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The History and Design Behind Prague's Concrete Apartments - Bloomberg

The real push for fully industrial building methods came from a speech by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954, who specifically called for the use of concrete panel construction as an efficiency measure in a bloc-wide drive for more and better housing. Despite the Soviet incentive, the housing produced to meet this call was nonetheless not fundamentally different from much being constructed in the West at the time. The internal layouts of paneláks, and their arrangement into planned, self-contained neighborhoods, had clear contemporary counterparts in Western Europe , where Sweden, France, West Germany and Britain were also building mass housing projects on a grand scale. In keeping with this exchange of ideas across the Iron Curtain, the name given to this 1950s new wave of Czech architecture and design was “Brussels Style,” after Czechoslovakian architects gained international attention for their designs at the Brussels World Fair in 1958. What was markedly different, however, was the paneláks’ delivery method, and the social aspirations behind them. The idea in Czechoslovakia was to rapidly urbanize the country through buildings that could be reproduced using the same prefabricated components, creating not just new homes but entire neighborhoods and even cities. Catering to all levels of society and allocated by need rather than ability to pay, these new quarters wouldn’t be public housing along the Western model. Because there was no private housing to counterbalance them, they were simply — well, housing.  For their new tenants, these panelák homes often represented an improvement. Coming from tenements heated with coal stoves and often lacking hot water or reliable plumbing, many residents were relieved to move in. These new units offered central heating, balconies and much more light than you might have gotten in Prague’s existing courtyard buildings (akin to Berlin’s Mietkasernen). They also had more modern conveniences than the cramped cottages previously occupied by migrants from the countryside.

rebuilding the shrine

Japan’s Ise Grand Shrine is an extraordinary example in that genre. Every 20 years, caretakers completely tear down the shrine and build it anew. The wooden shrine has been rebuilt again and again for 1,200 years. Locals want to make sure that they don’t ever forget the production knowledge that goes into constructing the shrine. There’s a very clear sense that the older generation wants to teach the building techniques to the younger generation: “I will leave these duties to you next time.”

Architectural virtuality

"At its core is a multi-agent architecture for a cognitive environment created by IBM Watson Research Center to link human experience with technology. In CISL, we created this architecture to integrate technologies that register different kinds of human behavior captured by sensors as individual events and forward them to the cognitive agents behind the scene for interpretation. Enhancing this architecture will allow us to link new sensing technologies and computer vision technologies into the system, and to enable collaborative decision making tools on top of these technologies."

Hungary at the Milan Expo: An expensive, embarrassing pavilion - Hungarian Spectrum

Check Out Google's Insane Plans for a New Headquarters

The philosophy behind Gawker's new office space

"The office will be on the second and third floors, with a public and performance space connecting the two. That will be open, a thoroughfare designed to promote random interaction. By contrast, the working space will be arranged in what we call studios, spaces contained on three sides designed for teams of half a dozen people or so to collaborate on projects without disturbing others," Denton wrote in the memo."The studio spaces have standard dimensions, defined by the structure of the building. But each will be furnished according to each team's desires. I imagine the Deadspin studio will be an absolute pigsty," Denton told Capital in a gchat conversation.
There are other rooms used for other things—for entertainment, for cooking, for showering, for laundry, for sleeping. There are people who wander in an out, they talk and breath in and out there, and I some days I find each intake and exhale irrationally distracting. Sometimes people stop by, ringing the doorbell because they know you are there (you always are). There are things in the refrigerator, and you need to swing open the door and stare into it many times a day. All of those things tend to compete for oxygen, choking off my available supply until I sacrifice the first thing I can—my work—and then my work turns blue in the face and gasps for air, even though I know that’s scientifically not even possible to be oxygen-deficient under this sprawling suburban sky.
An earlier experiment, with a single user walking around Lincoln Center, yielded a data visualization that the team is using as a prototype. Collins told me that it reflected an interesting result: when the subject was in parts of the Lincoln Center plaza that are more open to the city’s streets, he recorded more “meditative” brain waves; when he was in the more enclosed and architecturally circumscribed, ultramodernist part of the campus, his response was more attentive.
asked a group of psychologists at the University of Calgary to monitor workers as they transitioned from a traditional office arrangement to an open one. The psychologists assessed the employees’ satisfaction with their surroundings, as well as their stress level, job performance, and interpersonal relationships before the transition, four weeks after the transition, and, finally, six months afterward. The employees suffered according to every measure: the new space was disruptive, stressful, and cumbersome, and, instead of feeling closer, coworkers felt distant, dissatisfied, and resentful. Productivity fell.
Design is no longer just ‘output’ with the only feedback market share as a measure of fitness. The artifacts it produces now talk back to us by a variety of means and that data feeds back into subsequent design–become concrescent knowledge in parametric systems and thus a kind of genome inherent to the built habitat. Right now our explorations of generative and associative parametric systems are like the X-ray crystallography that first exposed the structure of DNA. And this is transforming the nature of design itself, moving it away from a more ego-centric aesthetics-dominated pursuit it has been in modern times, relying on talent and intuition, to a more social and global design science that uses form and structure to seek knowledge about the world–which, in fact, is what it was before it became ‘professionalized’. Design evolution as scientific method. Through parametric design we are discovering a theory of ‘design science’.