After visiting Oakland City Hall many times over the last few months I have become fascinated by the Hornbostel spherical pendant light fixtures located in the lobby. I was recently forwarded a letter written by the building's architect (and light fixture designer too) Henry Hornbostel to the Oakland Mayor Frank Mott on July 30, 1914. The letter describes the spherical light and decorative 'zodiac ring' in great detail. Thanks to Kristen Zaremba and Betty Marvin from the City of Oakland for their research! -Jason Kelly Johnson
Jason Kelly Johnson's "President’s Foreword" to the ACADIA 2017Conference Proceedings (available here)
Now in its 36th year of existence, the ACADIA community continues to thrive. Since its inception, Acadians have produced pioneering work and research, making key contributions to the fields of architecture, design, computation, engineering, scholarship, education, and beyond. As the most selective peer-reviewed conference of its kind in the world, it is also an open setting to discuss and debate experimental ideas no matter who you are or where you come from. I often call ACADIA a “testing ground”. It is a conference that explicitly accepts and cultivates early work-in-progress explorations, where one can share and celebrate prototypes, iterations, glitches, failures, tests and triumphs.
My own involvement with ACADIA began over a decade ago. After having just become an Assistant Professor and co-founder of Future Cities Lab, I was fortunate to have a project accepted for presentation at the conference. It was exciting to discover a peer group with overlapping research interests in fabrication and robotics, and also mentors willing to provide constructive feedback and encouragement.
At these early ACADIA conferences I fondly remember getting to know the emerging work and research of people like Andrew Kudlessand Jenny Sabin. Andrew’s early explorations in form-finding and material systems, most often using inexpensive wood laminates and plaster, allowed him to iterate and produce families of experiments, rather than mere one-offs. In a similar fashion, Jenny’s early research into textile systems and weaving algorithms allowed for the production of thousands of exploratory prototypes, some fantastically monstrous, others more refined and systematic. During these years I was also struck by the support and mentorship they received from the ACADIA community. People like Philip Beesley, Mike Weinstock, Achim Menges and Branko Kolarevic, come to mind. Not only do they regularly attend the conferences and provide support, but they mixed it up later in the evening, helping emerging generations connect the dots, meet future collaborators, and openly discuss potential new avenues of research. It is exciting to see projects from Andrew and Jenny now being realized. Andrew’s concrete shell pavilions at Confluence Park in Texas, and Jenny’s recently executed project Lumen for MOMA PS1’s Young Architects Program, are both excellent examples of Acadians moving from the “testing ground” to real-world constructions of the highest quality.
Similarly, during the year the majority of Acadians work tirelessly to experiment, write, design, build, prototype, collaborate and teach. Near the end of the year they gather in one place to exchange ideas, debate, share, learn and celebrate the past year’s accomplishments. It is in this spirit that our “testing ground” exists and flourishes. This year, with the MIT School of Architecture and the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts as our extraordinary backdrop, we explore the conference theme of “Disciplines and Disruptions”. In the spirit of Acadians past and present, the conference Chairs speculate that: “Distinctions between design and making, building and urban scale, architecture and engineering, real and virtual, on site and remote, physical and digital data, professionals and crowds, are diminishing as technology increases the designer's reach far beyond the confines of the drafting board. This conference provides a platform to investigate the shifting landscape of the discipline today, and to help define and navigate the future.”
On behalf of the ACADIA Board of Directors and its membership, as President of ACADIA I want to acknowledge the 2017 MIT conferenceteam for their extraordinary organization, energy and thoughtfulness.
Special thanks to Conference Site Chairs Skylar Tibbits and Takehiko Nagakura, the Technical Chairs, Exhibition Chairs, Session Chairs, Hackathon Chairs, and many other advisers and supporters including Dennis Sheldon, and Head of the Department of Architecture at MIT, Professor Meejin Yoon. Workshop Chair Justin Lavallee (with Brandon Clifford), assistant Maroula Bacharidou, copy editors, graphic designers, staff members Patricia Driscoll, Inala Locke and many others were also instrumental to the success of the conference. Chairing and hosting a conference requires a thankless series of meetings and tasks that require vision, energy, a sense of humor, diplomacy and above all patience. Skylar, Takehiko and the extraordinary team they assembled, have patiently and generously worked with us over two years to craft a thought-provoking conference, exhibition, workshops and hackathon events.
