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Scott Judy
With Miami the setting for its 2019 convention, the American Society of Civil Engineers unveiled an initial proof-of-concept vision for a sea-based “Floating City,” one of five concepts included within the association’s Future World Vision: Infrastructure Reimagined project.

The project, which ASCE established as a separate entity known as FWV Inc., represents a four-year commitment by the organization. In a report released earlier this year announcing early analysis from the effort, ASCE stated that Future World Visions “mapped out key trends and potential outcomes and analyzed a range of plausible future-based scenarios to model how society might interface with cities, infrastructure and operational systems, while also illustrating what civil engineers must do to develop solutions for the changing future.”

Using six key, long-term trends—climate change, alternative energy, high-tech construction/advanced materials, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and policy and funding—ASCE created five Future World concepts: Mega City, Rural City, Floating City, Frozen City and Offworld City.

To Gerald Buckwalter, ASCE’s chief operating and strategy officer, the Future Worlds project is an important step for the engineering community to begin to plan for a rapidly changing world.

“There’s a convergence of some significantly disruptive trends occurring that, in combination, will probably cause more change to the engineering profession and to built infrastructure in the next 50 to 100 years than we’ve seen in over a thousand years,” Buckwalter told Engineering News-Record at the convention, held earlier this month. The effort will position ASCE to serve as a “thought leader” on this topic, he added.

ASCE hired Alex McDowell, of Experimental Design Inc., who previously served as production designer for the futuristic sci-fi film “Minority Report,” to lead the project’s conceptualizing. McDowell then led a team that incorporated input from dozens of subject-matter experts to create a digital model envisioning the detailed development of these city concepts up to 50 years into the future.

By creating five different prototypes, Buckwalter says, it’s possible to identify the implications for civil engineering that are common among all of the future scenarios.

“This will allow us to discover the durability of some of our tools and practices now, and some things that are just going to have to be different, and give us plenty of runway to figure that out” he says.

Surely hoping for considerable “runway” for long-term planning was Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez (R), who was on hand to offer a response to McDowell’s unveiling of the Floating City.

In news related to the trends of climate change and rising sea levels envisioned by ASCE’s Floating City concept, Suarez reported that the city had just one day prior passed a resolution supporting the concept of a “carbon dividend” tax on carbon-emitting entities.

Suarez cited Miami’s interactions with the Netherlands and New Orleans as examples of how the city is planning to survive rising sea levels. “It is possible to convert water from an enemy into an asset,” he said. “That’s what we’re going to seek to do as we move into this new future where climate is certainly one of the main factors that we need to plan for if we want to be here forever.”
Builder Online
Check out what M&A meisters Michael Kahn, Joe Walsh, and Peter Hazeloop have to say about deal flow in a new period of growing uncertainty.

Michael P. Kahn is one of home building's most-active and--at age 83--most-senior, active senior statesmen. He has known most of the people who run America's big home building companies since they were kids.

They take his call. They return his call. Or they initiate contact with him when they're thinking about selling or buying a home building firm. They've been doing that for about as long as anybody can remember. His knowledge of what they do, what they care about, and fret about, and get really excited about dates back to his own days as a builder and developer in the early 1960s and spans, from then to now, across 125 home building firm mergers and acquisitions deals since 1988. That's an average of one closing every 90 days for the past 31 years.

And there are more in the pipeline.

"They keep calling me," says Kahn, whom Century Communities co-ceo Dale Fransescon has knighted "the dean of home building M&A," and who tried--unsuccessfully--to retire in 2011 as the Great Recession held the business in its tight grip. "We're working with three companies right now who are looking to sell, and I just got contacted to do some buy-side work for a public builder looking to acquire."

The reason they "keep calling" Mike, and the reason they keep returning his calls is pretty simple. Mike knows that good deals equate to value both buyer and seller get--beyond fair dollar market value for tangible real estate assets--and both buyers and sellers trust him and his process to deliver on expectations that particular combination sets. Deals that go well, Mike will tell you, do so not only on the back of KPIs, but human beings. Deals that don't often look great on paper but fail the people sniff test.

Today is tricky for M&A.

Seller motivation and urgency come from a pool of both shared and unique issues. Same with buyer goals. In one instance, an interested seller may be "of an age" where he or she wants an exit before the next down cycle, whenever that may be. In another, the goal may be tantamount to a deep-pocketed capital partner for a growth path into the next up cycle. Buyers may want deeper market scale, or greater exposure to customer segments, such as entry-level or 55+, or may want to thwart rivals in a market, or may want to establish a beachhead in a market new to their footprint.

At the same time, uncertainty, volatility, and an absence of predictability pronounce themselves as ever more material challenges for those who're trying to model growth, profits, and opportunity and risk.

As is always the case where people transact, highly motivated or time-constrained buyers will value the same assets higher than those whose urgency settings are in a longer-term frame. The same goes for sellers--keenness to close opens them to greater willingness to negotiate terms.

It's generally acknowledged that the pace of deals has slowed, but for Michael Kahn & Associates, the cadence has kept up. So, he's reached out to two long-time partners Peter Hazeloop and Joe Walsh, principals of Hazeloop-Walsh & Associates, to carry important parts of each process forward over the months buyers and sellers take to combine from this point forward. Kahn and his firm will partner with Hazeloop and Walsh's company in a joint venture, reuniting them for the research, due diligence, valuation, negotiation, and other disciplines they've mastered as match-makers for decades.

Michael, Joe, and Peter have outlined, exclusively for BUILDER, some of their take on the current drivers of M&A business activity, and where they're headed leading into 2020 and beyond. What follows is their co-authored perspectives on key dynamics motivating buyers and sellers in the late-stage recovery housing has entered:

Current State:
The height of post-recovery home building M&A activity spanned from 2013 to 2017, and it has cooled off somewhat since then. This is due in part because the number of quality candidates has fallen off as many have been acquired. By quality candidates, we mean builders with a three- to four-year land pipeline, a solid management team who will commit to staying on, profitability in the high-end of the range for their market and with a meaningful market share. Another reason for the fall-off is that, in many of the major markets, the large public builders have now re-established their market share since shuttering or shrinking their
In her review of the 2019 Housing Futures conference in Melbourne, Alysia Bennett finds a forum that “provides a concrete and acute understanding of the implications of possibilities and barriers to delivery and scalability of best practice housing.”

Housing Futures is a gathering of architectural practitioners discussing recently completed multi-residential projects that demonstrate innovation. The one-day symposium is an important forum in the Australian housing sector as it provides a concrete and acute understanding of the implications of possibilities and barriers to delivery and scalability of best practice housing. The 2019 program featured a diverse range of projects from climate focused luxury high-rise residential projects in Queensland to micro architectural interventions in semi-formal Asian apartments. Despite their differences, three common ideas for the future of the sector emerged: the importance of cultural and contextual specificity, approaches to physical and regulatory flexibility and the need for accountability in order to achieve built quality.


