Posts tagged with "University of Michigan":

Michigan’s Mcity selects startups to test self-driving technologies

A tech haven located on the northern campus of the University of Michigan is redefining Michigan's ‘Motor King’ reputation. Mcity is a 32–acre complex designed to mimic urban and suburban city environments. Complete with painted building facades, dummy pedestrians, bike lanes, roads and highway ramps, the controlled laboratory environment eliminates real-world risks and serves as a unique testing ground for vehicle and urban transportation technology. The combination of physical and virtual alteration possibilities within this ‘fake-city’ allow both for current real-life simulations as well as testing for speculative future mobility scenarios. The ability to replicate human-scale urban and suburban environments is vital for conducting tests to enhance current road safety and to plan for our evolving urban future. The facility is involved in numerous research projects, including testing data collection and management systems, studying interactions between motor vehicles and bicyclists, enhancing pedestrian detection and avoidance technology, and improving intelligent parking guidance system. Having access to a state-of-the-art testing facility such as Mcity provides tech companies with unparalleled development opportunities in their work and research. This fall, five emerging startups have been selected to work at Mcity alongside students at the University of Michigan's TechLab. Tome, based in Detroit, works on enhancing bicycle-to-vehicle (B2V) communication within the urban sphere. CARMERA, based in New York and Seattle, are experts in street-level intelligence focused on creating real-time 3-D maps and scene reconstructions vital for autonomous vehicle performance. RightHook, from San Jose, California, specializes in safely simulating harsh conditions to test the resiliency and performance of automated vehicles. Zendrive, of San Francisco, California, aims to increase driver safety through smartphone data collection. PolySync, from Portland, Oregon, builds software infrastructure and tools to develop autonomous vehicle functions.

Wasserman Projects holds panel discussion on the future of Detroit architecture

As a part of Detroit's Wasserman Projects exhibition, Desire Bouncing, a panel discussion addressed the future of architecture and art in Detroit. The panel was moderated by Reed Kroloff, principal of Jones Kroloff and former director of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum. The panel included exhibiting artist Alex Schweder, associate curator at MoMA's Department of Architecture and Design; Sean Anderson, architectural critic; Cynthia DavidsonVenice Biennale U.S. Pavilion co-curator; and Mitch McEwen, assistant professor of Architecture at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at University of Michigan. Detroit is physically changing. Some of its architectural treasures and thousands more of its abandoned homes have been demolished. But now that Detroit is undergoing the slow process of rebuilding, what kind of architecture will replace it? This and other questions were discussed among an expert panel of architects and critics that gathered last Friday at Wasserman Projects, a gallery and event space in a renovated fire truck maintenance facility in Detroit's Eastern Market. Around 50 guests attended the panel discussion, called "Architecture By Any Means Necessary." Kroloff began by asking the panelists, "What are things architecture can do beyond creating a city environment?" "Structures are receptacles for stories, for meanings," said Alex Schweder, an artist who often combines performance and architecture in his work. "The structures in Washington D.C. are a manifestation of stories we tell about our country." "Buildings can perform things we never thought were possible," said Mitch McEwen, a founding partner at A(n) Office and Principal of McEwen Studio. Her example of Le Corbusier's Carpenter Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which changed her conception of architecture, lead to an argument about the interaction between a building and its visitors. Cynthia Davidson described her distaste for Detroit's Renaissance Center, the headquarters of General Motors, often criticized for its confusing walkways and lack of synergy with downtown. "[Designer John] Portman makes you realize how controlling architecture can be," she said. In response to a question about what new architecture in Detroit should do, Schweder advocated architects and city managers give up some control. "Our roles can be collaborative with client and users," he said. "People want voice and agency in the look and use of their city." The discussion took a turn towards political issues and actual implementation of these ideas. Sean Anderson, acknowledged the difficulty Schweder's proposal. "History is often not recognized by developers that come and rebuild cities." During the audience question portion of the panel, someone mentioned that vast areas of Detroit that have no architecture, but "only the ghosts of architecture." He then wondered if this "absence" was worth preserving. "Detroit is a city of single family homes," answered McEwen. She felt that memorializing vacancy was the wrong approach. "I hope the city rebuilds, but with respect for the logic of the single family home." Desire Bouncing will be on show through April 9th at the Wasserman Projects at 3434 Russell Street, #502, Detroit, Michigan 48207. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScgU9lB3Ves

Twenty photographs chosen for postcards of Detroit at the U.S. Biennale Pavilion in Venice

