Use of cell phones is strongly encouraged for tech devotees flocking to Silicon Valley's 'social media whispering wall'As its name implies, Datagrove is literally a grove of data or a "social media 'whispering wall,'" if you will, that aggregates locally trending Twitter feeds and parrots them out of speakers and LCD displays woven into the digital branches of the installation. Nonprofit art/technology network ZERO1 commissioned the installation from San Francisco–based experimental design company Future Cities Lab for its Art + Technology Biennial in San Jose, CA, now on view through December 8, 2012. The theme of this year's Biennial is "Seeking Silicon Valley," which seems like a particularly appropriate place to plunder data normally hidden away in smartphones and amplify it for all to hear using custom sensors, text-to-speech modules, LEDs, and LCDs capable of responding directly to people in the immediate vicinity. In order to "render the invisible aspects of Silicon Valley visible," Nattaly Gattegno and Jason Kelly Johnson, the principals of Future Cities Lab, created a lattice structure interwoven with Twitter trending technology by Onehouse, IR sensors, TextSpeak's Text to Speech Module, LEDs by Super Bright LEDs, and Sparkfun's WiFly Shield and LCD panels that translate geo-located data feeds into light and sound. "As one approaches the installation a series of infrared sensors trigger the sensing pods to light up, which, through a series of embedded speakers, whisper to you the trending information like...Have you heard about...Oracle, or Have you heard about ...Olympics," said Gattegno. Before weaving everything together, Gattegno and Johnson first tested all of the materials individually while also developing "physical prototypes of the interactive sensing pods containing all the electronic components." After a series of tests they decided the best way to house the electronics was to seal them in vacuum formed 2-ply acrylic shells which they wove into a larger structure made from bent acrylic tubing and galvanized steel conduit. "The acrylic is heated and molded in a series of custom CNC milled jigs while the steel is bent over another set of custom jigs," Gattegno said. "Although made up of two material systems, the acrylic and steel interlock in a very deliberate way, structuring each other and suspending the sensing pods within them." All of the electronics, both the acrylic-shelled pods and the systems they operate with—the text-to-speech synthesizers, motion sensors, LCDs and LEDs—are part of an Arduino-based micro-controlled system produced and engineered in-house at Future Cities Lab's San Francisco workshop. The components were then secured to a base made from CNC milled plywood and polypropylene and installed onsite in the courtyard of San Jose's historic California Theater, creating a gathering place for the geographically disparate and disconnected Silicon Valley. The longer you view or interact with Datagrove, the easier it is to make sense of the data. Gradually, you discern patterns and begin to detect a natural cadence from what initially seems like a tangled web of Silicon Valley's verbal overflow. Photographs by Peter Prato. Additional assistance from Ripon DeLeon, interns Osma Dossani and Jonathan Izen, assisted by David Spittler.
Posts tagged with "California":
In September, AN reported on the three proposals to replace Los Angeles' iconic but crumbling Sixth Street Viaduct by HNTB, AECOM, and Parsons Brinckerhoff. The three teams have notably added pedestrian amenities and adjacent lush landscaping to the 3,500-foot-long cable-stayed span. While the renderings were compelling for each design, these video renderings fly the viewer in and around each proposal for a more detail view of what might soon be built in LA. Take a look. Courtesy AECOM Courtesy Parsons Brinckerhoff Courtesy HNTB [Via Curbed LA.]
Layer: A Loose Horizon Pasadena Museum of California Art 490 East Union Street Pasadena, CA Through October 14, 2012 While digital design and fabrication continue to transform architecture, architect/artists Lisa Little and Emily White have decided to challenge these trends. Although digital forms expand the horizons of design and create intricate patterns, these designs often boils down to mere eye candy. This idea sparked White and Little, the founders of the Los Angeles-based architecture practice Layer, to take the computational approach of digitized aesthetics combined with a perceptual method to create both a physically and intellectually engaging space. The result of this can be seen at their exhibit Layer: A Loose Horizon. Beginning on the exterior of the museums facade, visitors see a web-like structure that toys with depth and proportion while also bridging the exterior and interior space of the museums lobby. Upon entering, guests experience a continuous interaction with the exhibit and become enveloped by the surrounding shapes. To understand the artists' process, sketches and early digital iterations of the project are also be on view.
