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Events

Architecture and the City Festival
September 1–30, 2014
The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter (AIA San Francisco) and the Center for Architecture + Design announce the 11th annual Architecture and the City festival, the nation’s largest architectural festival of its kind. Taking place in San Francisco every September, the month-long celebration features behind the scenes and walking tours, films, exhibitions, lectures and more, providing opportunities for participants to engage with the local architecture community and experience design in a myriad of ways throughout the city. The 2014 Architecture and the City festival theme, Home: My San Francisco, will examine the shifting nature of home, the different elements that contribute to its definition, and its relation to the urban fabric. Over 40 festival programs will explore the cultural richness and diversity of our local architectural and design community as well as provide a platform for conversation about our changing landscape and its implications for a city in a time of rapidly intensifying housing needs.

Barton Myers: Works of Architecture and Urbanism
September 12–December 12, 2014
With works as varied as a Vidal Sassoon Salon from 1968, the U.S. Expo Pavilion in Seville, Spain in 1992, and his steel houses, this exhibit will present an overview of almost fifty years of architecture. Barton Myers first attracted attention in the late 1960s for his civic buildings and urban projects in Canada. He returned to the United States in 1984 to open a Los Angeles office and became known for his performing arts centers, campus buildings, and steel houses among many projects. 

The Barton Myers papers were donated to the Architecture and Design Collection of the AD&A Museum, UC Santa Barbara in 2000.  The archive covers Myers’s work from 1968 through 2002 and includes sketches and computer drawings, watercolors, images by well-known photographers, detailed study models and models of blocks-long sections of cities, as well as research notes, correspondence, lectures, and writings.

Detroit Design Festival
September 23–28, 2014
Presented by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), and supported by the Knight Foundation, the fourth-annual Detroit Design Festival spans all design disciplines and brings together commerce, culture, education, and entertainment with a full, varied program of exhibitions, openings, installations, shows, talks, open studios, fashion shows, product previews, performances and workshops.

Archtoberfest San Diego 2014
October 1–30, 2014
Archtoberfest San Diego 2014 is a collaboratively-operated initiative aimed at establishing an annual, month-long program of public events and activities pertaining to architecture, design, planning and sustainability.

Case Study & Site Tour
October 2, 2014
Steven Ehrlich will discuss his elevon designs at an Urban Land Institute Los Angeles event at elevon at Campus El Segundo. He will be joined by representatives of the development and leasing teams.

Docomomo US Tour Day 2014
October 11, 2014

Docomomo US is pleased to announce the full schedule of Tour Day, one of the largest national programs devoted to the appreciation of Modern architecture in the United States. Set to take place on October 11, 2014 and throughout the month of October, this year’s event includes more than 50 tours planned in 21 states and 37 individual cities and brings together 17 Docomomo US Chapters, 5 Friend Organizations, in addition to architecture and preservation organizations, architects, historians, designers, and enthusiasts. Hosted by many of the leading preservation voices, Tour Day 2014 events will offer something for everyone.


Westedge Design Fair
October 16–19, 2014
The curated fair features over 150 leading and emerging, domestic and international furnishings brands. Catering to both trade and consumers, the event offers a complete experience for attendees, including panel discussions and workshops, culinary activities, custom installations, and a series of special events.

4th Annual Found L.A.
October 19, 2014
On Sunday, October 19, 2014, the non-profit L.A. Commons (www.lacommons.org) will host its 4th annual Found L.A: Festival of Neighborhoods, and its first based on a mayoral theme, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Program. Angelenos will explore the main arteries of neighborhoods around the city, developed and not so, and meet the people in the center of activity there.

ACADIA 2014 Design Agency Conference
October 23–24, 2014
DESIGN AGENCY will bring together the spectrum of research and creative practice currently occurring within the ACADIA community through the combined support of the research networks of the University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles and Southern California Institute of Architecture. Questions the capacity for computation to inform or challenge traditional design processes; computation as design operation - the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power, and/or computation as design instrumentality - the design mechanism through which power is exerted or an end is achieved.

New Urbanism Film Festival
November 2014
The primary goal of the New Urbanism Film Festival is to renew the dialogue about urban planning with a broader audience. The Festival brings in movies, short films, speakers, on the topics of architecture, public health, bicycle advocacy, urban design, public transit, inner-city gardens, to name a few.

 

 

 

 

Competitions

Registration Opens: October 1
Breaking New Ground
The California Endowment

Deadline: October 31

Show Us Your Baldwin
Baldwin

Deadlne: November 30
Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award
International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)

Deadline: December 8

2015 Diversity Scholarship
Gensler

Deadline: December 31
Kitchen Design Contest
Wolf and Sub-Zero 

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Tuesday
May132014

Issue Extra: Digital Interplay: Where Architecture and Entertainment Meet

In the current issue of FORM, contributing writer Jack Skelley explores the overlap between architecture and video gaming. Above, a virtual skyscraper by gaming company Square Enix.Renderings courtesy Square Enix.

