Design for Social Impact
May 25–August 3, 2014
Based on the idea that design is a way of looking at the world with an eye for changing it, the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) presents Design for Social Impact, an original exhibition offering a look at how designers, engineers, students, professors, architects and social entrepreneurs use design to solve the problems of the 21st century.

Japanese Design Today 100
June 27–July 19, 2014
The Japan Foundation presents the World premiere of the exhibition Japanese Design Today 100, which opens at UCLA’s Department of Architecture & Urban Design at Perloff Hall. This exhibition showcases the Designscape of contemporary Japan through 100 objects of Japanese design: 89 objects created since 2010 that are well known in Japan, as well as 11 objects that represent the origin of Japanese post-war modern product design. These 100 product designs are displayed in 10 categories: Classic Japanese Design, Furniture & Housewares, Tableware & Cookware, Apparel & Accessories, Children, Stationery, Hobbies, Healthcare, Disaster Relief, and Transportation.

BAM/PFA New Building Topping Out Celebration
July 17, 2014
Construction is nearing midpoint at the downtown Berkeley site of the future home of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA). Workers will soon be erecting the last of the steel beams that form the frame of this dynamic building. To celebrate this important milestone, BAM/PFA invites its Bay Area friends and neighbors to a “topping out” ceremony on Addison Street, between Shattuck Avenue and Oxford Street.

39th Annual American Craft Council San Francisco Show
August 8–10, 2014

The American Craft Council returns to San Francisco for its 39th Annual American Craft Council San Francisco Show this August 8-10, 2014 at Fort Mason Center. As the largest juried fine craft show on the West Coast, the 2014 San Francisco Show is expected to draw more than 12,000 fine craft collectors and design enthusiasts.

Conversations in Place 2014
August 10, 2014
ow in its third year, Conversations in Place 2014 begins another series of illuminating explorations of “Southern California – Yesterday and Tomorrow” at the historic Rancho Los Alamitos. The 4-part series begins Sunday, August 10 and continues through Sunday, November 2. The series begins with W. Richard West, Jr, President and CEO of The Autry National Center of the American West, Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, chairman of the United States Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and Pamela Seager, Executive Director of Rancho Los Alamitos, and Architect Stephen Farneth, FAIA, founding partner of the award-winning historic preservation firm Architectural Resources Group, in conversation about the place of museums and historic sites in shaping the story of Southern California. Can these institutions escape the straightjacket of the time to better interpret history to the 21st century?

NOW AND NEXT 2014 Symposium on Technology for Design and Construction
August 13–15, 2014
Meet thought leaders and colleagues interested in architecture, engineering, construction, open BIM Exchange, software trends and more. Learn about the innovations that are moving companies and people forward
including: where and how design and delivery is shifting; which software applications are transformative; best practices for collaborative project delivery; how to engage with the global BIM community. Connect with and hear from the best and the brightest such as Jordan Brandt, AutoDesk; Deke Smith, buildingSMART alliance; Ray Topping, Fiatech; Bill East, Prairie  Sky Consulting (formerly of the US Army Corps of Engineers).

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.

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. 



Deadline: August 18

Deadline: September 2
Hansgrohe+Axor Das Design Competition

Deadline: September 5

2014 Designer Dream Bath Competition

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

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Industry Partners




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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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