Privacy expert quits Sidewalk Labs’ smart city project in Toronto

Concerns about data privacy continue to dog the “smart city” planned for the Toronto waterfront by Google’s sister company Sidewalk Labs. But it isn’t just residents and watchdog groups raising the alarm—consultants and advisors to the project are also jumping ship. The latest to leave is Dr. Ann Cavoukian, a privacy expert whose resignation was intended as a “strong statement” about the project’s

Federal government shuts down self-driving school bus program in Florida

The dreams of a fully autonomous school bus are on hold for a little while longer, at least in Babcock Ranch, Florida. On October 19, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ordered a complete halt to the self-driving school bus program in the Florida town, which had been transporting kids to-and-from school along a three-block stretch. Transdev North America had

Brixels open up new possibilities for kinetic facades

New York–based multi-disciplinary studio, BREAKFAST, has unveiled a groundbreaking kinetic facade product dubbed “Brixels.” The use of kinetic panels for facade and interior design has rapidly grown in popularity both domestically and abroad recently, animating visuals and opening new paths for natural ventilation. Each display is composed of an array of brick-sized pieces that are fully customizable in terms

WeWork lands in London’s postmodern One Poultry building

Global co-working (and education, and fitness, and budding neighborhood planning) company WeWork first announced that it would be taking over London’s protected Grade II* Number One Poultry building back in November of last year. Now the company has finished its move into James Stirling’s postmodern icon and released photos of the interior conversion. Completed in 1997, five years after Stirling’s death, One Poultry

Neri Oxman’s Fiberbots autonomously build human-scale structures

The MIT-based Mediated Matter Group, founded by architect and designer Neri Oxman, is well known for its groundbreaking explorations at the nexus of 3-D printing, design, and what Oxman refers to as “material ecology,” a term that covers projects ranging from a CNC-fabricated scaffold coiled with silk thread produced by 6,500 silkworms to a solid wooden chaise adorned

The Tech+ Workplace conference leads the cutting edge of workplace design

On September 25, The Architect’s Newspaper hosted its inaugural Tech+Workplace conference. Located in New York City’s Urban Tech Hub, the event brought together experts in the fields of office design, space planning, and facilities. Panels were split into three categories: Designing for Wellness, Designing for Performance, and Designing for the Future. Melissa Marsh, Founder and Executive director of PLASTARC and

SHoP Architects created an iPhone app to construct the Botswana Innovation Hub

New York’s SHoP Architects has created proprietary technology that is making it easier for them to organize materials during construction. During the construction of the Barclays Center from 2008 to 2012, the firm developed a novel iPhone interface capable of scanning facade components during fabrication, assembly, transport, and installation to keep an up-to-date digital catalog of the

Morpholio Trace and Shapr3D simplify 3-D sketching and animations

Morpholio Trace, the CAD sketching app, has collaborated with Shapr3D, a modeling application, to roll out a new feature for its iOS 12 update, which Morpholio Trace has dubbed “Drag’n’Fly.” Anna Kenoff co-founded Morpholio Trace in 2011 as a 2-D sketching platform for the creation of floor plans, elevations, sections, and any quick architectural drawing.  Over the years, the

This O-Wind Turbine could bring wind harvesting to urban settings

Harvesting wind energy within urban environments remains a frustrating task. Wind tunnels created by increasingly prevalent tall buildings throw air currents in multi-directional gusts, rendering most conventional turbines relatively useless as they can only capture wind flows moving in a single direction. In pursuit of establishing an efficient tool for harvesting wind energy within cities,

Walmart is using virtual reality to train employees

Virtual Reality (VR) technology is being applied to a broad range of applications, from architectural rendering to medical training. Now, retail giant Walmart is introducing the use of Oculus GO headsets to upgrade training at outlets across the country. Walmart plans to ship four of the headsets to every Walmart Supercenter, and two headsets to

UNStudio unveils flexible hyperloop hub designs for Europe

UNStudio recently unveiled plans for a series of flexible and modular “Stations of the Future” that would service a massive hyperloop railway network throughout Europe. The Dutch architecture firm, founded by Ben van Berkel, proposed a concept station made from “tessellating” modules that can flex, adapt, and expand to fit into various locations, such as a crowded city center, the

A New Way to Be Attached to Our Devices: Emotional AI

FutureVision is R/GA’s trend-spotting division. FutureVision helps keep you connected with the latest information, making it easy for you to stay informed. Many of us have an unhealthy relationship with our digital devices, and repeated behaviors such as checking email or our Instagram accounts for Likes can become addictive. So much so that there’s practically a

This British mosque is structured with parametrically designed wood

In Cambridge, England, Marks Barfield Architects (MBA) is erecting a timber-structured mosque inspired by geometric design and landscaping found throughout the Islamic world. The Cambridge Mosque Project, founded by Dr. Timothy Winter in 2008, purchased the one-acre site in 2009. Allées of cypress and linden trees ring the mosque, which occupies a symmetrical 27-feet-by-27-feet grid. The

