What did we do at the Media Architecture Institute during the recent lock-down? We tested the potential of artificial intelligent to engage citizens. The result is Pix2City.

Pix2city is a proof-of-concept that uses artificial intelligence to propose a new form of participation that understands citizens as co-creators. The proof of concept uses artificial intelligence to translate the input from the citizens into visualizations of the result. People can freely express their visions for the city and see for example how this would affect the amount of shadows on the streets. All this without the need for any expertise in urban planning or simulations. Here AI is the “magic” building block as it allows to translate graphical inputs and predict the results.

With this tool, we want to help authorities to find common ground between long term plans and the sentiment of the citizens. Here, we need tools that allow people to express freely their ideas -without any expertise in urban planning. Pix2City enables people to transform their visions into a realistic visualization of the result. It shows for example how planting trees would increase the amount of shadows and trigger a cooling effect in the city.



This is made possible thanks to an AI-model trained using image to image translation with conditional adversarial networks. The model of pix2city was trained using orthophotographs and a custom rendered map that highlighted green areas and trees. This allowed to improve the method described in the paper in two ways. First the orthophotographs allow to reach a higher level of detail compared to satellite pictures. Secondly it helped to customize the elements that should be considered during the training process. The map contained the building blocks, pedestrians ways, green ares, trees, zebra crossings and parking spots.

The interface uses the custom rendered map as a canvas where the people can draw by hand changes for the city. This data will be sent upon request to the server which will translate the image using the pre-trained model. The model showed a good performance in predicting the introduction of green ares and green elements. Other features, such as zebra crossings were translated with less accuracy.

If you are interested to use pix2city as part of an ongoing or future project, you can write us at ask at mediaarchitecture.org

MAB Beijing 2018 Awards


The online submission system is available. We look forward to your submissions.

We are pleased to announce the fourth call of the Media Architecture Biennale awards for outstanding projects at the intersection of architecture, media and interaction design. This call targets projects that are already built or realised in the following categories:
* Animated architecture
* Money architecture
* Infrastructure and Participatory Architecture
* Spatial media art
* Future trends & prototypes

Please have a look at the MAB16 catalog for a detailed definition of “Media Architecture”and numerous “Media Architecture” examples. http://catalog.mediaarchitecture.org

Start submission: 1st of August 2018 Submission deadline: 10th of Sept 2018

for more information please visit: https://mab18.org/call-for-outstanding-media-architecture/

Submit your project in the following link: online submission system

We are looking forward to your submissions and hopefully seeing you (again) in Beijing.

citymaking.wien – Pop Up Parklets!

Important information: Please do not forget to answer our survey (6.5 min). Thank you!
CityMaking!Wien is an online toolbox that facilitates the conception, design and submission of parklets in Vienna. With this tool we want to make it as simple as possible for the citizens to participate in the development of their neighborhoods.

At the moment CityMaking!Wien offers four different tools:
  1. Basic information about parklets and what should be considered for the conception and construction of a parklet in Vienna, regarding the security, the design and other aspects.
  2. A parklet potential map that shows where would be possible to build a parklet, by showing in red the different restrictions that apply for the use of parking places. The map simplifies the understanding of the regulations and offers a new understanding about public spaces.
  3. A design tool that facilitates the creation of the required drawings for the submission. The tool is very simple to use, yet it has considered many of the requirements regarding dimensions and security. People can also download the drawings and edit them according to their own visions.
  4. An online submission tool that facilitates the contact with the authorities and the submission of the required documents to obtain a permit for the use of parking places.
With these tools we want to encourage people to become active and submit their ideas using the online form. The final decision regarding the use of parking places is taken by the city of Vienna. The toolbox is a great example on how technology can trigger new dynamics in cities, by providing new understandings of public spaces.

Last but not least CityMaking!Wien is also testing the impact of technology in citizen participation. We want to find out if technology does truly fulfill the promise of making participation and engagement easier, or if web-applications really encourage people to become active in their neighborhoods.

To answer these questions we are running an online survey and we are really thankful for your answers and your time (it takes in average 6.5 minutes). The website is being develop as part of the PhD thesis “New methods of citizen participation based on digital technologies” at the Austrian Institute of technology.

Citymaking.wien Citymaking.wien Credits: Conception and development: Juan Carlos Carvajal Bermúdez, Matthias Herret.
Host organization: Austrian Institute of Technology
Media Partners: mediaarchitecture.org, streetlife.wien.

Shanghai Pearl TV Tower

Located on the east side of Huangpu River, near the Lujiazuei International Financial District and a striking contrast to the neo-classical buildings along the Bund on the opposite river bank, Shanghai Pearl TV Tower is not only the most remarkable building in Shanghai, but has become the symbolic icon that illuminating the energetic and cultural image of Shanghai City that continuously showcases her beauty to the world.

Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower was built and completed on 1 October, 1994. Though twenty years have come and gone, this iconic Tower has seen an influx of thousands and upon thousands of visitors from all over the world, coming together to embrace the beauty of this Pearl Tower.

As planned, the outdoor lighting system has been re-designed and renovated every decade in order to usher in a new era that shows the best of her beauty to the world. This year, 2014, marks Phase 2 of the renovation, which stands for the most advanced outdoor lighting design and technology. It is expected to attain the world-class level as well as showing the culture, technology, innovation, romance and irresistible charm that surprises all visitors all over the world not only to behold but to gain an amazing experience. StrongLED, as the responsible company for the execution of phase 2 of the project, has achieved an outstanding work.

Shanghai_Pearl_Tower_Light_and_Music_Show_01 (more…)

✗Communicate – Community engagement & placemaking in the digital age

communicate_symposium UTV and UNSW Art & Design proudly present the ✗Communicate (Cross Communicate) Symposium and Exhibition as part of the Vivid Ideas program 2015. Curated by Lubi Thomas ✗Communicate will take place at UNSW’s Paddington Campus on Friday 5th June 2015. More detailed information about ✗Communicate and registration links can be found at www.x-communicate.net and www.vividsydney.com

✗Communicate is a symposium of shared experiences and aspirations presented by a network of individuals, organisations and research institutes working in an evolving field of community engagement, urban screens and placemaking in the digital age. ✗Communicate will bring together a spectrum of voices from across the local, national and international digital/new media, community engagement and media architecture sectors. Through a structure of interrelated sessions, ✗Communicate proposes to take participants on a journey of conversations that thread together an emerging community, founded on a culture of experimentation, innovation and reflective evaluation.
This symposium discussion is a prelude to a major International Media Architecture Conference on Digital Placemaking and Smart Cities being organised by the Media Architecture Institute and UTV for Vivid 2016 to be hosted at The Concourse in Chatswood. www.mab16.mediaarchitecture.org

The symposium format includes an opening keynote and morning session before breaking for a networking lunch. There are two shorter afternoon sessions followed by a panel discussion. Following the closing session a VIP networking evening event will be held in the UNSW Art & Design courtyard and will include a live VJ performance from our international VJ artist, Christine Coulange, brought to you by Videospread, France. ✗Communicate will also launch the prototype of ‘Discussions in Space (DiS)’, a platform that has been developed for public screens by UTV in collaboration with University of Sydney, UNSW and QUT and funded by The Henry Halloran Trust. The platform offers an interactive, fast-paced social media channel for local governments, organisations or institutions to engage with local residents or visitors in public spaces. ✗Communicate will close with a range of video art works through until 9pm, including a program by French Curator Céline Jouenne from Videospread, student works curated by UNSW TV and a video artwork by Glen Henderson titled “The Lightness Matrix 3 Grande Search”.

MAI China office

IMG_20150415_182905941 The Media Architecture Institute is proud to announce that we have opened a MAI branch in China. The new MAI China office is situated at China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts, one of most competitive art schools in China and a longtime partner of the institute. The local MAI China director is Professor Chang Zhigang, Vice Dean of the architecture department at CAFA. The new MAI branch was formally established during the Beijing Media Architecture Summit and exhibition 2015, held during the 15th and the 16th of April at CAFA museum. Through the new branch in China MAI is directly positioned in the largest and fastest growing country of media architecture and it allows the institute to research deeper into the issues of media architecture, smart cities and digital place making. All three MAI offices in Vienna, Sydney and Beijing are working now together on further exhibitions, prototype installations, book publications and organising events around the globe such as the upcoming Media Architecture Summit America 2015 in Boston, Media Architecture Summit Europe 2016 in Frankfurt and the Media Architecture Biennale 2016 in Sydney. We welcome Prof. Chang to the MAI team and look forward to the future collaborations in researching media architecture topics in China.

Shin Kong Shopping Mall

Shin_Kong_Shopping_Mall_04 The Shin Kong Shopping Mall has just finished a Media Facade. For the construction of the facade about 34000 MF-S26 pixels were used. The pixels are attached with a steel construction to the facade of the building. The leds have a special construction where all the electrical connections are hidden.


2015 Beijing International Media Architecture Summit

cafa1 “Media architecture as a key player in Smart and Ubiquitous City concepts”

Media Architecture grow at the intersection of physical and digital space, it is also the combination of art and technology, a fusion of architecture, communication, public art, urban science, sociology, economics, as well as LED technology, internet technology, interactive technology, intelligent control, computer science and other fields and disciplines.

Media Architecture have only emerged to the world less than 20 years, however it is developing very rapidly in recent years, especially in China, where it has become a powerful force, leading to the transformation of urban landscape as well as the changes of people’s mind. The development of Media Architecture is causing the changes in industry chain as well as the changes in the decision making process of building design, thus fosters the birth of new industries. Brings up entirely genuine challenges and opportunities, Media Architecture is an important trend in the 21st century architecture and urban development.