MIT Media Lab’s paradigm shifting Digital Construction Platform

MIT Media Lab Mediated Matter group researchers realize a paradigm shift in architectural design, construction, and thinking with the Digital Construction Platform (DCP): custom, individualized buildings computationally grown and additively manufactured using on-site environmental data.

The Digital Construction Platform is a single, multi-dimensional system into which data gathering, analysis, design, architecture, and construction have been integrated.

The Digital Construction Platform (system) is operated electrically (photovoltaic charging is discussed), is free moving, and can be used to design and digitally construct, from locally available materials, multi-functional structures of any size in a single build.

Internal structure can be modified in new ways. Different materials can be incorporated and material density varied as design and construction proceeds to provide optimal combinations of strength, insulation, or other properties.

Benefits of structures built with this system include speed to market, less cost, and customization to the requirements of the site and the objectives of the maker.

Designed to be self-sufficient, the platform can be adapted to existing building sites, equipment, and building codes without requiring whole new evaluations.

Data about the site is collected using built-in sensors for temperature, light, and other parameters. This data is used in the design process and to make adjustments to the structure as it is built.

The use of on-site environmental data has many benefits. Data from sources such as derived ground-penetrating radar analysis of the site enables the placement of supporting pillars, for instance, in optimal locations.

On-site environmental data can also be used in the design of walls.

  • The walls may have varying thicknesses depending on their orientation. Thicker, more insulated walls can be built on the north side of buildings in cold climates
  • The walls may be configured to respond to local wind conditions. A relatively simple, yet entirely sophisticated, feature  such as a curve in the walls may help the structure withstand wind
  • The walls may be designed and built to respond to load-bearing requirements. Like columns, walls may taper from bottom to top as load-bearing requirements decrease.

The Digital Construction Platform features a scoop and a tracked vehicle that carries a large, industrial, precision-controlled robotic arm with a smaller, precision-motion robotic arm at its end.

Sourcing and use of local materials is discussed. The platform’s scoop could acquire local materials for the construction. The scoop would be used concurrently to prepare the building surface.

The precision-controlled arm can be used to direct both a conventional and non-conventional construction nozzle. The nozzles can be used to pour concrete and spray insulation material, can be adapted to vary the density of the material being poured, and can mix different materials as construction proceeds.

The precision-controlled robotic arm would also be used to direct additional digital fabrication and effectors, such as a milling head.

The platform embodies a shift not only in design and construction paradigms but a paradigm shift also in our thinking about buildings – from a “machine to live in, made of standardized parts” to “the building as an organism, computationally grown, additively manufactured, possibly biologically augmented.”

“‘The construction industry is still mostly doing things the way it has for hundreds of years. The buildings are rectilinear, mostly built from single materials, put together with saws and nails,’ and mostly built from standardized plans.”

Steven Keating PhD ’16, mechanical engineering graduate and former research affiliate in the Mediated Matter group at the MIT Media Lab. He led the development of the system as his doctoral thesis work.

From an architectural perspective the project “challenges traditional building typologies such as walls, floors, or windows, and proposes that a single system could be fabricated using the DCP that can vary its properties continuously to create wall-like elements that continuously fuse into windows.”

Neri Oxman, MIT Media Lab Mediated Matter group director and associate professor of media arts and sciences.

The robotic system is described in the journal Science Robotics (26 April 2017) in a paper entitled “Toward site-specific and self-sufficient robotic fabrication on architectural scales” by Steven Keating PhD ’16, a mechanical engineering graduate and former research affiliate in the Mediated Matter group at the MIT Media Lab; Julian Leland and Levi Cai, both research assistants in the Mediated Matter group; and Neri Oxman, group director and associate professor of media arts and sciences.


System Can 3D Print an Entire Building” | Science Daily, 26 April 2017

MIT Develops a System Than Can 3D Print the Basic Structure of an Entire Building” |, 27 April 2017, Source: David L. Chandler, MIT News

Publication: Steven J. Keating, et al., “Toward site-specific and self-sufficient robotic fabrication on architectural scales,” Science Robotics 26 Apr 2017:Vol. 2, Issue 5, eaam8986; DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aam8986

#architecture #design #construction #tech #realestate #resilience #smartluxury #art #MIT #MITMediaLab #3Dprinting










Rethinking Downtown San Diego | Luxury, Tech, Demand

Downtown San Diego is seeing significant developments.

Nat Bosa
, recognizing that downtown has some very special attributes (weather, proximity to the sea, proximity to the airport, proximity to great schools and research institutions, entirely walkable, …), is very active in downtown San Diego.

Bosa Development’s KPF-designed Pacific Gate is well underway.

Savina is a next project by Bosa. Savina will be close both to the water and to Little Italy. Price points have not yet been released. More information about Savina will become available next week, on May 4.

