Grow Your Own 3D Printed Protohouse

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Friday, November 30, 2012
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Protohouse by Softkill.

Protohouse by Softkill.

Print your next house in 30 separate snap tight pieces

While events like Maker Faire have done a lot to increase the visibility of 3D printing, the London-based generative and 3D design group Softkill has spoken openly about how they still think “3D printing is a specialized, one-off luxury, rich man’s thing.” But they went on to say that “there really is an interesting future for architecture and 3D printing because you have great cost savings and material efficiency, which architects are really interested in. That’s where 3D printing is really pushing the discipline.” Softkill recently tested the limits of the latest in Selective Laser Sintering technology with Protohouse, a ⅓ scale house completely fabricated by a 3D printer.

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LEAD’s “Golden Moon” Shines Over Hong Kong

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Friday, November 16, 2012
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LEAD's "Golden Moon"

LEAD’s “Golden Moon”

Digital design meets traditional Chinese craftsmanship in a pavilion constructed like a paper lantern

Hong Kong-based architects Kristof Crolla (LEAD) and Adam Fingrut (Zaha Hadid) married traditional Chinese craftsmanship and digital design technology in their temporary pavilion, Golden Moon, which won the Gold Award in the Mid-Autumn Festival Lantern Wonderland last month. The 60-foot-tall structure was built in just 11 days atop a reflection pool in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, proof that “complex geometry can be built at high speed and low cost with the simplest of means,” said Crolla and Fingrut, who sought to rethink digital design by “anchoring the paradigm in a strong materiality.”

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Design Museum London Calls For Thrifty Fabrication With “Unlimited Edition”

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Friday, November 9, 2012
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LawrenceLek

“Unlimited Edition,” by Lawrence Lek

Making a strong, modular and architecturally significant pavilion on pocket change

For the Designers in Residence exhibition, Design Museum London asked four teams to respond to a brief entitled “Thrift.”  The four resulting projects address the notion that “the limitations of economy require more resourceful, inspired and intelligent use of materials and process” and that the constraints of thrift ultimately lead to “a more creative and fully resolved outcome” than a project with limitless resources.

One of the four chosen proposals came from Lawrence Lek, an architect and sculptor who worked with Ken Yeang in Malaysia and Foster + Partners in London before founding his eponymous studio in 2011. For his project, “Unlimited Edition,” he reflected on how he has approached fabricating prototypes since completing his studies at the Architectural Association (AA) in 2008. “I remember a lot of students’ work, and mine especially, could be very extravagant with materials because being in school you have the luxury of many resources… One thing I found difficult just after leaving the academic world was actually fabricating prototypes.”

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“Minimal Relaxation” Has Maximum Impact at MoCA Shanghai

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Friday, November 2, 2012
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"Minimal Relaxation" at MoCA Shanghai.

“Minimal Relaxation” at MoCA Shanghai.

Reimagining traditional Chinese gardens with parametric geometry

For MoCA Shanghai’s exhibition MoCA Mock-ups: The Architecture of Spatial Art, USC American Academy of China (AAC) Summer Studio 2012 spent six weeks designing, fabricating and constructing “Minimal Relaxation,” a parametric canopy and undulating, LED-lit landscape that creates prime skyline viewing locations on the museum’s rooftop terrace. Inspired by Frei Otto, an architect and structural engineer famous for his complex canopy structures, “Minimal Relaxation” extends his body of design research into physical and digital form-finding processes for minimal surface structure through “dynamic relaxation techniques.”

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‘Cosmic Quilt’ Makes Waves In Interactive Architecture

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Friday, October 26, 2012
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CosmicQuilt1

Cosmic Quilt (The Principals)

Experimental systems and new materials break ground in an untapped field of architecture

Earlier this month, Brooklyn-based design practice The Principals installed Wave Dilfert, an interactive “light-sensitive barrel vault” created for The Feast, a social innovation conference that took place this year in Essex Street Market. With their unique trifecta of talents, the founders of The Principals—Christopher Williams, a metal fabricator, Charles Constantine, an industrial designer, and Drew Seskuras, an architect—seem poised to lead the pack of interactive environmental architects. Interactive design is a quickly growing field thanks to events like do-it-yourself festival Maker Faire and the proliferation of open-source electronics prototyping platforms like Arduino. But before The Principals dominate the design-build world, we wanted to revisit the installation that caught everyone’s eye at NY Design Week: Cosmic Quilt. Read More

Datagrove weaves a tangled electronic web at ZERO1′s Art + Technology Biennial

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Friday, October 19, 2012
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Datagrove installation at ZERO1's Art + Technology Biennial in San Jose, CA. (Future Cities Lab)

Datagrove installation at ZERO1′s Art + Technology Biennial in San Jose, CA. (Future Cities Lab)

Use of cell phones is strongly encouraged for tech devotees flocking to Silicon Valley’s ‘social media whispering wall’

As its name implies, Datagrove is literally a grove of data or a “social media ‘whispering wall,’” if you will, that aggregates locally trending Twitter feeds and parrots them out of speakers and LCD displays woven into the digital branches of the installation. Nonprofit art/technology network ZERO1 commissioned the installation from San Francisco–based experimental design company Future Cities Lab for its Art + Technology Biennial in San Jose, CA, now on view through December 8, 2012. The theme of this year’s Biennial is “Seeking Silicon Valley,” which seems like a particularly appropriate place to plunder data normally hidden away in smartphones and amplify it for all to hear using custom sensors, text-to-speech modules, LEDs, and LCDs capable of responding directly to people in the immediate vicinity.

