Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thirsty Thursday Linkages

First thing's first.

There is a proposal for a "Center of Innovation" for downtown Dallas.  That's great and we badly need educational opportunities for the under-privileged.  Though, decent education effectively by lottery and charity is again papering over deeper structural problems.  More bricks on the top of a house of cards.

There is also some really cool stuff proposed such as exposing kids to new, emerging technology such as 3D-printing, which promised to redistribute, decentralize, and democratize means of production.  Wherein I feel compelled to post this new video about 3D-printing used to mass produce assault weapons parts:



First, try to get past Wayne LaPierre's ridiculous statement, "only thing that stops a good guy with a gun is a bad guy with a gun."  Who defines who's good?  The white hat and black hat?  Pretty sure both sides of a duel think they're the good guy.

You can try to control the printer and the gun parts, the key here is the digital file and its ability to spread virally.

The other important part of the piece is Cody's line (only slightly paraphrased): "who cares about democratic consensus when there is a market."

Yikes.  Perhaps engineering and innovation is rather worthless without a background and foundation in the humanities.
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On a happier note, they're going to use design firm LOT-EK to do the building.  Sad me found out that LOT-EK proposed a building made of discarded airplane fuselages back in 2005, :(.  I thought I concocted that idea for an affordable housing competition in 2008-ish when I was advising a group of young architects who didn't have a lot of paid work during the recession.

We treated it as an ideas competition.  And the fundamental idea was to repurpose means of mass production for the 21st century.  From a diminishing need to an emerging need, the need for affordable, urban housing in walkable locations that doesn't enforce car ownership upon those that can least afford it in a 'drive til you qualify' world.

The graphic is literally what I envisioned, except we would've turned the corridors perpendicular to the fuselage alignment, which would face west to allow the aerodynamics to funnel westerly winds between the gaps in the cylindrical shapes where micro-turbines could be placed.  Also, we would have a more typical urban storefront base with the fuselages as the tower like a Vancouver point tower concept.  The fuselages would effectively be rooms that fuse together with portals allowing a flexible market for 1, 2, 3 bedroom units that can constantly shape shift in their interconnectivity, up, down, left, right, etc.

Anyway, there are no new ideas.
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In less local news, DC is budgeting $400 million of local money over the next six years specifically dedicated to streetcars.  Mama Mia! Roughly imagining that could work out to four 4-mile lines.  Not bad.
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Lastly, here's a post about 5 things to think about with healthcare design.  It's rather wonky and predictable, confirming what most healthcare architecture is about now, which is simply fitting program to form.  And yes, all that is necessary.  But what's missing is the more wholistic planning aspect.

I've done quite a bit of consulting with healthcare facilities and operators and it's often difficult.  Whenever you create a masterplan that focuses on the surroundings and experience of the place, the patients, the visitors, and the workers, as the hospital as a centerpiece of a complete community, it is too often cast aside as not in the core business interests of the healthcare provider.  As usually are the administrators that dared think out of the box that the experience and safety of walkable surroundings, about healthcare rather than sick-care, IS part of their core business.  That and housing nearby for all employees at all levels of income for the option to live close, cutting the wasteful need for the excessive parking that typically forms the unwelcome moat around most hospitals.

Oh well.  I only have a Daniel Burnham Award for proposing such things.  What do I know.