DS10 started the year researching sci-fi novels, movies, magazines and technological discoveries from the past two centuries. Here are the timelines showing the historical and political events,as well as the technological discoveries that greatly influenced Science Fiction from the 1800s until today.
Back in our studio and excited to see how students are tackling the brief this year. Here are some pictures showing the different systems that students chose for brief01 and some of the models that are already being produced.
Below is our schedule and some pictures from DS10′s Unit Trip to Switzerland which took place from the 15th until the 18th November 2012. We would like to thank all the following people for their generosity.
-Thursday 15th: Visit of the ETH University’s CAAD groups. Presentations by Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenberger, Ammar Mirjan of DFAB (Gramazio and Kolher) and Philippe Block of the Block Research Group. Party at Gonzo Club in Langstrasse.
-Saturday 17th: Early train to Lausanne. Visit of the EPFL university Laboratory for Timber Constructions – IBOIS. Presentations by Markus Hudert and Christopher Robeller. Visit of the EPFL campus and workshops with Mitch Heynick. Visit to the Rolex Learning Centre by SANAA.
Pictures by Dan Dodds, Luka Kreze, Phil Hurrel, Jake Alsop and Arthur Mamou-Mani.
Above: Presentation by Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenberger
Above: One of the IBOIS research structures with Markus Hudert
Above: Moustaches floating at the Thermalbald & Spa Zurich
Click on an image from Gallery below to view full size.
Technology today is designed to fail. Products are made so that you will buy a new one after a pre-determined time. This is called planned obsolescence and is a widely accepted commercial concept within industrial companies.
The Phoebus Kartel was a cartel of, among others, Osram, Philips and General Electricfrom December 23, 1924 until 1939 that controlled the manufacture and sale of light bulbs. It decided that it would limit the lifetime of a lightbulb to 1000 hours. Before this arbitrary and profit-driven decision, light bulbs could last for a very long time, a solid proof for that is the Livermore’s Centennial Lightbulb which shines since 1890. The 1000 hours rule was the beginning of an imposed large-scale planned obsolescence.
After the great depression, Bernard London thought that imposing planned obsolescence by law would bring prosperity to Americans.
The american designer Brook Stevens gave many conferences on the advantage of planned obsolescence. His products would always look newer, better than the existing one. By his definition, planned obsolescence was “Instilling in the buyer the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary.”
Without planned obsolescence, shopping malls would probably not exits and economic growth would not be as crucial as it it today to the economy. In essence, economic growth does not attempt to make human life better, it just tries to grow for the sake of it. This growth is based on debt and on consuming products that are not necessary. As the economist and system theorist Kenneth Boulding once said: “Someone who believes that an economy that constantly grows on a planet that is finite is either mad or an economist, the problem is that we are all economists now.”
The Waste Makers, published in 1960 by Vance Packard is the first book on the topic.
Apple, largest public company in the U.S., gave a clear notice to its reseller when the IPOD battery would fail: “buy a new ipod“. Apple was sued for that by consumers, the case was called Wesley vs. Apple. Apple lost the case and was forced to extend the warranty on the battery. Apple has no environmental policy for its products and tries to sell as many products as possible, not products that will last.
Image courtesy of Stay Free Magazine.
Epson adds microchips in some of their printers that counts the amount of prints and breaks the printer after reaching a pre-determined printer. In fact, some freewares help you to reset the count so that you can use your printers more.
Electronic products that could have lasted much longer end up in illegal dump site in countries such as Ghana and Nigeria (have a look at the Agbogbloshie dump site on this BBC documentary).
The idea of creating “Open-Source” buildings from simple materials that can be made and improved by anyone and based on home-grown or widely accessible products is DS10’s answer to the tragedy of planned obsolescence. Similarly to open source software that can always be updated and maintained by the end user, the makers will not be at the sole mercy of a proprietary vendor. We will also look into temples, timeless monuments for spirituality and best counter example for modernist buildings, a theory which emerged around the same time as the Phoebus Kartel.
-This post is based on the documentary “The Light Bulb Conspiracy” by Cosima Dannoritzen.
“My garden is sending tweets!” Eric Maundu
Just came across this amazing video in which Eric Maundu talks about his start-up “Kijani Grows” (“Kijani” is Swahili for green), a small startup that designs and sells custom aquaponics systems for growing food using cheap technology including arduino boards. Toby and I often talk about “closed loop systems”, this is a great example of one.
“The land in West Oakland where Eric Maundu is trying to farm is covered with freeways, roads, light rail and parking lots so there’s not much arable land and the soil is contaminated. So Maundu doesn’t use soil. Instead he’s growing plants using fish and circulating water. It’s called aquaponics- a gardening system that combines hydroponics (water-based planting) and aquaculture (fish farming). It’s been hailed as the future of farming: it uses less water (up to 90% less than traditional gardening), doesn’t attract soil-based bugs and produces two types of produce (both plants and fish). Aquaponics has become popular in recent years among urban gardeners and DIY tinkerers, but Maundu- who is trained in industrial robotics- has taken the agricultural craft one step further and made his gardens smart. Using sensors (to detect water level, pH and temperature), microprocessors (mostly the open-source Arduino microcontroller), relay cards, clouds and social media networks (Twitter and Facebook), Maundu has programmed his gardens to tweet when there’s a problem (e.g. not enough water) or when there’s news (e.g. an over-abundance of food to share).
Maundu himself ran from agriculture in his native Kenya- where he saw it as a struggle for land, water and resources. This changed when he realized he could farm without soil and with little water via aquaponics and that he could apply his robotics background to farming. Today he runs Kijani Grows (“Kijani” is Swahili for green), a small startup that designs and sells custom aquaponics systems for growing food and attempts to explore new frontiers of computer-controlled gardening. Maundu believes that by putting gardens online, especially in places like West Oakland (where his solar-powered gardens are totally off the grid), it’s the only way to make sure that farming remains viable to the next generation of urban youth.”
These images show the results of some recent experiments using wax and water.
To achieve the structures I filled a container with hot melted wax, weighted it so it would sink, then dropped it into a larger container full of cold tap water (approx 10 degrees)
Due to the lower density of the wax it rises to the surface of the water, and in doing so exposes an increasing surface area to the water allowing it to cool and solidify on its way up.
This technique has resulted in some exciting organic flowing structures which I hope to analyse further and develop more architecturally.
I just came across these really nice videos explaining complicated things in a very simple way.
The first video below explains how M. Faraday discovered magnetic fields and how J.C. Maxwell developed dynamic equations to describe them.
The concept of field can be used to explain many things such as light, cell phones (electro-magnetic vibrations) or even quantum physics (coming from the Greek Quanta = Packets).
The Architectural theorist Stan Allen, in his book Points+Line, even describes a new kind of Architecture based on fields instead of objects which one can relate all the “agent-based” parametric Architecture or to the built examples below of Zaha Hadid’s Hoenheim bus terminal or Eisenman’s Holocaust memorial in Berlin. In these projects, the components of the buildings are only valuable if they are seen as a whole.
Several DS10 students are looking at fields this year, from Will Garforth-Bless looking at ferrofluid to Chris Ingram tracing the trail of a field with point charges, Below is an example of how the grasshopper tool for field was used in the case of a 2d mapping of ferrofluid.
See videos below to understand how fields work and the history behind their discovery.