Posts tagged with "Future Cities Lab":

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Winners announced to redesign San Jose's St. James Park

A design team made up of San Francisco–based CMG Landscape Architecture, Future Cities Lab, Page & Turnbull Architects, and ARUP engineers has been awarded a contract to rehabilitate San Jose, California’s historic St. James Park. The City of San Jose held a national competition to redesign the neglected park back in 2016 with the aim of reintegrating and modernizing the city’s largest, most urban recreation space. The competition’s top four entries included competing submissions lead by New York City–based !Melk, Berkeley, California–based Meyer + Silberberg, and Philadelphia-based WRT. The city’s 2nd Street was extended through the St. James Park in 1957 after a voter initiative, turning the formerly unified park into two, smaller areas that went underutilized and became blighted. Like its competitors, CMG’s winning entry—titled REMEMBER | IMAGINE—focuses on halting automobile traffic down the multi-modal street that bisects the park. An at-grade light rail line currently runs along 2nd Street and is expected to remain in the park moving forward. CMG’s proposal aims to install a series of picturesque, Victorian-inspired gardens with meandering trails around the perimeter of the park. An esplanade of shade trees, picnic areas, a cafe, and a dog park will fill out the spaces around the light rail line. One corner of the park will be anchored by a multi-use pavilion designed by Future Cities Lab. The octopus-like pavilion will be made up of half a dozen or so arcades that emanate from a bandshell-covered stage. According to renderings released by the winning team, the colonnades will provide shade for benches and walkways across this section of the park. In a press release touting the winning commission, Nataly Gattegno and Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities lab said, “We designed the pavilion to be an open and illuminated space seamlessly integrated with the park. We want to encourage neighbors to stroll through the colonnades and interact with the pavilion day and night,” adding, “When there is a scheduled event, the pavilion will transform into a high-tech performance venue with superb acoustics and lighting.”  
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SXSW Eco announces 2016 Place by Design finalists

South by Southwest Eco (SXSW Eco), an environmentally- and socially-conscious event occurring alongside the more well-known South By Southwest music and technology gathering in Austin, Texas has released its list of this year’s 36 finalists for its public space design competition, Place by Design. The selected projects represent a diverse collection of emerging design practices, many with humanitarian-based approaches. Several finalists also have ties to the West Coast’s emerging public interest design scene. Applicants compete for funding to realize projects in six categories that aim to “rethink the potential of the places around us.” One of those teams, applying in the “Art + Interaction” category, is San Francisco-based Future Cities Lab, who aims to create a sculptural, interactive facade that translates the sound a light display. In the “Equity + Inclusion” category, MASS Design Group seeks to construct a new tuberculosis hospital to in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to replace a facility destroyed during that 2010 earthquake that devastated that country. Mass Design Group also has an entry in the “Resilience + Health” category: a proposed cholera treatment plant in Port-au-Prince that also serves as a water treatment site. River LA, a Los Angeles-based L.A. River advocacy group, is also vying for funding in the “Resilience + Health” category. Their L.A. River Index project is a Gehry Partners-aligned study of the river’s potential for an equitable and ecological future. In the “Revitalization” category, Olayami Dabl and his African Bead Museum are vying for funding against, among others, two Los Angeles-based design firms. The first is from LA-Más; their project provides urban design and business support services aimed at placemaking, pedestrianism, and economic revitalization along underserved business corridors in Los Angeles. The second is Alexis Rochas who has designed an interactive and tech-savvy public space in an underused scrap of land in Long Beach, California. In the “Speculative + Prototyping” category, San Francisco-based Jennifer Pattee’s Pop Up Fitness Hub proposes installing an brightly colored, outdoor workout space for public use in Hayes Valley atop an unused parking lot. Lastly, Seattle Design Nerds’ proposal in the “Urban Strategy + Civic Engagement” category seeks funding to engage the public in architecture and urban design through interactive inflatable spaces and augmented reality games.  Winners will be announced October 12, 2016, at the end of the SXSW Eco conference, during which finalists will present their proposals to a large panel consisting of design professionals, organizers, creatives, and philanthropists.
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San Francisco's "Murmur Wall" installation tells your secrets in public

