Thursday, 28 May 2009



Responsive Environments: developing concepts for sustainable architectures

August 10 – 24, 2009

The workshop will take place at CITA (Centre for Information Technology and Architecture) at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Philip de Langes Allé 10, 1435 Copenhagen K, Denmark.

more infos as well on the related blog

Call for participation:
The summer school has a wide international call for students and other interested parties from KARCH, Waterloo and beyond. The course will bring together a team of practitioners and students from across Europe and Canada.

To apply:
Please confirm interest and commitment to attending before June 1st, in a short written statement addressed to Mette Ramsgard Thomsen and Philip Beesley. A small portfolio of prior work will be helpful.

Acceptance into the course will be confirmed by June 5th 2009.

The summer school investigates how concepts of interactivity and responsiveness can suggest new ways of thinking the relationship between the building and its environment. The contemporary societal context necessitates the thinking of sustainable solutions for our built environment. But how do these challenge the way we think and design space? How do we challenge our understanding of sustainability from being a set of posterior technological implementations to become part of the intellectual thinking and culture of architecture? Where formalist design traditions uphold the autonomy of the architectural artefact, we ask how ideas of interfacing and actuated behaviour can allow a re-conceptualisation of core architectural terms such as context, shelter, programme and extension.

The summer school asks:
- If interactivity presents us with an inherent openness towards the exterior, how can new models of permeability and exchange challenge the way we think site and enclosure?
- If embedded actuation allows for adaptable structures, how does this challenge the primacy of permanence in architectural design?
- What are the technologies and materials that can enable the realisation of this new architecture of responsiveness: what is energy, how can we harvest it and how do we exploit it?

The goal of the summer school is to develop a major interactive architectural environment. The installation will be developed at the Centre for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA), Royal Academy of Fine Arts, at the Royal Danish Academy during August 2009, involving an intensive two week workshop that brings together students and faculty from Waterloo, The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Philadelphia's PennDesign, and other European schools to work closely with experimental architectural designers and creators within the Copenhagen community at CITA.

The workshop will design and fabricate a new immersive kinetic sculpture environment that responds to user stimulus with dense, distributed fields of physical movement controlled by massively repeated arrays of microcomputers embedded within the textile-like layers of the space. This will be mounted in a large public gallery space on the grounds of the Royal Danish Academy.

By working collaboratively to produce and refine this installation, participants will gain advanced experience in key aspects of responsive architectures: networks and systems composed of complex parts assembled into coherent artificial 'organisms', actuation systems based on shape memory alloys, innovative techniques for creating large volumes out of small amounts of material, implementation of digital fabrication and advanced modeling, simulation and visualization techniques.

For full information: Please visit this page

archibots : intelligent and adaptable built environments

September 30, 2009 in Orlando, Florida at Ubicomp 2009.

call Robotics embedded in our built environment will increasingly support and augment everyday work, school, entertainment, and leisure activities in an increasingly digital society.

A full-day workshop offering at Ubicomp, the International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, Archibots aims to identify opportunities and challenges in research and education in the emerging area of “Architectural Robotics” - intelligent and adaptable physical environments at all scales.
For Archibots 2009, we seek position papers representing diverse perspectives from the extended ubicomp community exploring possibilities and defining an agenda for Architectural Robotics for the year 2019 and beyond. Workshop participants will discuss these perspectives and then, in teams, sketch short videos to envision possible futures. The collected videos of the workshop are intended to stream to the Video Program of the conference. The organizers plan to publish selected position papers as an edited book or a special issue of a journal, and also further relations with industry and allied disciplines.

organizers Keith Evan Green (Clemson U.) and Mark D. Gross (Carnegie Mellon U.)

scope We solicit position papers envisioning opportunities and challenges for Architectural Robotics to support and enhance human needs and desires, including, but not limited to:
• specific applications (e.g., work, health, play, elderly, disabled, children).
• re-configurable and modular robotics in buildings, public places, furniture...
• sociological and psychological implications of architectural robotics.
• programming buildings that sense, infer, and respond to human needs.
• intelligent building structures and systems with embedded robotics.
• the software and hardware infrastructure needed to realize archibots.
• teaching and learning architectural robotics.We encourage papers that go beyond a mere presentation of accomplished works; instead, we seek contributions to this emerging field that openly communicate techniques, methods and assemblies of architectural robotics and, more broadly, the challenges and prospects of architectural robotics which we recognize as technical, social and aesthetic.

submissions Paper submissions must be formatted according to the Ubicomp supplementary proceedings template (Word or Latex) and submitted in PDF to both and no later than 5pm EST on June 25, 2009. Papers must not exceed 6 pages and 10MB, including abstract, all figures, and references. Each submission should have one designated author who will participate in the conference, should the submission be accepted. Ubicomp will publish all workshop papers in a proceedings supplement. The supplement will not be included in the ACM digital library. Copyright of the published papers will remain with the authors

Monday, 25 May 2009

Biomimetics – Nature Did It First

On Monday June 8, the Materials KTN, in association with BAE Systems, Bristol, are organising a one-day FREE workshop entitled “Biomimetics – Nature Did It First”.

