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Measurement Moxie

Christopher Connock, Kieran Timberlake


Don’t assume. Designers typically make decisions based on assumptions about building performance and behavior. We rely, for instance, on regional climatic data collected at an airport weather station to predict temperatures at an over-shadowed urban site. This data does not account for the spectrum of real conditions a building will experience over time and within a site’s micro-climate. This disconnect – and the lack of available off-the-shelf options for nimble measurement – led researchers at KieranTimberlake to develop a high-density network of data-collecting sensors with an online interface. Christopher Connock will share a series of interrelated project test beds that illustrate how sensor development strengthens the firm’s culture of questioning, and allows others to do the same.


Evolving Modes of R+D in Practice

Stephen Van Dyck and Scott Crawford, LMN Architects / LMN Tech Studio


With ever-increasing demands on schedule, budget and design quality, the future of project delivery is dependent upon a robust and nimble digital process. Over the past six years, LMN Tech Studio – the research and development lab embedded within LMN Architects – has been developing customized digital and physical processes to advance the state of project delivery and build a more cohesive and collaborative exchange for project stakeholders. This talk will examine how a broad range of project work has led to a variety of innovative approaches, where emerging computational solutions have optimized the design and fabrication of complex architectural assemblies.


Grow Up, Grasshopper!
Andrew Heumann, NBBJ


It’s time for design computation to grow up. As a platform for innovative thinking around design, interoperability and automation, design computation tools such as Grasshopper and Dynamo have taken hold of the architecture industry. However these tools are plagued by challenges – both cultural and technical – that limit their impact. NBBJ’s design computation group has taken a number of steps to expand the reach and impact of computational thinking through the development of both technical infrastructure and new methodologies and practices. Case studies from practice will illustrate the recent evolution of NBBJ’s approach to research, training, innovation, adoption and client communication through computation.


Collaboration and Open Source – How the Software Industry’s Approach to Open Sourcing Non-Core Technology has Created Innovation
Gareth Price, Ready Set Rocket

Alex Lirtsman and Gareth Price from digital marketing agency Ready Set Rocket will talk about how open source and agile development have changed how they build software for connected experiences. They will discuss how lessons from open source could be applied to help push forward the architectural industry through collaboration, standardization and freedom.


How Open Source Enables Innovation

Mostapha Roudsari and Ana Garcia Puyol, CORE studio Thornton Tomasetti


The presenters will discuss how some of the most recent web-based development projects at CORE studio are enabled by open-source initiatives and how these platforms are being used for better collaboration inside and outside Thornton Tomasetti.


Beyond Exchanging Data: Scaling the Design Process

Owen Derby, Flux.io


Taking cues from the software industry and building on existing work from the AEC industry, Flux is developing a robust system for exchanging data between design tools. In this talk, we will examine how we can leverage this seamless interoperability to build better collaboration tools and facilitate knowledge sharing in the industry. We will preview some ideas Flux has been exploring in this domain, and how it can help firms scale their design process.


Holly Whyte Meets Big Data: The Quantified Community as Computational Urban Design

Constantine Kontokosta, NYU Center for Urban Science + Progress (CUSP)

Instrumentation of the urban environment is not by itself sufficient to have a meaningful impact on the quality, sustainability and resilience of cities – or more broadly on urban policy and planning. Understanding the social, economic and cultural dynamics of urban life requires both an appreciation of the social sciences and a substantive engagement with communities across neighborhoods. “Smart city” messaging is replete with claims of the potential for sensors and information and communication technologies (ICT) to re-shape urban life, although such rhetoric ignores the practical realities and constraints of urban decision-making and the social and distributional concerns of policy outcomes. Rather, significant progress could be achieved at the neighborhood scale by focusing diverse, comprehensive, and persistent real-time data collection and analysis on a “quantified community” (QC). The resulting unique experimental environment would provide a testing ground for new physical and informatics technologies, policies and behavioral interventions, allowing unprecedented studies in urban planning and design, urban systems engineering and management, and the social sciences. Focusing on the neighborhood scale also allows for meaningful interaction with, and participation by, the people who live, work, and play in that space and shifts the emphasis of data-driven design away from top-down routinization to organic problem-solving.


Data-Driven Design and the Mainstream

Nathan Miller, Proving Ground


While buildings remain costly, risky and time consuming endeavors, data is increasingly cheap, fast, and pervasive in the world of building. A new data-driven process is allowing architects to realize new levels of performance in their business and for their clients. This lecture will explore the concept of “data-driven design” and its value for building practices. Using a combination of real-world case studies and experimental prototypes, Nathan will demonstrate uses of data for guiding design decisions, communicating ideas to clients, proving performance, and creating opportunities for innovation in businesses.


The Biggest IoT Opportunity In Buildings Is Closer Than You Think

Josh Wentz, Lucid

Tablet Computer With Blank White Screen as Copy Space on Office Table.

Tablet Computer With Blank White Screen as Copy Space on Office Table.

With five million commercial buildings in the U.S. alone, buildings represent a massive and growing opportunity. Consider that $35 billion was spent on commercial building automation in 2013, yet 94% of commercial buildings still don’t have automation technologies. Clearly, there is a huge disconnect – literally. Building technologies today are complex, highly fragmented, proprietary and largely disconnected from each other and from the Internet. As a result, for smart building technology to become accessible, cheap and ubiquitous, the emphasis needs to fundamentally shift from hardware to software. What’s possible when smart devices and their data are coupled with innovative cloud-based technology? We’ll share a future in which advanced collaborative technology connects hardware, software and people to transform the built environment.


Capturing Building Data – From 3D Scanning to Performance Prediction

Dan Reynolds and Justin Nardone, CORE studio Thornton Tomasetti


The presenters will discuss research and development at Thornton Tomasetti, detailing the firm’s process and some current projects. We combine real-world projects and problems from all parts of our firm with new technologies to develop innovative solutions. A current research project explores reality capture. Much of our work involves existing buildings and so we have developed a number of processes that the whole firm can use to capture building geometry and translate it into usable data. We will also discuss machine learning and how it can be used to make predictions and speed up early design feedback in structural models.


Data-Driven Design

Luc Wilson, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC

Wilson_Presentation Image

In practice, the process of global urban development has largely occurred without the aid of urban data or computational analysis tools. Given the scale, density and complexity of contemporary urban developments, combined with an urgency to address issues of equity and climate change, the use of these tools can fundamentally change the design of buildings and the planning of cities.

By leveraging the increasing data richness of cities integrated with the development of 3d spatial analysis tools, project designs can be informed directly by the complexity of their surrounding context. This presentation will demonstrate how a data-driven approach to design and development is being used in the workflow of Kohn Pedersen Fox on a range of projects, from a skyscraper to a master plan. It will provide an overview of the methodologies being developed, case studies of real projects and a discussion of current limitations.


Cellular Fabrication of Building Scale Assemblies Using Freeform Additive Manufacturing

Platt Boyd, Branch Technology

Community Presentation 8-2015

Branch Technology has developed a method for construction that uses industrial robotics, freeform 3D printing technology and economical building materials to make the analogy of cellular structure formation in the natural world. The state-of-the-art in 3D-printed buildings will be reviewed along with lessons learned. The cellular fabrication (C-FAB) method takes its cues from proven methods observed in nature, where material use is minimized, but leaves the form free to become almost anything. The Founder and CEO, Platt Boyd, will discuss the potential to disrupt conventional construction techniques and democratize design freedom into more normal construction budgets.