443 Queens Street, Brisbane, shared by Architectus design strategy leader Elizabeth Watson-Brown in conversation with Cbus Property Development Manager Michelle Fitzgerald, demonstrated that high-rise residential towers can be highly responsive to context even if in flood prone, subtropical climates. To overcome precedent and expectation, the profitability of an alternative approach was demonstrated through designing and continuously comparing two tower schemes to investors - one representing the status quo and one that pushed against contextually inappropriate rules and expectations. Similarly, Karen Alcock of MA Architects demonstrated that it impossible to get developers to build high-quality apartments primarily designed for people, not government targets, by demonstrating that specificity can minimise development risk through market diversification.

A valuable counterpoint to the luxury apartments came from Domat’s Maggie Ma who presented eye opening research and sensitive architectural engagement on the semi-legal apartment subdivision phenomenon spreading through Hong Kong’s residential towers. Domat focused on better organising the interior spaces through the design and construction of furniture pieces that the family owned and could take with them rather than increasing the capital value of the landlord’s property and the uncertainty of the household’s tenure.

Similarly, Kieran Wong’s research in East Arnhem Land exposed the legacy of decades of FIFO architects working in remote communities, demonstrating how poor living conditions were directly created by the use of climatically responsive yet culturally incompatible designs in Indigenous housing. In response, Wong and the Fulcrum Agency are working with Gregson Lalara and other Traditional Owners of the Groote Archipelago to develop a series of guidelines that help to translate some of the cultural sensitivities into new masterplans and policies. The Fulcrum Agency and Domat’s work highlights the need for architects to reflect on and adjust bias that they bring to the design process, and what their contribution may be, in order create appropriate housing that is fit for purpose now and into the future.


Wong’s studies on the spatial implication of births, deaths and marriages in the Groote Archipelago also demonstrated that household needs are not static conditions and that culturally appropriate housing strategies need to consider spatial flexibility. By extension, Simon Allford, of the UK’s Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, showed that flexibility is key to not only accommodate household shifts but to safeguard for uses that don’t yet exist via a ‘long life, loose fit’ mentality and the use of frame-based construction systems. Similarly, in reflecting on projects completed over a decade ago at Neometro, Alcock demonstrated the benefits of a ‘wear in, not wear out’ approach to apartment design. Specifically, she called for architects to push back against pressures from real estate agents to design interiors for interior marketing renders and instead focus on the design of robust and generous space that is able to retain quality despite the inevitable refurbishment of kitchens and bathrooms every five to ten years.

However, she was quick to point out that many of the designs are now no longer possible due to the introduction of Apartment Guidelines. The inflexibility of regulation became a recurring point of discussion with Allford agreeing that, based on London’s regulations that he argued were written for a different
Building Design + Construction
With the rapid evolution of available technologies, and the integration of them into the profession, the role of an architect is changing faster than it ever has before.

The profession of architecture is one that dates back to ancient times, with a profound impact on the built environment of civilizations all over the world. The evolution of the practice has been relatively slow; while technologies and styles have evolved, the fundamentals today are not all that different than they were historically.

However, with the rapid evolution of available technologies, and the integration of them into the profession, the role of an architect is changing faster than it ever has before. At HMC Architects, we believe that the best way to stay relevant in our changing profession is to always be considering what the future holds, and pushing ourselves and the boundaries of the profession.


Taking a building from concept to reality is a long, involved process, with each project presenting its own unique set of challenges. For the sake of discussion, the core tenets of the architectural process can be simplified as follows:
  • Interpreting client
  • Developing a design solution
  • Submitting a design for approval from the local building agency
  • Conveying the design solution to the contractor via construction documents
  • Verifying that the construction is true to the documents provided
There are nuances to those responsibilities, such as code compliance and environmental considerations, but the core of our business is still solution-based, with a focus on problem-solving.

Looking forward, while the tenets may more or less stay the same, there will be less of a focus on the drawing process of the construction documents, and more of a focus on innovative solutions and how they affect as well as support the users of the space.

In turn, clients are becoming more sophisticated, and are demanding a higher level of understanding of the process and, in some cases, desire to be integral to its completion. Luckily, technologies are also advancing, allowing a higher level of information to be easily conveyed.


Technology is migrating into architecture more and more every day. The speed to market has increased significantly with the industrialization of construction with companies like Katerra and DIRTT. These firms are applying logistics via Google Maps to deliver materials to the job site quicker, along with the science of prefabrication to increase the efficiency of construction, which in turn delivers the project quicker to market.

While this is ideal from an operational and logistical standpoint, it also means that some of the traditional aspects of architecture, specifically the drawings, are going to fade away, and the next generation of architects will have a whole new type of deliverables.

These digital outputs, such as building information modeling (BIM), assist in achieving higher performing buildings by looking at regenerative design, renewability, life-cycle costs, and app-based maintenance programs. We also anticipate that, with the digital delivery of construction documents, they will no longer be plan checked by an individual, but by a program-based software; a virtual plan check of sorts. This will speed up the agency approval time, streamlining the path from design to construction while reducing the margin for human error.

The focus is shifting from pure architecture to an environment that is both architectural and user-focused to enhance the occupants’ experience. Our clients are looking for ways to get the most out of their buildings with user apps and sensors that allow them to gather data to determine which spaces are truly utilized, which will drive the need to design for more or less space. Clients will also be using technology and data analytics to determine the life-cycle costs of buildings, as well as forecast occupant experiences to drive future buildings and programs.

With this heightened emphasis on technology, the role of the architect has frequently come into question. While the human component of architecture can never be replaced, many of the once-manual processes can. Architecture and its practitioners must be willing to embrace the migration towards a wholly digital design experience. Adaptability, flexibility, and early adoption of new technologies and procedures will ensure that the collaborative minds at the center of the profession remain a fundamental component of archite
Jeff Swensen for The New York Times
Ford and other companies say the industry overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles, which still struggle to anticipate what other drivers and pedestrians will do.

A year ago, Detroit and Silicon Valley had visions of putting thousands of self-driving taxis on the road in 2019, ushering in an age of driverless cars.

Most of those cars have yet to arrive — and it is likely to be years before they do. Several carmakers and technology companies have concluded that making autonomous vehicles is going to be harder, slower and costlier than they thought.

“We overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles,” Ford’s chief executive, Jim Hackett, said at the Detroit Economic Club in April.

In the most recent sign of the scramble to regroup, Ford and Volkswagen said Friday that they were teaming up to tackle the self-driving challenge.

The two automakers plan to use autonomous-vehicle technology from a Pittsburgh start-up, Argo AI, in ride-sharing services in a few urban zones as early as 2021. But Argo’s chief executive, Bryan Salesky, said the industry’s bigger promise of creating driverless cars that could go anywhere was “way in the future.”

He and others attribute the delay to something as obvious as it is stubborn: human behavior.

Researchers at Argo say the cars they are testing in Pittsburgh and Miami have to navigate unexpected situations every day. Recently, one of the company’s cars encountered a bicyclist riding the wrong way down a busy street between other vehicles. Another Argo test car came across a street sweeper that suddenly turned a giant circle in an intersection, touching all four corners and crossing lanes of traffic that had the green light.

