The US pavilion at the 2010 Venice Biennale featured an installation by design team MOS entitled "Instant Untitled." It consists of a canopy of giant globular silver helium balloons and an interlocking white seating unit. MOS mentions that Instant Untitled has a small carbon footprint, in fact, that it barely even exists. Calling it an urban figment, it is a light and sustainable response to the apparent absurdity of modern architecture. This type of architecture is like diet-architecture, a copy without the calories.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs unveiled a visionary $33 million plan to remove cars from the central square of San Diego's historic Balboa Park. They hope to raise the funds to complete the plan by the park's 100th birthday in 2015. The plan would open up the heart of the park to a pedestrian friendly climate where children could play free of fear of passing vehicles in a clean and inviting atmosphere. To bring this vision to reality, the city would have to remove sixty seven spaces of free parking.
Researchers at MIT have invented a new robotic oil skimmer, called Seaswarm. Senseable City Lab is unveiling the first prototype at the Venice Architecture Biennale on Saturday. The hope's to produce a whole fleet of Seaswarms that'll be able to attack oil spills like a swarm of bees. A patented hydrophobic nanofabric devours as much as 20 times its own weight in oil without collecting water. To capture the oil, the nanofabric's draped over a conveyor belt that's then dispatched on the surface of the ocean like "a rolling carpet." The robot's entirely autonomous; it swims along, powered by a pair of solar panels.
Studio Peek-Ancona built this flood-proof house in Stinson Beach, California, which is located on San Andreas fault and is also in a tsunami zone. It offers a solution to the threat of natural disaster by way of a steel anchoring system combined with a concrete thickened edge foundation, which provides usable recreation or parking space on the ground floor that is subject to seasonal flooding. The foundation is light enough that it floats in the wet soil, but heavy enough with the hybrid anchor/perimeter system that it resists waves above. The foundation provides an alternative to typical piers that often measure forty feet underground.
The London-based company OpenBuildings recently released an App for iPhone and iPod touch that allows users to sync their location to find local architecture. The App, simply called Buildings, mimics the function of OpenBuildings, acting as an encyclopedia for architecture. It pulls from various online resources to provide a comprehensive architectural database. Using Buildings, the user can browse the international collection, look at photos, watch video, and get directions. The App is available at the iTunes Apps store.