I would like to acknowledge ACADIA’s many sponsors this year. Year-after-year the support of sponsors allows us to host a world-class event with an unsurpassed roster of keynote speakers, awardees, exhibits, publications, workshops, special round-tables, events and celebrations. Additional sponsorship from Autodesk allowed us to support more ACADIA Conference Student Travel Scholarships than ever before, and the ACADIA Autodesk Awards Program will honor and financially support emerging paper and project research again this year. I would like to personally thank Matt Jezyk from Autodesk for working with us over several years to make this an annual feature of the conference. Shane Burger, in his role as ACADIA’s Development Officer, took the lead with sponsorship again this year. Adam Marcus, in his role as ACADIA’s Communications Officer, also maintained key partnerships with Architect’s Newspaper and Archinect. Under their leadership our development and communications efforts have never been stronger.
I would also like to thank the ACADIA Board of Directors and Officers. Through the leadership of this dedicated group of people, ACADIA’s organization, finances, sponsorships, marketing and other outreach efforts have never been stronger. In addition to Shane and Adam, board members Mike Christenson, Kory Bieg, Dana Cupkova, Philip Anzalone, Kathy Velikov and others, have taken key leadership roles this year. We look forward to continuing to build-upon and evolve these efforts in the coming year as ACADIA prepares to host its follow-up conference in Mexico City in October 2018.
Finally, this year the ACADIA community mourned the tragic loss of pioneering architect Zaha Hadid. She was previously awarded ACADIA’s highest honor - the ACADIA Lifetime Achievement Award for Design in 2014. Zaha, along with her partner Patrik Schumacher and legions of extremely dedicated employees and collaborators, produced a trail-blazing body of cutting-edge work. Together they pushed design, computation, fabrication and construction into radical new territories. For many years her employees, collaborators and students have also made critical contributions to the ACADIA community. While we mourn Zaha’s loss, we also celebrate and take inspiration from her spirit of inventiveness and risk-taking. At this year’s Conference and Annual Meeting, we will honor Zaha for having the courage, patience and fortitude to devote her life to translating spectacular visions, paintings and models, into buildings and public spaces with the highest degree of conceptual thinking, craft and computational rigor.
Jason Kelly Johnson
Associate Professor, CCA San Francisco
Founding Design Principal, FUTUREFORMS
Nataly and Jason were interviewed by Ian Klaus for his article: "Diplomats and designers are key to solving climate change. Here’s how they think we can do it". The interview brought together designers and diplomats to discuss the future of cities in light of environmental change and policy. Nataly and Jason were in discussion with Jonathan Pershing, the former Special Envoy for Climate Change at the US Department of State and lead US negotiator to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and now director of the Environment Program at the Hewlett Foundation.
From the website: "Diplomacy and design are both science and art, technical professions that adhere to the rules of politics and physics but celebrate charisma and creativity. The two disciplines are rarely in conversation, lacking common language and institutions. Nonetheless, diplomats and designers increasingly take up the same questions and challenges from terrorism to sustainable development and climate change." (Ian Klaus)
Future Cities Lab had the honor to create a new installation for the 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, directed by Hyungmin Pai and Alejandro Zaera-Polo (curated by Jeffrey S. Anderson), and running from September 2nd to November 5th, 2017. Our installation Chronosphere is a prototype for a new urban sidewalk, an activated surface that synthesizes pedestrian movement and proximity into animated interactions. We relished this opportunity to test out new ideas and technologies as well as the fantastic chance to travel to Seoul to see new works and meet new people.