“You see all kinds of crazy things on the road, and it turns out they’re not all that infrequent, but you have to be able to handle all of them,” Mr. Salesky said. “With radar and high-resolution cameras and all the computing power we have, we can detect and identify the objects on a street. The hard part is anticipating what they’re going to do next.”

Mr. Salesky said Argo and many competitors had developed about 80 percent of the technology needed to put self-driving cars into routine use — the radar, cameras and other sensors that can identify objects far down roads and highways. But the remaining 20 percent, including developing software that can reliably anticipate what other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are going to do, will be much more difficult, he said.

The industry’s unbridled confidence was quickly dented when a self-driving car being tested by Uber hit and killed a woman walking a bicycle across a street last year in Tempe, Ariz. A safety driver was at the wheel of the vehicle, but was watching a TV show on her phone just before the crash, according to the Tempe Police Department.

Since that fatality, “almost everybody has reset their expectations,” Mr. Abuelsamid said. It was believed to be the first pedestrian death involving a self-driving vehicle. Elsewhere in the United States, three Tesla drivers have died in crashes that occurred while the company’s Autopilot driver-assistance system was engaged and both it and the drivers failed to detect and react to hazards.

Companies like Waymo and G.M. now say they still expect to roll out thousands of self-driving cars — but they are much more reluctant to say when that will happen.

Waymo operates a fleet of 600 test vehicles — the same number it had on the road a year ago. A portion of them are the first set of vehicles it will be buying through the agreements with Chrysler and Jaguar. The company said it expected to increase purchases as it expanded its ride service.

“We are able to do the driving task,” Tekedra Mawakana, Waymo’s chief external officer, said in an interview. “But the reason we don’t have a service in 50 states is that we are still validating a host of elements related to offering a service. Offering a service is very different than building a technology.”

G.M. declined to say if it was still on track to start a ride service “at scale” this year, as it originally planned. Its chief executive, Mary Barra, told analysts in June that Cruise was moving “at a very aggressive pace” without saying when commercial operations would begin.

China, which has the world’s largest auto market and is investing heavily in electric vehicles, is trailing in development of self-driving cars, analysts say. The country allows automakers to test such cars on public road
Except for people who have their own jets, most would agree that the romance of air travel faded long ago. But that isn’t stopping those who want to be on the move. Worldwide, aviation numbers are expected to double to 8.2 billion passengers per year by 2037, say estimates by the International Air Transport Association. Airports everywhere are racing to ramp up capacity, with $737.3 billion-worth of projects in planning, design, or construction globally, according to one industry-analysis firm.

More than many countries, the United States is suffering from outmoded aviation infrastructure, with the average terminal building more than 40 years old. According to T.J. Schulz, president of the Airport Construction Council, at least $70 billion is being spent over five years, beginning in 2017, modernizing 50 medium and large U.S. airports. The lion’s share of this sum is going toward terminals—their revamping, expansion, or construction.

For architects, the focus is not merely on moving travelers from curbside to gate as smoothly as possible but trying to improve the ambience of travel. “It’s not all about speed and efficiency,” says Ryan Fetters, a senior associate in Gensler’s San Francisco office. In a joint venture with Kuth Ranieri Architects, Gensler is part of a design-build team for the landside of the $2.4 billion Harvey Milk Terminal 1 under construction at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The team describes the facility as transparent and daylight-filled, with features such as intuitive navigation, site-specific art, and generous areas for passengers to reorganize their belongings after going through security.

Many architects are trying to elevate the passenger experience by injecting airports with local flavor. “We try to capture the spirit of the place, even if it isn’t a top goal of the client,” says Laura Ettelman, managing partner in the New York office of SOM. Among her firm’s current projects is the 2.4 million-square-foot Terminal 2 at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, India, organized around a series of indoor and outdoor green spaces. The scheme, inspired by the tech hub’s history as a garden city, takes advantage of its benign climate and will offer a “rich, sensory experience,” she says.

For architects dealing with a multitude of complex functional requirements and rapidly advancing technology, terminals are buildings that can quickly become outmoded, says Ettelman’s colleague Derek Moore, SOM aviation practice leader. He points to Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport as the “poster child” of this obsolescence problem. Enclosed by a dramatic, winglike thin-shell roof, the building, which was conceived before the introduction of the first commercial jet, was out of date almost as soon as it opened in 1962.

Since TWA, aircraft have of course continued to evolve, though sometimes in unexpected ways. The latest example is the phaseout of the Airbus A380 announced by the manufacturer in February. Sales of the superjumbo jet, designed for long-haul travel and carrying up to 850 passengers, have been stagnant as airlines opted for smaller planes that use less fuel per seat. Many of the budget airlines that serve regional airports, meanwhile, have been flying fewer flights than before, now with larger aircraft, like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, for similar reasons of economy.

Disruption in the airline industry can make a facility outmoded almost overnight. Pittsburgh International Airport occupies a 1992 terminal designed as a US Airways hub to handle up to 32 million passengers per year, many of them connecting to other flights. But after US Airways merged with American in 2013, traffic hit a low, and the airport now operates primarily as an origin and destination facility, with about 9.5 million passengers annually. Officials plan to “right size” by building a smaller terminal, now in schematic design by a joint venture of Gensler and HDR in association with Madrid-based luis vidal + architects. “We currently have ever increasing maintenance costs and aging infrastructure that we can’t upgrade,” explains Paul Hoback, the airport’s chief development officer.

The changes in how people get to the airport are affecting planning as well. More people are arriving by ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, and revenue from park
2019 is the 25th Anniversary of DesignIntelligence/Design Futures Council. To celebrate this milestone, we wanted to honor Jim Cramer, the organization’s founder, and Dave Gilmore, the organization’s president and CEO. In this piece, we’re talking with Dave about what drew him to DesignIntelligence, how he got involved, his vision for the future, and some new initiatives.
DesignIntelligence (DI): What drew you to DesignIntelligence and the Design Futures Council?

Dave Gilmore (DG): I had attended several AIA events over the years. I was intrigued by the industry and all that the industry was trying to do, and I wanted more, but I couldn’t get it through those events because they’re just so big. I wanted something more meaningful.

I was interested in what the design community had to say about some of the world’s biggest problems. Not design challenges per se, or even construction challenges, but social and global issues around economics, population, the environment, food scarcity and distribution. It seemed that DesignIntelligence published quite a bit about these things and convened their Design Futures Council as a rallying point for diverse thinkers to gather around ideas, possible solutions, and maybe start creating collaborative relationships, even among competitors.

DI: How did you get involved initially with DesignIntelligence and Design Futures Council?

DG: I began attending DFC leadership summits so that I could get the publications. These were intense events; they lasted a day and a half, and we were not just sitting in a seat listening to lectures. We were challenged at a table to deal with a problem together, and there was interaction—six or eight people arguing in a positive way through issues to find solutions. They were all C-suite executives—managing partners, chief operating officers, chief financial officers. That was in and of itself intriguing to me, because you usually don’t find context where C-suite people roll up their sleeves collaboratively and work through problems. That resonated with me.