Kilograph gains recognition for VR-based architectural rendering

On August 28, creative visualization studio Kilograph was recognized by CGarchitect’s 2018 Architectural 3D Awards Competition for its Suspension House project. Suspension House is a collaboration with San Francisco-based architectural practice Fougeron Architecture. Kilograph was initially commissioned by the firm for marketing illustrations but made the case that a virtual experience would allow the client

Vectorworks 2019 features a host of new upgrades and tools

The proliferation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) has allowed AEC firms to continually alter project designs; subtracting, adding and finessing details until the ideal model is formed. While the use of BIM allows for the visualization of numerous design options, managing and presenting the significant quantity of models and data produced by this method presents

Self-driving homes could be the future of affordable housing

The convergence of new technologies including artificial intelligence, the internet of things, electric cars, and drone delivery systems suggests an unlikely solution to the growing housing crisis. In the next few years, we may use an app on our smartphones to notify our houses to pick us up or drop us off. Honda recently announced the IeMobi

Wattpad’s Crowdsourced Authorship Is Getting Attention

FutureVision is R/GA’s trend-spotting division. FutureVision helps keep you connected with the latest information, making it easy for you to stay informed. Sometimes referred to as the “YouTube for stories,” Wattpad, the 10-year-old Toronto-based digital-literature social-networking app for amateur writers, has helped authors snag book deals with major publishers. One author, Anna Todd, got a combined seven

SAM, the bricklaying robot, is hard at work in Nevada

Across the country, contractors are facing the challenge of incredible construction demand tapered by a dearth of skilled workers to carry out projects. According to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders, approximately two-thirds of bricklaying contractors are having trouble finding workers. The AEC industry, in response to this mismatch between expectations and

Waymo faces tech hurdles as self-driving taxi deadline looms

As the technology propelling autonomous vehicles lurches forward, car companies have been struggling to make the leap between fundamental research and a marketable product. After an Uber test car struck and killed a woman in March of this year, the ride-sharing company abruptly shut down their self-driving program in Arizona. Now Waymo, the Alphabet-owned self-driving car company that had pledged it would launch a fleet

Responsive Virtual Reality Has Promising Marketing Implications

FutureVision is R/GA’s trend-spotting division. FutureVision helps keep you connected with the latest information, making it easy for you to stay informed. This cute and simple interactive narrative is underpinned by complex technology. Described by Google as a “mobile movie theater,” Spotlight Stories combines 3D and 2D animation with 360-degree spherical video. The app also uses

Dubai plans to 3D print a quarter of all construction projects by 2025

Dubai’s population has grown exponentially in the last few decades, booming from 183,000 in 1975 to approximately 2.5 million in the present day. Housing a burgeoning population and commercial sector place an incredible burden on authorities to keep pace with change. To boost output, the Emirate of Dubai has announced that 25% of new buildings

AutoX launches a self-driving grocery delivery service in San Jose

From Amazon Go to Walmart’s Alphabot, grocery retail is being significantly disrupted by the fast-evolving technologies of automation and artificial intelligence. Now, startup AutoX is launching an autonomous vehicle delivery service directly to households. While other companies such as Nuro and Marble are designing and operating autonomous vehicles specifically for delivery, AutoX is utilizing preexisting

Mexico is building Latin America’s largest solar installation

While the current American government squanders time and opportunity in the pursuit of short-term profit by imposing disruptive tariffs and curtailing sustainability-focused goals, Mexico is powering ahead with a broad effort to generate up to 35 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2024. As a part of that transformative effort—until recent years, Mexico’s energy industry operated as an oil-forward,

Amazon Go opens a second retail location

Amazon’s march forward into brick-and-mortar retail continues with the opening of a second Amazon Go store on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Marion Street in Downtown Seattle. The store operates on the same high-tech principles as the Amazon Go pilot store that opened in January. With the installed Amazon Go smartphone app, customers swipe

Hilton is building its first modular hotel by San Francisco’s Airport North

Home2Suites, a subsidiary of Hilton, is currently constructing the brand’s first modular construction hotel. On August 15, executives from Hilton, Southern Hospitality Services, and Ashlar Development began construction of the project adjacent to San Francisco’s Airport North by placing pre-fabricated elements into position. Adrian Kurre, global head of Home2 Suites, states “staying at the forefront

Getting Personal With AI

FutureVision is R/GA’s trend-spotting division. FutureVision helps keep you connected with the latest information, making it easy for you to stay informed. Science fiction likes to show us a world where technology is so pervasive, it completely transforms our lives, for better or worse. Star Wars; Minority Report; I, Robot—all of these films feature sophisticated artificially

Blipper is using AR to ease interior navigation

Navigating vast infrastructure and retail hubs, as well as urban environments, can prove to be a daunting task. Blippar, a London-based technology company, is easing wayfinding in these environments through AR-technology. In 2017, Blippar launched ARCity – AR Navigation, an app that allows users to explore hundreds of cities across the world. The app runs

ETH Zurich produces an energy-free adaptable shading prototype

Chiara Vailati, a doctoral student at ETH Zurich’s Institute for Building Materials, has developed an adaptive shading system that functions without sensors or motors. The shading system is composed of multiple pairs of parallel wooden planks which open and close autonomously. The system can be installed as a type of pergola, or horizontally across a