Top 4 Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of July 15, 2013

HOK kiosks. Bug tech at Cannon. HMC and the next Frog. P+W's tech lab. Twinkie returns.


New kiosks.  HOK is introducing two new kiosks as part of its re:NEWS project near San Francisco’s Union Square.

While previous reuse ideas have included a bike repair kiosk and printmaking, the new kiosks will be a pop-up museum housing a collection of puppets from around the world. This project is a partnership effort with Community Arts International, the Union Square Business Improvement District, HOK and JCDecaux.

Via HOK Life


Bug technology. Jack Mevorah of Cannon Design explores the idea of replicating a spider web, which has been unveiled by Japan-based Spiber.

The company has created a kind of synthetic spider-web material it calls Qmonos, named after the Japanese word for spider web (kumonosu). Spiber says the artificial spider thread it has produced is equal to steel in tensile strength yet is flexible as rubber.

Via Cannon Design Blog


An efficient way to build. HMC Architects and Project Frog, a component building company, have teamed up to deliver “Impact,” Project Frog’s next generation building platform specifically designed around the needs of 21st century learning.

The new building platform, called Impact, answers the call of students and teachers across the nation for healthier, inspirational buildings, while addressing the needs of administrators for speed, durability and affordability.

Via HMC Architects Blog


A tech lab. Bruce Toman and Bill Schmalz of Perkins + Will, discuss the firm’s research center dedicated to investigating new technologies that contribute to high-performance buildings, finding applications for those technologies in the firm’s designs and contributing to the knowledge base of the architectural profession.

The Perkins+Will Building Technology Laboratory uses computers to generate virtual scenarios and to test innovative ideas. “Tech Lab’s research can strongly influence the designs of our projects, resulting in buildings that are energy-efficient and technically advanced, while also providing their occupants with pleasant environments to work or live in.” -- Bruce Toman and Bill Schmalz

Via Ideas + Perspectives


Innovative Social Media

Twinkies return. Twinkies make the “sweetest comeback in the history of ever” with the launch of a multi-platform campaign strategy to engage its users with media. Social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine form the core pillars of that strategy.” The microsite, Feed Your Cakeface, has been populated with Instagram images and Vines showing the first bite of the snacks.

There is a giant Twinkie in Times Square, a cupcake in Los Angeles. And Twinkies teams are handing out buttons and a Twinkies food truck tour is planned to tour the country and give out cakes.

Via ZDNet and Feed Your Cake Face



Top Design and Urbanism Posts for March 3, 2013

HMC's world-changing innovation. BNIM teaches kids about water. A Stantec POV on urban or suburban. Catapult Design on understanding others to understand yourself. 130311

Innovation to change the world. Steve Prince, managing principal at HMC Architects, discusses the video “Making of the Social Rules Project” spearheaded by Professor Paul Steinberg, which was made in part with a $5,000 grant awarded for an innovative environmental sustainability education initiative to Harvey Mudd College from the Design Futures Foundation.

Prince interviews Steinberg on how the project came to fruition and the next steps for the video.

“The Social Rules Project itself grew organically–first as a book for the general public, then an idea for an animated film, and eventually a video game and social media website. There came a point when, with 100 students busily working on these various projects, we realized that we’d better start documenting this remarkable collaboration on film.” – Paul Steinberg

Via HMC Architects Blog


Educating kids on water. BNIM works with consultant Chris Becicka to create a curriculum for the classroom on Kansas City’s stormwater and how people impact it.

BNIM developed a five-day curriculum full of information and activities, putting their ideas and pictures into a book called “Stormwater KC to the Sea.” BNIM found all the materials the teachers would need, created a kit for them, and then piloted the program, first inviting teachers to a training session.

Via BNIM Blog


Urban core or suburbs? Joe Geller, vice president at Stantec, explores the challenges of urban development in the Boston area based on what the millennial generation wants.

Geller writes that be thinks Boston and similar cities will be seeing a lot more re-urbanization and densification and less focus on intensified suburban development.

“If people are in school longer, waiting longer to get married, not having as many kids, and are looking for a real urban experience, why would they move to the suburbs? Can these suburban developments continue to attract the high-tech employers that rely on that demographic to support their business if they now all want to live in the city? If one of the biggest challenges to future development is transportation, are suburban locations, with their limited public transportation and reliance on highway infrastructure, really well positioned to support this type of growth? Can these suburban developments create the buzz necessary to attract the expected 24/7 experience?” – Joe Geller

Via Stantec Blog


Understanding others to understand yourself. Tyler Valiquette, COO and cofounder of Catapult Design, examines people’s behavior and how they often resist changes to their accustomed behaviors. In order for designers and engineers, who are always addressing social issues, to be successful, they need to work on overcoming this behavior.

How do we attempt to tackle culturally instructed behavior? Valiquette says that contemporary psychological theories of behavior change tell us that people’s behaviors are based on attitudes, beliefs, and values and that changes in behavior rely on changes in these underlying attributes. “In the field of design for social impact the theories of behavior change and human-centered design converge and they both clearly indicate that an understanding of values is key: successful designs appeal to people’s values and so do successful behavioral change campaigns.” – Tyler Valiquette

Via Catapult Design Blog


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