DI: How have you seen the organization grow and change over the years since you’ve been involved?

DG: Jim Cramer had been leading this organization for more than 20 years, and Jim, like me, is a road warrior. He put in thousands upon thousands of miles every year traveling the world for this. And he was looking to pass the baton. So we began to spend more time together, and it made sense.

Three and half years ago I was invited in and made an investment that would allow the organization to continue its work, its mission. I saw DesignIntelligence as a powerful organization, and its power was in its influence. I really felt it was under-optimized, because it was still a smaller voice in a very large industry. I had aspirations to make it a very loud, large voice in a large industry.

I would say that over the last three years, we’ve dramatically expanded the influence of DesignIntelligence by formalizing our focus. We’ve done that through creating four distinct yet interdependent entities, and we call them the Design Futures Council, which of course has always been in place. Then we formalized DesignIntelligence Research, DesignIntelligence Media, and DesignIntelligence Strategic Advisors. These four entities are very distinct but interdependent in how they serve the architecture/engineering/construction industry, affectionately referred to as A/E/C.

We are making inroads to move Design Futures Council’s influence from a smaller elite group to a larger leadership group. We’ve increased our membership categories and the types of members. We’ve also expanded the membership categories beyond just architects to engineers and construction professionals, and we are moving into the building owner space and the developer space. In combination, I would say that today across our membership, we now represent more than 450,000 people across the U.S. in A/E/C. That’s an exponential growth of representation. We established DesignIntelligence Australia, and it’s growing at a rapid pace, and we’ve spent quite a bit of time in the UK with firms who have become members of the North American Design Futures Council. Canada is also home to several of our most prominent members, and we’re honored to have their contributions and exceptional perspectives. So, the Design Futures Council has grown dramatically beca
Andrea Mariani/Courtesy salone del mobile.milano
ARCHITECT contributing editor Ian Volner reports on the must-see releases and installations from the world's largest furniture fair.

Emmanuel Plat, the director of merchandising for the retail division at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, mentioned over drinks earlier this week that he has been to Salone del Mobile more than 20 times over the last two decades and change, missing scarcely a single installment of the Milan design fair in that time. The mind fairly reels—with sympathy, certainly, for the cumulative exhaustion, but with envy, too. Perhaps with that kind of experience, it would be possible to put this year’s edition into the proper perspective.

Alas, for those of us slightly less seasoned, there is simply too much. Here instead is a much abbreviated, willfully subjective set of tips and takeaways—pertinent questions, impertinently answered, all about the biggest, baddest furniture-and-fixtures event in the world, which continues through this Sunday.

Are there trends this year?
Aesthetically, no. Instead, for every stylistic action, there is an equal and opposite reaction: In the Moroso booth, for example, German industrial designer Ingo Maurer’s new Luce Volante pendant light fixture flies bravely over a hip selection of furniture designed by London-based studio Doshi Levien, making a little scene of mod sophistication. In the same booth, Maurer’s outrageous Festa della Farfalle (Festival of the Butterflies) pendant is making its debut alongside colorful seating designed by Amsterdam-based by Edward van Vliet, a cri de coeur against all things abstract.

Kartell, marking its 70th anniversary, is loudly and proudly showing off its futuristic cred, with its new AI chair by Philippe Starck that was designed using Autodesk’s generative design technology; meanwhile, one of the brand’s booth vignettes pays nostalgic homage to the PoMo past with a model (in Kartell’s signature molded plastic, naturally) of Aldo Rossi’s San Cataldo Cemetery in Modena, Italy.
Hoar Construction
When technology has advanced to the point that autonomous robotic construction like this can take place on a large scale, it could play a key role in eliminating safety issues in the construction industry, which account for 20% of all worker injuries in the U.S., according to Labor Department data cited in the study.

In addition, as the population of people living in cities increases from 54% to 66% in 2050, according to the study, collective robotics can help meet the urban construction demand that a limited workforce is struggling to keep up with. But robots are best supplemented by humans, the authors note, because mistakes are inevitable.

Most of the construction robots operating at a large-scale today are single systems, but they are achieving some of the same safety and labor-saving benefits.

The two categories of materials that construction robots handle are discrete, which pertains to individual objects like bricks or blocks, and continuous, which references a flow of concrete, fibers and other substances. Construction Robotics’ SAM 100 is a mobile robotic arm that automates the repetitive bricklaying process at a rate that the company says is three to five times more productive than a human mason and involves 80% less lifting. Its sister robot MULE takes the strain off human workers as they lift, handle and place blocks or other items on the site.

In the continuous category is the Cybe Construction-designed robot that 3D-printed a house in Milan last year using a mix of concrete and other additives. Concrete was squeezed through the robot’s nozzle in layers, Dezeen reported, and the full structure was completed within 48 hours, according to engineering firm Arup.

And as construction robotics continues to develop, the industry may discover some unexpected use cases, according to the Science Robotics report, such as disaster relief or construction in risky environments. U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton in California, for example, said the concrete footbridge they were able to print in the field could be effective for operational and humanitarian relief efforts.
The way people get around is undergoing a revolution—three revolutions, in fact: electrification, automation, and shared mobility. One of the far-reaching implications of this coming change is that a staid, stolid, and largely unloved building type, the multilevel parking garage, will require a radical rethink.

By 2040, more than half of the miles traveled in the U.S. could occur in shared autonomous vehicles (AVs), which would rarely need to park, according to a 2016 study by Deloitte, a financial and risk-management consultant. Dense urban areas in particular—likely to be well served by public transit, AV fleets, ride-sharing, and other transportation options—can expect to see demand for parking plummet while the need for new kinds of spaces, such as pickup and drop-off zones, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, and AV hubs, emerges. The question for architects, says Amy Korte, a principal with Boston-based Arrowstreet, “is how quickly can we, as design professionals, run through the possible scenarios to help cities and municipalities plan for them?”

Prominent among these scenarios is the potential blight of surplus parking structures. “The prediction that garages aren’t going to exist anymore isn’t quite accurate,” says Korte. Some may transform into docking hubs where AVs can be charged, cleaned, and serviced. City planners typically advocate for locating these stations on the outskirts of the city. However, Korte says entrepreneurs exploring the business model want such garages located centrally. That way, travel time while empty is minimized, and the vehicles are able to return more quickly for servicing.

For garages that don’t find new life as transport hubs, the municipalities that are often the owners of these hulking, low-ceilinged, slope-floored structures may be hard-pressed to know what to do with them. Peckham Levels, a multistory, split-level, early 1980s garage located in a bustling area in southeast London, offers one promising example.

Winner of a 2018 New London Award for best “meanwhile” project (one intended for interim use, in this case 15 years, pending development of a long-term plan), “Peckham Levels has taken a disused carpark that, for decades, was a site of antisocial behavior and made it a popular town-center venue,” says Paul O’Brien, an associate at London-based Carl Turner Architects (CTA), designers of the project.

