After visiting Oakland City Hall many times over the last few months I have become fascinated by the Hornbostel spherical pendant light fixtures located in the lobby. I was recently forwarded a letter written by the building's architect (and light fixture designer too) Henry Hornbostel to the Oakland Mayor Frank Mott on July 30, 1914. The letter describes the spherical light and decorative 'zodiac ring' in great detail. Thanks to Kristen Zaremba and Betty Marvin from the City of Oakland for their research! -Jason Kelly Johnson
We are really excited to be entering into the final fabrication and testing phase of our Lightweave project for the NOMA district in Washington DC. Our shop and studio have been consumed by the artwork for many months. Below you will find some images from the Future Cities Lab Instagram feed documenting the last six weeks or so.
Some fun fabrication details: The Lightweave installation is broken into 6 sections - each section is a little over 65' long. Within each section there are ~26 doubled stainless steel tube "lattice modules" that are CNC bent then individually hand-welded here in our San Francisco shop. The LED aluminum U channels were created using a special die run at an aluminum mill, then CNC bent and anodized clear. Each sections 26 lattice modules (2 welded stainless steel loops, 1 lattice mounting plate, LED aluminum channel, LED strip and wiring) weighs between 22 - 32lbs (~25 lbs average) so they are easy to lift and bolt into the beam plates.
-Jason & Nataly (and the rest of the awesome team at Future Cities Lab!)
Jason Kelly Johnson's "President’s Foreword" to the ACADIA 2017 Conference Proceedings (available here)
Now in its 36th year of existence, the ACADIA community continues to thrive. Since its inception, Acadians have produced pioneering work and research, making key contributions to the fields of architecture, design, computation, engineering, scholarship, education, and beyond. As the most selective peer-reviewed conference of its kind in the world, it is also an open setting to discuss and debate experimental ideas no matter who you are or where you come from. I often call ACADIA a “testing ground”. It is a conference that explicitly accepts and cultivates early work-in-progress explorations, where one can share and celebrate prototypes, iterations, glitches, failures, tests and triumphs.
My own involvement with ACADIA began over a decade ago. After having just become an Assistant Professor and co-founder of Future Cities Lab, I was fortunate to have a project accepted for presentation at the conference. It was exciting to discover a peer group with overlapping research interests in fabrication and robotics, and also mentors willing to provide constructive feedback and encouragement.
At these early ACADIA conferences I fondly remember getting to know the emerging work and research of people like Andrew Kudless and Jenny Sabin. Andrew’s early explorations in form-finding and material systems, most often using inexpensive wood laminates and plaster, allowed him to iterate and produce families of experiments, rather than mere one-offs. In a similar fashion, Jenny’s early research into textile systems and weaving algorithms allowed for the production of thousands of exploratory prototypes, some fantastically monstrous, others more refined and systematic. During these years I was also struck by the support and mentorship they received from the ACADIA community. People like Philip Beesley, Mike Weinstock, Achim Menges and Branko Kolarevic, come to mind. Not only do they regularly attend the conferences and provide support, but they mixed it up later in the evening, helping emerging generations connect the dots, meet future collaborators, and openly discuss potential new avenues of research. It is exciting to see projects from Andrew and Jenny now being realized. Andrew’s concrete shell pavilions at Confluence Park in Texas, and Jenny’s recently executed project Lumen for MOMA PS1’s Young Architects Program, are both excellent examples of Acadians moving from the “testing ground” to real-world constructions of the highest quality.
Similarly, during the year the majority of Acadians work tirelessly to experiment, write, design, build, prototype, collaborate and teach. Near the end of the year they gather in one place to exchange ideas, debate, share, learn and celebrate the past year’s accomplishments. It is in this spirit that our “testing ground” exists and flourishes. This year, with the MIT School of Architecture and the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts as our extraordinary backdrop, we explore the conference theme of “Disciplines and Disruptions”. In the spirit of Acadians past and present, the conference Chairs speculate that: “Distinctions between design and making, building and urban scale, architecture and engineering, real and virtual, on site and remote, physical and digital data, professionals and crowds, are diminishing as technology increases the designer's reach far beyond the confines of the drafting board. This conference provides a platform to investigate the shifting landscape of the discipline today, and to help define and navigate the future.”
On behalf of the ACADIA Board of Directors and its membership, as President of ACADIA I want to acknowledge the 2017 MIT conference team for their extraordinary organization, energy and thoughtfulness.
Special thanks to Conference Site Chairs Skylar Tibbits and Takehiko Nagakura, the Technical Chairs, Exhibition Chairs, Session Chairs, Hackathon Chairs, and many other advisers and supporters including Dennis Sheldon, and Head of the Department of Architecture at MIT, Professor Meejin Yoon. Workshop Chair Justin Lavallee (with Brandon Clifford), assistant Maroula Bacharidou, copy editors, graphic designers, staff members Patricia Driscoll, Inala Locke and many others were also instrumental to the success of the conference. Chairing and hosting a conference requires a thankless series of meetings and tasks that require vision, energy, a sense of humor, diplomacy and above all patience. Skylar, Takehiko and the extraordinary team they assembled, have patiently and generously worked with us over two years to craft a thought-provoking conference, exhibition, workshops and hackathon events.
