This year's 50th Super Bowl could be extra special to those who can somehow get their hands on Microsoft's HoloLens. Though not yet available to the public, the tech giant has unveiled an NFL-based concept that would bring the players and the stadium into your living and even onto your coffee table. The technology would work through gestures, similar to Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox. In the video below, users can be seen bringing up player stats, holograms of the actual stadium including relevant information like weather (forecasts and current), and attendance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKqzeoMCU0c The 3-D virtual reality engine will enable players to appear as if they are coming through walls and allow for the football field to be beamed onto a coffee table. Even though Microsoft debuted its concept last year, the idea does sadly remain in concept form. Virtual reality, however, is nothing new to the architecture profession. Last year AN reported that Tsoi/Kobus & Associates was using the Oculus Rift system to place clients into computer generated 3D renderings. The software was used to deliver a more immersive feel of what the future space might look like. In practice, clients can walk round virtual buildings using Revizto, a cloud system, which architects can invite their clients to use. That said, progress with the technology remains slow as according to Luis Cetrangolo, the architect responsible for implementing the idea, users have begun to feel dizzy after just five minutes of usage.
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In November, Field Constructs Design Competition presented site-specific installations by emerging architects and landscape architects at the Circle Acres Nature Preserve in East Austin. AN recently reported on the winners, but check out the full set of imagery for each project below. As AN's Nick Cecchi reported,
Each of these projects is a diverse and unique response to the competition brief, yet all are united in a search for the latent possibilities in this unique site and the confluence of historical, social, and economic concerns it brings together. As social commentary and landscape art, they provide critical fodder not only for architecture and design professionals, but for the public as well. Competitions and proposals of this scale are not only opportunities for emerging voices to have a dialogue with each other and the distinguished members of the jury, but also demonstrate to the public that architects and designers are constantly reimagining how we interact with our natural and built environments.2015 FCDC Winners 99 WHITE BALLOONS INVIVIA — Cambridge, Mass. USA BLURRED BODIES StudioRoland Snooks — Melbourne, Australia DUCK BLIND IN PLAIN SITE OP.AL + And-Either-Or — New York, NY USA HYBROOT OTA+ — Austin, Texas USA For more FCDC, check out AN's original article.
Architects and designers are taking design to the next level by incorporating technology-advanced architectural glass into both residential and commercial projects. From LED glass to sound-absorbing glass, architectural glass and technology are coming together to conceive new and innovative design options. Polymagic LED Glass Polytronix A conductive surface coating allows LED lights to be embedded into these glass panels without wires. The energy-efficient LEDs can be arranged into custom patterns. Available in five colors, the lights can be flashed or dimmed. The product can be laminated with many different glasses, including tempered, low-iron, and printed types. AviProtek Walker Textures It’s been proven that glass with specific visual markers can effectively prevent bird collisions in buildings. This collection of glazing solutions has been designed to meet both bird-friendly criteria as well as the aesthetic intents of architects and solar performance targets. Solarban 90 PPG SOLARBAN 90 glass is a low-emissivity glass that combines industry-leading solar control performance with a true neutral-reflective, clear-glass aesthetic. Solarban 90 glass has a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.23, visible light transmittance of 51 percent, and a light-to-solar-gain ratio of 2.22 with clear glass in a one-inch insulating glass unit. Liquid Crystal Window Technology Merck KGaA Darmstadt Liquid Crystal Window technology enables windows to be switched in seconds from light to dark and vice versa, creating a comfortable interior environment without employing conventional shading solutions. Trosifol Sound Control Kuraray This noise-attenuating PVB acoustic film offers an improvement of up to three dB in sound insulation values. Additionally, it has 88 percent light transmittance and a low yellowness index.
