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.
New York studio Aranda\Lasch have installed a collection of seating that’s made up of foam triangles at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Entitled Modern Primitives, the series was developed in collaboration with Italian fashion brand Fendi and forms the first part of a project to be concluded at Design Miami in December.
Residents of Spain no longer have to travel all the way to its beaches to sit under colorful umbrellas. ParedesPino Arquitectos recently completed an installation commissioned by the city of Cordoba to construct a unique place that would not only provide an incredible public space for play and local commerce, but refocus the city center by creating a more concise connection between the neighborhoods, the central railway station and urban areas. Set as a beautiful array of multi-colored sunshades across a 128,000 sq ft space, the Centro Abierto de Actividades Ciudadanas (CAAC) project not only provides ample shade during the day, but also an enchanting light at night. And in true umbrella form, each aids in helping the city to cope with water issues, allowing for drainage inside.