I would like to acknowledge ACADIA’s many sponsors this year. Year-after-year the support of sponsors allows us to host a world-class event with an unsurpassed roster of keynote speakers, awardees, exhibits, publications, workshops, special round-tables, events and celebrations. Additional sponsorship from Autodesk allowed us to support more ACADIA Conference Student Travel Scholarships than ever before, and the ACADIA Autodesk Awards Program will honor and financially support emerging paper and project research again this year. I would like to personally thank Matt Jezyk from Autodesk for working with us over several years to make this an annual feature of the conference. Shane Burger, in his role as ACADIA’s Development Officer, took the lead with sponsorship again this year. Adam Marcus, in his role as ACADIA’s Communications Officer, also maintained key partnerships with Architect’s Newspaper and Archinect. Under their leadership our development and communications efforts have never been stronger.
I would also like to thank the ACADIA Board of Directors and Officers. Through the leadership of this dedicated group of people, ACADIA’s organization, finances, sponsorships, marketing and other outreach efforts have never been stronger. In addition to Shane and Adam, board members Mike Christenson, Kory Bieg, Dana Cupkova, Philip Anzalone, Kathy Velikov and others, have taken key leadership roles this year. We look forward to continuing to build-upon and evolve these efforts in the coming year as ACADIA prepares to host its follow-up conference in Mexico City in October 2018.
Finally, this year the ACADIA community mourned the tragic loss of pioneering architect Zaha Hadid. She was previously awarded ACADIA’s highest honor - the ACADIA Lifetime Achievement Award for Design in 2014. Zaha, along with her partner Patrik Schumacher and legions of extremely dedicated employees and collaborators, produced a trail-blazing body of cutting-edge work. Together they pushed design, computation, fabrication and construction into radical new territories. For many years her employees, collaborators and students have also made critical contributions to the ACADIA community. While we mourn Zaha’s loss, we also celebrate and take inspiration from her spirit of inventiveness and risk-taking. At this year’s Conference and Annual Meeting, we will honor Zaha for having the courage, patience and fortitude to devote her life to translating spectacular visions, paintings and models, into buildings and public spaces with the highest degree of conceptual thinking, craft and computational rigor.
Jason Kelly Johnson
Associate Professor, CCA San Francisco
Founding Design Principal, Future Cities Lab
Future Cities Lab had the honor to create a new installation for the 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, directed by Hyungmin Pai and Alejandro Zaera-Polo (curated by Jeffrey S. Anderson), and running from September 2nd to November 5th, 2017. Our installation Chronosphere is a prototype for a new urban sidewalk, an activated surface that synthesizes pedestrian movement and proximity into animated interactions. We relished this opportunity to test out new ideas and technologies as well as the fantastic chance to travel to Seoul to see new works and meet new people.
The Biennale’s focus is on the idea of "Imminent Commons: The Expanded City", nine themes around which cities can begin to examine pressing global concerns and formulate platforms for addressing them. We are participating in the “Sensing” common: looking at the future of sensing in our cities, from the proliferation of cameras and sensors in the public realm to the data being collected straight out of our pockets. We were honored to have a wide range of friends and colleagues around us, including Axel Killian, Mark Wasiuta, Sissel Tolaas and The Living, as well as others participating in the Biennale including Ibañez Kim, Liam Young, Tomas Saraceno, Carlo Ratti, Philippe Rahm, Stoss, Philippe Block and Dirk Hebel, Mitchell Joachim, Brandon Clifford and Wes McGee, Lateral Office, Yusuke Obuchi, and many others.
We initiated our initial research with a simple question: how we can begin to materialize the data the city collects about us? How can we make this data tangible and visceral while leveraging it to enliven public space and social interactivity? We quickly fabricated a system of LED modules and projection mapped surfaces in order to test a variety of sensing methodologies and interactive interfaces. The final piece is an assemblage of 3D printed modules suspended in lightweight aluminum frames with projectors mounted above and a vinyl projection surface below.
Chronosphere interprets it's surroundings though a mixture of IR sensors and depth cameras, reading the location of people moving across it's surface. Each person is assigned a name and color, and as they walk atop the projection surface their movement is reflected as digital avatars of light along the wall, cascading and fusing with one another. On the ground light particles flow around people's feet as animated tiles create an enhanced sense of presence in the space.
Seoul itself was a fascinating city, a delightful mix of high-speed global capitalism and the well-preserved remnants of an ancient capital. Though we were only there for five days we did our best to indulge in the culture, eating amazing food, drinking soju, singing songs and winning stuffed animals from very difficult claw machines. It was a strange experience being there, especially with the significant language barrier. Luckily, we were able to procure everything we needed with ample gestures and some sketching (though our writing surfaces spoke volumes of the strangeness of the political environment, see image below). It was a remarkable time and we look forward to visiting again in the future!
- Jeff Maeshiro, Future Cities Lab
ACADIA was formed in a meeting 35 years ago on Oct 17, 1981 at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Since its inception the conference has served as an incubator for emerging ideas in feedback loops between academia, industry and professional practice. Over the years ACADIA’s members, leadership and attendees have included some the most inventive and important figures in the fields of architectural education and design, computation and engineering. While ACADIA is the most selective peer-reviewed conference of its kind in the world, it is also an open setting to discuss and debate experimental ideas no matter who you are or where you come. The fruits of these debates can be found in influential schools and research centers around the globe; in award-winning software, hardware, products, furniture and installations; to much larger constructions defining cityscapes from California to New York, London, Dubai, Beijing and beyond. Ideas get percolated at the ACADIA conference, iterated, prototyped, questioned, refined, built, then interrogated further as time passes, where they ultimately continue to evolve.