The downtown San Diego economy, further, is shifting. A growing number of tech firms are choosing to situate themselves downtown.

  • UCSD is taking permanent space downtown

With members of the tech cohort amongst the highest earners in San Diego, this may well have a significant impact on both the economy and the demand for downtown real estate.


The Man Behind the Bosa Brand” | Bosa Development

Kohn Pedersen Fox, Pacific Gate


Tech Organizations in Downtown San Diego by Category | Carto

San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, Technology

Downtown San Diego, The Innovation Economy’s Next Frontier” | Downtown San Diego Partnership & the UC San Diego Extension Center for Research on the Regional Economy, April 2016

UC San Diego Sees Downtown as Innovation’s Next Frontier” | UC San Diego Extension Blog, February 2017

San Diego’s Technology Cluster | San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation

#realestate #tech #luxury #smartluxury #SanDiego #downtownSanDiego #education #KohnPedersenFox #KPF

smart luxury | private museums & the sharing of art & knowledge

“We wish to share and interact with more people and encourage our friends to share their collections too. Only thus we can grow and learn from each other.”

Wanwan Lei and Li Han of Beijing share their motivation for opening their collection to the public through the establishment of a private art museum.

Larry’s List predicts that private museums,  70% of which have been founded since the year 2000 and whose resources and funding do not rely on public support, will increasingly cooperate with each other in the future.

Networks have been founded to increase partnerships between private museums in support of the loaning of works of art, the presentation of traveling exhibitions, and the sharing of knowledge.


Private Art Museum Report” | Larry’s List, December 2015

Larry’s List is launching the Private Art Pass 2017 – The Ultimate Privilege Card for the Art World” | Larry’s List

#art #collections #collectors #privatemuseums #realestate #resilience #finance #smartluxury #luxury #urbanluxury

urban luxury | crisis & opportunity

Urbanist Richard Florida posits a “new urban crisis.” He defines the new urban crisis as the “back-to-the-city movement of the affluent and the educated.”

The New Urban Crisis is a “fundamental feature of larger, denser, richer, more high-tech, more creative-class cities and metro areas.”

A central contradiction stands at the heart of today’s urbanized form of knowledge capitalism writ large. The very same clustering of talent, business, and economic capability in large, dense, knowledge-based places also carves deep divisions into our cities and society.

In next posts, we’ll work to de-code Professor Florida’s thinking, the term “urban crisis,” and the state and economies of our cities.

“Crisis” may point towards opportunity. Opportunity both on the individual level for reflection, growth, learning, and change and for collaborative work amongst individuals, companies, and institutions towards creative solutions.


Mapping the New Urban Crisis” | Richard Florida, CityLab, 13 April 2017

#urbanluxury #smartluxury #luxury #resilience #realestate #education #urbancrisis #urbanism

non-smart luxury | investors & retailers slug it out on Madison Avenue

The Real Deal points out that as of May 2016, the amount of available retail space along Manhattan’s Madison Avenue had been growing. Retailers with financial wherewithal were looking elsewhere.

New owners had  bought Madison Avenue properties at record prices. Investors, partners and banks were preventing the new owners from leasing to retailers below certain “pro-forma” numbers. Rents were increasing steeply.

The effect did other than than satisfy investment requirements. As asking rents broke $2,200 per square foot in prime stretches of Madison Avenue, retailers who might otherwise have taken space there were looking for alternative locations.

Retail insiders said some of the buyers who acquired properties over the last year or two at eye-popping prices have their hands tied by investors, partners or banks who won’t let them lease to retailers below certain target amounts or “pro forma” numbers. That, they say, is exacerbating availabilities.

“New owners who bought at record prices that required record rents are less likely to cut pricing because they can’t satisfy their investment returns,” said Jeremy Ezra, a broker at RKF.

But brokers said this slowdown is different from the recession in 2009 and 2010 when retailers did not have the financial wherewithal to make deals. That’s not the case today.


Madison Avenue retail empties out” | retail spaces on the tony stretch are clearing out as rents get too high and tenants look for cheaper options, Adam Pincus, The Real Deal, 1 May 2016

#luxury #urbanluxury #smartluxury #realestate #retail #resilience #MadisonAvenue #Manhattan #finance

smart luxury | Tesla surpasses Ford & GM in market value

Tesla has surpassed Ford and GM in market value.

Investors investors are betting that the world’s appetite for electric vehicles will continue to grow and that Tesla will grow with it.

Although the big automakers are financially healthy and produce the best-selling types of vehicles, like trucks and sport utility vehicles, they are perceived as lagging in cutting-edge technology like alternative power and autonomy.


