Bolshoy ice dome

Bolshoy ice dome The Bolshoy ice dome was one of the 2014 Winter Olympic games’ venues. The dome, which has about 12.000 seats, hosted the indoor winter sports during the 2014 Olympics and will be used as a top sport venue after the games. The dome’s design was done by SIC mostovik, a local architectural company, that used a frozen drop as inspiration for the form. The ellipsoid-design is also compared by some people to a Fabergé egg.

The upper section of the building’s facade is made of white aluminum panels that follow the ellipsoid-design of the dome. Additionally there are 38.000 LED installed across the dome’s surface, which covers an area of 31.745 square meters. While the pitch between LEDs is large, they can still be used to display images, i.e. they work as a media facade.

The lower section of the dome is enclosed in glass. This creates a connection between the exterior and interior areas of the building and allows the visitors to appreciate the surrounding areas from the inside.

Bolshoy ice dome Bolshoy ice dome Bolshoy Ice Dome Bolshoy ice dome

Bolshoy ice dome credits:

Architects: SIC mostovik
project team: alexander knyazev, valia vdovina, oleg tsymbal, natalya temnikova, nikita tsymbal, dmitry akulin, inna sitaeva, andrey zinoviev, natalia egorova, igor kolchanov, ilya dobzhinsky
engineers: andrey ustinov, andrey veter
structural engineers: inforce project
project year: 2009-2012
construction year: 2009-2012
pictures: © ©

Cyclephilly – Citizen generated data

Cyclephilly © Cyclephilly is an online map and a mobile application that let the users record their daily routes in the city of Philadelphia. Although it has been around only for a couple of months, it can be already called a success story.

A great thing about Cyclephilly is that it was in part developed by a non-programmer, Corey Acri. He came in contact with Code for America with little coding skills but with a good understanding about the institutions and instruments needed to push a project like this. He and his team colleagues, Lloyd Emelle and Kathrin Killebrew, worked together with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia to design the app. Since the launch of Cyclephilly in May it has managed to attract about 150 users, which in turn have recorded more than 5000 trips. The numbers speak by themselves.


Colpatria tower – A media facade in the Andes

Colpatria tower. &Copy; Steven King, Philipps proyectos Colombia With 49 floors and a total height of 196 meters the Colpatria tower is the highest building of Colombia. It is in Bogotá, the capital city, and since its completion in 1979 it has always played a predominant role in the city’s landscape. The viewpoint at the top of the tower lets appreciate the extension of the city in all four directions.

The tower was first illuminated in 1998 with color lights. This system only allowed to change the colors of the tower and create some basic compositions. However, in 2013 the tower became a new LED system that allows the display of pictures and videos. The resulting media facade is 120 meters high and covers the area between the 12th and the 46th floors.

Colpatria tower. &Copy; Steven King, Philipps proyectos Colombia Learn more about the colpatria tower

3D Print canal house

3D Print Canal House &Copy; DUS architects - The 3D Print Canal House is a unique research project that combines history and future: a canal house is 3D-printed in full size with a large yet transportable 3D printer called KamerMaker (Room maker). The printer, developed specially for this project, is inspired by the ultimaker, a “small-scale” open source 3D printer. In fact, KamerMaker works in a similar way: a 3D model is loaded and sliced in layers that are created one by one by the printer. By overlapping multiple layers it is possible to create 3D forms -and a house.

The building project aims to show that digital production techniques can offer flexible and affordable housing solutions for different situations around the world. For example, the needs of people living in slums or in disaster areas might be also fulfilled such a technique. However, an estimate of the production costs can be only be given once the 3D printed canal house is completed.

KammerMaker &Copy; DUS architects - Watch a video of the 3D Print Canal House…

Homebrew sensing project – Citizen science

Homebrew spectrometer © Jeff Warren
In the everyday life we might get in touch with hazardous chemicals even without noticing it. Building materials, fabric dyes, additives in food and contaminants resulting from fracking can expose us to hazardous materials. This can have a serious impact on the health of whole communities. When the effects of chemical exposure and the resulting health problems become evident, the community affected faces a complex and often lengthy process to demonstrate the presence and the impact of such chemicals in their environment.

If a community realizes that its environment is being affected by chemicals it would normally have to collect and send samples to a laboratory. Such process can be quite expensive due to the highly specialized equipment and the expert roles involved in the analysis. However such analyses can be simplified by creating affordable yet reliable tools that enable the citizens to collect and analyze samples of for example water, and test the presence of toxic materials such as mercury.

The homebrew sensing project supports the creation of reliable and open tools that can be used by non-experts. The project focuses specifically on spectrometry, a powerful method to identify materials. To achieve this, the initiators have developed a low-cost spectrometer that allows anyone to carry out spectrometric analyses at home, empowering common people to obtain information about hazardous materials in their environment.

Homebrew sensing project © Jeff Warren Watch a video of the spectrometer…

SCSD – Smart citizen sentiment dashboard

Smart Citizen Dashboard © Nina Valkanova and Moritz Behrens
Smart citizen sentiment dashboard (SCSD) is an interactive installation that visualizes the feelings of São Paulo’s citizens regarding some of the challenges faced by the city. The project collects the feedback of the citizens through a simple interface, and shows this data in the media facade of the Galeria de Arte Digital (FIESP). In this way SCSD transforms the media facade of FIESP into a point for social encounter where some of the issues affecting the quality of life in the city can be openly discussed. The installation was created by Nina Valkanova and Moritz Behrens with the support from Verbe Cultural and Galeria de Arte Digital do SESI-SP.