At last year’s event in Cincinnati we organized a special session called Pioneers of Computational Design moderated by Robert Aish featuring Don Greenberg, Tom Maver, and one of ACADIA’s founding members Chuck Eastman. This remarkable session revealed that our founding member’s interests extended beyond “CAD” and included pioneering research in topics including virtual reality, computer graphics and building information modeling. The session was also a reminder of how far ACADIA has come in 35 years, where computational and technical subjects are no longer partitioned from the complexities of the architecture studio. This year’s conference sessions and publications will no doubt epitomize this transition. Presenters will describe emerging pedagogies, research models from schools, labs, shops and offices around the globe, where computation and design are now pursued simultaneously, most often entangled with other unexpected disciplinary and non-disciplinary concerns and possibilities.
During a coffee break at one of my first ACADIA conferences I recall finding myself in a conversation with the late Professor William J. Mitchell (also one of ACADIA’s founding members). He had founded the MIT Media Lab’s Smart Cities Program and his book "The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation and Cognition", published in 1990, was credited by The New York Times as having, "... profoundly changed the way architects approached building design". Bill had just listened to me present a project and asked me questions that surprised and inspired me: “It is a beautiful project, but what if a city was filled with projects like yours? What kind of world would it be?”. While Bill was known as a technologist, he was also deeply interested in broader ideas about the role technology could play to positively shape cities and society. In many ways his attitude thankfully lives on today. Just look at the range of this year’s ACADIA papers, projects, participants and speakers. In the words of this year’s Conference Chairs one of the defining features of this event is to explore the “complex entanglements” and feedback loops between a radically diverse set of design ecologies, what they call, “autonomous and semiautonomous states”. Participants share a fascination with the interplay of these states where computation, artificial intelligence, and human ingenuity can yield radically new and innovative modes of designing, building, thinking, and interacting. In the spirit of William Mitchell, in the midst of our extraordinary experimentation and technological innovation, let’s not forget to ask ourselves and our colleagues: “What kind of world would it be?”
On behalf of the ACADIA Board of Directors and its membership, I want to acknowledge the 2016 University of Michigan TCAUP team for their extraordinary organization, energy and thoughtfulness. Special thanks to Conference Site Chair Geoffrey Thun, Conference Co-technical Chairs Kathy Velikov and Sean Alquist, and others members of the team including co-chair Matias del Campo, workshop co-chairs Wes McGee and Catie Newell, exhibition chair Sandra Manninger, staff members Kate Grandfield, Deniz McGee and many others. As they have now discovered, organizing an ACADIA conference can be a little like using your own backyard to host a wedding, a graduation and a funeral - all in one weekend. Each event requires the hosts to assume different personalities - the strategist, the enforcer, the MC, the inspirational speaker. It requires a thankless series of meetings and tasks that require vision, energy, a sense of humor, diplomacy and above all patience. That being said - Geoffrey, Kathy, Sean and the extraordinary team they assembled, have patiently and generously worked with us over two years to not only craft a thought-provoking conference, exhibition and workshop series, but also produced some of the highest quality publications ACADIA has ever seen. We extend to you, and the entire TCAUP community, our sincerest admiration, respect and appreciation.
I would also like to acknowledge ACADIA’s many sponsors this year. Year-after-year the support of sponsors allows us to host a world-class event with an unsurpassed roster of keynote speakers, awardees, exhibits, publications, workshops, special round-tables, events and celebrations. Additional sponsorship from Autodesk allowed us to support more ACADIA Conference Student Travel Scholarships than ever before, and a new ACADIA Autodesk Awards Program will honor and financially support emerging paper and project research.
Lastly, I would like to thank the ACADIA Board of Directors and Officers. Through the leadership of this dedicated group of people, ACADIA’s organization, finances, sponsorships, marketing and other outreach efforts have never been stronger. We look forward to continuing to build-upon and evolve these efforts in the coming year as ACADIA prepares to host its follow-up conference at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts in October 2017.
Jason Kelly Johnson
Associate Professor, California College of the Arts, San Francisco
Founding Design Principal, Future Cities Lab
We were recently asked to write a blog post for the Americans for the Arts Blog Salon to give some insight into the process of how we conceived our project Murmur Wall, which they recently honored as one of the top public artworks of 2015. Here's a quick look at the introduction:
We have recently been experimenting with an evolving set of interfaces and simulations of interaction for Lightweave, and we find this to be a crucial part of our process. With the kinds of works we create the digital prototyping is equally as important as the physical prototyping. As you will see below, the three different versions are very much works in progress, but as the complexity of our understanding of the project further develops it's useful to catalog and reflect on past iterations.
VERSION 1: SENSING PRESENCE
This first version simply followed the intensity of a sound source and activated light according to it's location (see image above). One of the most important lessons from Murmur Wall was nailing smooth drawing, which we achieved by mapping a varying position on a standard Gaussian function to color parameters.
VERSION 2: TRAFFIC SIMULATION
As we increased complexity we overlaid a drawing of Lightweave on the interface and generated a simulation of different sound sources, such as pedestrians, bicycles, cars, and trains, which trigger various light patterns over the installation to get a global sense of the aesthetic.
VERSION 3: OBJECT DETECTION AND SWARMS
We then moved on to a more response-based simulation and changed up the input. This version uses motion tracking cameras to measure visible traffic density to guide a "swarm" of light across the piece. The amalgamation of blobs in the upper gray block represents a passerby.
Each of these interfaces is already controlling the in-office mockup and the iterations of lessons from both the physical and digital prototyping feed into each other. We will continue to push the boundaries of both of these design realms so please stay tuned as Lightweave moves towards realization.
-Jeff Maeshiro and Collin Schupman
Future Cities Lab was excited to work with the visionary folks at Attention Span to help envision the future stadium for their clients Delaware North (the Jacob's family - best known as the owners of the Boston Bruins). Just ahead of the 2016 Super Bowl, the project got some recent press in the USA Today - gracing the front page of the Sports Section on 1/26/16!