New to the list of job functions up for replacement by technology: bridge construction. Dutch designer Joris Laarman has founded MX3D, a research and development company currently tinkering with a never-before-seen 3D printer that can weld steel objects in mid-air. In 2017, Laarman will deposit the robot on the banks of a canal in Amsterdam and walk away. When he returns two months later, a 24-foot steel bridge will arc over the canal, built utterly without human intervention yet capable of accommodating normal foot traffic for decades. This potentially revolutionizing technology by MX3D and Autodesk can “draw” and fabricate city infrastructure on location, which has radical implications for the construction industry. Far from being makeshift, the finished bridge will feature an intricate design that looks more handcrafted than the detailing on a typical bridge. 3D printing allows for granular control of detail that industrial manufacturing does not, accommodating designs that are more ornate and bespoke than the detailing on most bridges. While 3D printers normally transact in resin or plastic, Laarman’s bridge will be fabricated from a steel composite developed by the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. It will be as strong as regular steel but can be dolloped drop by drop by a 3D printer. The unique printer itself has no printer bed. Using additive printing technology, it “works like a train,” according to Fast Company. “Except instead of running along existing tracks it prints out its own as it goes along.” The six-axis robot can move horizontally, vertically and even diagonally, and can hence traverse gaps like a canal or the empty space between walls. “We thought to ourselves: what is the most iconic thing we could print in public that would show off what our technology is capable of?” Laarman told Fast Company. “This being the Netherlands we decided a bridge over an old canal was a pretty good choice. Not only is it good for publicity, but if MX3D can construct a bridge out of thin air, it can construct anything.” Laarman enlisted design and engineering software company Autodesk to help rectify common 3D printing glitches – namely, designing a robot with a real-time feedback loop capable of correcting itself when errors occur. Typically, when a drop of resin is misplaced, the robot has no way of “knowing,” so that all subsequent drops are misplaced and the design is maimed. Given that the robot will build in public, foreseeable errors extend beyond internal mechanical failures. The machine must be primed to withstand temperature fluctuations that cause metal to expand and even “kids hurling beer bottles at the robot.” “Robots tend to assume that the universe is made of absolutes, even though that’s not true,” said Maurice Conti, head of Autodesk’s Applied Research Lab. “So we need to program them to have real-time feedback loops, and adapt in real time without even being told to.” If successful, MX3D’s technology could open up avenues for unprecedented design possibilities and cost efficiency in the fields of construction, architecture, design, and more.
Does the world need another bit of wearable tech? Will.i.am thinks so, and the musician/entrepreneur has enlisted Zaha Hadid to lend her talents to his fashion-forward cause. Here's the rundown: Called the Puls, the Android-based cuff bracelet uses a SIM card, allowing it to function independent of any smartphone. It responds to voice commands, which makes sending texts, placing phone calls, playing music, posting to social media, and the like largely a hands-free operation (although there is a teeny, tiny keyboard that can pop up onscreen). The Puls uses conductive wireless charging technology, so instead of a USB connection, the device powers up through contact with a charging surface. Puls is promised to be in AT&T stores for the holidays. As far as the Zaha designs go, no word on the date of their release. Curved, fairly rigid, and rather bulky, the Puls isn't likely to get any smaller in Ms. Hadid's renditions. But it is certainly going to become more eye-catching. Forbes.com caught these glimpses of the starchitect's watch at a recent conference.
