Studies on self assembling structures continue, as Skylar Tibbits and Dr. Arthur Olson of MIT in collaboration with Autodesk Research present project Biomolecular Self Assembly at this year’s TEDGlobal 2012: Radical Openness.

While programmable self-assembly has been studied at the molecular level for some time now, this project promotes the idea of using energy to interactively reassemble molecular structures. Instead of using smart robotic systems to construct these structures (like Gramazio & Kohler did in their flight assembled tower), kinetic energy found in extreme near-zero gravity environments or places of high altitudes, space, or underwater, could cause polarized particles to self assemble. “Imagine using wave energy underwater to trigger the self-assembly of multistory structures, or parts dropped from high altitudes to unfold fully erected structures, or even modular, transformable and reconfigurable space structures!”

Three components–geometry, energy, and attraction–are needed for self assembly. Particles assemble as in a biological model of enzymes to specific geometries, creating the most stable geometrical structure after a process of weeding out bad bonds and re-assemblies. Read the rest of this entry »

Masters of surface modeling, the two architects behind Gage / Clemenceau show off the possibilities of next-generation visualization and modelling software, Alias Studio, in their proposal for the Estonian Academy of Arts. Though normally used in the automobile industry, experimental use of the software allows for the creation of an intricate facade that contains a “rich lacework of architectural scale,” allowing students and faculty to “engage with their context by looking in and out in a new way.” The architects teamed up with Autodesk to experiment with the software, resulting in a cross-pollination of automotive and architectural design tactics. Instead of relying on conventional platonic geometries, Alias Studio offers a design comprised of aesthetically pleasing fluid shapes, functional apertures, tunnels, and an internal courtyard. Read the rest of this entry »

Fifth year diploma Architectural Association student Yi Yvonne Weng has recently won the 2012 Foster + Partners Prize for her project “The 6th Layer – Explorative Canopy Trail,” which addresses the theme of sustainability and infrastructure by seeing the Brazilian Amazon forest as a natural infrastructure to work with and not against.

Her design utilizes an ultra lightweight, self-sustaining and versatile architectural system located above three tree canopies. This new space above the trees triggers new ways to interact and perceive the forest. Intended for scientific research, ecotourism and harvesting of the Amazon’s unique medicinal plants, Weng’s system is an environmentally conscious solution to exploring the biological gems of the forest without harming it. Read the rest of this entry »

KPF‘s design for Abu Dhabi International Airport Midfield Complex has recently been signed for fall 2012 construction and is to be completed by 2017.

One of the fastest growing airports in a popular tourist destination, the ‘Garden of the Gulf’ serves as a monumental gateway to the city and is considered a key player in the 2030 master plan.  Fundamentally adapting to the airports’ growing capacity and adaptability, the terminal processes almost 50 million travelers each year, and the expansion will help accommodate and increase passenger experience through larger interior zones. The x-shaped terminal complex provides efficient programmatic function, housing more than 18,000 sq m of facilities and retail, almost 10,000 sq m of international restaurants, over 27,500 sq m of hospitality and a cultural museum, and 49 gates. Read the rest of this entry »

BIG‘s latest project involves the design for the $2.35 billion Rose Rock International Finance Center, a key project included in SOM’s masterplan for the Tianjin Binhai New Area CBD in China. Bjarke Ingels is working with HKS Architecture and Arup to release a terraced tower reminiscent of the Rockefeller Center in New York, promoted as the key to transforming Tianjin into the “financial center of Northern China.” This tower will overcome the scale the Rockefeller Center brought to New York’s skyline in the 1930’s, reaching over 1,929 feet into the air, making it one of the tallest buildings in the world, and will seek to create an “architectural landscape of urban plazas and roof gardens designed to stimulate and cultivate the life between the buildings.” This iconic centerpiece will stand next to a new commercial neighborhood southeast of Tianjin that includes a mix of high-rises, historic sites, parks, and a high-speed rail station connecting it to the coast. The Rose Rock IFC will be the “center of gravity,” attracting overseas investors and innovative financial enterprises from East and West and will promote Yujiapu as a center for sustainable success to the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Rethinking OMA/Koolhaas’ Embassy of the Netherlands‘ conceptual play on solids and voids as a defining system for programmatic function, Kokaistudios integrates a traditional plan of Beijing’s historical Courtyard Houses into their winning design for the new Tsinghua University Law Library. A central void allows natural light to shine through the interior of the the 8-story building and for a trajectory to be exposed at different points due to the carving of a stone facade. Visitors proceed through a narrative of solid and void spaces and skylights ranging from circulation, indoor and outdoor areas. Read the rest of this entry »