The transformation of 95,000 square feet of the garage’s midlevels (the upper levels are leased seasonally as a bar and patio, while the ground floor is a multiscreen cinema), completed in 2017, provides the neighborhood with much-needed community space and affordable workplaces. Public program elements include a play area, event and gallery space, food and drink outlets, and a yoga studio and hair salon, while the workspaces include various sizes of customizable shells, with shared service areas, that have enabled local artists, makers, and entrepreneurs to create their own jobs.

The design brings a light touch to the conversion. “There was no point trying to cover everything up and make it feel as though you weren’t in a carpark anymore,” says O’Brien. “That was the charm of it.” The approach also suited the budget, about $42 per square foot. Major interventions are limited to enclosing the open-sided building, with new windows and insulation, and installing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. Concrete structure and services are exposed overhead. Parking spaces are still marked on the floors. Partitions of oriented strand board on wood studs separate the perimeter workspaces, and translucent polycarbonate panels admit daylight to the former drive aisles, which are now corridors.

The main difficulty of converting the garage revolved around the low ceiling height (7½ feet to the underside of beams) and floors sloped to drain. Locating partitions beneath beams, a
Interior Design Media
Interior Design’s very first Innovation Conference just wrapped up at the NeueHouse in New York City and there is a lot to talk about. Editor in Chief Cindy Allen hosted the conference and moderated the day's discussions, uniting a broad range of design disciplines under the central theme of Innovation. "After 'Millennials', innovation seems to be the most popular word used today, but what does it actually mean?" asked Cindy. "That's what we're here to find out."

Attendees were treated to an immersive day of intriguing perspectives on topics that included the future of retail, new frontiers for sustainability, and the value of incorporating design thinking into other departments within the corporate environment. Here, we’ve summarized the top details of the conference, held in partnership with Interface, as well as the speakers’ most notable observations. Check back tomorrow for a full recap of the event and throughout the week for more in-depth coverage of all the exciting ideas that were discussed.

Nike’s Byron Merritt Offers Keynote on the Retail-Digital Convergence

Byron Merritt, Nike’s global vice president of retail innovation, delivered the keynote speech. In his address, “The Convergence of Digital and Physical,” Merritt clued attendees in to what it takes to meet the unique challenges posed by the rapidly-changing retail landscape and still come out ahead of the curve.

“For us at Nike, retail isn't dead. Boring retail is dead,” he asserted. “Increasingly this is about the convergence of digital and physical. It's about leveraging digital technologies to enhance the physical products that you make.”

Merritt went on to detail how the company has used the best of product and interactive digital media design to inspire customers to engage both online and in-store. His examples ranged from the Nike by Melrose store, a 100 percent data-driven store cued into the buying behavior of L.A. consumers, to the New York City Nike by You studio, an immersive in-store product customization experience.

His advice to anyone looking to come out on top of the digital and brick-and-mortar reckoning? “Keep pace with how consumers are experiencing the world today.”

Sustainability Panel on Overcoming Fear with Pro-Active Practices

The Interface Panel assembled to discuss what lies ahead for sustainable built environments. The talk was moderated by Pamela McNall
Alberto Cosi. ImageBamboo Sports Hall for Panyaden International School / Chiangmai Life Construction
It is, once again, the time of year where we look towards the future to define the goals and approaches that we will take for our careers throughout the upcoming year. To help the millions of architects who visit ArchDaily every day from all over the world, we compiled a list of the most popular ideas of 2018, which will continue to be developed and consolidated throughout 2019.

Over 130 million users discovered new references, materials, and tools in 2018 alone, infusing their practice of architecture with the means to improve the quality of life for our cities and built spaces. As users demonstrated certain affinities and/or demonstrated greater interest in particular topics, these emerged as trends.

Below, we present the trends that will influence urban and architectural discussions in 2019, with the year-over-year growth rates (YoY) that compare to the statistics of searches from 2017 to 2018.

1. Ways of Living: Greater Interest in Small Scale Homes

The Tiny Houses (+75% YoY) concept emerged strongly at the beginning of 2018. Whether it is a movement in response to ideological or financial situations, architects have become more involved in the development of practical and innovative solutions for small spaces. We can also include the interest for- living in dense urban centers, leading to the challenge of designing basic housing programs for spaces under 40 m2. (Searches related to Small Apartments increased by 121% in 2018).

2. Inclusive Architecture: First-Rate Design for Diverse Populations

Accessibility (+108% YoY), Universal Design (+116%) and Inclusive Architecture (+132%) were some of the most searched concepts on ArchDaily in 2018. In previous years the focus was mostly on architecture for children and reduced mobility, whereas this year we saw more searches related to Architecture for the Elderly (+78% YoY) and different capacities related to mental health (Architecture & Mental Health +101% YoY; Space Psychology +210% YoY) and visual impairments (Architecture for the Blind +250% YoY).

3. The Middle-East: Underrepresented Territories in Evidence

Just as we saw increasing interest in emerging practices in Latin America (+103.82% YoY) in the last two years, in 2018 we also saw an increase in searches related to the Middle East (+124% YoY). The conflict in Syria (+93% YoY) placed architects’ focus on Rebuilding (+102% YoY). In addition, global events peaked the interest of architects due to the magnitude of the structures involved. Both the city of Dubai (+104% YoY), which will be the host of World Expo 2020, and Qatar (+220% YoY), which will host the next soccer 2022 World Cup, increased considerably in search queries. Hashim Sarkis (+236% YoY), the Lebanese architect who was appointed curator of the Architecture Exhibition for the next Venice Biennial (2020), was one of the most searched persons during 2018.
Lauren Nassef
It's not a matter of if the architecture profession will feel the impacts of artificial intelligence—it's a matter of when.

“Self-driving cars can identify objects as they drive,” a video from the company Smartvid.io proclaims. “What if we could bring this ability to the industrial world?” The Cambridge, Mass.–based outfit has developed technology to do just that: It offers software that analyzes huge amounts of data—in the form of photos and videos from construction sites—to identify safety risks that might not be evident to a human observer. It tags, for example, workers who are missing hard hats and types of ladders considered risky, promising to help “reinforce safety culture.”

“The risks might not be obvious right away, but when you look at the total data, it emerges,” says Imdat As, an expert in the rise of artificial intelligence in the field of architecture and founder of Arcbazar, a competition platform for architectural design projects. As notes that this type of artificial intelligence used by Smartvid.io—called deep learning—is an early application of what we’ll see from AI in architecture more broadly, such as computer tools that will offer alternative design solutions.

Many architects are excited about these opportunities, and some large firms are exploring the latest technology. But what about smaller firms? According to the AIA's 2018 Firm Survey Report, 75.8 percent of firms have one to nine employees. How will these smaller outfits, with smaller budgets, confront the rise of AI? Though smaller firms may face resource challenges, as artificial intelligence tools become more widespread and less expensive, they perhaps stand to benefit the most.