On-line registration for this event is now open. Please note that as previously there is no charge for attending the event but it is necessary to register online through the Materials KTN web site via the following link

Further speakers may be announced later but the provisional programme is as follows:

10.00 Registration and coffee
10.45 Bio-Inspired Technologies and the Defence Technology Plan
Alex Parfitt, BAE Systems
11.15 Design Strategies Taken From Biology”
Julian Vincent, Bath University
11.45 Tea Break
12.00 Wildlife to Sustainable Garments”
Tom Podkolinski, Finisterre UK
12.30 Self Healing Composites”
Richard Trask, Bristol University
13.00 Lunch and Networking
14.00 Design 2.0: Engineering and Design Re-invented
14.30 To be announced
15.00 Tea and networking
16.00 Close

Please note that this event is not being held at the usual address of 1 Carlton House Terrace, but at BAWA , 589 Southmead Road, Filton, Bristol, BS34 7RG. The directions from the BAWA web site can be found using the link:

Monday, 18 May 2009

Call for Material Science / Technological Collaboration

Not being a materials scientist, but highly interested in the development of new materials, I am currently looking for setting a technological collaboration in order to develop architectural surfaces that change shape in response to the environment.The goal is to design customized surfaces with specific performances, with the desire to develop applications out of the engineering sphere, fitting within a domestic/architectural context.

The challenge is to establish a real dialogue between science and design with a strong emphasis on making. The idea is to work hand in hand to develop innovatives samples, leading to the concretisation of a working prototype at 1.1 scale.

Specific material interest
Technologically speaking, my prime interest resides on phototropic and photo-responsive polymers such as light-induced shape-memory polymers, but electro-active polymers, piezoeletric materials and shape-memory alloys could be an alternative. My attention is also triggered by biomomicry approach.

Would you be interested by such an approach ? I am looking for a collaborator in the field of biomimicry, material science/engineering, someone with the ability to develop materials such as photo-responsive & shape-changing polymers. So feel free to get in touch with me, I am looking forward to hearing from you:

Aurélie Mossé, PhD Student,Tectonic Textile

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The "Google Generation" of Today

The Guardian posted an interesting article on their website today about the use of virtual technologies within Universities.

The article stated that 75% of students are subscribed to a least one social network and spend at least four hours a day online. As technology is evolving rapidly and students are becoming more web savvy - will universities struggle to keep up?

With an increase in blogging, social networking and the phenomenon of new micro blogging site twitter, people are becoming better connected. This peer to peer exchange encourages a dialogue between people, allowing them to form communities to share knowledge, skills and expertise.

"Students aren't just passive consumers of content. They need to be able to evaluate it and should be creating it themselves," Brian Kelly, University of Bath

The article makes some interesting points and presents some example's of digital media being used within universities in the UK.  There is also a link to a report on higher education by Sir David Melville. 

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Alternative Fashion Week

Spitalfield market hosted Alternative Fashion Week from 20-24 April. The event was organised by the alternative arts organisation and was free to participate. Welcoming a host of  designers, showcasing up to 15 per day and attracting an audience of aprox 10,000 people!

With sponsorship this year  from Rescue Cream, Hammerson and the Spitalfields Estate the event supported designers and models. The models take part in a modeling course prior to the event and are trained by a top choreographer - allowing them to gain some valuable experience.

I attended the event on the Thursday and Friday and was amazed by the quantity and quality of the creations hitting the catwalk. A number of different themes were explored by the designers such as sustainability through recycling, upcycling and ethical sourcing. New techniques were tried and tested through material exploration, fabric manipulation, volume, colour and scale... And new contexts were addressed through traditional, historical and futuristic ensembles. 

I think the Friday was a fantastic finale which showcased work from TRAIDLondon Printworks Trust and closed with work from Chelsea College of Art and Design

Design In Alternative Futures

design council

This free event was hosted by the Public Services team within the Design Council, London. Designers were invited to participate in a discussion about the future of the economy, society and government. As 2009 will be remembered as the year of global economic durntown - what does this mean to our future?

Dr Alex King, project leader in the governments Horizon Scanning Centre - presented "Economy and Society 2030"

He used scenario mapping to present 4 possible future scenarios to illustrate portraits of the future of Britain. All scenarios were speculative and addressed themes such as social values, behaviour, technology, community, resources, innovation, economics...

Dr King talked about 4 different worlds, these scenarios projected people uniting together and regarding collaboration more important than competition, with a strong sense of community. Or a different competitive society where people become isolated with lots of small closed communities...

Discussion was gauged around the scenario methods and I found the discussion as interesting as the presentation. The method of scenario mapping could be used to engage people to prompt discussion and debate. But, there are lots of variables that could impact each scenario differently and this creates a lot of complexity around the method.

Some interested points were highlighted throughout the discussion such as using designers to create visual scenarios/ storyboards to communicate to participants and multiple stakeholders. Therefore could we create roles for designers when creating government policy?

I found this event was really interesting and thought provoking and think it’s a create platform to bring designers together.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Magnetic Curtain

It is not so new, it has been around for a while but the magnetic curtain by Florian Kraütli is still fascinating. I love it! and it will be available soon thanks to Droog Design. More on the designer's website

Cradle to Cradle concepts in Copenhagen

William Mc Donough, one of the two authors of Cradle to Cradle, the way we re-make things, will give a talk at The Royal Academy of Fines Arts, School of Architecture, Copenhagen next thursday. The entrance is free so no reason to miss it but you have to book before the 5th of may.

More information here.

Date: Thursd. 7. maj 2009 from 9.30 till 13.00

Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole, festsalen
Philip de Langes Allé 10
1435 København K