Israeli-American architect Eli Attia claims Google stole his life’s work—a visionary design and construction software that the company estimates could generate $120 billion annually. The technology, Google claims, has the potential to cut construction costs and the time from design to completion by 30 percent. "By stealing and bastardizing my technology,” Attie told Israli business daily Globes, “Google has deprived humanity of what it urgently needs. And, in the process, has careless and callously wasted three years of my life.” (Image: Courtesy Google)
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A fellow at the Knowlton School of Architecture expounds on the work of Le Ricolais with a new plugin for Rhino.For Justin Diles, Ohio State University’s KSA LeFevre fellowship was a fateful progression of past experiences and ongoing professional work. While studying under Cecil Balmond at the University of Pennsylvania, Diles encountered hand-built models that Robert Le Ricolais constructed with his students in the 1960s. “Le Ricolais built models with his students for 20 years,” said Diles, “and one that I found he had built out of tubular steel and loaded to failure. It produced a really beautiful deformation pattern.” Two years later, Diles was teaching at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in the master class studio of Greg Lynn. While in Austria, he met Clemens Preisinger, a developer who, with support from Klaus Bollinger’s firm Bollinger Grohman Engineers, wrote a new plugin for Rhino called Karamba. The plugin is an architect-friendly, finite, element analysis method that delivers fast, intuitive graphic information, along with the requisite numbers. The plugin would figure heavily in Diles’ fellowship work. When he arrived in Ohio, Diles’s work progressed along two parallel tracks: The first was developing a computational design component with a formal vocabulary of the structural deformation Le Ricolais’ model. The second was developing a material capable of realizing the design. In Karamba, Diles augmented a tectonic simile from le Ricolais’s latticed models as surfaces for fabrication with composites. “That was an ah-ha moment for me,” said Diles. “I began taking a single assembly and ran it through multiple iterations of buckling deformations.” Diles layered multiple deformations into patterns that produced a puzzle of nesting components. Black and white coloring helped him track the layers and lent a graphic, architectural appeal. After the design was finalized, Diles made a series of molds from lightweight Styrofoam. “It was interesting because it’s usually a junk material and, in a way, has a very bad reputation as a material,” he said. “But it’s recyclable and can hold a tremendous amount of weight and is easily worked on a CNC mill.” A 3-axis mill generated components of a mold, which were taped together and sealed with Plaster of Paris to prevent resins of the composite from bonding to the foam. “We used a lot of tricks from Bill Kreysler’s fabrication shop,” said Diles. The final mold was sealed with Duratec StyroSheild. Diles and his team coated the mold with layers of different materials, not knowing exactly how the final components would safely release from the cast. An outermost layer of marine-grade gel coat was applied to the mold and roughly sanded so a chopped E-glass fiberglass reinforcement could be affixed to it with resin. Since fiberglass is a lightweight material, about three layers were built up to realize the final 11 1/2- by 6-foot form. Convex white sections and hollow black pieces were friction-fitted, sans glue, with maximum gap spaces of only 1/32-inch.
Nearly 42,000 architects, interior designers, facilities planners, furniture dealers, and distributors converged on NeoCon, the A&D industry's largest exhibition of office, residential, health care, hospitality, institutional, and government design products. Held from June 10–12, the show included education components and keynote presentations from Bjarke Ingels, founder of BIG; Michael Vanderbyl, principal of Vanderbyl Design; Holly Hunt, president & CEO of Holly Hunt; and Lauren Rottet, interior architect and founder of Rottet Studio. AN was present to cover a handful of educational seminars and sessions (see our live tweets from Ingels's presentation on our Twitter feed), and we scoured the showrooms in search of 2013's new product trends. Following are a few we saw at the show. COLOR Manufacturers touted a vibrant range of colors across their new product collections. Some say this is indicative of a sustainable economic upturn, while others are just sick of playing it safe. The Us Family American Seating Company A collection of adaptable seating and tables for education environments from American Seating Company was designed with the help of color expert Laura Guido-Clark. As an expert in the color, material, and finish of consumer products, she helped select a palette of 15 colors and 450 fabric options in colorways that improve the learning environment. Eames Molded Fiberglass Side Chair Herman Miller Thanks to advances in sustainable manufacturing technology, Herman Miller