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Last Weekend To See London Design Festival’s Parametric KREOD Pavilion

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Friday, October 12, 2012
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KREOD

An easy to build structure brings advanced parametric design together with Kebony’s revolutionary EcoTimber

For the next 48 hours the busy plaza located in London’s Greenwich Peninsula by the O2 Arena (where the Olympic gymnastics were held this summer) will house the modular, geometrically sophisticated pavilion KREOD. Developed by Chun Qing Li of Pavilion Architecture, KREOD is a sturdy, secure, and weatherproof structure built as an exhibition space for London Design Festival. The three interchangeable pods that make up its body can be arranged in a variety of configurations for a number of purposes, from a temporary pavilion to an outdoor bike shed to free standing meeting pods or dining areas. Read More

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The Enigmatic Egg-Shaped Cube at The Festival of Lively Architecture

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Friday, October 5, 2012
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A materially simple yet structurally complex pavilion welcomed visitors to an international architectural competition that took over Montpelier’s 16th-century French hotels.

For the seventh annual Festival des Architectures Vives, or the Festival of Lively Architecture, held this year in Montpelier, France, design studio Atelier Vecteur (AV) was asked to create a pavilion to welcome visitors to the city-wide outdoor installation competition. This year 11 international architecture teams were each assigned a courtyard in one of Montpelier’s many historic hotels. Dating back to the 16th-century, these quiet, private spaces act like refuges from the city streets. They also offered the competing teams a unique venue for their site-specific installations as well as a challenge to come up with the best use of the interior outdoor space. AV was assigned the 18th-century Hôtel Saint-Côme, a former center for medical study and practice funded by Louis XV’s surgeon, who used it until it closed in 1792 during the French Revolution.

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Temporary Dwelling Units Offer ‘Shade & Shelter’ From the Sandstorm

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Friday, September 28, 2012
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An intelligent, temporary dwelling that automatically responds to weather

For his thesis project at Shenkar College of Design, located in Ramat Gan just outside Tel Aviv in Israel, industrial design student Ohad Lustgarten created a six foot-tall prototype of Shade & Shelter, a lightweight, low cost dwelling unit designed to provide protection from the elements. Though Lustgarten had desert environments in mind when he designed the unit’s flexible folding slats to shield against sandstorms, sun and cold, Shade & Shelter could work equally well for campers along a hiking trail. Read More

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Fluid Walls Show Off Concrete’s Seductive Side

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Friday, September 21, 2012
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Selvika

National Tourist Route Rv 889 Havøysund in northern Norway by Reiulf Ramstad Architects

Two new projects prove that concrete’s rigidity is no longer set in stone

From Peter Eisenman’s Berlin Holocaust Memorial to Paul Rudolph’s Art and Architecture building, concrete has been used with finesse in minimalist and brutalist structures and, as such, is mostly thought of as cold or aggressive. Two recent projects in Portugal and Norway are set to change our hard-edged opinion of concrete and show that it can be as fluid as a ribbon waving in the wind. Casa Xieira II, a private home in Leiria, Portugal, designed by A2 + Arquitectos, and the National Tourist Route Rv 889 Havøysund in northern Norway by Reiulf Ramstad Architects both feature winding concrete wrappers that stand out in sharp contrast to their surroundings, a factor that only becomes more important when your primary building material is as stark as concrete. Read More

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E/B Office Transforms 300 IKEA Chairs Into Soaring Pavilion

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Friday, September 14, 2012
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Reimagining the chair as an architectural material

With their focus on “environmental acuity and a critical digital ethic,” Brian Bush and Yong Ju Lee of E/B Office describe themselves as “digital architects” who design ”real projects that are virtually indistinguishable from their digital visions.” Their most recent vision included 300 of IKEA’s pine wood Ivar chairs arching through the air across the wide lawn at Freedom Park in Atlanta, where SEAT was installed earlier this summer for Flux Projects, a public art organization. Bush and Lee hope that SEAT will encourage people to reconsider the chair as more than just a passive, everyday object, but as an architectural structure in and of itself. Indeed, sitting amongst a swooping pavilion built entirely out of chairs, it would be difficult not to.

No doubt you’ve seen the Ivar chair before, or something like it. Popular for its low price ($24.99) and ability to be painted any color, Ivar is so basic it’s the kind of chair that should pop right up when you do a Google Image search for “chair” (it doesn’t, though IKEA’s Poang does). Because they came from IKEA, all 300 were assembled by hand by Bush, Lee and a team of 15. The chairs were unaltered except for the seat, which was removed from most to make them easier to connect. After Bush and Lee made a 3D model in Rhino with the help of a structural engineer, they launched right into building the full-scale version onsite.  Read More

La Voûte de LeFevre, a study in stereotomy

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Friday, September 7, 2012
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LaVoutedeLeFevre

New modeling software enables experimental volumetric design

In a revolt against the realm of the 3D renderings they feel contemporary architects are confined to working within, Matter Design‘s principals Brandon Clifford and Wes McGee founded a studio grounded in digital design that addresses the realities of materials, loads and physicality. Clifford in particular mourns the loss of our “ability to work with volume,” so much so that he spent his year as the 2011-12 LeFevre Emerging Practitioner Fellow at Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture researching volume in building with a special focus on stereotomy, the art of precisely carving solids. It was this research that led him to design La Voûte de LeFevre, a vaulted wooden structure that soars thanks to weight and mass, not in spite of it.

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