Top 4 Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of July 8, 2013

071413 Embracing daylight. Architect Barbie. Texas sand sculpture. Alternative outputs. Sharknado is Twitter bait.

Embracing daylight. Florence Lam, who leads Arup’s global lighting design team, discusses how daylight is critical to sustainable urban development in addition to a person’s health and well-being.

“Up until around the 1980s, architecture students were encouraged to develop an instinct for daylight and its qualities in different parts of the world. Today, I believe this part of their education has been neglected. The complex and crammed curricula of modern architectural education leave students lacking the necessary opportunity to observe, imagine and embrace daylight experience at the beginning of every design.” – Florence Lam

Via Arup Blog

Architect Barbie. Lisa Boquiren, chairwoman of the AIA SF communications committee, explores the changes needed to keep women practitioners engaged in the architecture profession which was discussed at the symposium The Missing 32%, which is the opt-out rate of women in the industry.

Boquiren looks at the advent of Architect Barbie, which was a partnership between AIA national and Mattel in which “architect” lost to “computer engineer” in 2010 for Barbie’s 125th career, eventually advising Mattel on “Architect Barbie’s” design.

Via Metropolis POV

Texas sand sculpture. Gensler’s Houston office was asked by Mayor Annise Parker to build a patriotic-themed sand sculpture for the city’s 2013 Freedom Over Texas Festival.

What emerged was a sand sculpture that included iconic American structures like the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell, Washington Monument and iconic Texas structures such as the Alamo and the Houston skyline. In the center of the sculpture is a star above a map of the US and flanked by the US and the Texas flags. Special elements that memorialized the teachers, students, runners, firefighters and factory workers that had lost their lives were also included: a book, an apple, a hammer, running shoes, a rose, and firefighter’s helmets.

Via Gensleron Cities

Alternative inputs. Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG writes about how UK artist Ryan Jordan led a workshop in Montréal, building musical instruments out of geological circuit boards, an experiment in terrestrial instrumentation he calls "Derelict Electronics."

Manaugh says we should “plug our cities not just into giant slurries of wood pulp, like thick soups of electricity, but also directly into the forests around us, drawing light from the energy of trunks and branches, is yet another extraordinary possibility that designers would do well to take on, imagining what such a scenario literally might look like and how it would technically function, not solely for its cool aesthetic possibilities but for the opportunity to help push our culture of gadgets toward renewable sources of power.”


Innovative Social Media

Sharknado is Twitter bait. Syfy's made-for-TV movie 'Sharknado,' which is about tornadoes that scoop up sharks from the ocean and dispense them on LA residents, inspired a feeding frenzy on social media. The show generated 318,232 tweets during broadcast and 5,000 tweets per minute at its peak.

Two key factors contributed to Sharknado’s social media success: smart buzz generation, led by Syfy's senior vice president of digital, Craig Engler, and participation by leading Twitter celebrities such as Wil Wheaton, Damon Lindelof and others.

Via Mashable