From the USA Today: The "Future of Sports" is a 50-page document that imagines what's ahead in the industry over the next 25 years. These are not so much predictions of what will happen as working versions of what could happen — provocative prognostications based on interviews with academics and futurists, all subject to inevitable revision as Father Time throws his customary curve balls."
The project team included: Jason Kelly Johnson, Jeff Maeshiro and Elaine Suh.
Our project Lightswarm, the interactive installation nestled within the facade of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, has always been about reactivating a static building face, turning what was a simple glass curtain wall into a medium for public engagement. Lightswarm is 10" in depth, squeezed between glass mullions, and reinvigorates the building without rebuilding it. In this way it sits within a long lineage of “applicable” renovation methods, from paint, to stucco, to graffiti, to murals. What’s different about Lightswarm is that it is “hackable” not in the way that some architects may think of, but in a hi-jacking of public space, normative facades, and building infrastructure. So one night we set about hacking our own artwork, taking control of the algorithm it runs everyday and running various experiments with different modes of interaction. Please check out the results below!
In an effort to document and publicize the various efforts that went into bringing our project Murmur Wall to life we are starting a series of "how to" blog posts, explaining aspects of Murmur Wall's design and making with an FAQ style resource. Today we are beginning with the "data pods."
FAQ (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)
1. What is a Murmur Wall data pod?
We conceived the Murmur Wall as a physicalization of the flow of data, in which the acrylic tubes represent data coursing through the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) plaza. The data pods are points where this data is untwined, decoded, and made legible in text. Local web searches are highlighted in magenta while "whispers", text sent directly to the wall through murmurwall.net, streak through in cyan.
2. How were they made?
Each data pod is made of 3D printed panels, held together by a laser cut acrylic frame, and bristling with acrylic rods. Each pod took roughly 250 hours to print, requiring over 1,500 hours of printing spread across numerous printers to finish, with additional manual effort for cleaning, gluing, and assembly.
3. Why 3D printing?
We wished to exploit 3D printing’s capacity to create a durable, variable panel that expressed the geometric complexity we were trying to achieve while also transmitting light through its surface. This intricate, fibrous, luminous design would have been impossible to fabricate without 3D printing.
4. How do the data pods work?
Embedded within the data pods are waterproof enclosures which protect the text displaying LED matrices. These matrices receive search and whisper data from a server inside the YBCA building.
5. How were the data pods designed?
We designed the data pods in Grasshopper, a modeling software which allowed us to generate innumerable iterations of the pods by tweaking specific base parameters. The animation below illustrates different widths, thicknesses, and other variables we tweaked to create the final pod panels.
In the end, each Murmur Wall data pod is a complex, durable, and intelligent sculpture. They are the culmination of months of iterating, cutting-edge fabrication prototyping, and lots of good old-fashioned elbow grease. You can enjoy them in the Murmur Wall at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts entry plaza in San Francisco, now through the end of 2016!
Future Cities Lab
Future Cities Lab (FCL) strives to understand how architecture can express the flows of data around us, and how these streams of information can benefit our daily lives. This is how we conceived Bitstream, an interactive artwork that will be featured in the lobby of the new Bitly headquarters in New York City. It was designed and fabricated in less than three months in San Francisco, CA. The piece pulls in live data from Bitly’s API and over the course of the day animates the ever-shifting pattern of global user links and clicks, allowing lobby viewers a glimpse into a day in the life of a Bitly link. It is a live, interactive, data-visualizing sculpture.
The design of Bitstream’s undulating surface is based on our analysis of global internet usage mapped across time and place. The peaks and valleys indicate potential Bitly users at different times of the day and their locations. The subtly billowy surface is constructed of folded, laser cut, translucent paper diffusers, each one unique and individually labeled. Each diffuser has it’s own printed circuit board mounted with individually controllable LEDs, allowing complete light control over the entire surface. Each of the 20 panels is a self-contained display system and can scale easily to accommodate any space.
The power of this data panel system is it’s scalability: it could as easily accommodate a conference room or a building facade. It has a built-in manual control panel for adjusting color, brightness, and multiple modes of use, such as playing back low-res video clips. The entire piece can easily be reprogrammed for any future potential use, such as attaching a webcam or other sensors to adapt it for live performance and interactivity. The system is designed to make it easy to swap out any single LED board, and the panels are easy to remove for maintenance.
We are excited to travel to New York this week for the installation, and will update with more pics of the final piece as soon as we can!
** Link to the official MSPF Data Lantern prototype page here.
Future Cities Lab recently participated in the San Francisco Market Street Prototyping Festival (MSPF) design charrette, where we caught up on the panoply of designs and fructifying prototypes. With two months left until the festival start date of April 9th, projects are developing quickly and promise some interesting concepts for public space. Questions of history, human interaction, policy, and public art are all up in the air, tied together neatly by the apropos choice of venue, The Village, located at 969 Market Street. Open only since August of last year, the space has already attracted a wide range of corporate events, and with it's street-facing doors wide open became the perfect location to lure in random passersby from Market Street, the festival's key clientele.
The 50 design teams come from a wide range of backgrounds and the projects encompass a wide range of ideas. The Show Box by Jensen Architects is a variable set of cardboard tubes strapped together to form a playful terrain for seating and performance. Daily Boost is a series of platforms for learning affirming poses and postures, a kind of gym for the soul. Meet Wall by AMLGM is a sensing wall that flexes open to become more transparent when people approach, encouraging interaction and performance.
