A top-down view of a construction scene

How can new technologies make construction safer?

Construction remains one of the most dangerous careers in the United States. To stop accidents before they happen, construction companies are turning to emerging technologies to improve workplace safety—from virtual reality, drone photography, IoT-connected tools, and machine learning. That said, some solutions come with the looming specter of workplace surveillance in the name of safety,

A gif of a woman jumping rope, while two robots twirl the rope

Could jump roping robots change how we think about architectural drawing?

“Movement was always an underlying instigator to how I look at form,” explains architect Amina Blacksher, who began ballet at age six. Her work crosses boundaries and unifies seemingly disparate practices, as she now, among many other things, uses the tools and methods of an architect to investigate the place of robots in our lives

A 3D render and cutaway of a building with a rippling roof

Graphisoft CEO talks about changes in BIM possibilities with ARCHICAD

At the 2019 AIA Architecture Expo in Las Vegas earlier this month, longtime architectural software company Graphisoft premiered the newest update to their ARCHICAD software suite, a 3D BIM tool which has been available to architects continually since 1984. ARCHICAD 23, according to recently-appointed CEO Huw Roberts, a former architect, adds an array of new features and “a whole bunch

Photo of blue and white pavilion with pillars curving out into spheres

MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY creates cloud-like pavilion in Charlotte

At the Valerie C. Woodard Center, a community resource center in Charlotte, North Carolina, a new pavilion seems to rise right out of the earth. Called Pillars of Dreams, the continuous 26-foot-tall cloud-like structure is the creation of MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY, which is known for its complex, computationally-designed structures made of interlocking linear panels or “stripes.”

Diagram that at top shows an island and at bottom shows a rendering of ramps with sand

MIT and Maldivian researchers mimic nature to save sinking land

Human-driven climate change is threatening the coastal areas that nearly half of the world calls home with rising sea levels and increasingly severe storms. While dams, barriers, dredging, and artificial reefs are sometimes used to address these “forces of nature,” these strategies come with their own drawbacks and, in some cases, significant environmental and ecological

6 elements in the evolution of a floor plan—starting with disparate gray circles and eventually winding up in a coherent, multicolored map

Could buildings be evolved instead of designed?

What if we could “breed” buildings to be more efficient? That’s the provocation by artist, designer, and programmer Joel Simon, who was inspired by the potentials of 3D printing and other emergent digital manufacturing technologies, as well as his background in computer science and biology, to test a system of automated planning. With a series

Photo of geometric orange building

UNStudio spins off new tech-focused startup

UNStudio has spun off its own startup, UNSense, to focus on architectural technology and large-scale design problems. “UNSense is completely dedicated to sensory and speculative design,” UNStudio cofounder Caroline Bos told the British publication CLAD, “It’s quite exploratory.” UNSense, according to the company’s website, “combines design thinking and data technology” to create solutions at the scales of buildings, neighborhoods, and

Layer reacts to changes made in a Revit model

Architects launch startup to attach more context to BIM models

The Lincoln, Nebraska, firm BVH Architecture had a problem. It was awarded the chance to help overhaul the HVAC system at the Bertram Goodhue–designed Nebraska State Capitol, but even with the high-precision BIM model it created over 800 hours, there was no good way to attach additional information—like current status, preservation-worthiness, or any of their

Architect creates app to change how exhibitions are designed

For all the advances in technology over the past decade, the experience of curating and viewing museum shows has remained relatively unchanged. Even though digital archive systems exist and have certainly helped bring old institutions into the present, they have relatively little influence over the ways museum shows are designed and shared. The normal practice

Photo of stage set with green platforms in the foreground, a large lit web in the back, and to the right side a domed chamber

Björk enlists Arup engineers to design musical chamber for her latest tour

When I visited Arup’s New York offices, I was taken from the sunlit open areas on the fifth floor, down some stairs, through dark corridors, and into a windowless room with painted dark walls. There was a projector screen, someone by a computer, and a person in all black sitting off to the side. In the center of

a 3D rendering of a two-story, flat-roofed home.

New startup wants to automate the home design process

Anyone who’s played The Sims (especially with cheat codes) knows the fun and ease of designing your own home. Anyone whose designed an actual, IRL home knows it’s nothing like that. For homebuyers who want a custom home, they often encounter a frustratingly opaque and expensive process, or are stuck with pre-made plans that look

Photo of two people standing under a canopy that is billowing up over them

Designer and engineer Nassia Inglessis creates responsive canopy

Today, most people live in cities—artificial structures that determine how we move through space and relate to others and the world around us. But, all too often these cities feel fixed, designed and determined by larger powers that shape a landscape that the average denizen has little direct influence over. So what would a responsive

A shot looking up to Big Ben

How the U.K. forged a path to global BIM standards

During my days as a technology vendor, I chafed at the idea of introducing government standards for technology developed by a polyglot group of stakeholders. Users, software companies, and bureaucrats often sought a “lowest common denominator” between various software, sacrificing innovation and progress for vague notions like “open access.” In the early days of Building Information

Photo of a robot arm in front of a sign reading "TOGGLE"

Brooklyn-based startup is using robots for rebar assembly

Two Brooklyn-based construction entrepreneurs began their business with a simple observation: steel rebar, used in concrete construction throughout the world, isn’t always easy to work with. Ian Cohen and Daniel Blank noticed this when they were watching wind turbines being erected. “Watching the process of people manually moving these huge, heavy objects looked dangerous and