On September 15th and 16th modular home builder Blu Homes is hosting its own home tour in Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert. The three-bedroom house on view was factory built, transported by truck and recently unfolded on site (see video after the jump). Of course large windows, shaded outdoor spaces, and a constant connection to the outdoors work in other places too, but it's certainly dramatic in the desert. If you want to see for yourself, RSVP here (and bring your sunscreen). But how do you find the land to build a home like this? Blu and real estate site Redfin are teaming up to help potential buyers identify and buy properties on which to build their prefabs. This seems to have been the missing link for this type of home, so perhaps they're on to something?
Frank Gehry has won every architecture award you can think of, from the Pritzker to the AIA Gold Medal. Now he has one named after him, thanks to his $100,000 donation to SCI-Arc. The Gehry Prize will be awarded annually to the school's best graduate thesis. The first prize will be handed out this Sunday at SCI-Arc's graduation. Gehry has been a SCI-Arc trustee since 1990, and has been involved with the school since its inception in 1972. Which reminds us: SCI-Arc will be 40 next year.
California's Designing Women The Autry in Griffith Park 4700 Western Heritage Way Los Angeles Through January 6, 2013 It was uncommon for women to practice industrial design throughout late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, California’s newness and frequent population growth provided various opportunities for women to get involved with the creation and production of design. Autry National Center’s California’s Designing Women, 1896–1986 with works from over fifty women designers from California celebrates female designers who made major contributions to Californian and American design. The exhibition displays approximately 240 examples of textiles, ceramics, furniture, lighting, tapestries, jewelry, clothing, and graphics all inspired by California’s amalgam of society which include Indigenous American, Chinese, Japanese, Anglo, and Mexican cultures. Upholding California’s reputation for unlimited creativity, the displayed work includes materials such as wood, abalone, glass cotton, steel, silver, acetate, acrylic, and fiberglass, spanning a century of design movements from arts and crafts to art deco to mid-century modern and beyond.
Perhaps trying to regain its mojo after a difficult summer on the stock market, Facebook has selected Frank Gehry to design an expansion to its Menlo Park Campus in California. The project, scheduled to break ground next year, will include a quirky 420,000-square-foot warehouse topped by a sprawling garden. The cavernous space will contain open offices for as many as 2,800 software engineers, according to Everett Katigbak, Facebook's environmental design manager. The firm wouldn't reveal the project's price tag. Facebook is relatively new to Menlo Park, having moved from Palo Alto last year into a Gensler-designed retrofit of Sun Microsystems' old campus. The Gehry building will be located just across the street. Other tech giants will be located nearby as well: Foster and Partners' new ring-shaped offices for Apple are about 25 minutes away in Cupertino. And Google's "Googleplex" is located about 20 minutes away in Mountain View. Google has yet to name the architect for its latest expansion after firing Ingenhoven Architects earlier this year. Looks like we've got an architectural arms race in Silicon Valley. You've been poked, Google. [ Via LA Times.]
Next time you visit old town Pasadena you may be in for a suprise. When you slink down an alley off of Fair Oaks and Colorado, the next thing you see will be a four-story, 35-foot-tall skyscraper, sitting in the middle of a courtyard. It's an installation by artist Chris Burden (yes, he's the one that did the cool lights and all the matchbox cars at LACMA) called Small Skyscraper (Quasi Legal Skyscraper). Burden collaborated with LA architects Taalman Koch on the open design, which conists of slabs of 2x4s supported by a thin aluminum frame. Burden started envisioning the project back in the 90s, but at that time the idea was for a solid structure made of concrete blocks. This one is lightweight and seems almost like an erector set. Presented by the Armory Center for the Arts, Small Skyscraper will be on display until November.
