Category Archives: Architecture

Astounding Skyscrapers and the Real Future of Augmented Reality

Cathi Bond and Nora Young are back for another physically distant podcast in Nora's backyard.  This time, Cathi has an update on architect Moshe Safdie's eight skyscraper development in Chongqing, topped by a horizontal skyscraper called The Crystal. Now you can go and tour the development and take a 50 second ride to the top. See Cathi's previous look at Raffles City Chongqing here. Find renderings of the development here. Meanwhile, Nora mentions Stacey Higginbotham's podcast and newsletter. Recently, Stacey weighed in with some thoughts on the real use case for Augmented Reality: in the workplace, and in particular, in helping workers in the field do repairs or complete other production processes. The thought is that this can help address the shortage of skilled, experienced older workers by using AR to walk employees through a complex process using the visualization capabilities of AR. Perhaps, in the COVID era, older workers can work from home, coaching younger workers with AR.  [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/15265388/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Streaming Movies and Cool New Housing for Old Buildings

Hi all! Thanks for coming back! We've been a long time gone, but we are at it again! This time, Nora Young talks about the challenges streaming film services have, and this Forbes article about how two niche movie streaming services have managed -- or not -- to make a go of it. Cathi Bond thinks there's a lot to be learned from the cable world in the form of Turner Classic Movies. Cathi looks at a really cool idea in place in China: dropping small, modernist, smartly designed housing 'inserts' called "Plugin Houses into dilapidated buildings. Check out the story and lots of images at New Atlas. Could this be a model for elsewhere? Also, super snappy recommendation: this Vox explainer on those iconic Blue Note album covers! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNgA7dDs90E&feature=youtu.be [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/7900466/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Homes for Extreme Weather and Remote Working with Virtual Reality

On today's podcast, Cathi Bond talks about these cool biodomes, geodesic domes designed to be partly nestled into the earth, and to resist intense climate events (via New Atlas). Nora mentions this exhibit at the Royal BC Museum. Nora Young talks about barriers to working remotely, and whether truly realistic virtual reality might eventually bridge that gap (via Technology Review) BTW, there's more on remote working solutions on this weekend's episode of Nora's show, Spark. [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6049162/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

New Ideas for Mass Customization: Houses and Shoes

This time, Cathi Bond talks about Cover, an architectural startup that aims to give people customized, small houses - based on their preferences - at a lower cost than hiring an architect to design a home, but with more options than just buying a regular prefab (via PSFK) Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about Adidas' plan to partner with innovative 3D printing company, Carbon, to produce customized midsoles for sneakers (via Technology Review) [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/5383886/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

The Future of Skyscrapers and New Tool for Managing Info Overload

On this podcast, Cathi Bond talks about recent awards for futuristic skyscraper concepts, handed out by Evolo architecture magazine. The winning design was, literally, a "hole in the ground" but other designs include The Hive, a drone-docking tower, and a super tall data centre (via New Atlas). Cathi and Nora chat about the near future of skyscrapers. Nora Young looks at Explain to Me, a tool that scans and summarizes web-based articles so you can decide whether it's worth your time to read the whole thing (via Lifehacker). Is it a handy helper, or a sign that we're spending way too much time online? [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4695726/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Augmented Reality Holoportation and Cool Urban Planning

On today's podcast, Cathi Bond talks about Microsoft Research's "holoportation" technology, that uses 3D video cameras to capture a moving image of a person in one location and send that image to a person wearing the "Hololens" headset, anywhere in the world. (via Gizmag). Check out the video below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments! Cathi also talks a bit about the legacy of Zaha Hadid, the architect who died this past week. Cathi toured her MAXXI project several years ago. Check out the pictures here. Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about a cool research project which uses data from sources like cell phones, FourSquare, and census info (via Technology Review). The researchers want to test Jane Jacobs' theories of urban vitality. Nora thinks it's cool and smart, but Cathi thinks it's just another example of the surrendering of 'human' approaches to the rule of technology. They are friends in the end, though! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d59O6cfaM0 [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4266741/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

New in New York and Zuckerberg’s New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! This time, Nora Young talks about what she observed on a holiday trip to New York, including bathrobe chic (hello Julian Schnabel!), visiting the new Whitney at the foot of the High Line. She also mentions the current obsession with Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up. Cathi Bond discusses Mark Zuckerberg's New Year's Resolution to build an intelligent personal assistant to run his home. What intrigues Cathi the most is Zuck's approach to setting goals. She's going to try to apply it to her life. Nora mentions this article on speech recognition tech, and design approaches to life. [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4076774/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Sustainable High Rise Living and Deceitful Data

Hey! In this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond talks about Clear Point Residencies, which takes the 'green roof' a step further by imagining a high rise with vegetation cladding. Check out the pics in the gallery Nora Young talks about lying with data, thanks to Mushon Zer-Aviv's post about how infographics can deceive.

Christmas Special 2013!

Hi there, Happy Holidays! Time for our annual Christmas Special full of lots of whimsical toys. This time, Nora Young likes Urbio, a cool looking modular set of plates that you mount on the wall, then attach sleek white pots of various sizes to using magnets. Nora likes the mix-n-match quality of it, and the space saving aspect for those of us without a lot of counter space or window sills. You can use it for planting kitchen herbs or for general storage of small items in a home office. Also, cool: Beer! Nora talks about Collective Arts Brewing, a new craft beer company that features artists of all stripes on the beer labels. They select a curated crop of artists to put on the labels, and you can use the augmented reality app to learn more. Neat-o. Cathi Bond is thinking about experiences and travel this time, and has found two wild places. First is Kulturinsel Einsiedel (Culture Island) a whimsical, huge park near the Germany-Poland border. It features a series of treehouses (you can even spend the night) windmills, and all sorts of fantasy architecture (via Gizmag). She also showcases a wonderful art installation in Russia by Estonian architects Salto: a 170 metre trampoline road. See pics of the road in action over at The Guardian. Fun! And, because it wouldn't be a Sniffer Family Christmas without it, the Christmas Eve scene from The Thin Man:

The Sniffer, Nov 3rd, 2013: Trends in Housing and Web Nostalgia

Hi! This time around, Cathi Bond talks about The Citadel, a new project from the design firm Waterstudio. The idea is to design luxury housing units in the Netherlands as a possible response to climate change. They float! The plan is to re-flood the "polders" (low lying areas now surrounded by dikes) so that they can respond to rising water levels. Cathi thinks the aesthetic is reminiscent of Expo '67's Habitat project. Nora Young talks about a cool project from CERN, which is trying to re-create aspects of the early Web. They've created a simulation of the early text-based "line mode" browser experience that you can run on your current browser (via Ars Technica). (Note: at the time of posting, the link to the bookmarklet doesn't seem to work, though it did when we recorded the project). Nora talks about it not just because it's a cool little thing, but because it suggests the Web is mature enough for us to have nostalgia about. She points to The Wayback Machine as a way of visiting the early Web, and Wochit, a startup that uses A.I. to create video news stories (an example of how visual the Web has become compared to the old days). Finally, Nora mentions Relately, a way of managing your social network connections (via Springwise).