As part of the U.S. Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, 20 photographs by 18 individuals have been chosen as winners of the “My Detroit” Postcard Photo Contest. “The twenty photographs to be printed as postcards will help us tell the exhibition visitor short stories about life in Detroit,” explained co-curator Cynthia Davidson in a press release. The pavilion, entitled The Architectural Imagination, will present 12 speculative architectural projects for four sites around Detroit. The postcards, made from the contest winning photographs, will be available at the pavilion as well as be part of the exhibition catalog. Picked from 463 entries, the images were chosen by photographer and sociologist Camilo José Vergara, who has photographed Detroit since 1985, and Davidson. The images range from views of iconic Detroit architecture, including the Michigan Central Station, to family portraits of local Detroiters. Ten of the contest winners are Detroit residents. "Detroit has a rich culture and history to draw from as we work toward creating a vibrant future," said Robert Fishman, University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning interim dean and professor. "The photos recognized in the postcard contest are a reflection of Detroit over time that we are excited to share with the world." The Architectural Imagination is being organized through the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture, by co-curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de León. The U.S. Pavilion will be open at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale from May 28 – November 27, 2016. The Postcard Photo contest winners are: Sara Jane Boyers, Santa Monica, CA Derek Chang, New York, NY Jon DeBoer, Royal Oak, MI Antoinette Del Villano, Brooklyn, NY Jennifer Garza-Cuen, Reno, NV Geoff George, Detroit, MI Erik Herrmann, Ann Arbor, MI Julie Huff, Detroit, MI William McGraw, Dearborn, MI Ayana T. Miller, Detroit, MI Ben Nowak, Oak Park, MI Kevin Robishaw, Detroit, MI Salvador Rodriguez, Saint Clair Shores, MI Harrell Scarcello, Southfield, MI Sue Shoemaker, Brown City, MI John Sobczak, Bloomfield, MI Cigdem Talu, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Corine Vermeulen, Hamtramck, MI

On View> “Some Views of Triumphal Arches” by James Michael Tate

Los Angeles–based architect James Michael Tate will offer a “speculative investigation” of one of architecture's most enduring forms at the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, titled Some Views of Triumphal Arches. Tate, who was the college's 2014–2015 Willard A. Oberdick Fellow runs the architecture studio practice T8projects and recently co-organized the yearlong series On the Road in L.A. (Read AN's review of On The Road here.) For a year, Tate conducted a “daily ritual of collecting and drawing the principal façade of one triumphal arch: unbuilt, destroyed or standing somewhere in the world at some moment in time.” The resulting exhibition is a reflection on monumentality, and how the various objects relate to each other across time.

This fake town by the University of Michigan to become testing ground for developing smarter driverless cars

Researchers the University of Michigan just one-upped a recent virtual SimCity project for testing smart technologies of future cities. A tangible, 32-acre testing ground for driverless cars called MCity pits autonomous vehicles against every conceivable real-life obstacle, minus the caprice of human drivers. The uninhabited town in the university's North Campus Research Complex contains suburban and city roadways, building facades, sidewalks, bike lanes and streetlights. Recreating street conditions in a controlled environment means teaching robotic vehicles to interpret graffiti-defaced road signs, faded line markings, construction obstacles and other quotidian surprises which AI is still ill-equipped to handle. By dint of moveable facades, researchers can create any condition—from blind corners to odd intersections—to develop more conscientious self-driving vehicles. Vehicles will navigate city terrain from dirt to paving brick and gravel roads, decode freeway signs, and make split-second braking and lane-change decisions in a High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane at peak hours. "We believe that this transformation to connected and automated mobility will be a game changer for safety, for efficiency, for energy, and for accessibility," said Peter Sweatman, director of the U-M Mobility Transformation Center. "Our cities will be much better to live in, our suburbs will be much better to live in. These technologies truly open the door to 21st century mobility." MCity is the first major project of a part governmental, academic, and commercial partnership called the University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center. The initiative is backed by million-dollar investments from companies like Toyota, Nissan, Ford, GM, Honda, State Farm, Verizon, and Xerox, who will no doubt be affected should driverless cars go mainstream. The testing center is is also tinkering with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) connectivity to investigate whether it aids individual vehicles in making better decisions. The university aims to eventually deploy 9,000 connected vehicles across the greater Ann Arbor area.

Architects and artists want to turn this vacant Detroit home into a community opera house

Detroit's 90,000 vacant homes and residential lots have proven to be fertile ground for artistic exploration, giving rise to verdant floral installations and canvases for sought-after graffiti artists. Now architects and artists from The D and beyond hope to turn an abandoned property at 1620 Morrell Street into something truly surprising. Dubbed House Opera | Opera House, the project aims to turn a decrepit, 2,000-square-foot house into a public performance space “where Detroiters could tell stories through music,” according to a Mitch McEwen, the project's principal architect. She spoke to WDET for their story, “From Blight to Stage Right”:
It evolved from a small group of artists in New York to a large group of folks across the country … neighbors have started to talk about performances or people in their families who perform that might get involved. And so we've really expanded from an immediate, emergency kind of dialogue to one that's about culture and talent that's already in the neighborhood, and how it can have a stage there at the House Opera.
McEwen bought the two-story home for just $1,200 in a public auction, paid off its delinquent property taxes, and got to work raising money for its second act. So far the project has received financial support from Graham FoundationKnight FoundationTaubman College – University of Michigan, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, as well as numerous individual benefactors including Mark Gardner, Theaster Gates and Dr. Larry Weiss.