The Biennale’s focus is on the idea of "Imminent Commons: The Expanded City", nine themes around which cities can begin to examine pressing global concerns and formulate platforms for addressing them. We are participating in the “Sensing” common: looking at the future of sensing in our cities, from the proliferation of cameras and sensors in the public realm to the data being collected straight out of our pockets. We were honored to have a wide range of friends and colleagues around us, including Axel Killian, Mark Wasiuta, Sissel Tolaas and The Living, as well as others participating in the Biennale including Ibañez Kim, Liam Young, Tomas Saraceno, Carlo Ratti, Philippe Rahm, Stoss, Philippe Block and Dirk Hebel, Mitchell Joachim, Brandon Clifford and Wes McGee, Lateral Office, Yusuke Obuchi, and many others.
We initiated our initial research with a simple question: how we can begin to materialize the data the city collects about us? How can we make this data tangible and visceral while leveraging it to enliven public space and social interactivity? We quickly fabricated a system of LED modules and projection mapped surfaces in order to test a variety of sensing methodologies and interactive interfaces. The final piece is an assemblage of 3D printed modules suspended in lightweight aluminum frames with projectors mounted above and a vinyl projection surface below.
Chronosphere interprets it's surroundings though a mixture of IR sensors and depth cameras, reading the location of people moving across it's surface. Each person is assigned a name and color, and as they walk atop the projection surface their movement is reflected as digital avatars of light along the wall, cascading and fusing with one another. On the ground light particles flow around people's feet as animated tiles create an enhanced sense of presence in the space.
FUTUREFORMS is proud to announce that we will be featured in Luminary on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at the Midway Gallery in San Francisco, California. Our projects will be presented alongside the works of five design professionals in “Building, the Future,” a photography exhibit by Britelite Immersive.
The event was recently featured in an article in Architect Magazine, which quotes Clark Suprynowicz, artistic director of Future Fires. He explains, "there’s an evolving capacity for surfaces, areas, environments to be responsive to the people in those [spaces]" and expresses excitement for “the way the barrier between 'audience' and 'art,' or 'observer' and 'participant' is becoming more porous."
Luminary is an art, music, and technology festival hosted by Future Fires, a platform that promotes artists of all kinds. The event will feature artists, musicians, designers, and architects from all over the world in part of this interdisciplinary collaboration. It is a celebration of the San Francisco art community and its ongoing evolution with the emergence of technology.
ACADIA was formed in a meeting 35 years ago on Oct 17, 1981 at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Since its inception the conference has served as an incubator for emerging ideas in feedback loops between academia, industry and professional practice. Over the years ACADIA’s members, leadership and attendees have included some the most inventive and important figures in the fields of architectural education and design, computation and engineering. While ACADIA is the most selective peer-reviewed conference of its kind in the world, it is also an open setting to discuss and debate experimental ideas no matter who you are or where you come. The fruits of these debates can be found in influential schools and research centers around the globe; in award-winning software, hardware, products, furniture and installations; to much larger constructions defining cityscapes from California to New York, London, Dubai, Beijing and beyond. Ideas get percolated at the ACADIA conference, iterated, prototyped, questioned, refined, built, then interrogated further as time passes, where they ultimately continue to evolve.
At last year’s event in Cincinnati we organized a special session called Pioneers of Computational Design moderated by Robert Aish featuring Don Greenberg, Tom Maver, and one of ACADIA’s founding members Chuck Eastman. This remarkable session revealed that our founding member’s interests extended beyond “CAD” and included pioneering research in topics including virtual reality, computer graphics and building information modeling. The session was also a reminder of how far ACADIA has come in 35 years, where computational and technical subjects are no longer partitioned from the complexities of the architecture studio. This year’s conference sessions and publications will no doubt epitomize this transition. Presenters will describe emerging pedagogies, research models from schools, labs, shops and offices around the globe, where computation and design are now pursued simultaneously, most often entangled with other unexpected disciplinary and non-disciplinary concerns and possibilities.
