Open-Source Architecture: Download Your Own WikiHouse

Wikihouse prototypes. (Courtesy Wikihouse)

Wikihouse prototypes. (Courtesy Wikihouse)

Want to make your own home in 24 hours? Meet WikiHouse, a way to design and assemble a model structure within a single day. Wikihouse is designed to be easy to use with an online design community posting and editing open-source plans with Google Sketchup. Template plans can be downloaded and cut out with a CNC mill and then easily assembled with minimal skill.

From WikiHouse:

The first WikiHouse will be constructed in South Korea at the Gwangju Design Biennale 2011. We are now looking for architects, furniture designers, product designers, craftsmen, and makers from around the world who are interested in contributing to the WikiHouse process. If that’s you then please drop us an line on hello@wikihouse.cc!

Could downloaded design and “fabrication on the fly” be the future of architecture? How will open-source design impact the profession? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Check out the construction process after the jump.

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Quick Clicks> Countenance Cartography, In Situ Study, Old Becomes New, and Venice Vexed

Daily Clicks
Friday, August 19, 2011
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Courtesy Ingrid Dabringer via Core77

Courtesy Ingrid Dabringer via Core77

Mapping Visage. Canadian artist Ingrid Dabringer has attracted attention for her unique map paintings, finding countenances in irregular land masses. The artist explained that she draws inspiration from large-scale topography and lines on detailed maps. Dabringer believes that maps hold meaning and by adding her own touches, she seeks a more personal interpretation within a traditional tool. More at Core77.

In Situ Study. Recently on Building Design, third-year architecture student Jonathan Brown posed the following question, “Do architecture students today focus too heavily on design theory and practice and consequently, neglect construction skills that cannot be taught in a classroom?” Not alone in his query, the latest RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) “Part of the Picture” campaign permits graduates to credit three months of on-site experience toward their education.

Now and then. Technology and the internet have transformed the way we preserve and promote history, particularly our photographs. Trendcentral highlighted three exciting websites: Historypin, where users can upload historic photos and search geo-tagged photos by time, period, and address; Dear Photograph posts reader-submitted photographs of historic photos in context; and the Flickr group, Looking into the Past, includes a diverse range of historic-current photo collages.

Troubled Bridge over Water. Conservationists and architects have rejected the Venetian superintendent’s call to replace the historic Ponte del Accademia with a glass and steel substitute, reported Building Design. Although architects Schiavina of Bologna have incorporated an Istrian stone version of the iconic bridge’s gentle arch in their design, prominent art critic Francesco Bonami has dubbed the plans a “bad crash.” Plans remain on hold while the city seeks funding for the €6 million design.

Slideshow> Foster & Apple Render the Cupertino Ring

West
Friday, August 19, 2011
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Apple's planned Cupertino campus. (Courtesy Foster & Partners)

Apple's planned Cupertino campus. (Courtesy Foster & Partners)

The official Foster + Partners design has (finally) been released for the new Apple campus in Cupertino. At a recent Cupertino City Council meeting Steve Jobs said he was excited to centralize his campus with a building for 12,000 employees on a site currently dominated by parking lots. In the time since the Cupertino meeting, the not-so-secret news that Foster & Partners designed the giant ring has also been confirmed. The low-lying complex, described as being built at a “human scale” and largely off the grid, is expected to open in 2015. In reference to the overall design and the building’s glass curvature Jobs noted, “It’s a little like a spaceship landed.”

Continue reading after the jump.

nonLin/Lin Pavilion: Marc Fornes/THEVERYMANY

Fabrikator
Friday, August 19, 2011
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

The nonLin/Lin Pavilion at the FRAC Centre in Orleans, France (THEVERYMANY)

An aluminum prototype structure at FRAC explores non-linear design and fabrication

The new nonLin/Lin Pavilion at the FRAC Centre in Orleans, France, is a coral-like structure of 40 pre-assembled white aluminum modules made of 570 CNC-cut single components punched with 155,780 asterisk-shaped CNC-drilled holes and held together by 75,000 white aluminum rivets. But these pieces, as designer Marc Fornes of THEVERYMANY has demonstrated throughout his work, are much more than the sum of their parts. Neither an art installation nor a model, the pavilion is full-scale architecture that pushes the limits of its materials and of physical fabrication processes with custom computational protocols.

Read More

On View> Meeting Bowls in Times Square

East
Thursday, August 18, 2011
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Meeting Bowl Times Square (Courtesy Times Square Alliance)

Meeting Bowl Times Square (Courtesy Times Square Alliance)

The Times Square Alliance has partnered with Spanish collaborative mmmm… as part of an experiment in urban furniture design. The result, Meeting Bowls, is a series of three over-sized semi-spherical capsules that provide seating for up to eight people. Over the course of the next month, these exaggerated forms will invite engaging social interactions along Broadway Boulevard in Times Square. Inside the bowls, there is a feature which allows one to record and share their dialogue via smartphones or laptops. Meeting Bowls will be open from 8:00 a.m. to midnight daily through September 16th.

images after the jump

Quick Clicks> Tabled, Athletic Alphabet, Grand Apple, and Trumping Georgia

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
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Table of Tables. It’s a meta periodic table of tables…or a chemistry lessons for design connoisseurs. Curbed posted the tongue-in-cheek infographic above: gone are helium, hydrogen, and silver; now we have coffee tables, pool tables, and nightstands.