Former eVolo Skyscraper Competition finalist BNKR Arquitectura addresses Mexico City’s urban constraints with an inverted Aztec pyramid, or “Earthscraper,” at the heart of the historic city center. This proposal would conserve today’s  historical aesthetic of buildings and public space, endure Mexico City’s growing population, and adhere to city center’s 8-story height restrictions. A 1,000 foot long reversed pyramid is embedded into the ground, where a mini-city is layered 65 stories (300 m) deep. The structure’s glass roof is embedded at the city’s ground level, followed by habitable spaces around the perimeter of the void, allowing natural light to descend to the deepest levels. Read the rest of this entry »

Continuing their investigations on mesh grammars at CAAD, ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, Benjamin Dillenburger and Michael Hansmeyer have explored the creation of a series of domes which consist of a surface being folded over and over. Mesh grammars, as defined by Hansmeyer, is a “process that combines mesh refinement techniques with the logic of shape grammars. Unlike traditional shape grammars, mesh grammars do not consider isolated objects but always view objects as embedded in a network–the mesh.” Read the rest of this entry »

As part of an ongoing redevelopment of the Shenzhen city center, Coop Himmelb(l)au‘s 2007 commissioned design for the Museum of Contemporary Art and Planning Exhibition (MoCAPE) adheres to the functional requirements of the modern museum while molding the urban fabric to offer a contrasting attraction within the predominantly high-rise district. The Museum of Contemporary Art and the Planning Exhibition are joined together to create an ‘Urban Monolith’ by a large metal sculpture sheltering a skybridge beneath a flared glass overhang. Located near the City Library, Opera House, Central Bookstore, and other civic centers of the Futian District, the MoCAPE completes the civic exchange between China and Hong Kong, making its size and location a crucial piece to the ‘Futian Cultural Center.’ A contrasting use of scale spreads the MoCape across the site, allowing overhangs to stretch towards the street. The louvered and at times triangular glass façade keeps natural light in as well as strategic views of the surrounding street life, wrapping around the two offset museums. Like in the Dalian International Conference Center, Coop Himmelb(l)au tailors architecture to adhere to China’s large population through urban scale and circulation, comfort and energy consumption, offering spaces to gather and indulge in China’s contemporary visions. Read the rest of this entry »

Mekano Studio has designed a smart data city for Cairo that is intended to administrate everything with real time data with hopes of increasing productivity in a well organized community. Theoretically, this smart city would thrive on data that would facilitate transportation, airports, trains, roads, and signs. Additionally, the data at the core of the infrastructure would also govern public safety, education, and medical situations. With data to present in any situation, citizens would only need to think and decide on the best choices for a productive city. 

This new Egyptian dream encompasses a collective of people in all necessary fields that comprise a functional city. It will be environmentally powered, depending on solar power and wind energy. A new arena to be greened by its people, the data driven city will create the majority of its structures through local bricks and cheap materials, green roofs will be seen on most buildings as well as pedestrian bridges.

Techniques will be integrated based on past successful studies. A combination of Farouk Elbaz and Mamdooh Hamza studies will be applied, which involve the site location (based on the old delta’s spread towards the desert) and roads. As source of water is a critical issue, the city will mostly depend on desalination of seawater, rain and gray water.

January 25th marked a day of political revolution. The remake of Tahrir Square in the smart city became a milestone in establishing respect for the people of Egypt, acknowledging their humanity and beliefs. Each person, then, is seen as an attributing factor to the city’s overall energy–electrical energy in fact. With the technique of piezoelectricty, which converts energy to electricity, not only could a zero carbon footprint could potentially be achieved, but the recognition of individual input to allow for city growth can be realized. Citizens of this city will live with dignity.

Hexagonally shaped cities will be connected to form one cohesive unit by large green layers that support a new alternative to car transportation method–layers of green stairs–holding the people on its roof, taking advantage of varying levels, visuals, usage and materials.  The Tahrir Square is comprised of various green areas: some for sitting, but most for piezoelectricity techniques. In the middle of the hexagon which is located in the center, a great feature describes martyrs, and a light numeric indicator in a transparent Obelisk gives light to inform the actual number of people at the square, giving real time data to encourage power boosts.