During a coffee break at one of my first ACADIA conferences I recall finding myself in a conversation with the late Professor William J. Mitchell (also one of ACADIA’s founding members). He had founded the MIT Media Lab’s Smart Cities Program and his book "The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation and Cognition", published in 1990, was credited by The New York Times as having, "... profoundly changed the way architects approached building design". Bill had just listened to me present a project and asked me questions that surprised and inspired me: “It is a beautiful project, but what if a city was filled with projects like yours? What kind of world would it be?”. While Bill was known as a technologist, he was also deeply interested in broader ideas about the role technology could play to positively shape cities and society. In many ways his attitude thankfully lives on today. Just look at the range of this year’s ACADIA papers, projects, participants and speakers. In the words of this year’s Conference Chairs one of the defining features of this event is to explore the “complex entanglements” and feedback loops between a radically diverse set of design ecologies, what they call, “autonomous and semiautonomous states”. Participants share a fascination with the interplay of these states where computation, artificial intelligence, and human ingenuity can yield radically new and innovative modes of designing, building, thinking, and interacting. In the spirit of William Mitchell, in the midst of our extraordinary experimentation and technological innovation, let’s not forget to ask ourselves and our colleagues: “What kind of world would it be?”
On behalf of the ACADIA Board of Directors and its membership, I want to acknowledge the 2016 University of Michigan TCAUP team for their extraordinary organization, energy and thoughtfulness. Special thanks to Conference Site Chair Geoffrey Thun, Conference Co-technical Chairs Kathy Velikov and Sean Alquist, and others members of the team including co-chair Matias del Campo, workshop co-chairs Wes McGee and Catie Newell, exhibition chair Sandra Manninger, staff members Kate Grandfield, Deniz McGee and many others. As they have now discovered, organizing an ACADIA conference can be a little like using your own backyard to host a wedding, a graduation and a funeral - all in one weekend. Each event requires the hosts to assume different personalities - the strategist, the enforcer, the MC, the inspirational speaker. It requires a thankless series of meetings and tasks that require vision, energy, a sense of humor, diplomacy and above all patience. That being said - Geoffrey, Kathy, Sean and the extraordinary team they assembled, have patiently and generously worked with us over two years to not only craft a thought-provoking conference, exhibition and workshop series, but also produced some of the highest quality publications ACADIA has ever seen. We extend to you, and the entire TCAUP community, our sincerest admiration, respect and appreciation.
I would also like to acknowledge ACADIA’s many sponsors this year. Year-after-year the support of sponsors allows us to host a world-class event with an unsurpassed roster of keynote speakers, awardees, exhibits, publications, workshops, special round-tables, events and celebrations. Additional sponsorship from Autodesk allowed us to support more ACADIA Conference Student Travel Scholarships than ever before, and a new ACADIA Autodesk Awards Program will honor and financially support emerging paper and project research.
Lastly, I would like to thank the ACADIA Board of Directors and Officers. Through the leadership of this dedicated group of people, ACADIA’s organization, finances, sponsorships, marketing and other outreach efforts have never been stronger. We look forward to continuing to build-upon and evolve these efforts in the coming year as ACADIA prepares to host its follow-up conference at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts in October 2017.
Jason Kelly Johnson
Associate Professor, California College of the Arts, San Francisco
Founding Design Principal, FUTUREFORMS
“As a center for creativity, innovation and invention, San Francisco has attracted the world’s most notable light artists like, well, moths to a flame. This year, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, the city’s third annual Illuminate SF Festival of Light shines a light on 27 dramatic, eco-friendly light art installations — accessible by public transit and admission free.
The works come to life at dusk throughout 12 San Francisco neighborhoods with a luminescence that will turn any evening into an illuminating adventure – especially when combined with exploring the city’s world-class museums, galleries, performing arts centers, restaurants, and cultural events along the Embarcadero, in North Beach, SoMa, Potrero, Mission Bay, Bayview, Civic Center, Central Market, Mission, Hayes Valley, Inner Sunset, Golden Gate Park, and even when flying in or out of San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
Illuminate SF Festival of Light is presented by the San Francisco Travel Association in collaboration with local civic, arts and cultural partners. This year’s light art celebration includes four guided tours and a guided illuminated bike ride, artist talks and light-centric neighborhood events. More brilliant ideas include buildings brimming with light, exhibits and special events at museums and galleries, and self-guided itineraries.”
(CNN) In the arid plains of the southern New Mexico desert, between the site of the first atomic bomb test and the U.S.-Mexico border, a new city is rising from the sand.
