Designers exhibit ‘Hydramax’ at SFMOMA - a radical vision for robotic buildings and landscapes that intelligently harvest the elements and adjust to citizens desires through responsive building systems and skins
San Francisco, CA (June 11, 2012) Future Cities Lab’s Hydramax project proposes a radical rethinking of San Francisco’s urban waterfront. The proposal renders the existing hard edges of the waterfront as new robotic systems that would include intelligent fog harvesting aquatic parks, bio-engineered hydroponic farms and tele-present community gardens.
California designers Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno envision a synthetic world in which distinctions between buildings, robots and biology cease to exist. Building skins respond and change shape, texture and color throughout the day and the year. Using thousands of sensors and tiny motorized components, the massive urban scale robotic structure harvests rainwater and fog, while modulating air flow, solar exposure and intelligent building systems.The designers predict a futuristic world constructed by robots using biotechnology and urban-scale 3d printers. Johnson describes these new worlds as, “... robotic ecologies, where artificial intelligence and the contemporary city merge and eventually co-evolve.”
The Hydramax model, currently on exhibit at SFMOMA, is a fascinating six-foot long interactive prototype that senses and responds to the proximity of gallery visitors. The model’s integrated LED lights pulsate while tiny motors adjust intelligent “fog feathers” in real-time. Future Cities Lab collaborated with Miga Motors of Berkeley on the integration of their space-age ‘shape-memory alloy’ motors into the model. The team used Arduino open-source microcontrollers as the brains to control the entire piece, while all of the core electronics were custom designed and digitally fabricated especially for the exhibition.
The ideas and work exhibited by Johnson and Gattegno suggest a new world pulsating with life and teeming with design opportunities. Hydramax is both a fantastic vision for how San Francisco’s waterfront could productively evolve, and most importantly, it provides a roadmap for how we might boldly rethink and rebuild coastal cities in the future.
Suggested Tags: Technology, Robotics, Design, Architecture, Urban Farming, San Francisco, Cities, Climate Change
If you are interested in scheduling an interview with Future Cities Lab (Jason Kelly Johnson and/or Nataly Gattegno) please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Future Cities Lab will also be available for SFMOMA gallery walk-throughs from 11 June to 26 July. High-resolution royalty-free press images are available upon request. Video footage of the project: http://www.future-cities-lab.net/hydramax/
Future Cities Lab is an experimental design and research office based in San Francisco, California. Design principals Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno have collaborated on a range of award-winning projects exploring the intersections of design with advanced fabrication technologies, robotics, responsive building systems and public space. In 2010 they were awarded the Young Architects Prize from the Architectural League of New York. Website: www.future-cities-lab.net
The SFMOMA exhibition “The Utopian Impulse: Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area” (Curated by Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher) will be open through July 29, 2012. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is located at 151 Third Street in downtown San Francisco. Website: http://www.sfmoma.org