If all goes well, Venice Beach’s latest attraction could be you, screaming in delight across a 600-foot long zipline. In consideration since May, a proposal to build a temporary zipline by the beach has been slowly making its way through the public process. As proposed, the zipline would be in place for a three-month trial period. Operated by Canada-based Greenheart Conservation Company, the zipline could potentially generate revenue for the city. Part of the profits would go toward improving maintenance in public restrooms and trash clean up along the boardwalk. The zipline structure was developed specifically for hard-to-reach places, according to Greenheart Conservation Company co-founder Ian Green. Because the company usually works in remote, natural habitats like the Belize rainforest or the Amazon forest in Peru, the company had to develop a lightweight system that could easily be built without using heavy machinery to haul in the structure. As a result, the company designed an aluminum truss system where a single person could carry each piece through thick forests. In the Venice iteration, local artists would be tapped to contribute art printed on four to six mesh canvases surrounding the launch and receiving towers respectively. According to Green, the attraction would also host public arts performances, similar to what the company has done at the 2011 Burning Man Festival, where acrobatic arts performers were suspended over the gawking public. The company also plans to open its doors to nearby school children, offering aerial acrobatics classes or, at the very least, a chance to ride the zipline. While the proposal has its supporters, some detractors worry about the additional noise and fuss potentially created by the added attraction. An appeal has been lodged on the city’s approval of the scheme and is awaiting hearing by the Board of Public Works on July 27. Should the zipline pass the hearing, it is still up to the California Coastal Commission to give the final go-ahead during its next monthly meeting in Santa Cruz this August. Disappointed at having missed the summer season due to delays, Green nevertheless remains upbeat. “For now, we just kick back and wait. It’s summertime right? Everyone relaxes.”
Last weekend at Palm Springs Modernism Week we stumbled upon a treasure for architecture fans. The Palm Springs Art Museum is renovating E. Stewart Williams' 1960 Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan building, turning it into the future home of the Edward Harris Center for Architecture and Design. Williams' International Style bank, featuring floating slabs, floor to ceiling glazing, and ultra thin columns, will contain exhibit space, public program areas, offices, an archival study center and a museum store (located in the former bank vault). On its lower level it will contain a 2,700 square foot area for the museum's collection. The center is scheduled to open in Fall 2013, says the museum. We can't wait! Historic pictures and renderings of the future space after the jump.
We've known since early last year that the Solar Decathlon, the biennial event showcasing the best in energy producing, student-designed houses, was no longer welcome on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. due to concerns over wear and tear on the "nation's front yard." The 2011 Decathlon, won by the University of Maryland, was pushed to a far corner of the Mall between the Tidal Basin and the Potomac River midway through the design process, causing outcry from student teams who were finalizing their house designs. Officials later announced that future Decathlons might leave D.C. entirely, and today, Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu confirmed that it will be moving about as far away from the Mall as possible—to the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California between Los Angeles and San Diego. Orange County Great Park, comprised of 1,360 acres of recreational area designed by landscape architect Ken Smith and built on a former air field, has been taking shape over the past several years, with a new 7.5-acre Palm Court and 18.5-acre North Lawn already complete. We still found it curious, however, that the Department of Energy noted the site's "ample visitor parking" and direct freeway access considering arriving by car might be the least sustainable way to access the exhibition. The Department of Energy said the decision to move the Solar Decathlon site was based in part on extending the audience of the fall exhibition of houses. The Great Park also incorporates environmental concerns into its design, including undulating bioswales filled with native plants that help to store and filter water runoff. The $65.5 million first phase is expected to be complete this year after a series of athletic fields are finished. AN's West Coast Editor Sam Lubell visited the park last October to check in on its progress and noted the strengths and weaknesses of reclaiming a disused airfield. Future phases of the park could take another 15 to 20 years to complete. While