For the realization and development of the project the artists organized workshops with some inhabitants of São Paulo. The workshops let them identify some of the most pressing issues of the city and gave them important input for the design of the installation. The participatory strategy also let the artists translate the questions of the citizens into a visually appealing language that could deliver a message about the quality of life in the city, and at the same time be easily understood by anyone.

The dashboard gives the participants the opportunity to comment on five different issues namely, environment, mobility, security, housing, and public space. By swiping an RFID card over the interface they can easily express if they are happy, dissatisfied or if that particular issue is indifferent to them. However, the project is not only about playful interactions. The data provided by the participants is collected and stored in a sentiment database that is also visualized and displayed in the FIESP’s media facade. Thus, the smart citizen sentiment dashboard shows the general mood of the city and highlights the points where more work is needed.

Workshops Smart Citizen Dashboard © Nina Valkanova and Moritz Behrens Smart citizen sentiment dashboard © Nina Valkanova and Moritz Behrens Watch a video of Smart citizen sentiment dashboard

Discovery wall – Zoom into medical research

Discovery wall - media installation © Hirsch & mann | Squint/Opera Discovery wall is an art installation created as a recognition for the donors that made possible the completion of the Belfer research building, part of the Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan. It was conceived and developed by the creative agencies Squint/Opera and Hirsch&Mann, which won the commission for the artwork in an international competition.

The artwork celebrates the opening, early in 2014, of the new Belfer research building, which was dedicated to biomedical research. Discovery wall, approximately 4.8m x 2.7m large, comprises hundreds of tiny screens and circular acrylic disc that magnify the images displayed by them. This magnifying effect is a direct reference to the medical research activities and the key aesthetic and conceptual element of the installation. The passers-by would see something from the distance that draws they to see more and more information.

The double layer, screens and lenses, creates a unique visual effect, as the wall will look as whole from a long distance while the screens can be appreciated as single elements when looked closely. The creators use this characteristic to create large-scale visuals with smaller images, taken from the archives of the Belfer research center. Thanks to its set-up, the installation shows the research and the discoveries achieved in the Belfer’s building, in a way that is visually appealing and can be enjoyed from the street or from the lobby.

Discovery wall - media installation © Hirsch & mann | Squint/Opera Discovery wall - media installation © Hirsch & mann | Squint/Opera Watch the making of discovery wall…

Tangible Orchestra – Walking through the music

Tangible Orchestra - interactive installation at Royal mile, Edinburgh - © Rebecca Gischel and Sebastian Walter Tangible orchestra is an interactive installation that uses light and sound to create a playful experience. It was exhibited at Royal Mile, Edinburgh. The installation comprises seven cylinders equipped with lights, loudspeakers and ultrasonic sensors. When a person approximates a cylinder, the latter will blink and reproduce the sound of a particular instrument. All together create an interactive musical composition that changes together with the movements of the spectators.

The perception of each spectator is unique because the sounds reproduced by the cylinders will change depending on to the position of the person. This characteristic encourages the people to walk around, jump towards or even hug the cylinders. If enough people is engaging with the installation a complete musical work will be slowly assembled. To create the piece played by the tangible orchestra both electronic and classical orchestra instruments were used, creating interesting contrasts that fluctuate between electronic, repetitive rhythms and the melodies of classical instruments.
Tangible Orchestra - interactive installation at Royal mile, Edinburgh - © Rebecca Gischel and Sebastian Walter Watch a video of Tangible orchestra…

LowRes – Interactive installation at the luminale 2014

LowRes - Interactive light installation by sensory minds for the Luminale 2014 © Sensory-Minds and Tomas Zebis LowRes is an interactive installation that used color spotlights to turn the facade of a decaying building into a media facade. It used a simple technical solution to turn the windows into pixels and create interactions with the spectators. The installation was created by SENSORY-MINDS for the Luminale 2014. For the realization of the project the team found a building that was at risk of collapsing and thus vacant. The building, located at Offenbach am main, offered the perfect conditions for the realization of such installation, as the evenly distributed windows could be turned easily into huge pixels. This particular characteristic was used by the team to create a low-resolution media facade that could be controlled interactively by the spectators. LowRes - Interactive light installation by sensory minds for the Luminale 2014 © Sensory-Minds and Tomas Zebis (more…)

In the air, tonight – Raising Awareness about homelesnes

In the air, tonight. Toronto Canada “In the air, tonight” is a reactive installation for the facade of the Ryerson School of Image and the Ryerson Image Centre. The installation, created by the artists Patricio Davila and David Colangelo, transforms the building into a glowing signal that raises awareness about homelessness. After its premiere in February 2014 the installation will be re-staged on Mai 23th from sundown until midnight as as part of the Subtle Technologies Festival.

The blue, waving animations shown at the building, are programmed by the artists to react to local weather conditions like wind speed and direction. These animations will change their dynamics and their color when the twitter hashtag #homelessness accumulates a number messages. Thus, anyone with a twitter account can interact with the animations through the account @itat2014 or by creating and re-twitting messages that include the mentioned hashtag. The website of the project also shows the interactions through a dynamic background that mimics the animations of the facade.

In the air, tonight. Toronto Canada (more…)