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Cineteca Nacional

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Mexico City has a beautifully updated National Film Archive and Film Institute thanks to the work of Rojkind Arquitectos. The institution’s renovation incorporates intricate new structures like an angular aluminum canopy perforated with triangles, an outdoor amphitheater, and a two-story zone for shops that have transformed the well-trodden campus (a frequently used cut-through to a nearby metro station) into a popular social and cultural hub for the community. The building’s renewal continued internally with the addition of four extra screening rooms, two archive vaults, and a museum dedicated to the history of Latin America cinema. What was once a ‘temporary facility’ that partially burned down in 1982, is now a welcoming complex that is used by thousands of people a day as a pathway, lunch spot, and event space.

Image by Marysol*

Sunlight in your Pocket

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Little Sun, designed by renowned artist Olafur Eliasson in collaboration with Frederick Ottesen, is a sunburst-shaped solar-powered LED light that is already bringing electricity-free illumination to far corners of the globe. Little Sun debuted at the World Economic Forum in Africa in 2012 and was recently awarded MIT’s 2014 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts. The $100,000 cash prize will go towards producing the light, a 6 cm x 6 cm single cell mono-crystalline solar module that produces five hours of reading light for every four hours of sunlight it absorbs. Eliasson explains, “It offers a solution to energy inequality, of course — but it also ties us emotionally and physically to what energy means today.” Available at the MoMa Store.

Image via Little Sun

Museums After Dark

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The “After Hours” program is the first recipient of the IK Prize, an initiative that facilitates the enjoyment of art through the use of digital technology. The prize winners Tommaso Lanza, Ross Cairns, and David Di Duca, also known as “The Workers,” plan to bring art to night owls with the use of hi-tech robotics. Beginning this summer, anyone with a Wi-Fi connection will be able to sign up to for a late night self-guided through the Tate Britain thanks to camera wielding robots.

Image via Movie Mania

Empowering Europe’s Digital Economy

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The European Digital Forum, a new think tank dedicated to empowering tech entrepreneurs, has been established to help grow Europe’s digital economy. The program was announced by Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The venture plans to host an annual Digital Forum that will bring together entrepreneurs, political leaders, and policymakers creating an outlet for cross-continental discourse on startups and technological innovation. The day-to-day operations of the forum will rest in the hands of the Lisbon Council and Nesta, two esteemed innovation think tanks, and will have additional support from a coalition of influential companies and tech leaders.

Image via Eric Fischer

The Science of Visual Attraction

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Dutch designer Merel Bekking teamed up with scientists to explore what variables result in a “perfect” design. The researchers determined the “perfect” design by creating a method of testing peoples’ preferences to particular colors, shapes, and materials with an MRI scanner. The results were fascinating and revealed that our brains are most attracted to red, plastic, and closed organic shaped objects. Bekking found the results surprising because “they contradicted what individuals thought they liked” proving that peoples’ preferences are often driven by social factors. With the results in, Bekking set off to create a collection of “perfect everyday objects” that will be on view in Milan this April.

Image by Jochen Hartmann

Reading Rooms

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Belgian architecture studio BC Architects has designed the first building of a new school for deaf children in Burundi, Africa. The clay colored structure was built by the firm along with community members and features local materials including rammed earth walls and baked ceiling tiles. The design borrows from indigenous building typologies and serves as both a quiet educational space and gathering place for the community. Another take on a library, The Bookmobile Project travels the United States and Canada via a vintage airstream trailer that contains 300 books you can’t get at your local library including one-of-a-kind photocopied zines and small press publications.

Image via Dezeen

Internet Balloons

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New initiatives seek to provide internet access to people living in remote areas with balloons. The balloons work as transmission towers and can reach large swaths of space through wireless connections. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) is actively researching the new technology and hopes to employ it in the Amazon and other rural regions of the country. They are currently working on creating balloons that can withstand lightning and wind as to avoid the possible disruption or damage caused by bad weather. Other countries and private sector companies are also beginning to experiment with internet balloons, which are a  lower cost alternative to terrestrial stations and satellite systems.

Community Driven Streetscapes

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In an effort to make its streets more pedestrian and cyclist friendly, Los Angeles’s Department of Transportation is launching People St. The new grassroots initiative allows community members to apply online for city approval to transform unfrequented stretches of road into parklets, bike corrals, and plazas. While the applicant will bear the costs of the installation and upkeep, the city will provide the infrastructure that will convert existing spaces into safe and welcoming places for the community. Slated to begin in early 2014, People St. will address the growing demand for public space in L.A.

Urban Installations

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In Stockholm, Sweden citizens and visitors don’t need to enter a museum for artistic inspiration, they can glean it everyday when navigating the subway. Often referred to as the world’s largest art museum, the Stockholm subway system immerses riders in expansive works of art dating from the 1950s-2000s all for the cost of a Metro ticket. 90 of the system’s 100 stations possess captivating and colorful murals and sculptures from 150 different artists. Here at home, MoMA PS12014 Young Architects Program  recently selected five finalists to design an innovative outdoor installation that includes seating, shade, and water for the PS1 courtyard in Long Island City, New York. The proposal’s guidelines include addressing environmental and sustainability issues. One project will be selected and the winner’s design will debut summer 2014.

Sustainable Practices

Wind-Project

The Economist Intelligence Unit has launched a new competition that asks a wide array of citizens– students, business executives, and energy experts to develop ideas and solutions to the world’s energy challenges. Focusing on three primary topics: skills for innovation, diversifying our energy mix, and ensuring access to energy in developing countries the initiative hopes to create awareness and a productive dialog on environmental efficiency. Participants will submit a written essay, video, or infographic. The winner will participate in a webinar on March 25, 2014 and debate with four energy experts on how to best address climate change and the future of alternative energy.

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"I'm a pattern observer... now of people's stories" Judy Wert @wertandcompany Design Deconstructed: Design & Leade… https://t.co/C0fSUUl5Rj

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