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[4 Aug 2011 | One Comment | 6,292 views]
Actuated Matter Workshop Part 1: Intro

Last week I found myself in Zürich, Switzerland, which in itself is somewhat unusual for a person who typically lives and works in the great state of Texas.  To add to that, while installed in said location I experienced one of those intensive periods of excitement and discovery that only happen when you toss yourself and an over-stuffed rolling suitcase headlong into a foreign country and participate in a workshop in order to learn how to screen print electroluminescent lamps (and also to learn that, although they are healthier, multigrain croissants are simply not as delicious as the …

FIRE, WOOD »

[19 Jul 2011 | 3 Comments | 7,224 views]
Color-Change Tech for Lenses could turn Buildings into Chameleons!

Say what you will about the 1990’s, the decade produced some severely under-appreciated and entirely too short-lived cultural moments: I mean, Hammer pants? Titanic? Come on – you know you loved it!  Another phenomenon of the 1990’s that in some ways is slightly less exciting than the OJ Simpson trial, but which has stayed with us to this day is: green-tinted glass.

Image courtesy metaefficient.com
No one knows exactly how it started, but I imagine that sometime in the 1990’s, an architect somewhere in the world specified green-tinted glass for the …

WATER »

[8 Jul 2011 | No Comment | 5,962 views]
New Nanomaterial Makes Adsorption Chilling Even Cooler!

It’s that time of year again when the mercury climbs just above 100 degrees every single day and it’s so hot that the sun obliterates any clouds brash enough to assemble themselves with the intent to produce rain.  Everything is wilted, melted, bleached out, overswept by a hot wind that makes the tail end of a jet engine seem like a lovely place with a calm and refreshing breeze.
So given these conditions, it will come as no surprise that researchers led by Peter McGrail out of the Pacific Northwest National …

METAL »

[24 Jun 2011 | No Comment | 4,682 views]
Got Heat? Got Metal? MAKE ELECTRICITY!

I admit that my understanding of generators is pretty hazy, but I think the general idea is to wave magnets in front of conductive wire in an orderly fashion in order to produce a flow of current.  Once you have an electric current the door to a world of unmitigated awesome opens up and all of a sudden you have light when the sun has set and the ability to microwave popcorn.

Image courtesy todayifoundout.com
A fascinating new metal alloy material under development by researchers at the University of Minnesota, led by Professor Richard James, works …

FIRE »

[22 May 2011 | No Comment | 2,720 views]
Get the Glow: Duo-Gard Lumenatrix Backlighting System

I have a secret theory, based on anecdotal evidence supplied by my over-active imagination, that glowing architectural surfaces encourage people to spend more money.  I wonder why glowing, shiny objects are so alluring to human beings? It’s not like we have gizzards.  At any rate, if glowing surfaces do encourage people to open their wallets and part with the brass, it is quite a good thing because artificially illuminated glowing architectural surfaces cost a great deal to construct AND require supermegakilotons of energy to run.

Image courtesy thenewyorkgreenadvocate.blogspot.com
The Lumenatrix Backlighting System …

FIRE, WOOD »

[2 May 2011 | One Comment | 4,515 views]
New Color-changing Microsensor Material Detects Volatile Organic Compounds

When I think about a gas mask, for some reason my mind flits to a memory of a series of drawings by British sculptor Henry Moore, which I encountered at the Hirshorn while wandering through the Smithsonian one afternoon during college. The London Underground functioned as a shelter during WWII, and Moore made a series of dark gray moody drawings that convey his experiences sleeping in the tunnels along with thousands of other Londoners at the height of the Blitz.  I’m not really sure if any of the drawings actually depicted people wearing gas masks, but that feeling …

FEATURED, Uncategorized »

[10 Jan 2011 | 5 Comments | 29,154 views]
10 Awesome Materials from 2010 and Reasons They are Awesome

ARCHITERIALS is a year old now, and like most healthy, well-adjusted one-year-olds it needs to be changed constantly, crawls all over my apartment, and makes strange burbling noises.  No, really – it does.  It’s terrifying.
Over the past year I’ve profiled approximately 65 materials and learned about blogging, bacteria, and biscuits, although I must confess that the biscuts were a side project.  A delicious, buttery side project.  Anyhow, to celebrate the birthday of ARCHITERIALS and the fact that the tagline “Investigating architectural materials since 2010” has finally attained temporal legitimacy, I’ve compiled for this, …

FIRE, WOOD »

[2 Aug 2010 | 2 Comments | 9,431 views]
3D-Printed Fabrics: Surprise! They’re Real AND They’re Sustainable

I’ve been looking at dresses on the Internet lately because my lovely friends keep getting married and, for some unknown reason, they keep inviting me to their weddings.  I’ve found some good deals online, and it’s nice not to have to deal with roaming tween hordes off-gassing pale clouds of angst or resist the insincere entreaties of pushy salespeople at the mall.  The drawback of Internet shopping, of course, is that you can’t try anything on and whatever you’ve purchased must be shipped. 
While waiting for my latest dress to arrive (it’s a snazzy sky-blue linen number with strategic pleats, …

EARTH »

[23 Jun 2010 | 3 Comments | 4,849 views]
Is Graphene Elvis or the Russell Brand of Materials?

Say what you will about Elvis Presley and his rhinestone-studed white jumpsuits, the man definitely made waves in movies and the music world.  Even half a century after his heyday I still catch Blue Hawaii airing on TV and even incurious millenials know Heartbreak Hotel.  In contrast to Elvis, I offer you Russell Brand: a man who appears to live life like a young Bret Michaels, and whose notoriety stems from a certain abrasive yet undeniable charisma.  Will Russell Brand’s … er … brand … stand the test of time?  Is he another Elvis?  I think …

WATER »

[17 Jun 2010 | 7 Comments | 7,810 views]
DEVap: An Energy-Saving Air Conditioning Design

I like to set my home thermostat at around 80 degrees during the summer when friends and family aren’t around because I can’t stand to be cold.  I’m always freezing at work because the people who make decisions about temperature tend to be ample-waisted males of the suit-wearing persuasion who would rather have their fingernails pulled out one at a time than break a sweat.  I used to have a personal heater at my desk to counteract the effects of the arctic blast aimed roughly at the top of my head, but the heater voided the warranty on our cubicles …

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