This festival is an ambitious undertaking, and is shaping up to deliver on it's promise of urban innovation. For us, this is the powerful potential of the MSPF: the opening up of urban design to an informed public, the crowd-sourcing of innovation through a structured system of haptic feedback between citizen and city, the maker ideology inherent to the Bay Area. This is what our project, Data Lanterns, is attempting to capture. Instead of data visualization, we believe data physicalization can generate spatial and public benefits, improving the city by tapping into the constant stream of data it produces. For more info please check out our Data Lantern project page (and if the mood suits you, "support" us) at a new civic innovation in its own right, Neighborland: https://neighborland.com/ideas/sf-data-lanterns-a-network.
There's been a bevy of research into 3D printing clay in recent years, to which we strove to contribute to with the Serpentine Clay Printer project, as well as with student research in Jason's Creative Architecture Machines studios (2013, 2014) at CCA. The latest update to this research is a part of exhibition Data Clay: Digital Strategies For Parsing The Earth at the Museum of Craft and Design, for which we constructed our own 37" long, 28" wide, 20" tall 3D print gantry (nearly 12 cubic feet). Building on the previous clay research we developed a new clay polymer recipe and new print algorithms optimized for stabilizing the clay slip. In addition to these innovations we developed a machine vision system using Firefly / Grasshopper that allowed us to control our valves and release air bubbles on-the-fly.
Jason was thrilled to teach another CREATIVE ARCHITECTURE MACHINES studio this Fall 2014 semester at CCA San Francisco. Special thanks to co-teacher Michael Shiloh, the students that included UGrads, Grads and students from CCA's amazing MAAD Digital Craft program, and our collection of reviewers and various guests throughout the semester. Special thanks to the Architecture staff, folks in the CCA Hybrid Lab (supported by a generous grant from Intel) and the Rapid Prototyping Studio for their support throughout the semester. This semester the Digital Craft Lab also hosted the Creative Architecture Machines Colloquium which brought together an incredible line-up of speakers and participants.
#creativearchmachines #digitalcraftlab #ccarts #whodoesthat #sanfrancisco #futurecitieslab
12/6/2014 Final Reviewers:
Jerem Blum #throughglass, Google X; Marco Teran, 3D Systems; Mitchell Joachim, Terreform1 NYC; Mike Estee, Other Machine Co; Jonathan Proto, Bot & Dolly / Google; Sean Lally, Weathers - Chicago; Allison Arieff, SPUR / New York Times; Kendra Byrne, Bot & Dolly / Google; Lian Eoyang, CCA / VIF; Mike Kuniavsky, XEROX PARC; Elizabeth Goodman, Confectious / UC Berkeley; Petr Novikov, IAAC Mini-Builders / Labori Construction Robotics; Fedor Novikov, Labori Construction Robotics; Peter Hirshberg, Gray Area Founder / ReImagine; Michael Sturtz, Crucible / Stanford University d-school; Sasha Leitman, Stanford University CCRMA; Steve Okay, Hacker; Scott Minneman, CCA / Onomy Labs.
FALL 2014 COURSE INFO:
Course Tittle: CREATIVE ARCHITECTURE MACHINES; Term: Fall 2014
Institution: CCA - California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA
Other Affiliations: CCA Digital Craft Lab
Instructors: Jason Kelly Johnson (Future Cities Lab & CCA) with Michael Shiloh (CCA)
Phase 02 Duration: 8 weeks (Oct 1-Dec 6, 2014)
Social Media Tags: #creativearchmachines #digitalcraftlab #ccarts #whodoesthat #sanfrancisco #futurecitieslab
FALL 2014 PHASE 2 RESEARCH PROJECTS:
Team: Clayton Muhleman, Alan Cation, Adithi Satish
Synopsis: Swarmscaper explores the potential of an autonomous swarm of robots capable of operating independently in hostile environments. Utilizing on-site materials to create inhabitable structures, the robotic swarm’s behavior materializes through a slow and constant process of layered 3d-printing.
Keywords: Mobile 3d Printer, Machine Vision, Extreme Environments, mutant materials
Open Source: Instructables Link (includes in-depth details, images, 3d files, code)
Hardware: custom 3d printed tank-style robot, dc motors, Arduino micro-controllers, peristaltic pump, X-Bee
Software: Arduino, Grasshopper, Firefly, Reactivision machine vision
Primary Fab Materials: Sawdust, Sand, custom glues and bio-resins
CCA Student Team: Thomas Monroy, Taole Chen
Synopsis: The Sky Printer is an adaptable, cable-based delta-gantry system that can span large areas with a minimal footprint. The Sky Printer is designed for large- scale applications in potentially remote locations. It can be understood as the evolution of the conventional 3d-printer.
Keywords: Skycam 3D Printer, Deltabot Printer, Large scale 3D bio-printer
Open Source: Instructables Link (includes in-depth details, images, 3d files, code)
Hardware: Custom mobile deltabot style 3d printer, 3d printed stepper motor mounts, TinyG micro-controllers, custom pneumatic pump
Software: Grasshopper, Firefly
Primary Fab Materials: Clay, sand, salt, bio-matter including seeds, worms, etc.
CCA Student Team: Manali Chitre, Anh Vu, Mallory Van Ness
Synopsis: Terra-Spider is part of a wireless robotic system capable of designing, repairing, and maintaining vast landscapes over extended periods of time. Taking inspiration from current farming and remediation practices as well as land art projects, this proposal rethinks the way landscapes are addressed. By programming each robot to understand the given site conditions, and equipping it with tools to remove and place bio-matter, it begins to take on a life of its own, creating patterns in and shifting the soil to best address the specific site’s needs.