Planned for a population of 35,000, the city will showcase a modern business district downtown, and neat rows of terraced housing in the suburbs. It will be supplied with pristine streets, parks, malls and a church.
But no one will ever call it home...
“A large number of these installations are in the SoMa neighborhood, with one being particularly suited to San Francisco: the Murmur Wall. Designed by Future Cities Lab and installed outside the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the 60-foot Murmur Wall is a mass of steel and acrylic tubing, LED lights and digital displays. The bent steel tubes bring to mind the bicycle racks dotted throughout the city, but the installation’s technology brings a decidedly more modern and social aspect to the art. Intermingling with the steel are a number of LED light tubes that lead into a series of screens at the piece’s center — and using your smartphone, you can send a short text message to the wall that’ll display on the tubes.”
Drawings and a model of our Lightweave project will be exhibited during the Venice Architecture Biennale. The exhibit is supported by the GAA Foundation / European Cultural Centre's "Time, Space, Existence" exhibition at Palazzo Bembo, Venice, Italy. We are part of the DATA + MATTER exhibition curated by Marcella Del Signore, Nancy Diniz and Frank Melendez. A full list of participants can be found here.
DATA + MATTER
Dates: May 26 - November 25, 2018
Google Map Location: Palazzo Bembo, Venice, Italy.
We were excited to feature Murmur Wall at the 2018 Salone del Mobile Milano / Fuori Salone 2018. The installation was the featured artwork for the launch of a new clothing line Zeknit by Napapijri. More info and images coming soon!
Visit Murmurwall at Salone del Mobile Milano at #futurehood Via Tortona 31 (building 7) #napapirji #murmurwall #milandesignweek #zeknit #golabagency #ledart #milandesignweek2018 #jasonkellyjohnson #3dprinting #projectionmapping #touchdesigner #whodoesthat #milano #superstudio #lettherebelight #fuorisalone2018 #milandesignweek2018 @milan.design.week @dezeen @designboom @designmilk @jeffmaeshiro @emm.otion
Great #murmurwall video and article by @designboom - link in bio! #fuorisalone2018 #milandesignweek #zeknit #futurehood #napapijri located at Tortona 31 #golabagency #ledart #led #projectionmapping @milan.design.week @isaloniofficial @napapijri @dezeen @designmilk @vogueitalia #tortonadistrict #tortona31 #futurecitieslab #jasonkellyjohnson
There's been a bevy of research into 3D printing clay in recent years, to which we strove to contribute to with the Serpentine Clay Printer project, as well as with student research in Jason's Creative Architecture Machines studios (2013, 2014) at CCA. The latest update to this research is a part of exhibition Data Clay: Digital Strategies For Parsing The Earth at the Museum of Craft and Design, for which we constructed our own 37" long, 28" wide, 20" tall 3D print gantry (nearly 12 cubic feet). Building on the previous clay research we developed a new clay polymer recipe and new print algorithms optimized for stabilizing the clay slip. In addition to these innovations we developed a machine vision system using Firefly / Grasshopper that allowed us to control our valves and release air bubbles on-the-fly.
The “Future of Sports” is a 50-page document that imagines what’s ahead in the industry over the next 25 years. These are not so much predictions of what will happen as working versions of what could happen — provocative prognostications based on interviews with academics and futurists, all subject to inevitable revision as Father Time throws his customary curve balls.
In our high-tech society, star-crossed lovers, business colleagues and bored teenagers everywhere are finding new ways to communicate. No longer satisfied with analog methods, now we can send each other much shorter messages using digital means.
That’s nothing new but what will a love letter or business email look like in the next ten years? Hopefully as wild as Murmur Wall, a spiraling structure lit in bright purple near the entrance of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Hard to miss — especially during the darker hours — the piece allows curious visitors to read short messages and even send their own. You can type something into this website and watch your message immediately come up on the sculpture's pod-like spheres with small screens on them. You’re limited to 20 characters (and no symbols)...
What does a smart city really look like? And more important, what can it actually do for its inhabitants?
These are a few of the big questions that architect Jason Kelly Johnson and his San Francisco design outfit, FUTUREFORMS, are looking to explore through their aesthetically pleasing tech experiments in the built environment...