reintroduced the molded plastic Arm and Side chairs in fiberglass. A reformulation of the collection's color pigments have also facilitated a commitment to the original nine color options envisioned by the Eameses. Both models are available with a wire, dowel, four leg, stackable, or rocking base. Soon KnollTextiles The Alejandro Cardenas–designed collection of bright colors and graphic patterns was inspired by a song from one of the designer's favorite bands: My Bloody Valentine. The song's rhythm was translated to texture on a textile of 100 percent cotton. The collection exceeds 60,000 Wyzenbeek rubs. PARAMETRICS Design complexities are increasingly achieved via digital design and fabrication methods, and that trend was very much present at NeoCon this year. From furniture to finishings, parametric design visuals were everywhere—and not only in the abundance of hexagonal designs we saw on each floor of the Mart. Off the Wall Mohawk Group Street art finds its way to interior finishes with Off the Wall, a pattern from artist Aakash Nhihalani, who uses neon painter's tape to create illusions of depth in urban environments. These dimensions were translated algorithmically to a linear pattern in Off the Wall, part of the Street Thread Collection, and can be reconfigured to suggest way finding, define an area within a room, or recreate classic textile patterns. Hexagon Shaw Contract Group Bold portrayal of the hexagonal trend was exhibited in Shaw Contract's aptly named carpet tile collection. Developed in collaboration with Chris Heard and Stephen Wells of Atlanta-based design firm Hendricks; John Peterson of Public Architecture; and Michael Murphy of MASS Design Group, six-sided geometric patterns are generatively configured across each tile to continue the pattern in any direction. Cliffy 6000 SIXINCH At nearly 20 feet in length, the curvilinear Cliffy 6000 is part of SIXINCH's U.S. debut of contract-ready, three-step foam-coated furniture. Designed by Rainer Mutsch, repeating sections of the bench curve smoothly along both planes for back-supported seating, lounging, and perching. MATERIAL RESPONSIBILITY Sustainability commitments are not the differentiating factor they once were but manufacturers went beyond predictable promises with their 2013 product launches. In addition to the burgeoning use of rapidly renewable materials, companies looked beyond land masses and focused on preserving the ocean's ecosystems. Blazer Camira Available in 60 new shades, Blazer is made with Laneve-branded wool that features a trace code to identify the material's source in New Zealand. For every yard purchased, Camira donates to the New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust to help protect the endangered Hector's Dolphin population off the nation's Banks Peninsula. 2013 Collection with TerraStrand Chilewich Chilewich has substituted petroleum-based plasticizers for TerraStrand, a phthalate-free fiber made from renewable vegetable compounds. Combined with its PVC-free BioFelt backing system, Chilewich products now boast lower greenhouse gas emissions and a lower carbon footprint than traditional vinyl products. Net Effect Interface Designed by David Oakey to convey the movement of water, the yarn fluff on both 20-square-inch tiles and 10- by 40-inch planks is made of 100 percent recycled content from Interface's ReEntry program. Carpet fibers will eventually constructed from nets gathered from the Net-Works project, a joint venture in the Danajon Bank area of the Philippines with the Zoological Society of London that collects and repurposes the discarded fishing nets from some of the world's poorest fishing communities. TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION The effect technology has had on the workplace is undeniable. The ability to work anywhere at any time has changed not only the way we work but where we work and the new corporate environment accommodates everything from advanced integration to stylish simplicity. Bluescape Haworth Developed with Obscura Digital, Bluescape is a cloud-based software and surface that can be accessed on multi-panel high definition touch screens, laptops, and mobile devices simultaneously from anywhere in the world. More than 160 acres of visual data can be stored within the system and does not require a WiFi signal to function across long distances. Element Desk Moser Contract Taking a low-tech approach to workplace technology integration, Adam Rogers's design for the Element desk's classic lines are uninterrupted by cord management strategies. Made from solid, domestically sourced hardwood, hollowed desk legs hide desktop wires and a keyboard drawer with a collapsible front conceals multiple power and data ports. V.I.A. Steelcase Vertical Intelligent Architecture, or V.I.A., makes use of the most underutilized real estate in the office: the walls. Video conferencing capabilities, writable and tackable surfaces, multiple display screens, and acoustical privacy are integrated into a modular system of walls that can be reconfigured and adapted to automatically meet the way people work with embedded sensors, activators, and microprocessors.