From Automation to Artificial Intelligence

Already, architects are increasingly using technology to automate the quantifiable aspects of architecture, such as apps that give a designer almost instant access to zoning rules or building codes in a certain area. But this isn’t AI, explains As, noting that the way we think about AI today stems from work that began accelerating in 2011 because of better and cheaper computers, as well as increasing amounts of available data. “Ninety percent of all data available in the world has been produced in the last two years,” he says.

Artificial intelligence thus doesn’t merely automate a task by serving as an efficient clearinghouse of data; rather, it analyzes data and generates new ideas or solutions, similar to how a human mind would approach a problem. Hence, there is a need for more and better data from which machines can learn.

While most of the currently popular AI applications involve the processing of text, audio, and images—such as what self-driving cars and Smartvid.io’s construction software does—As says new forms of AI tools that can learn from different data sources, such as drawings, are on their way for architects. (Other forms of AI research that are not datadriven, such as evolutionary algorithms, also might someday provide alternative solutions to architectural issues.)

In the future, for instance, architects will likely be able to tell a program that they want a house for a family with two children and a dog that must also be handicapped-accessible. Though the system can theoretically generate millions of examples, it will narrow them down to the dozens that it “thinks” are best, and the designer can further develop one or more of those.
Guerin Glass Architects
At its most basic, architecture is a discipline focused on shelter, but constant societal change requires us to interrogate what architecture means in our current context. We spoke with nine renowned architects from firms across the United States about how trends impact their work and what their clients are requesting, and we asked them to hypothesize about how modern styles might continue to evolve in the future.

In our interviews, many architects suggested that clients are more informed now than they used to be, and that despite the trends disseminated across various social media platforms, people are craving highly personalized spaces that emphasize quality over universal appeal. Because technology empowers people to work and communicate constantly, architects are creating spaces for inhabitants to unwind and unplug, and connect with nature rather than a screen. Access to the outdoors and sustainability are important design priorities, and architects are using technology, salvaged objects, and food gardens to craft homes that reduce waste and contribute to an overall healthy home. Read what top architects are thinking about the present and future of contemporary design below.

Guerin Glass Architects

Scott Glass is a principal at Guerin Glass Architects. With offices in Brooklyn, New York and Honolulu, Hawaii, Guerin Glass Architects works to showcase the environments that surround their projects.

"We're pretty focused on what we've always done — creating site-specific work that embraces the local cultural and physical context in a sustainable manner. We're excited that this has become (almost) normal throughout the industry. Our clients are asking for authentic experiences in architecture, design, and planning that amplify the inherent qualities of a place, and timelessness. Things seem to have become more focused on quality of experience and have become less trend-based, which is great, as is the idea that food, physical activity, and a sense of connectedness are essential components of an experience. In terms of the future, I wish I knew what clients will want! We have seen our projects get even more luxurious. I expect this to continue, but in a more bespoke fashion — how can we make buildings that open up opportunities for more personal experiences?"

Robbins Architecture

Celeste Robbins is principal architect at Robbins Architecture, an award-winning design prac
Civil + Structural Engineer
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its Annual Energy Outlook 2019 (AEO2019), including a Reference case and six side cases designed to examine the robustness of key assumptions. The AEO2019 Reference case projects significant continued development of U.S. shale and tight oil and natural gas resources, as well as continued growth in use of renewable resources.

The AEO2019 Reference case projects that in 2020, for the first time in almost 70 years, the United States will export more energy than it imports, and will remain a net energy exporter through 2050. U.S. energy export growth is driven largely by petroleum exports including crude oil and products, and by additional liquefied natural gas exports. These trends have become clearly established, and the Reference case shows them continuing for the next few years, and then slowing and stabilizing.

“The United States has become the largest producer of crude oil in the world, and growth in domestic oil, natural gas, and renewable energy production is quickly establishing the United States as a strong global energy producer for the foreseeable future” said EIA Administrator Linda Capuano. “For example, the United States produced almost 11 million barrels per day of crude oil in 2018, exceeding our previous 1970 record of 9.6 million barrels.”

EIA’s Reference case also highlights the impact of sustained low natural gas prices and declining costs of renewables on the electricity generation fuel mix. Natural gas will maintain its leading share of electricity generation and continue to grow, increasing from 34% in 2018 to 39% in 2050. The renewables share, including hydro, also increases from 18% in 2018 to 31% in 2050, driven largely by growth in wind and solar generation.

“The AEO highlights the increasing role of renewable energy in the U.S. generation mix” said EIA Administrator Linda Capuano. “Solar and wind generation are driving much of the growth. In fact, our Reference case projects that renewables will grow to become a larger share of U.S. electric generation than nuclear and coal in less than a decade.”
Adobe Stock / Halfpoint
Industry insiders say connectivity, natural light, and neutrals are (still) in.

When it comes to determining the latest trends in interior design, it's wise to consult the experts who are interacting with living spaces every day. Lighting designer Ketra did just that, and engaged designers Erin Ruby, founder of Erin Ruby Design; Charles Pavarini III and J. Randall Tarasuk, founder and vice president of Pavarini Design; and Rendell Fernandez, design director at Pembrooke & Ives, in conversation on 2019 trend forecasting. From colors, to lighting, and tech, they share their top trends to watch in the year ahead below.

Voice control and increased smart technology in the home

According to the experts, voice control functions as not only a convenience, but an added layer of security.

"One of the major advantages of tech and connectivity in the home is the ability to manage the property remotely, with doorbells now doubling as security cameras, wireless thermostats that can be preset or adjusted while away, or programmable lighting and window shades for energy savings and to make it appear that people are in the home. These features provide a welcome sense of control and security." —Erin Ruby

"Almost all clients, at whatever financial level, are looking for smart home technology, such as remote audio and lighting control, to enhance the way they live and to reduce energy costs." —Charles Pavarini III and J. Randall Tarasuk

"Technology always has something new that peaks a client's interest. Voice actuated smart speakers now add another layer of home automation controls that were non-existent just a few months ago. Think of the possibilities when voice recognition becomes as reliable as flipping a switch." —Rendell Fernandez

Neutral hues as a canvas

Benjamin Moore announced Metropolitan AF-690, a sophisticated gray with cool undertones, as its Color of the Year 2019, reinforcing that neutrals are in. While most color decisions are driven by client preferences that illustrate the diversity of the full color spectrum, Fernandez says that the designers at Pembrooke & Ives stay true to neutral tones and natural finishes.

"We’ll be seeing an abundance of neutrals grays and pale pastels that contrast early 80s varieties of pale plums, pomegranates, and violets in contrast with dark charcoals." —Fernandez

Design Ingelligence
We sat down with technology thinker, practice educator and architect Phil Bernstein to talk about technology and the future of design.

DesignIntelligence: Leaders of firms, chief technology officers, and designers seem to be looking for the technology that will follow BIM. What do you think comes next?

Phil Bernstein: First, let’s contextualize BIM. BIM is a set of knowledge structures that will empower new uses of technology in designing, making, and using buildings.