We’ve all heard a lot about “smart cities” and “responsive architecture,” by what about architecture that tells secrets? Murmur Wall, designed by Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno of the experimental design practice Future Cities Lab, does just that. The pair describes their site-specific installation at the main entrance to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco in as “artificially intelligent architecture.” “We are interested in exploring how data can become visceral, tangible, and poetic,” Johnson explained. “We’re experimenting with its potential to create meaning and a sense of place within the contemporary city.” Murmur Wall harvests local online activities—via search engines and social media—and broadcasts select phrases back into public space. Visitors to the wall can also contribute anonymous secrets, rumors, and gossip to the wall at the website Unlike many interactive artworks that rely on screens to share information, the sculptural installation uses a steel tube armature and illuminated fiber optic rods. LED lights embedded in the acrylic tubes illuminate the stream of whispers along the length of the Murmur Wall. When the real-time data reaches the 3D printed “pods” embedded with LED display, the small, embedded screens display a brief text before the data continues on as a light stream. This integration of digital and architectural strategies comes from Future Cities Lab research and teaching practices. Both designers are faculty at the California College of the Arts where Gattegno is Chair of the CCA Graduate Architecture program and Johnson coordinates the CCA Digital Craft Lab. Their work embraces the booming tech culture all around them in the Bay Area and then grapples with potential architectural applications, finding solutions that go beyond smart city catchphrases. “There is a lot of talk these days about how the Internet of Things will make the city more efficient, informed, and productive,” said Johnson. “We are more interested in its potential to connect people, to help them share ideas and experiences, and create communities in the physical world.” Revealing secrets is the first step. The installation is open and accessible to the public 24/7 at the Mission Street entrance the museum. A second Future Cities Lab piece, Lightswarm from 2014, is on view on the south facade of YBCA’s Grand Lobby.
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"Creative Architecture Machines" Dissects Maker Culture at California College of the Arts

On November 2nd a group of architects, builders, students, makers, educators, inventors and designers packed in for the Creative Architecture Machines Colloquium at California College of the Arts. The talk was organized by Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities Lab and brought together five practices working at the intersection of fabrication, computation, and making. Johnson led off the evening with an introduction to the practices and ideas behind maker culture; waxing philosophical on digital fabrication, the ubiquity of 3D printers and the future vision of what cutting edge Architecture offices will look like, complete with their own robot arms, of course. Joshua Zabel of Kreysler & Associates followed with some striking imagery and thoughts on new and old projects. Kreysler is fabricating the rippled composite rain screen for the new SFMOMA addition by Snøhetta and has been working at the forefront of composite technology for the past three decades. Andrew Atwood of Atwood-A and First Office traced the development of what we now know as the ubiquitous rendered image and brought with him a series of exploratory and experimental drawings and images that questioned and poked fun at current forms of representation. Returning to the realm of fabrication and material science Ron Rael of Rael-SanFratello and Emerging Objects spoke on the necessity to explore the materials (from pulverized recycled tire rubber to salt) that comprise the radical forms that architects and designers are pushing today. Fedor Novikov of Labori Construction Robotics spoke to the projects that he and his brother Petr are involved with at the IAAC,  involving robots and 3D printed substances. Their dynamic Mataerial project which they have dubbed “anti-gravity object modeling,” allows freeform plastic extruded from a robot arm to attach to virtually any surface as it cures on contact through a chemical process (through the use of thermosetting polymers) within the material instead of less death-defying substances commonly found in 3D printers. Ending the evening were Brandon Kruysman and Jonathan Proto of Bot & Dolly (recently acquired by Google), best known for their role in the Oscar-winning film Gravity. They shared work from their short film Box, which explores the intersection of projection mapping, robotics, and film making and its origins in their experiments at the Robot House at Sci-Arc. The evening concluded with a panel discussion that touched on  intellectual property, open source platforms, behavioral studies, sustainability, and the ethos of technology. The atmosphere remained electric as the speakers and audience compared their notes and predictions for the foreseeable robotic futures that we are surrounded with.
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Datagrove weaves a tangled electronic web at ZERO1's Art + Technology Biennial