Two new apps are helping to change the relationship between architecture and technology, allowing architects and designers to sketch and trace and view augmented reality 3-D renderings right on their iPads. As its name suggests, the Trace app from the Morpholio Project allows users to draw—with a stylus or a finger—over digitized manilla-yellow tracing paper and sketch graphic concepts directly onto an iPad screen. Designers can add new layers of Trace, creating a timeline for the design process and allowing for easy sharing between colleagues. Once your design is polished and ready to present, another app, UrbaSee, can bring it to life through augmented reality. Available on iPads and smart phones, the software will be on display at the r'pure gallery in New York on October 25 as part of Archtober. The application turns mobile devices into viewing windows that reveals a digital 3-D scale model of a project when viewing the original plan through the screen, tethering the virtual image to the tabletop plan. By using georeferenced files and the device's GPS, UrbaSee can also display models on the intended construction location. After creating an account, users can upload and distribute their own digital models.
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Research into flexible active skins opens up new BIPV possibilitiesAs building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology becomes more advanced, architects are getting involved in how new systems affect not only a building’s performance, but also its appearance. “The photovoltaic industry was until now largely developed by engineers,” said Daniel Martín Ferrero, a Madrid-based architect researching solar design. “The architect must enter the industry to develop their integration into the urban scene.” Ferrero has launched a new company named The New Solar Architecture with a goal of bringing a higher level of design to solar energy-producing facades. “I try to convey the idea that the generation of clean energy can be part of the beauty of its major consumer, the city,” said Ferrero. The company’s goal is to design an active skin whose solar modules are composed of flexible material, which would facilitate a broader range of BIPV design possibilities for architects. Now in the conceptual design and construction phase, his Free Form Solar Powered hexagonal modules are manufactured with photovoltaic laminated glass. Along with the modules, Ferrero has developed details for potential construction systems that would integrate them, including ventilated facades, curtain walls, and monolayer structures. The hexagonal, honeycomb-like skins could have far-reaching implications for BIPV design in projects as small as parking structures or as large as Olympic stadiums. Watch the video below to see the fabrication process behind BIPV glass:
As architecture grows more technical and technologically dependent, it can become harder for designers to navigate the sea of new programs and computer code. Columbia University GSAPP professor David Benjamin is here to help, offering a panel discussion Monday night about the future of computing and design, “Post Parametric 2: Demo.” The program is the second event in a series that brings expert programmers and researchers together, providing a unique opportunity for architects to learn from people outside their profession. “The first event last fall, "Post Parametric 1: Data," focused on how our new era of massive data might affect computing and design,” Benjamin said in an email. “Monday’s event involves five innovators demonstrating new technologies and speculating on the future directions for computing and design.” The event, which is co-sponsored by the Columbia Department of Computer Science, aims to enliven dialogue about the relationship between computation and design. Benjamin believes that by creating a sustained discussion about issues of technology, a complex, insightful dialogue will develop. The subject matter of the discussion will address current technologies but will primarily look to the future by bringing upcoming innovations to the table. “By future, I mean near future,” Benjamin said. “The series addresses how we might be designing in architecture in ten years.”
The future has let us down in so many ways—still waiting on that jet pack you promised, Hollywood!—but this sweet new gadget should tide us over for a little while, at least. Straight out of Star Trek, it was demonstrated at last month's SPAR 2010 conference in Houston by Austin-based company Zebra Imaging. The technology produces strikingly realistic holographic models, printed on two-dimensional sheets of plastic. Each hologram is the product of thousands of still images, stored in any format from satellite photographs to (calling all architects!) CAD models. These images are then compiled and printed onto a sheet of photographic film up to two feet wide and three feet long. When illuminated from above, a full color, high-resolution 3-D model appears to project up from the flat sheet. You can walk around the display and view it from different angles, and the model seems solid enough that you feel like you could reach out and wrap your hand around a tower or poke your finger into a window. The technology is still new, but architects have begun experimenting with using it for both planning and promotional purposes, to convey a sense of massing and relative scale that could otherwise could only be achieved with a time-consuming, unwieldy physical model. Zebra Imaging says the technology is also proving useful to product designers—as well as the US Military, which has already purchased thousands of geospatial maps. Zebra reports that their next step is to find a way to link the hologram to the computer so that you can change the data and watch the 3-D model morph correspondingly in real time. Very cool, Zebra—when you're done with that, can you get cracking on the holodeck we've all been looking forward to?