One of the highlights of our March/April 2014 is Jack Skelley's feature on architecture and gaming. We're delighted to share it with our online readers.

By Jack Skelley

Architecture and video gaming have a lot in common. They share both natural and technological synergy. Computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D Modeling, via animation and modeling programs are used by each. Both disciplines imagine built environments. The difference, of course, is that gamers stay on the imaginary side. But the technology that has freed the imaginations of game designers has also freed the imaginations of architects.

AJ Artemel writes in Architzer that architecture appears in gaming in a few broad categories: realistic but passive backdrops (as in Grand Theft Auto); “labyrinthine settings through which the action moves,” (as in Doom); and world building, with imagined places reflecting an imagined culture (as in Minecraft). Two of the most enduring games put world-making front and center: SimCity, which emphasizes the practicalities of urban design; and Myst, whose fantastical places resemble the Gothic/Art Nouveau flights of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí.

Michael White is principal and firm-wide leader of Gensler’s Media Practice Area, which includes architectural projects for the video gaming, film and television industries. Gensler has a Los Angeles studio of 40 designers exclusively focused on these fields, with robust practices in the Americas, Asia and Europe.  The team’s software palette is broad, using Maya, Adobe Suite, AutoCAD (2D and 3D), Sketchup, Revit, Rhino, MAX, Vray, and Digital Project for some specialized pieces—even some older programs such as FormZ and Cinema4D.

“Most architectural firms had converted to CAD as the video gaming industry was emerging,” he says. “So architecture’s computer-savvy talent was ripe recruiting ground for that industry.” As technology has matured, the platforms have diverged. “One of the components unique to today’s video games is live multi-player interaction – not part of traditional architectural design,” he adds.

Both communities have executive crossovers. Andrew Risch, the founder of gaming-artist group Polycount, was trained in architecture. According to Risch’s bio, “a few years ago he made the transition from real architecture to virtual, and has since helped build the worlds of Planetside and Star Wars Galaxy.”

Another top game designer, though not a trained architect, strives for a strong foundation of design credibility: “It’s extremely important, especially if you are creating a city in a near-future, urban setting,” says Jonathan Jacques-Belletête, Executive Art Director at Square Enix, and creator of the Deux Ex series. “As game designers we are not architects or urbanists. So we absolutely must not invent anything off the tops of our heads. It must be well researched and informed, or else it feels ‘gamey’ and not credible.”

Jacques-Belletête’s research includes observing significant contemporary architects and artists ranging from Zaha Hadid to Damien Hirst – an approach he feels is missing from too many popular games.

“I couldn’t care less about the videogame visual culture. Most of it is pretty bad and cocooned in its own redundant aesthetic circle. When I design the visuals for a game, I look at the real things around me, and build from there,” he says. “Overall, in the industry things are getting better now. But back when we started, we were almost the first one to think this way.”

Similarly, SimCity lead designer Stone Librande has immersed himself in city planning manuals to approximate the complexities of urban design. His firm, Interactive Arts, maintains a library of planning manuals. Even more important for Librande has been the urban realities discovered via Google Earth and Google Street View. “I found it to be an extremely powerful way to understand the differences between cities and small towns in different regions,” he said recently in The Atlantic.

Of course, there is a third profession that crosses over in the same ways as architecture and gaming: computer animation. As with gaming, architecture was the breeding ground of the first generation of digital effects artists. Bradley Sick, former modeling supervisor at Rhythm and Hughes Studios, oversaw the creation of the lifeboat, island and famous tiger in Fox’s 2012 movie Life of Pi. Sick graduated with a Masters in Architecture from UCLA in 1991.

“It was a fairly small leap to animation,” he says. “I knew the concepts and applied them in new software. It’s about understanding three-dimensional space and how characters move within that space.”

When he was in school, there was no such profession. But by the time he joined Rhythm and Hughes, animation degrees had become a path to digital effects work. With that path no longer necessary, Sick feels the profession is missing a fundamental understanding of spatial design.

“The work of today’s artists often lack the verisimilitude that comes from real-world, design knowledge,” he says.

Meanwhile, new knowledge has flowed back to architecture.

“Consider,” says Gensler’s White, “3D technology which largely started in video gaming and film animation. It has helped architecture evolve from its dependency on Cartesian – or grid – patterns and develop more fluid forms.”

So, while technology has created fantasy worlds, it has also allowed brick-and-mortar architecture to achieve shapes in real life that were previously impossible. White cites the sophisticated use of parametric animation technology in Gensler’s design of the new 121-storey Shanghai Tower, the new COEX Mall in South Korea and Farmers Field stadium in Los Angeles.

He adds: “Technology within animation and video gaming has dramatically expanded our creative process.”

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