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Category: SCIENCE


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The Construction of Gothic Cathedrals

The Construction of Gothic Cathedrals
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In 1995 with too much time on my hands and living in King’s Cross, I borrowed the book of the title from Camden Library around the corner. I remember being amazed how someone had used observations of the buildings plus the suppositions of others such as Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Auguste Choisy, to deduce how Gothic cathedrals, […]

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AIA and AI

AIA and AI
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I’m afraid it’s some more musing on AI. Recently, I was given a copy of Neil Leach’s book Architecture in the Age of Artificial Intelligence: An Introduction to AI for Architects [thanks VpD!]. It’s not the only book on the topic out there but, with a field that seems to be changing so rapidly, I […]

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Automatic Design

Automatic Design
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In February 2016 I wrote about something called associative design and linked to this next video. I wrote that it seemed a genuine attempt to improve things in that its design decisions are shaped by the same variables by which the project and its performance are to be judged and you don’t get much better […]

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ALFA-X

ALFA-X
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Of this blog’s sixteen categories, SCIENCE hadn’t been updated since Fast Tracking of March, 2017 about the development of Japan’s Shinkansen (lit. new arterial line, a.k.a. “bullet”) trains. In the post I praised the attempt to make something better through ongoing research that resulted in incremental improvements. This is what makes it science, not architecture. […]

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Fast Tracking

Fast Tracking
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It’s easy enough to make a train go fast but much harder to make it stay on the track and to give passengers a comfortable ride. The 0 Series Shinkansen These are the ones Japanese remember most fondly and which so amazed the world when the Tokaido Shinkansen [東海道新幹線, lit. New Arterial Line; a.k.a. Bullet Train] connecting Tokyo and Osaka opened on 1st October 1964 […]

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Waste in Venice

Waste in Venice
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Waste was one of the ‘fronts’ Aravena identified in his opening statements for the 2016 Venice Architecture Bienalle. By now we’ve all either seen or seen images of the exhibition entrance features – you know the ones.  You’ll probably also have been told those installations were made from 10,000 sq.m of plasterboard and 14 km of metal studs from […]

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Rocket Science

Rocket Science
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The Rocket Stove is the application of pure thought to solve a problem that affects the health and lives of about one third of the world’s population. Smoke from cooking fires kills two million persons per year, mostly mothers and small children. Stoves and open fires are the primary means of cooking and heating for nearly three billion people. In India, some 400,000 people die […]

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It’s Not Rocket Science #12: Getting Some Rays

It’s Not Rocket Science #12: Getting Some Rays
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Socrates disapproved of that new craze for writing things down. He thought people who used reed pens and papyrus to write things down no longer made any effort to remember. Despite Socrates’ misgivings, Plato did manage to remember a thing or two in The Republic. Xenophon was another furtive note-taker. He recalls Socrates describing the perfect house. oriented towards the south […]

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It’s Not Rocket Science #11: Keeping the Water Out

It’s Not Rocket Science #11: Keeping the Water Out
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Back in February 2013 I wrote about the ancient Persian yakchal buildings for making ice in winter and storing it until summer. These buildings used a combination of night sky radiant cooing in conjunction with the thermal mass and insulating properties of mud brick. I wrote Insulation: The walls of the dome were at least two metres thick at […]

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It’s Not Rocket Science #10: Integrated Sanitation and Nutrition

It’s Not Rocket Science #10: Integrated Sanitation and Nutrition
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1969: Apollo 11 photographs such as this one were a new way of looking at Earth and making its inhabitants feel special, if a little isolated. They also heightened awareness of our planet being a self-contained bubble and in the early 1970s, something called “environmental pollution” was identified as a bit of a problem. See here […]

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It’s Not Rocket Science #9: Natural Ventilation

It’s Not Rocket Science #9: Natural Ventilation
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Dhaka, Bangladesh is at 24.5°N, near the Tropic of Cancer. Its has 60 inches of rain, mostly in the hot and humid summer. Wind is mostly from the south-east. Wind speed is higher in summer. It’s no surprise then, that apartments are designed for natural ventilation, and for maximum cross ventilation for bedrooms. Typically, there […]

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Green Computing and the Smart Shed

Green Computing and the Smart Shed
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It’s been said before. The microprocessor is not trying to look beautiful. BECAUSE OF THIS, microprocessors have had the exponential performance increases Moore’s Law describes. Computer scientists are now conceiving of exascale computing systems capable of at least one exaflops which is one thousand petaflops or one quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) floating point operations per second. One of the largest challenges they face concerns power […]