Monday, October 24, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Corporation to Build Full-Size City for Testing Anything

"The idea for The Center was born out of our own company’s challenges in trying to test new and emerging technologies beyond the confines of a sterile lab environment,” said Brumley. “The Center will allow private companies, not for profits, educational institutions and government agencies to test in a unique facility with real world infrastructure, allowing them to better understand the cost and potential limitations of new technologies prior to introduction."

For instance, he said, developers of solar technology would be able to assess exactly how their systems would be delivered and used in one house where the thermostat is set at 78, and another where it’s set at 68. The center could also help show how efficient it might be in an old building versus a new one.

Via Gizmodo

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hypothetical Development Corporation

This group takes sites and comes up with wildly implausible redevelopment concepts, and then hangs a sign on the building itself like a real developer.

Not to this level, but we do this too.

Via Boing Boing

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Double Teardrop

It's a roundabout and an overpass, all smashed up together.

Via Inhabitat

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hotel Room SCIF Tent

"We call them 99.9% infallible."
Interesting details about how the president sets up SCIFs when he's on the road.


Via Kottke

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wall Dilation

The openings in this wall dilate depending on the intensity of the sunshine.

Via Gizmodo

Friday, September 3, 2010

We Called Them Pillow Forts

The building material of choice for many budding architects...


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

If the Rebellion Used Powerpoint


The Car Swallowing Bus

Actually seems more like lightrail than a bus to me.

Via Matt O.

Traffic Jam -> Settlement

A sixty mile long traffic jam in China has been at a standstill for 10 days, and is evolving into a long skinny city.

Via Planetizen


Interesting emergency housing concept.

Via Bob S.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Slo Mo Lightning

Add lightning to the list of things everyone should see in slow motion.

Laser Backpack

A laser equipped, picture taking, inertia sensing backpack that will enable you to instantly map rooms by walking into them.

Via Gizmodo

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Experimental Cities Part 2: Seasteading

Alex Tabarrock offered a good summary of this movement/vision over at Marginal Revolution a while back.  As he points out, it touches on many of the same governance-related themes as the Charter Cities idea. From a design perspective, these cities-at-sea could be paradise islands for anti-automobile planner-types (which would make for an interesting mix of residents, as many of the early supporters have been libertarian-leaning). Actually, The Seasteading Institute has already held an architectural design competition. Looks like the topic could provide some entertaining exercises for all of you Sketchup artists...

Experimental Cities Part 1b

Not exactly the same concept as Paul Romer's 'Charter City' (presented here a few posts back), but the example of the Kaesong Industrial Complex is worth studying in light of that discussion. The contrast between North and South Korean cities in general does a good job of illustrating the urban manifestations of major differences in political economy.

Via To Get Rich Is Glorious

Friday, July 23, 2010

Robots will flip our pancakes.

Video of a robot learning to flip a pancake. It's actually kinda funny.

A robot learning to flip pancakes from Sylvain Calinon on Vimeo.

Via Kottke

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Global Map of California

Someone dug up this old map that Paramount Pictures created as a guide to where filmmakers could imitate different world geographies within California.

Via Neatorama

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

American Migration Patterns

Cool interactive map at, allowing you to see the migration patterns of your county. Who's moving in and who's moving out.

I've always heard people in Colorado complaining about Texans and Californians moving to town. Looks like California (particularly SoCal) might be justified, but there are as many people moving to Texas as from Texas. Looks like we should be complaining about Floridians and Northeasterners, while folks in Oregon and Washington are probably whining about the Coloradization of their towns.

Via BoingBoing

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Clever Design for a Non-Stop Train

Via Kottke

Experimental Cities Part 1: Charter Cities

Here’s a grand urban concept that has generated plenty of recent policy debate. Economist/entrepreneur Paul Romer is advocating advancement in developing nations through the creation of city-scaled zones in which sponsor nations ensure improved “rules” (Romer’s favorite word) that allow host nation migrant populations to flourish. Think Hong Kong.

Check out Romer's TED talk below (there's even mention of military installations).

Some good points concerning feasibility, etc are raised here, here, and here, among other places.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

So real it's unreal...

This impressive short film on architecture is said to be entirely CGI. I was recently at Calatrava's Milwaukee Art Museum, which is one of the subjects illustrated in the video, and this captures it amazingly well. Though I don't recall any spontaneous indoor cloud formation during my visit.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

LIDAR Mapping for Archaeology

Another LIDAR example, finding hidden insights about an ancient mayan city by looking through the tree cover. They can see roads, terraces, and buildings they never knew about before.

We were blown away,” Dr. Diane Chase said recently, recalling their first examination of the images. “We believe that lidar will help transform Maya archaeology much in the same way that radiocarbon dating did in the 1950s and interpretations of Maya hieroglyphs did in the 1980s and ’90s.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

LIDAR Mapping for Solar Access

Sanborn (a Colorado company!) is flying over New York City using LIDAR to create a hyper-accurate 3-D model of the city.

The data will be used, among other things, to create up-to-date maps of the areas most prone to flooding, the buildings best suited for the installation of solar power and the neighborhoods most in need of trees.

Via Planetizen