3D Drawing Pad

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Digital free hand sketching is a technology currently developing in the design realm. Recently students from the Royal College of Art in London created a virtual reality drawing tool that allows one to create 3D sketches in real time.  With just a tablet, stylus, and virtual reality headset, like Oculus Rift, users can draw and change planes of viewing. Its designers believe it could have widespread use in fields from animation to medicine. Check out a video of it here.

Source: Dezeen

Solar Powered Parasol

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An interesting design unveiled from Studio toer is a new parasol that opens by itself, or rather inflates with the sun. Utilizing a small solar panel and a fan, the puffy umbrella dubbed “the cumulus parasol” inflates fully in about 20 seconds. The parasol’s aerodynamic shape and lack of metal core make it lightweight and able to withstand windy conditions.

Source: Design Boom

Lowline

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You’ve probably heard of the famous and wildly popular High Line in Manhattan.  But what about the Lowline?  The Lowline will occupy reclaimed space, formerly used as an underground trolley station, on the Lower East Side. Utilizing solar collecting devices, the space below the street will be illuminated with fiberoptic cables drawing sunlight from above. The new underground park is scheduled to open in 2018.

Source: Lowline

Time Slice

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Los Angeles-based motion designer and photographer Dan Marker-Moore has created stunning time-lapse images from cities across the United States. His images of cityscapes throughout day and night present a fusion of the likeness of the city as its residents experience it through time—a phenomenon difficult to capture with traditional photography. Check out more of his time slices here.

Source: Tumblr

Printed Houses for under $5,000

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Shanghai-based company, WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co., recently created and assembled ten 3D printed houses in less than a day. Utilizing a huge 490 foot long 3D printer, they created the structural components with layers of concrete and recycled construction waste and glass fibers. The houses are approximately 2,100 square feet, and not a hundred percent 3D printed (some assembly is required on site). These structures represent a feat of design and engineering, especially considering each house cost just $4,800.

Source: Inhabitat

Hudson Yards

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The largest private development in United States history is underway on Manhattan’s West Side. Financing for the initial stages of the 17 million square feet of towers passed its first hurdle with a $250 million loan from Deutsche Bank AG.  Between 30th and 34th streets, this $20 billion development will mark a new life for the rail yards in Chelsea.

Source: Archinect

World’s Smallest Sandcastles

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These sandcastles created by artist Vik Muniz in collaboration with MIT researcher Marcelo Coelho are etched onto individual grains of sand.  Utilizing a focused Ion Beam (FIB) capable of creating a line 50 nanometers wide, he created unique, minute architectural drawings. Blown up to wall-sized photographs, these works take a new look at the microscopic. Check out a video of Vik Muniz and his work here.

Source: This Is Colossal

Kingdom Tower

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The competition to claim the tallest-building-in-the-world status continues with the Kingdom Tower near Jeddah, Saudia Arabia breaking ground.  The tower will be the centerpiece of a new $20 billion mixed use development just north of Jeddah.  At 3,280 feet (over a kilometer) the tower is slated to be world’s tallest.  The 530,000 square foot building by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture is scheduled to be completed in 2017 and will feature an observation deck on the 157th floor.

Source: ArchDaily

Crowdsourcing Urban Projects and Planning

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Who better to collaborate on ideas to influence a city’s improvement than the city dwellers themselves?  This premise is driving numerous crowdsourced urban projects being developed in cities all around the world.  From bike lanes and commuter busses to neighborhood revitalization and composting, urban planning is increasingly focused on engaging citizens in the process.  Check out a selection of crowdsourced projects here.

Source: Web Urbanist

Royal Botanical Gardens in Cranbourne

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Check out the incredible new landscapes of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Cranbourne, Australia. Designed by Taylor Cullity Lethlean and plant expert Paul Thomas, this 25 hectare garden is home to some extraordinary designed spaces that use exclusively Australian native plants. The garden won best world landscape of the year from the World Architecture Festival in 2013.

Source: Dezeen

3D Printed Clothing

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Think 3D printing is just for making models? Designers across disciplines are catching onto the possibilities for this new type of manufacturing. Check out this printed top created by Melbourne based design firm XYZ Workshop, who have been awarded the grand prize in an international 3D printed fashion competition. Inspired by water and sustainability, the designers created this top from connected open and closed spheres, which give the material a ripple-like texture.

Source: Design Milk