Point of View

The METROPOLIS Blog

February 2012

Lab Report XXII

02/27/12

Lab Report XXII

Portland State University is an educational institution that believes in engaging the community, in a multitude of directions and capacities; the entire state of Oregon is their classroom, as they like to say. What’s more, they value collaborating with local organizations to improve the overall quality of life, not just of Oregonians, but people everywhere, domestically and abroad. Take the Green Building Research Laboratory (GBRL), for example. It focuses on ways to improve the technologies and strategies in the green building industry--through research and collaboration. They welcome collaborations large and small to develop new campaigns, strategies and tools, reaffirming the underlying ecologically conscientious approach of the university as a whole. Camera and resultant thermal...

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Science for Designers: Intelligence and the Information Environment

02/25/12

Science for Designers: Intelligence and the Information Environment

Research reveals our preference for information-rich environments that can be easily broken up into informational groups.

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Lab Report XXI

02/20/12

Lab Report XXI

Everyone involved in design agrees that he or she wants to improve and enhance people’s lives. At M.I.N.D Labs or Media, Interface, and Network Design Labs, that goal becomes eminently clear. A consortium comprised of 11 university design labs includes members from Finland, Russia, Portugal, Spain, Germany, and the U.S. Their collective directive is to research the interaction between the human mind and the computer and its many different forms, including VR, gaming, and mobile networking and how these can “augment human ability.” image via msumindlab.wordpress.com Just as the labs are multinational, the projects they investigate are multidisciplinary. Take the Creative Media [Project] for Healing Teenage Orphans of Rwandan Genocide. The team includes pediatricians,...

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Places that Work: Hirshhorn

02/17/12

Places that Work: Hirshhorn

The building that houses the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is an exquisite disc that enhances the National Mall in Washington, DC.  Affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute, the Hirshhorn is shaped like a perfectly round donut that rests on four giant piers, 14 feet above ground level (museum visitors also have access to a lower level).  The hollow, cylindrical shape of the building, designed by Gordon Bunshaft and opened in 1974, is why this is a place that works. Curved paths draw us forward and invite us to investigate surprises that await us just out of sight. Such paths can be anywhere, in gardens, department stores, or museums. Thus the building’s shape encourages exploring the art collection. The circular pathways also minimize the risk of moving forward quickly...

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Lab Report XX

02/14/12

Lab Report XX

There have been many suggestions on how to harness wind to power buildings or just to produce more clean sources of energy to add to the grid. The problem is that many of these technologies are prohibitively expensive, so that the cost of producing the devices is not offset by the amount of energy they produce. At the Cornell Creative Machine’s Lab, researchers in Mechanical Engineering are working to address just those issues. They’re investigating “the principles and feasibility” of capturing wind that flows around buildings rather than merely relying on wind turbines which, to date, have offered the only source of wind power. But wind turbines, while effective, have limitations because of their size and location requirements. Image via creativemachines.cornell.edu The team...

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Examining contemporary life through design, architecture, interior design, product design, graphic design, crafts, planning, and preservation.