Athletic Alphabet. An ambitious Spanish graphic designer, Joan Pons Moll, has created a new typeface—with his feet. Living on the island of Menorca, with its curving, windy streets, Moll uses Run Keeper, to map his letter-shaped routes. More at the NY Times.

Grand Apple. Apple’s next stop is Grand Central. Slated to open in the balcony space once home to restaurant Metrazur, Apple will forgoe its traditional glass cube designs in favor of an open plan overlooking the main concourse. New renderings posted by Gothamist show a minimal layout filled with high-tech toys.

Trumping Georgia.Donald Trump will develop the two tallest towers in Georgia (the country, not the state), according to the NY Times. The Don’s firm won’t be directly involved with construction; instead, Silk Road Group will manage the projects. John Fotiadas Architect is designing the master plan for the residential tower slated for the Georgian city of Batumi.

Video> Explore California’s “Accidental” Sea

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
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We just came across The Accidental Sea, a fascinating documentary about California’s bewildering Salton Sea, an artificial lake created by flooding the Colorado River southeast of Palm Springs. It quickly turned into a resort and then (after subsequent environmental degradation) into a ghost town. The film by Ransom Riggs explores the history of the site and looks at the eeriness there now, from rusted out cars to abandoned spas and homes. Makes you wonder about the tenuousness of our civilization and makes you want to explore California’s other modern ghost towns like California City, an 80,000 acre development once intended to be the third largest city in the state (it’s population is now just over 8,000 people).

Read More

Billings Bummer Yet Again in July

National
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
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Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

For the fifth straight month the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has posted negative figures, with the only positive number on the chart coming from billing inquiries.

The overall number dropped from 46.3 in June to 45.1 in July (any ABI number below 50 is considered negative). AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker once again pointed to the larger economy as the source of industry woes. “The stuff that’s going on with the national level is consistent with what we’re experiencing,” said Baker, adding that given the current political situation he didn’t think another stimulus package would make it through Congress. “The politics of that is going to be tough; there’s a problem with increased spending,” he said. Even if it did, the last package didn’t really trickle down to the industry. “I have a hunch if there’s a chance it would go through, it would look a lot like the last stimulus and architects didn’t get a lot from that,” he said.

Continue reading after the jump.

9/11 Memorial Plaza: How It Works

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
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(all images courtesy Peter Walker Partners)

A decade after the 9/11 attacks, the public will soon be able to visit the site, much of which has been fully transformed into the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. While many were dispirited by the years of revisions to and deviations from the Libeskind master plan (which itself had many detractors), AN‘s recent visit to the plaza, crowded with workers laboring toward the anniversary opening, revealed a vast, contemplative space that we predict will function well as both a memorial and a public space. Next week AN will take a look at the design and offer a preview of the what the public can expect from the space, but, first, a look at how the highly engineered plaza works.

Continue reading after the jump.

Touring LA Architecture By… Bike?

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
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Bikers visiting Pierre Koenig's Case Study House 22

Los Angeles is a great city for architecture. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to breeze past landmarks inside our cars with barely a moment’s notice. A group of young designers and cyclists in LA are looking to slow you down and up your appreciation level by setting up regular free bicycle tours to some of the city’s most iconic architectural sights.

Continue reading after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Forgiveness, Hiroshima, Farmers Markets, & Missing Maps

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
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Pop-up confessionals in Madrid. (Marta Ramoneda/NYTimes)

Pop-up confessionals in Madrid. (Marta Ramoneda/NYTimes)

Pop-Up Forgiveness. With Spain in the midst of an austerity plan, the NY Times reported that Madrid and the Catholic Church have spent $72 million for festivities centered around the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, which has drawn criticism from many in the city. Among the improvements lavished upon Madrid are 200 pop-up confessional booths in Retiro Park. Perhaps city leaders doling out funds will be among those in line at the booths.

Reminder! Tomorrow, Wednesday August 17th, the International Center of Photography will hold a panel discussion in conjunction with the exhibition Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945. The discussion will feature authors Erin Barnett, Adam Harrison Levy, and Greg Mitchell who will speak about the exhibition’s compelling photographs of post-bomb Hiroshima along with a discussion of censorship and documentation of the the attack.

A farmers market in Jackson, Mississippi. (Natalie Maynor / Flickr)

A farmers market in Jackson, Mississippi. (Natalie Maynor/Flickr)

Fresh Jobs. Data from a USDA report released last week indicated that farmers markets are on the rise in the United States. The report counted 7,175 markets, a 17 percent increase since last year. States with the largest growth were Colorado, Alaska, and Texas, representing a robust local and regional food system. Grist and GOOD broke down the report.

Where’s the Map? Transportation Nation asks, Where’s the Amtrak map at Penn Station? It seems as though travelers are missing out on the opportunity to visually place their train journeys. As journalist Mark Ovenden said,“maps are part of the journey, and we shouldn’t forget that.” You can ask for a paper fold-out version, which pales in comparison as its streaking red lines give little real indication of the train’s path.

AN Video> Reimagining with Artist Ricardo Cid

Dean's List, International
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
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With a background in engineering, artist Ricardo Cid uses visualization to understand and reimagine everything from periodic elements to playing the sax. Here he flies through a presentation for the AN staff, leaving us more than a little fascinated, if not, at moments, a little perplexed.

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