A bird's eye view of Brooklyn and the East River

The origins and perils of development in the urban tech landscape

In most major cities of the world, an urban tech landscape has emerged. One day, we were working on our laptops at Starbucks, and the next, we were renting desks at WeWork. We embedded our small architectural and design firms in low-rent spaces in old factories and warehouses, and then we emerged as “TAMI” (technology,

Photo of construction workers standing around a monopod with a camera

Skanska puts 360-degree photography to work on New York job sites

Three-sixty-degree photography on construction sites is sort of like Google Street View at a smaller scale—a worker walks through a job site with a monopod or sometimes even with a helmet-mounted set of cameras and captures the sights and sounds at all angles. And the technology has become a boon for Skanska, especially for projects

Rendering of a table with succulents in the foreground of a sleek white interior with purple and blue lighting

The solar-powered FutureHAUS is coming to Times Square

New housing is coming to Times Square, at least temporarily. The Virginia Tech team of students and faculty behind the FutureHAUS, which won the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018, a competition supported by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and U.S. Department of Energy, will bring a new iteration of its solar-powered home to New

Construction workers at work on a metal frame.

How Skanska is putting 3D scanning to work in New York City

The Swedish multinational construction and development company Skanska is responsible for many of the world’s biggest building projects. Right now in New York City alone, it is overseeing two massive infrastructural and architectural undertakings: The Moynihan Train Hall and the LaGuardia Terminal B redevelopment. The design and construction of these projects are being reshaped by

A bird's eye view of London with bridges across the Thames lit up colorfully

Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands architects to illuminate the Thames

Londoners will see the Thames in a whole new light beginning this summer. In a collaboration between British architecture firm Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (LDS) and U.S. artist Leo Villareal, up to 15 London bridges—including UNESCO World Heritage sites—will be outfitted with an array of new lighting for at least the next decade. The project, called Illuminated

Photo of three people standing on a roof by solar panels

EPFL puts new high-efficiency rooftop solar panels to the test

While solar panels have become increasingly common, the ones usually found on rooftops and the like can convert at most between 17 and 19 percent of received solar energy to usable electricity. This average yield has plateaued, increasingly only about 3.5 percent since the 2000s. More efficient panels are available, like those used on satellites,

A digital model simulated city appears in a screenshot with a toolbar at left

Chicago-based start up wants to make a digital clone of a city

In Jorge Luis Borges’s 1946 one-paragraph short story “On Exactitude in Science,” a fictional 17th-century individual, Suarez Miranda, tells of a time that the “Cartographers Guilds” made a map of their empire so accurately that it matched it entirely, at 1:1 scale, point by point. Of course, this map was utterly useless. This meditation on

Photo of hands holding a white orb-like object over a pink wristband.

Google creates neuroaesthetic experience for Salone del Mobile

This past week in Milan during Salone del Mobile while designers were showing off their latest furnishings, Google was putting on its own exhibition. Following up on last year’s Softwear exhibition, in which the company teamed up with Li Edelkoort to envision a more comfortable, integrated hardware future, this year the tech giant built out

Photo of a display of a cocoon-like pavilion with various brownish-yellowish skins mounted on the wall

MIT lab creates sculptural pavilion made with dissolvable panels

Less than 10 percent of the billions of tons of plastic ever produced has been recycled, with much of it winding up in the Earth’s oceans where the plastic disrupts ecosystems and releases toxic chemicals. In response, researchers led by Neri Oxman of MIT’s Mediated Matter Group, which focuses on “nature-inspired design and design-inspired nature,”

A view of different textures on a 3D rendering of a sculpture

A French startup is using drones and AI to save the world’s architectural heritage

Now active in over 30 countries around the world, French startup Iconem is working to preserve global architectural and urban heritage one photograph at a time. Leveraging complex modeling algorithms, drone technology, cloud computing, and, increasingly, artificial intelligence (AI), the firm has documented major sites like Palmyra and Leptis Magna, producing digital versions of at-risk sites at

The coastal side of Stockholm with rendered underwater tunnels for autonomous electric vehicles

A team of researchers thinks autonomous electric cars could outdo the subway

A partnership between the state-owned Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), the London-based architecture and technology firm PLP Labs (the research spinoff of PLP Architecture), and LogistikCentrum have released a new study and report proposing a new direction for public transit. Called NuMo, for New Urban Mobility, the proposed technology allows for highly efficient, electric-powered home-to-destination

Photo of a small 3D-printed home with a large overhanging wooden roof

Austin company 3D prints house on site to help alleviate homelessness

“What if you could download and print a house for half the cost?” reads the lede for the Vulcan II, a 3D printer with a name suited for sci-fi space exploration, on the website of Austin-based company ICON. Now the company has put this claim to the test, building what it says is the first

New Swiss residential building shows off the latest in efficient tech

A seemingly simple, six-story apartment complex is going up in Zurich, Switzerland, and is putting to the test a number of new technologies that showcase a more sustainable approach to new construction. The project, Hohlstrasse 100, is designed by Dietrich Schwarz Architekten and is rising next to an existing, two-story commercial space that’s also being renovated

A view of a geometric array of EFTE panels at night, lit from behind with projections.

PARTISANS’ Building Raincoat could help Toronto keep a street culture year-round

Toronto is known for many great things. Its weather isn’t one of them. For the city’s architecture the question is: how can public, urban space be usable and comfortable throughout the year? The architecture collective PARTISANS thinks it might have an answer. Referencing the “maze of awnings…and glass arcades” that defined Toronto streets in the