Point of View

November 2011

Frontiers of Design Science: Biophilia

11/29/11

Frontiers of Design Science: Biophilia

The instinctive preference we have for certain natural geometries, forms, and characteristics within our environments can have amazing effects.

Posted at 01:14 PM | Permalink | Comments

Welcome to Miami!

11/22/11

Welcome to Miami!

Christopher Janney's installation in a walkway at Miami Airport. As Miami prepares to throw a big party for art lovers and design fans to the creative extravaganza that’s Art Basel Miami Beach and DesignMiami, visitors can expect to have memorable aesthetic experiences just by paying close attention to the city's very public buildings. These projects, as Mies famously advocated, integrate art into architecture. The show starts at Miami International Airport (known for its top quality art program). Michelle Oka Doner's amazing terrazzo floor, inlaid with bronze fossil like ocean flora, makes the long walk to ground transportation enticing. The water theme continues at the next terminal, where your eyes dive into "Waterspace" , a photo mural and oversized photos installation by...

Posted at 04:27 PM | Permalink | Comments

Places that Work

11/20/11

Places that Work

Thomas Edison’s and Henry Ford’s winter estates are places that work because they recognize and respect the natural environments in which they are located.  Most of the rooms in the original buildings are entered directly from outside and there are few interior corridors. Daylight comes in through these doors which also invite errant breezes that circulate the air inside; the generously proportioned windows work the same way. From inside, the windows reveal views of lush gardens and a river that forms one border of the property. The daylight and views combine to make this a place where the legendary inventor-tycoons could restock their mental and physical energies and boost their spirits after months of hard work in northern climates. The high ceilings allow hot air to rise...

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Lab Report IX

11/16/11

Lab Report IX

The Visualization Research Lab at Brown University has been engaged in some noteworthy projects lately. While the images they show appear to be forays into abstract design or art, they are actually being used for some very practical applications: the imaging of brain and bone structures in association with one of their VR systems, called CavePainting. Cave painting, image via VRL Brown University The CP system, as Brown reports, “uses a 3D analog of 2D brush strokes to create 3D works of art in an immersive virtual reality Cave environment.” The responsive interface of this virtual reality environment is “is composed completely of physical props and gestures.” The applications are not just limited to artistic or humanistic endeavors such as archaeology, but also the science...

Posted at 01:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

Elegantly Urbanized

11/14/11

Elegantly Urbanized

Gary Hustwit’s theatrically released documentary Urbanized is an extraordinarily ambitious attempt to make sense of a world flowing into cities. This visually arresting film, like Hustwit’s past work, elegantly conveys the omnipresence of design in daily life. If planning and architecture are so fluid in our surroundings that we scarcely think about them, Urbanized cries out for an eyes-wide-open meditation. At the same time its contemplative style belies urgent social imperatives. An unprecedented 75 percent of the world will live in cities by 2050. If cities are containers, as Lewis Mumford posited, than what happens when the cup runneth over? Urbanized makes clear that trend lines point toward demographic dystopia, particularly in burgeoning Asian and African...

Posted at 05:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

Frontiers of Design Science: Evidence-based Design

11/14/11

Frontiers of Design Science: Evidence-based Design

Environmental design gradually embraces an “evidence-based” methodology.

Posted at 04:57 PM | Permalink | Comments

<i>Metropolis</i> in the News

11/14/11

Metropolis in the News

Last week on ABC’s Nightline, Bill Weir, the host of the segment “This Could Be Big,” waved our October issue on national television. The segment was on QR codes, and our cover had a big one on it. Weir’s question was, “Will this get bigger, or will it end up on the dust heap of technology?” Our technology issue was all about how digital tools are shaking up the design profession, from architects learning code to using software for participatory design. Putting a QR code on each of those stories was a no-brainer—they add a multimedia layer of information to the page.  But the QR code on our cover was really the masterstroke—it’s a portal to Metropolis’s first digital cover.  When our art director Dungjai Pungauthaikan called the designer Peter Alfano to create the...

Posted at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Comments

Lab Report - VIII

11/11/11

Lab Report - VIII

Science-driven design often has two goals, to address practical needs either through creating or advancing new technologies. The results can be tangible objects or a set of tools. At UCLA’s Center for Embedded Networked Sensing, (CENS), researchers are attempting to fulfill both of these goals. What’s even more interesting is that instead of simply using 3D tools, these teams are developing new 3D tools and models, as well as new physical devices. Take the Seismic Group at CENS. Their purpose is to predict earthquakes, eventually. It’s fitting for UCLA to undertake this task since California is well known for its severe tremors. But the truth is that earthquakes occur around the world. In fact, many of the projects being studied by the Seismic Group are based at active sites...

Posted at 01:50 PM | Permalink | Comments

Interning to Do Good

11/10/11

Interning to Do Good

The phrase “bridging the gap” has been a hallmark of debates about architectural education and practice for as long as anyone can remember, with architecture’s unique “internship” period widely regarded and relied on as that bridge. It’s the catch-all and catch-up period between education and practice, which most educators and practitioners readily acknowledge needs bridging. For the estimated one-third of graduates that become registered architects, effectively all internships take place in a traditional design firm setting, under the tutelage of a registered architect. In their vitally important new anthology, Bridging the Gap: Public-Interest Architectural Internships, co-editors editors Georgia Bizios and Katie Wakeford of North Carolina State University, shine a...

Posted at 11:41 AM | Permalink | Comments

Together Apart : Designing With Tension

11/07/11

Together Apart : Designing With Tension

We live in a time of unsettling opposing forces. A time when conflicting interests suggest a hopeless point of no return. But here, in the heart of New York City, Dror Benshetrit has been putting out designs that tell us something different: If applied properly, opposing forces can be a source of power and beauty. His office is embedded in the chaotic nexus of the Garment District, Bryant Park, and Times Square with all its glare and megastores, mass retailing and marketing, old fashioned clothing production, and a piece of perfect green urbanity. Nestled quietly above all this, the studio absorbs the best of this complex setting, putting out designs that blend all these elements, seemingly perfectly. How? The Tron chair is a good example of Dror's design vision and openness....

Posted at 05:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

Lab Report - VII

11/04/11

Lab Report - VII

3D modeling is a familiar and useful tool in architecture, graphic design, industrial design, among other design professions. But oftentimes its development in academia is out of tune with the needs of working designers. The researchers at the University of Arkansas’ Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies or CAST are changing that divide. The group is exploring geospatial applications and theories in a wide range of disciplines to expand the knowledge of both academics as well as professionals. These include animation, archaeology, community development, environmental studies, and historical preservation. At the  UA Resource Center for Heritage Visualization they’re focusing on historic and community preservation. Rather than keeping these developments sequestered in an academic...

Posted at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Comments

Frontiers of Design Science: Self-Organization

11/01/11

Frontiers of Design Science: Self-Organization

A look inside the ability of complex adaptive systems to grow, order, and organize all by themselves.

Posted at 02:34 PM | Permalink | Comments

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