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.
  • Fabricator  Future Cities Lab
  • Designer  Future Cities Lab
  • Location  San Jose, CA
  • Date of Completion  September, 2012
  • Materials  LEDs, LCD panels, IR sensors, Arduino, plywood, polypropylene, acrylic. galvanized steel
  • Process  Digital modeling (Rhino, Grasshopper, Firefly, Rhinocam), CNC milling, laser cutting, vacuum forming, heat slumping
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.
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EVENT> Collaboration: A Conference on The Art and Science of Facades, July 26-27 in SF

Collaboration: The Art and Science of Facades Symposium: Thursday, July 26, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center, San Francisco Workshops: Friday, July 27, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. California College of the Arts, San Francisco This week in San Francisco architects and engineers at the forefront of facade design and fabrication will gather to present their latest work and research. Sponsored by The Architect's Newspaper and Enclos, the first-day line-up for Collaboration: The Art and Science of Facades includes Craig Dykers of Snohetta as the keynote speaker along with presentation by leaders at SOM,  Thornton Thomasetti, Firestone Building Products, IwamotoScott, Future Cities Lab, Gensler, Kreysler & Associates, Gehry Technologies, Buro Happold and more. On the second day, participants receive hands-on practical instruction through workshops with industry leaders. Those attending both days will receive 16 AIA Continuing Education credits. One day left to register! For registration click here. Can't make it out West this week? Check out the next call for papers: AN's Facades + Innovation Conference, October 10-12, Chicago. Download PDF.
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Profile> Jason Kelly Johnson talks Responsive Building Facades July 27

To get a sense of Jason Kelly Johnson's vision for buildings of the future, drop by the Buckminster Fuller show on view at SFMOMA through July 29. Johnson's San Francisco-based studio Future Cities Lab was one of the firms chosen to represent Fuller's legacy in the Bay Area. You'll see the motorized model for the HYDRAMAX Port Machine, a waterfront "urban-scale robotic structure" that harvests rainwater and fog, designed by Johnson and his partner Nataly Gattegno—a dynamic concept that makes today's built environment look positively lazy by comparison. Better yet, go learn from Johnson firsthand. On July 27 Johnson will explore how technical tools like Grasshopper, Firefly, and Arduino can help tap the potential of  buildings in "Responsive Building Facades," a special workshop that is part of AN‘s upcoming conference Collaboration: the Art and Science of Building Facades, taking place July 26-27 in San Francisco. Future Cities Lab has gained recognition for exploring architecture through the lenses of advanced fabrication technologies, robotics, responsive building systems, and public space, receiving Architectural League of New York Young Architects Prize in 2011. Johnson, past recipient of fellowships at the University of Michigan and the Van Alan Institute in New York, also teaches at the California College of the Arts (CCA), and he'll serve as chair of the upcoming ACADIA 2012 Conference “Synthetic Digital Ecologies” to be held in San Francisco. Johnson's upcoming July 27 Responsive Building Facades workshop will examine the use of Grasshopper, Firefly, and Arduino as creative and technical tools in the design, simulation and prototyping of intelligent building skins. To register for this workshop and the preceding July 26 symposium, click here.
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On View> It's Different at the Architecture League

The Architectural League's current exhibition offers a glimpse of where architecture is headed. It's Different shows the work of the six winners of the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers (formerly known as the Young Architect's Forum). It's a geographically diverse group working in a variety of formal veins. The six winners (with images!) are:
  • San Francisco-based form-ula, Ajmal Aqtash, Richard Sarrach, and Tamaki Uchikawa, principals.
  • Future Cities Lab, also based in San Francisco, Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno, principals.
  • Kiel Moe of Boston.
  • NAMELESS, a firm with offices in New York and Seoul, South Korea. Unchung Na and Sorae Yoo, principals.
  • Alibi Studio, of Detroit. Catie Newell, principal.
  • William O'Brien Jr., also of Boston.
Jurors for the 2011 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers were Michael Manfredi, Hilary Sample, Annabelle Selldorf, and Ken Smith. It's Different is on view at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons The New School for Design, at 66 Fifth Avenue through July 29.