Where CAD mechanized the means of representation, BIM creates a formal knowledge structure that can organize the enormous array of digital data piles and processes that are becoming part of building industry practices.

What comes next is the digitization of a lot of processes, which means two things. First, there will be new ways of organizing and integrating information so it can be leveraged and interconnected. Right now we have piles of unrelated digital data. We need strategies for integrating it.

Second, now that we have all this data, what do we do with it? A wave of rationality will create a different context for design, because the ability to use this information will change the designer’s obligations. Plus, the ability to collect information allows you to learn from how the building was constructed, how it’s being used, and how that will inform the design going forward. There will be a shift from relying entirely on judgment and intuition to rationality.

DI: So what comes next is more complicated than BIM 2.0.

PB: There isn’t going to be a BIM 2.0 in my opinion. Application-centric work is going away. Everybody’s using 30 or 40 different applications. New technologies will be more about putting the project in the center and less about what platform you’re focused on.

DI: It sounds like the focus will shift not only to how design is accomplished but also the designer’s role in it.

PB: Yes. Designers will have a lot more information. What does that information mean for your strategy as a designer and your value proposition as a practice? If your firm’s doing healthcare work and your clients are leveraging information from their electronic medical records systems to correlate actions and outcomes, the architect must transfer those expectations onto the design process. The old “I’ve done 17 hospitals so trust me” model isn’t going to work anymore.
Sidewalk Labs
Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs has prompted a backlash over data privacy with its Quayside smart-city project. Alex Bozikovic reports on what's been overlooked amid the controversy.

This smart city of the future first appeared in cutesy sketches. Drawn in a cheerful palette were a kayaker paddling in a harbor, a dad pulling a little one in a bike trailer, children running hand-in-hand through a carless streetscape. There were gondolas and pergolas, and underground robots carrying waste. And, vaguely, in the background, there were also buildings.

This was the vision for Quayside, a new waterfront neighborhood in Toronto conceived by “Sidewalk Toronto,” a partnership between a local public agency and Sidewalk Labs, a New York–based unit of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. “By leveraging technology and combining it with really smart, people-centric urban planning,” Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff said at the time, “we could have really dramatic impacts on quality of life.”

Sidewalk Toronto was launched in October 2017. A year and a few months later, the vision for Quayside remains only slightly less vague than those initial drawings. The 3 million-square-foot project promises to include many of the hallmarks of smart-city ventures: “dynamic streets” designed for autonomous vehicles, “radical-mixed-use” buildings featuring “power-over-Ethernet,” and a novel approach to retail and service space that prioritizes pop-ups over long-term leases. The project also promises to inspire meaningful innovations in construction and real estate practice. “We’re putting forward new technologies that have not been integrated before,” says Karim Khalifa, a mechanical engineer who is the director of buildings innovation for Sidewalk Labs. “The project includes prefabricated mass timber at a scale that has never been attempted.”

Perhaps most importantly, Quayside promises to generate endless streams of data—from buildings, road sensors, traffic signals, and other sources—with the promise that they will make the development more efficient, safe, and pleasant. Local resistance to the plan has mounted, however, as residents of various political stripes have raised a provocative series of questions. Who will control that data? What does a tech-inspired, Google-affiliated city mean, technologically, socially, economically, and politically? What, exactly, is Sidewalk trying to build?

An Instigator, Not a Developer
Quayside is the first major project by Sidewalk Labs— a showpiece that the company hopes will define its reputation in the field of “urban innovation.” It
The Jurong Lake District in Singapore relies on smart urban planning to achieve resilience and sustainability.

As urban areas expand, the old central business district model becomes less, well, central. Many global cities are designing additional districts outside the city center as a means to attract emerging business and new residents. Madrid, for instance, hopes to entice companies leaving post-Brexit London to relocate to its Madrid New North project. Singapore, meanwhile, is planning a second central business district called the Jurong Lake District. An 890-acre mixed-use development located near the country’s newly consolidated container port operations, it is primed to capitalize on a future Kuala Lumpur–Singapore high-speed rail system. The district calls for 20,000 new homes and room for up to 100,000 jobs in a dense and sustainable, 24/7 area that includes a revived national garden park along the water. According to the website for Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority, the project will “demonstrate how technology can enable a livable and sustainable urban environment,” using big data and sensors to create real-time feedback that will “enable facility managers to diagnose and fix problems in a timely way.”

Just don’t call it a “smart” city, at least not to its architects. “I don’t use that word actually, because I think it’s too inflated,” says Kees Christiaanse, founder and partner of KCAP, based in Rotterdam, Zurich, and Shanghai. Christiaanse, along with Arup, SAA, S333, and Lekker, helped plan the district with the redevelopment authority after winning the commission a few years ago. He prefers to think of the design, which was released to the public in 2017, as future-proofing the city. Future-proofing “means that you create a condition of public places and street patterns and building typologies that are resilient for change in the future and can accommodate unexpected events,” Christiaanse says.

One way to future-proof is to create flexible zoning. The Jurong Lake District is using a grid system—called “white zoning”—that is meant to give developers and businesses maximum leeway to change how a building functions as their needs evolve. Meanwhile, the infrastructure for subways, rail, roads, and other city services is “designed in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with the street pattern and the plots of the neighborhood,” Christiaanse says. Residential neighborhoods won’t be disrupted as infrastructure goes in, or in the future when it needs updating. The plan, for instance, p
At a 13-story office tower under construction in Hollywood that will soon serve as the headquarters of Netflix, two floors of parking are designed for a different future: As the need for parking dwindles, that parking space can be easily converted into new office space.

Even today, parking garages are typically underused. In the not-too-distant future, car shares, self-driving cars, increased investment in transit, or simple behavioral change could all shift the amount of parking people think they need. And the U.S. also has far more parking than necessary–in Seattle, for example, there are five parking spaces for every resident. Architects and city planners are increasingly realizing that valuable city space could be put to better use than storing cars.

“There are 500 million parking spaces in the United States and [325 million] people,” says Andy Cohen, co-CEO of Gensler, the architecture firm that designed the Hollywood office tower. “Think about all that real estate, all that attention to parking, that could be revitalized and reused for the future of our cities.”

In downtown Boston, a parking lot will become the site of a 30-story high-rise with affordable housing. In Wichita, Kansas, a former parking garage was converted into an apartment building in 2018. Near downtown Cincinnati, a former parking garage is now a hotel. The U.K.-based organization Make Shift transformed an empty parking garage in Brixton into a new hub for small businesses in 2015, and in 2018 converted a seven-story parking garage in London into studios for artists, coworking offices, and community space. This type of conversion isn’t new–a “hotel for autos” built in Manhattan in the 1930s was converted into a warehouse a decade later, and then became apartments. But it’s happening at a faster rate now, and, increasingly, architects are designing new buildings with a vision of a future of fewer cars.

