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 – 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.

Winners of the Media Architecture Biennale 2016 Awards

We announce the winners of the Media Architecture Biennale 2016 awards in the following categories: Animated Architecture, Money Architecture, Participatory Architecture & Urban Interaction, Spatial Media Art, Future Trends & Prototypes.


Category: Animated architecture
The Light Frieze of the New Building of the Kunstmuseum Basel

Category: Money architecture

Category: Participatory architecture & urban interaction
The Sentiment Cocoon

Category: Spatial media art
Field of Light

Category: Future trends & prototypes

They were chosen among the NOMINEES 2016:

Category: Animated architecture
Light Frieze of the New Building of the Kunstmuseum Basel
Train station Falkenberg

Category: Money architecture
LAX – Tom Bradley International Terminal
Morgan Stanley – Times Square Headquarters

Category: Participatory architecture & urban interaction
In The Air, Tonight
The Sentiment Cocoon
Le Circuit de Bachelard

Category: Spatial media art
Field of Light

Category: Future trends & prototypes
City Lights Orchestra

Visit Media Architecture Biennale 2016 Awards Website for more Informations about the winning projects.

For further details about the winning, nominated and many more outstanding projects pls. have a look at:
Our congratulations to the winners and nominated projects!

We cordially thank all participants that have submitted their projects to MAB16!

Clubhaus St. Pauli

„This is going to be a great Kiez-show” – with this headline the biggest German tabloid newspaper commented on the installation of the ONLYGLASS Mediafaçade at the Klubhaus St.Pauli. And they are absolutely right. The spectacular installation of eleven panes for the lift was a big show. In mid-July time had come. In the early morning a huge truck crane arrived at the building site of the future entertainment center. Unfortunately the rain interrupted the whole procedure. The glass panes have a weight of around 600 kilograms and were held by ten huge suction cups when being heaved. Therefore the panes needed to be absolutely dry before the suction cups could be put on it. At 10 a.m. the rain finally stopped and preparations for the installation could start. The tension rose, also for the media representatives. The public Northern German Broadcasting (NDR) even sent a video journalist and an outside broadcast van to report from the building site (The reportage you can find here (in German))

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…)

Smart Citizens Lab

slide_main-966x377   Smart Citizen Lab (SCL) ist eine Veranstaltungsserie in der Seestadt aspern und eine damit verknüpfte Informationskampagne. Beide Maßnahmen zielen darauf ab die Entwicklung Wiens zu einer „Smart City“ zu unterstützen, indem sie möglichst viele Wienerinnen und Wiener informieren und zum Mitmachen einladen. SCL widmet sich inhaltlich folgenden Bereichen:
Wohnen und Energie (Smart Home, Wohnen im Niedrigenergie- / Passivhaus, energieeffiziente Leuchtmittel, Möbelauswahl, …)
Ressourcen (Reparieren, teilen und tauschen, Foodcoops, Tauschkreise, digitale Plattformen, Gemeinschaftsgärten…)
Mobilität (Carsharing, Mobiltätspools, Fahrradverkehr, Leihräder, Routenplanung, …) ExpertInnen, UnternehmerInnen und PionierInnen teilen dabei ihr Wissen und ihre Erfahrungen mit Menschen, die selbst aktiv werden wollen. Neben dem Transfer von Know-how ist dabei auch der Aufbau von sozialen Strukturen und die Bildung von Initiativen von großer Bedeutung. Erst durch die Einbeziehung und die Vernetzung ihrer Bürgerinnen und Bürger wird eine Smart City nachhaltig. Wien braucht seine „Smart Citizens“ um die ehrgeizigen Ziele der „Smart City Wien Rahmenstrategie“ zu erreichen. Smart Citizens Lab ist ein gemeinsames Projekt des Media Architecture Institute und der ÖGUT und wird gefördert von der Wirtschaftsagentur Wien, einem Fonds der Stadt Wien.   weitere Infos und Termine:

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.