Keywords: Bio-remediation Robot, Hexapod robotics, Machine Vision, Landscape Robot
Open Source: Instructables Link (includes in-depth details, images, 3d files, code)
Hardware: custom 3d printed / lasercut spider style robot, Arduino micro-controllers, dc motors, peristaltic pump, drill bit and motor, X-Bee
Software: Arduino, Grasshopper, Firefly, Reactivision machine vision
Primary Fab Materials: Bio-matter with Phytoremediation plant seeds
CCA Student Team: Prerna Auplish, Evan Bowman, Ryan Chen
Synopsis: Space Weaver is designed to create ultra-lightweight woven structures with fibrous materials. Using a 3-axis gantry system, woven forms are created in a similar process as most 3D printers, except they produce a significantly higher strength-to-weight ratio, result in zero waste, and require no support material. In short, Space Weaver is a seven foot tall 3D printer that uses carbon fiber and fiberglass to print five foot tall woven structures.
Keywords: Robotic Weaving, Column Weaver, Composite Printing, Carbon Fiber 3D Printing
Open Source: Instructables Link (includes in-depth details, images, 3d files, code)
Hardware: Custom 3d weaving machine, 3d printed magnetic spindles, TinyG micro-controllers, modified Shapeoko hardware
Software: Grasshopper, Firefly
Primary Fab Materials: bio-resinated Carbon fiber, hemp, other threaded spools
Team: Brett Petty and Meshal AlButhie
Synopsis: Live Forms revolutionizes the process of creating mass customizable formworks for construction. By allowing for a direct link between a parametric computer model and a robotic jig, a designer can iterate and explore a multitude of design potentials.
Keywords: Robotic Jig, Live form works, Concrete jig, Piston driven forms
Open Source: Instructables Link (includes in-depth details, images, 3d files, code)
Hardware: custom 3d printed robotic jig, Arduino Uno micro-controller, servo motors, 1/4 plywood, Latex
Software: Arduino, Grasshopper, Firefly
Primary Fab Materials: Plaster, concrete, resin, other related castable materials
In the past few years an impressive collection of data-visualization projects have emerged that overlay publicly available data onto digital maps. One of the most compelling examples is Crimespotting by Stamen Design where crime types, dates and times are superimposed on a Google map. Another example is the Bike Accident Tracker project. These maps give us a spectacular birds-eye view of data and allow one to explore topics at multiple scales over time. On the other hand - these digital maps tend to be incredibly disengaged from the actual locations or events they are mapping. Most often one also needs a large screen or tablet to view them effectively, and therefore they are not that useful when you are walking or riding through the city itself.
These digital mapping projects and others like them led us to wonder: How could we remap this data back onto the city to make it more useful and meaningful to the citizens on the ground? How could we make this data more tangible, legible and a part of the physical urban realm?
What is Datasprayer?
Datasprayer is an experimental urban mapping robot. It harvests geotagged datasets and symbols from maps found on the internet and “sprays” them back onto the city. The rover works autonomously to reveal layered palimpsests like crime, accidents, toxicity, flooding, social media trends, wifi access, consumer ratings and more. Datasprayer seeks to weave the richness of the internet - including its precision and unpredictability - back into the city.
Project status as of 22 July 2014: After an initial round of experiments along the San Francisco coastline, Datasprayer is currently undergoing testing in Athens, Greece and on Lido Island in Venice, Italy. We are in the process of drawing 50m long dashed lines across various urban coastal sites to demarcate future sea-level rise due to climate change, and most importantly, to raise public awareness.
Lead: Jason Kelly Johnson (Future Cities Lab / CCA)
Assistants: Jeff Maeshiro, Taylor Fulton, Camille Lo
The project was influenced by some amazing past work by the Institute for Applied Autonomy, the Feral Robots work by Natalie Jeremijenko, the artist Eve Mosher, the maps / earthworks of Robert Smithson, and many more. We also admire and follow many other data obsessed people including Laura Kurgan and the folks at Stamen Design in San Francisco.
01. Open Data: The San Francisco Open Data Portal developed and maintained by Socrata. This is an amazing repository of regularly updated geo-tagged data in csv, json, xml file formats and more. For our sea-level rise water level elevation mapping we are scrapping data from floodmap.net using water levels at a 1m elevation. We'll be integrating more accurate data soon.
02. Coding Tools: We use the graphical coding environment Grasshopper to import, process and visualize our initial data-sets, and we use the plug-in Firefly to communicate with our Arduino micro-controllers, radios and GPS units. Grasshopper is built upon the 3d modeling software called Rhino. We also use Mission Planner to upload our GPS waypoints to the rover's Arduino and keep track of the robot in real-time.
03. Urban Icons: Our urban icons are borrowed / modified NounProject graphic symbols created by these amazing folks. Some samples are below >>>
04. Other thoughts on Drones: The military use of drones and rovers has emerged as one of the predominant tools for remotely gathering intelligence and waging war on foreign soils. Almost daily we read about US drone strikes carried out in the Middle East by US based computer technicians. We have all seen the video-game like footage of weaponized UAV's streaming through grainy desert landscapes with spectacular accuracy and terrifying anonymity. While the apparent successes and collateral damage have been well documented in the main stream media, we cannot help but wonder what the future holds when these technologies become mainstream? What will happen when our enemies have equal access to these tools and begin to emulate the tactics and methods established by the West? These questions have led us to ask: Could these technologies also be used for explicitly peaceful and useful purposes?
We are excited to announce our collaboration with A.I.R. (Audi Innovation Research) in San Francisco this summer! Please join us for a party + presentations of the Phase 02 work on Friday, June 20, 2014 at the CCA San Francisco student center.