“We’re kind of at this interesting moment right now,” says Kristen Hall, a senior urban designer at the architecture firm Perkins + Will. “We’re probably going to be seeing full absorption of autonomous vehicles on the streets in anywhere from 10 to 30 years, and a lot of the financing for projects is on a 30-year basis. So if you’re a developer looking at building a parking garage and you don’t really know if you’re going to be able to finance or have a consistent revenue stream for a parking garage for the next 3
If you’ve been following architectural trends, you’re well aware of the importance of sustainability to a building’s success. It has moved from the earth-friendly movements of the 1970s to current building codes and project-enhancing certifications. Sustainable design is not just about saving water and energy, though. Indoor air quality, accessibility, biophilia and improved materials add environmental benefits to a space, but they have another outcome, too: They make a space healthier for occupants.

One of the most important, fastest-growing trends in the building industry is wellness architecture. Sustainability is about the health of the planet. Wellness architecture is about the health of its occupants, especially humans. It is influencing residential and commercial building design, building products, real estate development and real estate sales. All of these topics will be explored at DesignWell, a new conference to be held in San Diego from January 21 to 23, 2019, and among the first to exclusively address wellness architecture.

Architect Veronica Schreibeis Smith, founder and CEO of Vera Iconica Architecture in Jackson, Wyoming, is one of DesignWell's featured speakers. These are the top three trends she’s seeing in residential wellness architecture, trends that can impact where and how you live.

Re-thinking Rooms

Spaces that were just for cooking and eating, for example, are now being re-thought to “promote life-enhancing daily habits and rituals,” Schreibeis Smith says. These can include meal prepping for the weekend athlete, meditating over a cup of freshly-brewed coffee, relaxing after a meal with a glass of wine, or gathering with friends for homemade pizza parties.“The modern day kitchen has seen only minor refinements,” the architect notes. “The need for convenience during the '50s when many women joined the workforce pushed the industry to create innovations such as highly processed foods that could be stored longer, frozen TV dinners, and the microwave that had a lasting impact on both our diet and the actual design of the modern day kitchen.”

Working women (and men) are busier than ever now, but many are seeking foods, products, spaces and habits that enhance their health and well-being, as well as saving them time. This is spurring the popularity of combi-steam ovens, engineered stone counters, coffee systems, wine captains, pizza ovens and induction cooktops, f
Star Tribune
Companies and building owners throughout the Twin Cities have invested millions this year to re­design and renovate their offices to better suit their organizations and appeal to workers. Modern kitchens with high-top seating, collaboration areas made for informal meetings, and adaptable office furniture with standing desks have all become the new standard for office renovations. While many of those features are predicted to still be prevalent in 2019, architects and designers say new design trends have emerged, with some clients investing in more privacy for their open offices, heavily branded design that reflects their company ethos, and more adaptable layouts.

Branded environments

Many clients want their workspace to reflect their company, a marketing tool that helps organizations stand out to prospective clients as well as a way to reinforce company culture among employees.

"They are really coming up with unique ways to define themselves," said Natasha Fonville, brand manager of Minneapolis-based Atmosphere Commercial Interiors. "That beautifully branded experience is really going to keep trending and keep elevating the spaces around us."

At the new downtown offices of Sleep Number, the company's emblem is throughout the space on the wall and ceiling with Sleep Number settings on some of the tables.

At Field Nation's new offices downtown, which were completed this summer, a network of orange piping that runs electricity to light fixtures was designed as a representation of a technological network.

No receptionists

Some companies have decided to do away with front-desk receptionists, sometimes using technology to direct guests to where they need to go or having a more informal entry area.

Betsy Vohs, founder and chief executive of design firm Studio BV in Minneapolis, said 75 percent of her clients don't really need a receptionist to answer calls or greet guests. "Having them at the front desk isn't the best use of their time and energy," Vohs said.

NikolaVukojevic /iStock
Design leaders at Microsoft, Google, Ideo, Pentagram, Gensler, and more weigh in.

Everyone is overworked and unhappy. Digital platforms have sucked the last of our attention and sanity. If you read the headlines in 2018, you’d have every reason to feel pessimistic about the future.

But the design experts we talked to–from companies such as Microsoft, Google, Ideo, and Forrester–offer a glimmer of hope. As they look forward to 2019, they agree on one thing: The cold, corporate thinking that has defined the business world over the past several years doesn’t jive with how people want to live. In 2019, people will be more than mere data points; it’s a designer’s job to make sure of it. Here are nine key design predictions for 2019.


“Design has journeyed into uncharted territory. The impact of technology is more strongly felt than ever and at scales never seen before—some of it positive, but much of it negative. We’re distracted, depressed, and overwhelmed. The digital experiences that were once fun, delightful, and helpful now feel like a burden; an always-on state that we hope to escape.

“In 2019, I believe design needs to be the answer to that escape. We need to take a hard look in the mirror and hold ourselves accountable to the unintended consequences of rapid innovation. Do we need 1 million new apps a year? Do we need to design for constant engagement? Do we need to live in the corners of Dark UX? We do not. We need to be more intentional and design experiences that support cognitive sustainability for individuals, groups, and society. It’s time now for designers to take on this ethical responsibility. The biggest design trend will be a return to mindfulness and focus.” —Albert Shum, corporate VP of design, Microsoft
Don’t believe me? Listen to the CEO of Waymo.

How quickly perceptions can change. It may seem hard to remember now, but a year ago the hype machine was still full steam ahead on self-driving cars and their presumed future dominance of the transportation system. Cars weren’t going anywhere, many presumed, but drivers would be liberated as software took over their role, making everyone a passenger.

The fatal Uber crash hadn’t happened. People still believed that Tesla’s Autopilot system was safe and that Full Self-Driving was on the horizon. There was little question in the reporting on autonomous vehicles that they were safer than human drivers, despite the complete lack of evidence. The tech visionaries had spoken, and as is too often the case, the media fell in line.

However, around the turn of the new year, criticism of the previous optimism was emerging. In January, I was among those pointing to the delayed timelines, growing number of collisions, and the slowing progress in reducing the number of times that human test drivers had to take over from the computers. As the year has played out, critics have been proven right, and a much more inspiring vision for the future of transportation has emerged.

The Decline of the Self-Driving Car
Waymo, a division of Alphabet, has long been acknowledged as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology. Based on the limited data that’s been released, its vehicles are acknowledged as having driven the most miles in self-driving mode and have the lowest rate of disengagements (when humans have to take over).

However, even Waymo’s CEO, John Krafcik, now admits that the self-driving car that can drive in any condition, on any road, without ever needing a human to take control — what’s usually called a “level 5” autonomous vehicle — will never exist. At the Wall Street Journal’s D.Live conference on November 13, Krafcik said that “autonomy will always have constraints.” It will take decades for self-driving cars to become common on roads, and even then they will not be able to drive in certain conditions, at certain times of the year, or in any weather. In short, sensors on autonomous vehicles don’t work well in snow or rain — and that may never change.

It’s still surprising to hear such a statement by someone leading a self-driving vehicle company, but given what has happened throughout 2018, it shouldn’t be. There were a number of negative stories about self-driving