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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Edible Prints...

Image from the Fluid Interfaces Group web page...

Came across this project a few days back and found it worthy to include here. It's a project by Marcelo Coelho and Amit Zoran at the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT which allows one to 'print' ones favourite food. I've featured earlier projects by FIG on the Kuwait School blog, as they seem to have a knack for producing interesting projects. It also reminds me, a bit, of a another project, this time produced by us, which deals with various gustatory elements in the context of additive manufacturing...

The source of this submission can be accessed by clicking here...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Digital Design 3.0..?! A Craft in the Making...



I've decided to include the short video snippets above and below as an addendum and continuation to some of the themes touched upon earlier in this blog (click here, or scroll down a bit, and here for direct links). Beyond the fact that the gentleman in the video above sounds disturbingly much like Kermit the Frog, his presentation touches upon some potentially truly exciting stuff... How these technologies will eventually trickle down into how we actually design stuff with computers remains to be seen, however these initial currently game based technologies can e considered the foundations of a more mature rendition of the, so called, 'Digital Crafts' in the truest sense of the term. The begin suggesting an capability to design within a remit where true physiological/ empirical skills, perceptual nuances and intuitive physical dexterity (visceral idiosyncrasies) can begin to play a more enriching role when conceiving something through a computer... As these abilities advance in parallel with our capabilities to directly (CAD/ CAM) fabricate what's designed, one can truly begin to claim that a new paradigm of digital design is at our door-step (at least I'd like to think so) - Digital Design 3.0 (DigiDes. 1.0 = CAD; DigiDes. 2.0 = BIM; DigiDes. 3.0 = 'Craft-CAD')...

For some reason I'm not able to embed the NYT video, which is actually a bit more telling than the clip above, into the post, so instead it has to be accessed by clicking here...

Favourite Buildings Visited – The Raas Al-Salmiya Ministry of Communication Building, Kuwait...


There are a few of these buildings around various Kuwait neighbourhoods, but this one, in Raas Al-Salmiya, is probably my favourite, possibly because I used to live in Salmiya a number of years back and came across it almost daily, but also because it's amongst the few buildings in Kuwait which, due to it (at least at the moment) not having too much competition height-wise from its neighbouring buildings, can be easily seen from a distance and viewed from all angles, allowing for an inverted panoramic view, of sorts, to develop, with its tower acting as the districts center-point. Here its extruded blockiness is an advantage, as its fragmented concrete planes capture, and almost seem entertained by, Kuwait's roaming sun that provide it with a remarkable graphical (almost 'bitmap-ish', Hugh Ferriss-like contrast and) quality, something that makes its various sides clearly distinguishable from each other when viewed from the East, West, South or North...






Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Blurring the Boundaries...



I had the privilege of making the (virtual) acquaintance of the digital artist/ designer Mr. Muqeem Khan a while back, thanks to an introduction by architect Dr. Gisela Loehlein, who is heading the Development Office at AUS. Muqeem is currently a researcher and Assistant Professor at VCU Qatar, involved in some very interesting projects... The included clip above shows one of his projects he's been developing. What I find exciting about what Muqeem is exploring is how it provides a 'live' and dynamic link between the physical and virtual world. Also, with movies such as Avatar (which I haven't yet seen) and Gamer (which I have) currently on the movie-screens, which both provide suggestions for where research such as Muqeem's can eventually can take us, one has to wonder what impact this type of technology will have on our conception and realization of our built environments. From a more detailed perspective, This type of research (and the movies) also explore the, almost osmotic, transcendence of a more comprehensive perceptual merger of interfacing between the 'master-servant' (controller-controlled) roles, it's interesting to imagine how these types of interfaces will eventually affect and benefit the way we design, and theorize about experiencing, things...

This is a topic already explored a few years back by the author William Gibson (of Neuromancer & Johnny Mnemonic fame) in his book Spook Country, which seems now to be in the process of being actualized (a somewhat related topic was also explored a while back on the Kuwait School blog, debating a project by Dr. Pattie Maes, which can be accessed by clicking here).

I'm looking forward to the day (probably in the not too distant future) when, be it on a compact computer or a wide-screen mobile (cell-phone), one can get accurate and dynamic volumetric 3D depiction of a virtual object placed within a 'actual space' which responds and reacts dynamically (probably through GPS) to ones movements. In other words, say that you have designed a building and wish to gain a more direct (beta) experience of it before commencing with its construction. All you would have to do is download your design onto your mini-computer or mobile, and, once on site, view and 'walk around' and the even into your virtual building design in real time whilst observing (& snagging) its various spaces and features on the screen... Or it could also just provide a more direct guidance system (a better alternative to the plan-based , top-view, current GPS 's) for finding your way from point A to B (as seen in the image below)...

Just follow the (moving?!) arrows to your destination...

The clip below, particularly the last 30 seconds, touch upon the abovementioned, granted here through the medium of a photo-copy salesman (the first 3 minutes need only be watched by CAD-Heads). This example only seems to be able to apply 3D virtual objects to 2D images but, as said, I'm sure these will soon be interactive (a medium combining the responsive properties of the video above with the mobility of the clip below, seamlessly blending the qualities of both)... How these types of devices and interfaces, in combination with more logistical systems such as BIM and the various CAD/CAM fabrication methods will impact the way we design our environments remains to be seen. But the next decade or two will be interesting times to be practising design and architecture...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

SAM St. - Adjacent Peripheral Plots...

Two open areas, currently used as parking lots (but why not one day as, say, a place for a Organic Farmer's Market, or Second-hand Furniture Market - places that lend themselves for strolling, something this proposal aims to encourage...


A few additional panoramas of some of the plots adjacent to SAM (Salem Al-Mubarbak) Street, which introduce their own challenges and potentials to the development of the area. SAM St. and its surroundings contain so many interesting and unique qualities which are difficult to find elsewhere in Kuwait. As a district it still, even after some extended demolishing, a distinct character of its own that, as it stands, is hanging by a thread - if too much additional demolishing is done a threshold will at some stage be breached beyond which what this neighbourhood still currently is, will inevitably be lost...

The musings on this blog about SAM Street are an attempt to understand what makes this area so special, and an initial shot at proposing how what it has could be developed to accommodate a viable future...

The included panoramas start at the Eastern end of the proposed pedestrianized zone and move westward, towards the 4th Ring Road. The parking lot at the western end (by the large ad billboards) hasn't been included as I forgot to photograph it properly...

Please click on the images to enlarge them...


The demolished back lot behind the Educational Book-store...


Above and below - Two views of the demolished open area - one looking from, the other towards, SAM street - located roughly halfway down the proposed stretch of the SAM Street pedestrianized zone...




The paved central square between this stretch of the street's two U-turns...

This submission has also been featured in the Kuwait School blog.