Exploring the Future Car in a World of Connected Devices
CCA + AIR Fellows Interdisciplinary Workshop
California College of the Arts + Audi Innovation Research
California College of the Arts (CCA) and the Audi Innovation Research (AIR) office launched the CCA + AIR “Beyond Mobility” Fellows Workshop -- an interdisciplinary collaboration geared toward exploring the car as a key intersection in this broader network of interconnected devices.
An elite group of CCA students from across the college's disciplines was selected as AIR Fellows for this two-week workshop.
Together they are developing ideas, visions, prototypes, and new business models that position the car as a hub in this growing ecosystem of information and devices.
Mobile technologies -- from wearables to the connected home and the smart city -- are creating a radical new design environment that extends beyond the expertise of any one discipline.
AIR Fellows are exploring the theme “Beyond Mobility” -- the spectrum of future devices and experiences from watches, to phones, to sensors, homes, cities, and beyond.
AIR Fellows are re-imagining new features, forms, interactions, and services that the car might embody in the not-too-distant future and recast new sustainable relationships the car may have with its environment.
CCA + AIR Interdisciplinary Student Fellows
Seth D’Ambrosia, Grad Design; Matt Boeddiker, Architecture; Maria Carrión, Grad Design; Emilie Chien, Interior Design; Shirley Chong, Fashion Design; Laurel Deel, Interaction Design; Emily Falk, Architecture; Brooke Francesi, Grad Design; Tim Henshaw-Plath, Architecture; Jeff Maeshiro, Architecture; Patrick Mulcahy, Industrial Design; Ann Rich, Design MBA; Hamish Tennent, Grad Design; Liam Woods, Grad Design; Leah Zaldumbide, Architecture
Audi Innovation Research Team
Markus Auerbach, Head of AIR SF (see Markus's work on the Audi TT here)
Luisa Plasczymonka, AIR Researcher & Richard Luu, AIR Researcher
CCA + AIR Fellows Coordinator
Nataly Gattegno, Chair of Graduate Architecture / Future Cities Lab
The CCA / AIR Fellows Workshop is a collaboration between California College of the Arts (CCA) and the Audi Innovation Research (AIR) office, curated by Chris Barley and Troy Therrien from Therrien-Barley. The results of their previous Audi AIR partnership with Columbia University GSAPP "Experiments In Motion" can be found here.
BEYOND MOBILITY: Experts Forum
Friday, June 13, 2014, 4-9 p.m., the Nave, SF campus
Lively discussion of the CCA + AIR Fellows projects, presentations by experts in the field, panel discussion and debate. View images here.
We will be joined by the following guests:
Henriette Crammer, Yahoo! Labs
Nick Cronan, Branch Creative
Thom Faulders, Faulders Design & CCA Architecture
Hugo Girralt, Propelland
David Pechel, Speck Design
Jason Wilson, Pinterest
with input from Matthew Silady and Tim Wilson.
BEYOND MOBILITY: Final Presentations
Friday, June 20, 6-8 p.m., Student Center, SF campus
Join us for the final presentations of the CCA+AIR Fellows projects and the celebration to follow!
We are experimenting with using Google Trends in an upcoming project. Below you will find the real-time trending Google search right now!
"Robotic Prototypes" Workshops taught by Jason Kelly Johnson
2/19/14 - 2/23/14 @ U Texas Austin (TEX-FAB 5)
2/7/14 - 2/10/14 @ Carnegie Mellon University (Eliciting Environments, Actuating Response)
1/15/14 - 1/18/14 @ Tulane University (Architect's Week)
9/2013 - 12/2013 @ Cornell University (X Studio)
7/22/13 - 7/29/13 @ UC Berkeley (Design Frontiers)
7/11/13 - 7/12/13 @ Facade+ SF (Architect's Newspaper)
2/15/13 - 2/17/13 @ Princeton University (Forging Fabrications)
2/27/13 - 3/3/13 @ U Texas Arlington (TEX-FAB 4)
2/7/13 - 2/10/13 @ Ohio State University (Possible Mediums)
7/26/12 - 7/27/12 @ Collaborations SF (Architect's Newspaper)
many more ... to be listed soon ...
Jan 2014 - Workshop and interactive light installation by Future Cities Lab
Leaders: Jason Kelly Johnson and Ripon DeLeon
Working with Tulane University students over three days we fabricated and deployed a 32' x 32' x 9' tall 3D matrix of 875 individually addressable RGB LEDs. The intent was to create a platform for dynamic spatial experimentation: luminous forms that can be generated by a variety of static and dynamic inputs including real-time sensor data, social media inputs like Twitter, and connecting the light matrix directly to CAD (using the Firefly for Grasshopper plug-in) or related programs to simulate a range of forms, patterns and more. Vertical light quills were fabricated and installed in the Gibson Quad at Tulane opposite the School of Architecture.
- Day 1 (Fri Jan 17): 10am Group Meeting; 12pm Lunch; 1pm Lecture and Panel Discussion; 2:30pm Workshop covering the use of LEDs, electronics and basic wiring; 4pm Begin CNC milling; 7pm Dinner break.
- Day 2 (Sat Jan 18): 10am Group Meeting and begin fabrication of the vertical quills and LED production, CNC milling 25 "quadpod" stands (see Image 5 below), prep Gibson Quad site; 5pm LED Matrix testing (indoors); 7pm Dinner break.
- Day 3 (Sun Jan 19): 10am Outdoor installation in Gibson Quad; Group testing of variable inputs; 1pm begin final testing; 7-8pm Final Luminous Forms Opening party.
