made large cuts through the thick concrete floors, and using the facility’s crane to haul in extra-large items. The firm needed to install new electrical and HVAC on top of what the building already had in order to support the teams’ extraordinary infrastructure needs. Autodesk, whose Boston software team works on the building’s sixth floor (also designed by SGA), has opened a handful of similar innovation facilities, each catered to a different aspect of digital design and manufacturing. The San Francisco office, which hosts Autodesk researchers as well as independent ones, focuses on micro-factory models, the Toronto office looks at artificial intelligence and generative design, and the Birmingham, England, office centers on advanced manufacturing. “We know this is happening, but we’re seeking to learn more,” said Rundell.

Some of the residents include

Perkins+Will

The architecture firm investigated new framing systems for mass timber.

Bechtel Corporation

The engineering company explored inflatable shading devices.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT students have created self-deploying fabric canopies that can be dropped via aircraft.

Construction Robotics

This construction manufacturer is developing a system for robotically constructing masonry walls.

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Boston's emerging designers get spotlight in design biennial

Winners of the fifth Design Biennial Boston can be viewed on The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy in Boston. Aimed to celebrate and give exposure to up-and-coming architects and designers from the New England region, the Biennial is on view until October 18th. This year, it consists of four installations which vary in themes, materials and artistic style. In order to bring their ideas to life, Design Biennial Boston has provided each winning team with $10,000 and access to cutting-edge fabrication equipment provided by sponsor Autodesk BUILD Space. The four winning teams, selected among a pool of designers from New England, were called upon to create installations echoing the region’s unique qualities and reflecting on the Greenway’s Playful Perspectives theme. The works by Jennifer Bonner of MALL, Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy of DESIGN EARTH, Daniel Ibañez of Margen-Lab, and Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest of ULTRAMODERNE entertain ideas of rigid to free-flowing forms, local materials, economic trends, and global impacts all representative of the region. Another Axon by Jennifer Bonner of MALL (pictured above) is an installation comprised of a colorful array of twelve minimalist trees. A play on traditional architecture and design rendering, the installation uses common building materials such as vinyl siding, stucco, and artificial turf to challenge perceived building ideas. Primitive by Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest of ULTRAMODERNE is a geometric disposition of lines juxtaposed with rough materials: rugged cedar columns canopied with a thin aluminum shroud. The relationship between the shapes create an experience of existence within an abstracted, delicate grove. Blue Marble Circus by Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy of DESIGN EARTH is a spherical, plastic monument highlighting the correlation between humanity's actions and the degradation of the ecosystem. The installation, as the name suggests, is a deep-blue plastic sphere which through form, color and material refers to the iconic symbol of environmental awareness. Ways of Wood by Daniel Ibañez of MARGEN-LAB is a compilation of logs that serve as public seating. The logs draw a visual connection between different states in timber's industrial process, from raw material to its highly polished state as a designed object. The installation aims to initiate a conversation on North America’s timber extraction industry and serve as a reminder of the often forgotten natural source of timber.
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Phil Bernstein to step down as Autodesk vice president

Phil Bernstein, vice president of strategic industry relations at Autodesk, has announced in a statement that he will step down from this position after nearly two decades as a leader in the AEC technology sector. "It’s with markedly mixed emotions that I write to announce that I am stepping down from my role as vice president for strategic industry relations at Autodesk. Having left my comfortable role as a practicing architect sixteen years ago next month, I’ve decided it’s time to refocus on architecture, turn my attention to teaching, writing and lecturing, and seeing what might come next. These years have given me a once-in-a-lifetime chance to think deeply about how design, construction, and technology have evolved in concert, and I hope some of the resulting insights have been useful to the building and technology industries that are increasingly inter-dependent. I will be transitioning my responsibilities to my very capable colleagues at the company over the next several weeks. Starting in November I’ll assume a consulting role with Autodesk as a Fellow, supporting selected thought leadership and strategic endeavors. So I’m confident we will once again cross paths in our efforts to improve design and construction with digital tools." Bernstein—as of this time—will still be teaching at Yale Univeristy. No details yet on what he will be designing or writing, but we are looking forward to it.
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New 3D printing software churns out giant projects in one pass

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.  
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Product> Data for Designers: Six Amazing Apps

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.