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

The Media Architecture Biennale returns to Europe

After Sydney in 2016 and Beijing in 2018, the Media Architecture Biennale will return to Europe in 2020. We are very excited to announce that MAB20 will be hosted by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with Utrecht University 23 to 27 November 2020. 

Originally, media architecture was most concerned with the integration of displays and interactive installations into architectural structures, such as media facades and urban screens. Over the years, the discipline has grown much broader, as new technologies such as digital platforms and smart city technologies have increasingly made their way into the experience, management and design of cities.

None of these technologies brought into the city are neutral enablers, mere decorative structures or just simple market places connecting demand and supply in fields as diverse as energy and transport to commerce and leisure. They are built upon numerous spoken and unspoken assumptions about urban life, each with their own implications for both social relations as well as their effect on the natural ecosystem.It is time therefore for the discipline of media architecture to address the implied futures of new technologies.

MAB20 calls for media architectures that move beyond the mere spectacular; as well as beyond the design of individualized services comforting human customers. MAB20 calls for media architectures and urban interaction that dare to take on a more-than-human approach: aiming at the well-being of the natural ecosystem as a whole; For urban media art and design that bring implicit and explicit bias within technology and culture to light, and provide the means for ongoing discussion, debate, and societal change; For digital platforms that strengthen citizen’s digital rights in democratic societies.

To find out more, visit the Media Architecture Bienalle 2020 website. For updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Calls for participation will be announced soon. 

Resources for Research on Media Architecture

Since some of our readers have asked for articles about media architecture, we thought it might be useful to share this here on our website. There is a large number of academic articles available through our Media Architecture Biennale conference series. The articles are published in the form of poceedings available through the ACM Digital Library. Here are the direct links to all the proceedings published to date: 

The proceedings include a table of content and free access to all article titles and abstracts. Downloading the full article as a PDF requires a subscription to the ACM Digital Library, which is available through most universities and some libraries. Sometimes, authors also make “author versions” of their article available, which can be found e.g. through Google Scholar

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.

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

for more information please visit:

Submit your project in the following link: online submission system

We are looking forward to your submissions and hopefully seeing you (again) in Beijing. – 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. Credits: Conception and development: Juan Carlos Carvajal Bermúdez, Matthias Herret.
Host organization: Austrian Institute of Technology
Media Partners:,

Media Architecture Panel in NYC

Jacques Cartier Bridge, Montreal
Interactive Illumination by Moment Factory

The Consulate General of Switzerland presents a panel discussion on Media Architecture and the Transformation of the City on Monday, October 30th at the AIA New York | Center for Architecture.

Media architecture transforms urban spaces by seamlessly embedding digital media into the built environment. It uses new, responsive technologies such as the internet of things, big data and other spatial sensing techniques to transform the urban landscape through the imaginative use of digital screens, interactive media facades and large-scale public projections. A “responsive city” embeds increasingly sophisticated data gathering elements into the urban environment. In this conversation we will hear from experts in the field who are creating the most complex responsive projects across the globe.
Speakers include Dr. Dave Colangelo, Director, North America for MAI, and Amahl Hazelton, Head of Communications – Destinations, Moment Factory, Montreal. For more information and to register for the free event please visit the event website.

New book: Media Architecture Compendium – Digital Placemaking

We proudly present our newest book by the Media Architecture Institute, now available via av edition, the Media Architecture Compendium.

Since the first publication on media architecture Media Facades – History, Technology, Content in 2009 and its sequel New Media Facades – A Global Survey in 2012, the field of media architecture has reached global relevance. Media architecture is now acknowledged as a framework and a way of thinking for transforming public space by embedding digital media into the built environment. Thus, digital placemaking is arguably the new frontier for media architecture.

This compendium explores how digital media is shaping cities today and in the years to come. It illustrates ground breaking use of light and media in urban environments through 36 projects that were finalists for the Media Architecture Biennale awards in 2014 and 2016. The projects span five categories: Animated Architecture; Money Architecture; Participatory Architecture & Urban Interaction; Spatial Media Art; and Future Trends & Prototypes. The projects range from autonomous drones by Ars Electronica, shopping centres in China by UNStudio, art installations visualising climate change by Roosegaard Studio, to many more temporary and contemporary media architecture interventions.

The projects are supplemented by essays from leading thinkers in the fields of media architecture and digital placemaking, sharing their insights and visions on how new paradigms such as the internet of things, big data and responsive environments will transform our cities. The book is the third publication of the Media Architecture Institute, which holds offices in Vienna, Sydney, Beijing and Toronto and summarises the research and findings of the Media Architecture Biennale events 2014 in Aarhus and 2016 in Sydney.

Fed Square’s New Digital Experience Initiative

Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia, which is known globally for its urban screen program, has announced an upgrade of their iconic digital screen. The current digital screen will be replaced with a wall of interactive LED panels that complement the form of Fed Square’ s unique architecture. At the centre is a 5k resolution, high-definition event screen with a 6mm pitch, which ensures high-quality display from a distance.

From the official announcement:

The additional electricity required to power the screens has been factored into Fed Square’s overall environmental sustainability management plan and will not negatively affect the carbon neutrality of the city precinct.

There will also be a number of interactive touchscreens constructed and located throughout Fed Square.They are currently in the design phase.

The Digital Experience Initiative is a $5.4 million investment funded by Fed Square Pty Ltd. It will be driven by a program of user-generated content, commissioned artwork and community engagement, whilst retaining the capacity to broadcast live sport, current affairs and films.

The designer and collaborator is sound and light firm, Ramus (, whose digital works range from rock concert lighting for U2 and David Bowie to public precinct redevelopment in several Australian capital cities.

The free on-site Wi-Fi will be dramatically improved as part of the initiative, which will help enable real-time, user-generated content and interaction with the screens.

The construction of the new screens will commence in October 2017 and are expected to be finished in late April 2018.

Call for chapters: Designing Smart for Improving Place

Alessandro Aurigi, Professor of Urban Design at the University of Plymouth, and Nancy Odendaal, Associate Professor in City and Regional Planning at the University of Cape Town, are putting together an edited book publication, titled “Designing Smart for Improving Place”:

This book will challenge scholars, practitioners and thinkers to look at smart from the point of view of the inhabitable, and inhabited, culturally-informed, digitally-enhanced place. We propose a contextually grounded approach that examines the notion of the ongoing (co)production of the localized smart city: innovative, emergent and situated initiatives that substantively connect to the specifics of place. As such, the book aims at the difficult but necessary target of allowing a joined-up approach on smart, with the permanent improvement of place in mind. This means informing the present and future shaping of smart place by architects, designers and urban planners.

Extended abstracts are due Friday 27 October 2017. More details are available on their book website.

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…)