The Software Behind Frank Gehry’s Geometrically Complex Architecture

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The first generation of architecture and engineering software was developed in the late 1970s. It allowed designers to draw via the computer instead of on paper. But the results were still just drawings.  In the 1990s, Frank Gehry pioneered a second generation of  “smart” digital design in architecture, by using software to optimize designs and translate them directly into a process of fabrication and construction.

Now known in the industry as parametric design and building information modeling, this approach has ushered in a new era of architecture, according to art historian Irene Nero: the era of “technological construction.” And Gehry Technologies drove this innovation, even though Gehry himself “speaks with a certain degree of pride in his inability to operate a computer,” as CTO Dennis Shelden observed in his MIT doctoral dissertation.

via Priceonomics.

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Urban Reviewer

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This is great work!

596 Acres has teamed up with Partner & Partners and SmartSign to produce a comprehensive online map showing all the adopted neighborhood master plans for New York City. It has taken us nearly two years to follow up on a Freedom of Information Law request for records of those plans and meticulous translation of paper plans into machine-readable spreadsheets to make this map.

The plans were written with a great city in mind. Huge swaths were designated for demolition, to be paid for with federal dollars. Lots that were designated this way to justify the funding for demolition had to be included in a plan that stated what they “should” be – designations like “housing,” “industrial,” and “open space.”

via Urban Reviewer.

When Tech Culture And Urbanism Collide

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A start would be to remind tech companies of one of their core principles: user-centered design. Understanding city life means living city life. Not just commuting to it or from it and certainly not believing you understand a person\’s situation just because you pass him or her on the street from time to time. The best products are those that begin with a user\’s motivation and needs. They are empathetic applications. To crack the nut of urban-scale opportunity — and there is a lot of it, just look at the \”sharing economy\” successes of Uber, Airbnb, and Zipcar — technology must be built amidst the same forces that create the problems it is trying to solve.

via Gizmodo.

A Roomba For Solar Panels

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Roomba for Solar Panels

Using a spinning scrub brush and squeegee combination—plus an internal reservoir of detergent—the robot can clean over 1,000 square feet every hour, and everything from dust to bird droppings. It can keep on working even when a solar panel is tilted up to 30 degrees, and can span gaps up to 20 inches across allowing it to crawl from one panel to another.

via Gizmodo.

Musk’s Hyperloop math doesn’t add up

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On Monday, entrepreneur Elon Musk announced plans to build a super-fast tube train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. He believes his plan will obviate the need for the California High-Speed Rail. Unfortunately, his math doesn’t add up.

via Greater Greater Washington.

Musk’s owning a car company definitely raises questions on his motives for trying to derail (sorry) the California High-Speed Rail. Now if he is really convinced of his technology, he should probably try it on a different corridor first (NY-DC?).