the new location might lack the prestige of the grand allée leading from the U.S. Capitol building, the California site will make the sustainability showcase more accessible to a new audience on the west coast, and it seems safe to bet that the student teams (listed below) should have no problem juicing up their solar cells in sunny SoCal. The following teams have been selected from around the world to compete in Solar Decathlon 2013: · Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico (Tempe, Ariz., and Albuquerque, N.M.) · Czech Technical University (Prague, Czech Republic) · Hampton University and Old Dominion University (Hampton and Norfolk, Va.) · Middlebury College (Middlebury, Vt.) · Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, Mo.) · Norwich University (Northfield, Vt.) · Queens University, Carleton University, and Algonquin College (Kingston and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) · Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, Calif.) · Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology (Los Angeles, Calif.) · Stanford University (Palo Alto, Calif.) · Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, N.J.) · The Catholic University of America, George Washington University, and American University (Washington, DC) · The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.) · The University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College (El Paso, Texas) · University of Calgary (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) · University of Louisville, Ball State University, and University of Kentucky (Louisville, Ky.; Muncie, Ind.; and Lexington, Ky.) · University of Nevada Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nev.) · University of Southern California (Los Angeles, Calif.) · Vienna University of Technology (Vienna, Austria) · West Virginia University (Morgantown, W. Va.)
A 56-foot-long aluminum sculpture leaps into Sacramento’s new airport.Whether they need a reminder that they’re late (for a very important gate!) or welcome a distraction from the hassle of modern travel, visitors to Sacramento’s International Airport will not miss Denver-based artist Lawrence Argent’s Leap sculpture. Completed last month in the new Corgan Associates-designed Terminal B, the 56-foot-long red rabbit is suspended mid-jump in the building’s three-story central atrium. An oversize “vortical suitcase” placed in the baggage claim below completes the piece. Argent worked with California-based Kreysler & Associates, a specialist in the design, engineering, and fabrication of large-scale sculptural and architectural objects, to build his vision while meeting the airport’s safety requirements. The team originally planned to build the sculpture with glass fiber composite, but fire codes would have required additional engineering studies to prove it was flame retardant. Additionally, the building was going to be largely enclosed by the time the sculpture was ready for installation, making it impossible to bring the sculpture, which is 14 feet wide and more than 16 feet high, into the building in one piece. Argent had designed the sculpture as a form composed of hundreds of flat triangles. “The piece lent itself to aluminum as long as we could figure out how to fabricate the pieces,” said Bill Kreysler, who founded the fabrication company in 1982. Working with Argent’s digital renderings, Kreysler’s team translated the design into Rhino, creating what he calls a semi-monocoque structure with a double-skin of thin aluminum on a thin-ribbed interior aluminum frame. The decorative surface is composed of 1,446 CNC-cut triangles with side dimensions ranging from 1 inch to 3 feet. Etched with a numbering system, the triangles were placed using laser-projected grid lines. “I think that one of the things that is often overlooked in this digital fabrication world is that there’s a sense that because computers are controlling the process, the human element is reduced, but in many ways it’s increased,” said Kreysler, who limited the number of people working on the piece to ensure consistency. The rabbit’s interior structure was assembled into 14 pieces of varying diameters in the shop, then transported to the airport for assembly. The exterior aluminum triangles are textured with crushed glass to create a velvet-matte surface and float 1½ inches above the interior shell with aluminum standoffs. Even in the light-filled atrium space the sculpture’s suspension system appears minimal. The concentrated loads coming from seven custom wire rope suspension cables with swage fittings are received by the rabbit’s internal steel armature. Aluminum transverse members then distribute these loads from the steel armature to the monocoque aluminum shell. Unveiled on October 6, the new $1.3 billion airport addition is the largest construction project in Sacramento’s history. The rabbit is the centerpiece of the 14 art installations—more than $6 million worth—commissioned by the city’s Metropolitan Arts Commission and planned for completion in the coming years.