University of Michigan plans $28 million architecture building expansion

Five years ago, the University of Michigan shelved its plans to expand its Art and Architecture Building. Now, a bit further along on the country’s economic recovery, the University said this week it would build a $28 million addition. University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning will be the primary tenants of the building, which U-M has tapped Integrated Design Solutions and Preston Scott Cohen to design. Located on U-M’s North Campus, it will also house the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design. The new wing will be named for Alfred Taubman, the architecture college’s namesake, who donated $12.5 million toward the addition. Plans for a $13 million, 16,300-square-feet addition were originally drawn up in 2007, but administrators scuttled that project after the financial crisis. Now with twice the budget, the design is hotly anticipated on campus.

Pyramid Scheming with Michigan Architecture Students

Fabrikator

Two students in the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning designed a textural, horizontal installation with complete transparency.

When Harold-Sprague Solie and Geoffrey Salvatore developed their decorative 12- by 5-foot ceiling installation Stalactites for a graduate course with Tsz Yan Ng at the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning, the goal was to produce a design and fabrication process with an accompanying detailed set of documents. "We wanted to take the focus away from just the object at the end and go through a set of drawings to help [the viewer] understand the installation and bring him or her into it," said Salvatore. He expressed the desire for complete transparency, since architecture tends to conceal the labor details, and explained that this process helps expose some of the hidden logic of the project. So while the drawings began as aids for viewing and understanding the project, they became useful as Solie and Salvatore went through the design process. "[As we worked] we'd have these drawing to fall back on; to rediscover ideas, to catch mistakes and reveal things we'd have missed," Solie said.
  • Fabricators Harold-Sprague Solie, Geoffrey Salvatore
  • Architects Harold-Sprague Solie, Geoffrey Salvatore
  • Location Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Date of Completion November 2011
  • Material Bristol board, paint
  • Process Rhino, Illustrator
"It was important to work back and forth between the physical process and the [digital] drawing process," Salvatore added. The overall project was modeled in Rhino, while the drawings were produced and tweaked in Adobe Illustrator. The piece itself is composed of four truncated pyramidal units made from Bristol board, the largest of which measures 12 inches on each side at a height of 9 3/4 inches, while the smallest measures 6 inches on each side at a height of 2 5/8 inches. Each shape was drawn to include fastening tablature that eliminates fastening materials. "Each piece has a male and female tab and each tab on each side allows it to aggregate with other pieces," Solie said. "They're organized around the largest piece that has six connections, as opposed to three on the others, and are arranged in a way that supports a universal connector." Starting with the originating piece, Solie and Salvatore worked their way out from the center. "That allowed later orientation of individual pieces for the form we wanted," Salvatore said. "We had seven of the big main pieces and the other pieces radiated out from that." Part of the advantage of working with a firm paper like Bristol board was the flexibility it afforded for mock ups, of which there were plenty. "We went from fabrication to drawing, then back to the fabrication, back to drawing," Solie said of the process. "There's a logic to the aggregation to avoid dead ends. We'd mock up a set of 10 or 15 and once we'd hit a dead end we'd go back and solve the problem." Each of the four patterns were laser-cut onto the Bristol paper, which maximized efficiency. In addition to reducing manufacturing waste, each element can be nested when unfolded. Originally, the team experimented with Yuppo, a thin gauge plastic, but had to abandon the material because the tabbing was problematic and did not support their desire to refrain from introducing other materials. The paper's lightweight made it easy to hang Stalactites 10 feet off the ground, though the designers predict alternative materials like light plastics or aluminum could be suitable.

Spatial Ops’ Optical Architecture Engages with Disorientation

Occupying a room in the abandoned Federal Screw Works factory in Chelsea, Michigan, General Manifold is an immersive environment that aims to disorient as well as engage. The installation is set in an 80,000 square foot factory, founded in 1913, that once employed 250 people. When it was shuttered in 2005, only 37 remained. Spatial Ops, with students from their Meta Friche seminar at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, engage the factory’s history, showcasing the ruin and rendering its inverse. Their insertion is an attempt to cultivate enthusiasm for the ruin and to gain support for its transformation, the first step in a forthcoming master plan for Chelsea Common. The space is optically distorting with truncated pyramids that explode from a central cavity to the walls of the enveloping room. Serial cuts punctuate the pyramids, casting light and shadows into the space and further complicating the visitor’s sense of depth, dimension, and scale. Inside, spatially localized speakers layer industrial sounds over readings of texts on ruins from the 18th and 19th centuries, including John Ruskin, Viollet le Duc, and Denis Diderot. The installation will remain in place until the factory is razed.