Tesla Hits a New Milestone, Passing G.M. In Valuation” | The New York Times, 10 April 2017


#luxury #urbanluxury #smartluxury #energy #smartenergy #alternativepower #Tesla #resilience #finance #automobiles #transit #smarttransit #urbanplanning #design #climatechange #art #smartart #collectionsmanagement #realestate

art & architecture | Selldorf Architects designs new premises for Berlin’s Esther Schipper

New York’s Selldorf Architects is designing the new gallery in Berlin’s Potsdamer Strasse gallery district for Esther Schipper.

The new Esther Schipper gallery address is:

Esther Schipper
Potsdamer Strasse 81
10785 Berlin

The gallery will be newly situated in a former printing and warehouse facility. The premises offer a 5,800-square-foot exhibition space split into a large primary room and a smaller, 1,500-square-foot space.


New Project: Esther Schipper gallery in Potsdamer Strasse” | Selldorf Architects, 1 March 2017

We are moving!” | Esther Schipper

#art #artcollections #luxury #urbanluxury #architecture #realestate #Berlin

smart art | collections storage

The American Alliance of Museums will meet on Sunday, May 7 to discuss “sustainable collections storage, strategies for our future.”

Facing increased energy costs, changing standards, and issues brought about by climate change, institutions are reevaluating their facilities, collections storage, and operations.

The May 7 discussion will include a review of building site and architecture, environmental control systems, lighting, and waste.

Speakers will explore practical, pressing, and efficient measures to reduce carbon footprints while maintaining the paramount goal of preserving collections.

See: “Sustainable Collections Storage: Strategies for our Future” | American Alliance of Museums, 2017 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo

#art #artcollections #collections #collectionsmanagement #artstorage #collectionsstorage #smartart #luxury #smartluxury #urbanluxury #resilience #realestate #museums

smart art | preventive conservation in China

Based on a nationwide investigation of the current state of preservation of museum objects in China, around 51% of the 35 million museum objects show different degrees of deterioration.

In China’s present situation, preventing damage to museum objects is much more cost-effective than allowing damage to happen and then treating it.

By 2013, the number of museums in China had increased to 3354 from 3055 in 2012, among which the number of private museum is 811. The number of museum visitors annually is 600 million.

Based on China’s national long-term outline plan for museum development (2011‒2020), we expect that by 2020 there will be one museum for every 250 000 people, compared to one per 400 000 in 2014, and that 20% of museums will be privately funded.

Owing to the impressive number of museums opened in the twentieth century, a large number of objects has been accumulated and has often been left in unsuitable environments, resulting in irreversible damage. Treatment of individual objects cannot meet the ever-increasing demand.

Rather than treatment after they show signs of degradation, looking for preventive conservation solutions becomes the most important museum function.


Overview of preventive conservation and the museum environment in China” | Nan Feng, Research Center for Chinese Frontier Archaeology, Jilin University, Changchun, China, published online on 12 August 2016

#art #artcollections #smartart #smartluxury #urbanluxury #collectionsmanagement #China #museums #preventiveconservation #realestate #airpollution #climatechange #risk #riskmanagment


art & smart engineering | protecting art from natural disasters

Architect Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum of American Art opened on May 1, 2015. Construction on the new museum building, located at the intersection of Gansevoort and Washington Streets in Manhattan’s West Village and Meatpacking District, began in 2010 on a previously city-owned site. The museum site marks the southern entrance to the High Line.

Reviews of the Whitney’s new design have been wonderful. One design feature, extraordinarily important yet perhaps most often not noticed, is the custom flood-mitigation system.

The flood-mitigation system was designed after Hurricane Sandy brought a 13-foot storm surge to the shores of Manhattan in October of 2012, flooding the museum’s construction site with more than five million gallons of water. The system includes a perfectly balanced,  15,500-pound, 14-feet-tall by 27-feet-wide door designed by Walz & Krenzer engineers who build water-tight latches for the U.S. Navy’s Destroyers.

The Whitney’s system, with its technical sophistication and aesthetic sleekness, is proving to be a model for other U.S. art museums asking the same questions.

While the country has been stuck in a surreal debate over the reality of climate change, disaster-preparedness has become a matter of pressing concern, and institutions in vulnerable areas are having to respond in real time.

The museum’s actions—turning to specialists in naval engineering, for example—augur an era of improvised ingenuity, of localized efforts to address a problem in dire need of a global solution.


Whitney Museum of American Art

The High Line

Walz & Krenzer

Protecting Priceless Art From Natural Disasters” | How Renzo Piano’s New Whitney Museum Protects Its Art From Climate Change, John Whitaker, The Atlantic, 27 May 2015

Whitney Museum of American Art” | Wikipedia

#smartart #art #smartluxury #luxury #urbanluxury #artcollections #collectionsmanagement #museums #climatechange #risk #riskmitigation #realestate #resilience #theWhitney