HARDWARE WE WILL EXPLORE
1. NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Weatherproof Strip (product link) from Adafruit Industries
2. Arduino Mega microcontroller (product link) from Adafruit Industries
3. Arduino Mega electronics prototyping shield (product link)
4. 18/3 "thermostat" stranded wire (product link) from Home Depot (18 ga, 3 wires)
5. 24/4 "intercom" multi-color solid core wire (product link) from Radioshack
6. 4-wire inline connectors (product link)
7. 1" and 3/4" dia Acrylic tube from ePlastics
8. 1" inner dia. Grey PVC Conduit (product link) from Home Depot
9. 1/2" thick MDF sheets (product link) from Home Depot
10. 30 Amp 5v Power Supply (product link) from Jameco
SOFTWARE WE WILL EXPLORE
1. Arduino Software (program electronics with code)
2. Rhino + Grasshopper (graphical algorithm editor)
3. Firefly Plug-in (control Arduino with Grasshopper) video link
4. Others that the workshop participants want to explore
SOME USEFUL LINKS
1. What is an LED?, Soldering basics, electronics tutorials and other basic Arduino links
2. Good books to order: Getting Started with Arduino, Make: Electronics, and others
3. Work we admire: LED artist Jim Campbell; Immaterial sensing Wifi; 3D light matrices by James Clar
4. Other smaller LED matrix projects: 4x4x4 and 15x15x15.
EXPERIMENTAL MODES OF INTERACTION & INPUT
This is a preliminary list of the modes we are hoping to experiment with using the Luminous Forms installation. Small group of 5-6 students will be in charge of developing a mini-project that explores one of these unique modes of input combined with a specific light quill arrangement.
1. Live interactions using IR Sensors or other sensors
2. iPad interaction with TouchOSC (to be confirmed)
3. Animated object simulation w/ Rhino (digital storeypole?)
4. Twitter (similar to "tweet 2 form")
5. Kinect Depth Track to create topographies
6. Live webcam input using Grasshopper / Firefly
7. Image to Heightfield (also using Grasshopper)
8. Waveforms or Flocking using Processing
9. Gyroscope input with wireless XBee
Jason's short essay "Thinking Things, Sensing Cities" was just published in the book "Architecture In Formation" published by Routledge and edited by Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa and Aaron Sprecher. It is now available in bookstores around the world and on amazon.com.
Other contributors include: Patrik Schumacher, Bernard Cache, Diller Scofidio-Renfro, Philip Beesely, Achim Menges, Reiser + Umemoto, Greg Lynn, Francois Roche, Ruy Klein, Preston Scott Cohen, Jenny Sabin, Neeraj Bhatia, Antoine Picon and more.
"Thinking Things, Sensing Cities" by Jason Kelly Johnson
Originally Published November 2013
When the basic building blocks of our cities begin to individually sense and respond to the world around them, how can we organize these elements into cooperative networks or ecologies that exhibit intelligence at a larger scale? When a building is constantly evolving based on feedback from its users, its environment or the internet, what are the implications, potentials or risks for architecture? When a city truly becomes ‘cognizant’ and is woven with artificial intelligence, how can architecture become an active participant? Perhaps most importantly, what are the social, cultural, political, or ecological implications of these new soft, wild and responsive cities?
Our research has led us to develop a hypothesis about cities that tends to have more in common with biology and cybernetics, than with anything resembling traditional top-down urban planning. Most of the contemporary examples that we find most fascinating (such as the Rocinha favela or the Occupy encampments) do not generally follow master plans or ancient foundations. Rather they seem to be guided by many of the fundamental evolutionary principles found in migratory animals, insects, viruses, nomadic tribes, digital social networks, robotic ecologies and more. These organizations are often swarm-like, borderless, wirelessly interwoven, ephemeral, intelligent and responsive. Their collective organization is never designed from the top down. These new formations (and their citizens, technologies, information networks and physical infrastructures) emerge, prosper and evolve by continuously mutating, breeding, incubating, cloning, fusing and hybridizing. These virus-like changes occur at a fibrous, cellular or “unit by unit” level and follow simple rules, feedback mechanisms and long-term processes akin to natural selection. These processes tend to generate increasingly diverse and viral formations with profound ecological, political and social dimensions. There is no sentient superstructure, rather the sensing city will emerge informally in patterns that are at once elegant, grotesque and confounding.
As recent events in Tunisia and Egypt have revealed, our urban entanglements are highly volatile and globally intermeshed in both physical and virtual dimensions. Social networking services such as Twitter are increasingly playing a critical role in informing how, when and where citizens assemble, socialize and protest. We explored these ideas in a recent installation project entitled “Datagrove” situated in downtown San Jose, California. It aggregates local trending Twitter feeds from Silicon Valley and then whispers these back through speakers and LCDs displays woven into the Datagrove. It functions as a social media "whispering wall" that harnesses data that is normally nested and hidden in smart phones, and amplifies this discourse into the public realm. The grove thrives on information from its urban environment. It renders invisible data and atmospheric phenomena into variable intensities of light and sound. It provides shelter and a place of calm to contemplate data streams from sources near and far. As one drifts deeper, the grove gradually reveals flowing patterns in cadence with data transmissions both random and meaningful.
Datagrove forecasts a world in which networked information is interwoven into the basic elements of the city - its bricks, mortar, building technologies and appliances. It’s architectural manifestations will exhibit increasingly life-like characteristics. It is an emerging city that will demand a critical shift in the how architecture is currently conceived, how it is constructed, and how citizens engage and participate in its evolution.