I’m pleased to announce that three teams from my undergraduate studio last Spring took honorable mentions in the gURROO Innovative Minds 2016 Virtual Epoch competition. The competition awarded a first place and ten honorable mentions, I’m very proud that the SA+P at UNM was awarded three of them. I’m also proud that over 50% of the studio received awards… read more about the competition and see the complete entries here. It was a fantastic studio and I was extremely lucky to work with such a talented group. Awarded projects below.

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Podsocial Network
Cole Cottrell and Lam Nguyen
Once the largest auto production plant in the motor city, the packard plant currently stands as an abandoned symbol of what once was. since the late 1980’s the once thriving auto industry of Detroit has accounted for the loss of jobs and homelessness of a population of nearly 17,000 people currently living without basic amenities. shelters in the Detroit metro area turn away nearly 300 people on average, per night and while the city is home to over 35 work/housing programs, the transient population only continues to rise by an estimated 7% per year. not just another social housing concept or typical nomadic shelter, the podsocial network attempts to serve as a full reintegration into society for its users. borrowing concepts first from social networking platforms such as the location based anonymity of yik yak, and the real time data gathered by Netflix on its users in order to create a profile of preference, tracking the history and suggesting something relevant, we wanted to create an interface that would enable a connection via location of users and needs within the 3,500,000 sq. ft. packard plant. in this way, the virtual epoch is so vital to the enabling of this reintegration. exterior “utility” pods move along the exterior of the building providing goods and services to the interior “hab” pods constructed within the building using existing refurbished infrastructure and assembly lines. the utility pods which scale the exterior of the building are cued and called using the console panel that will attach to each habitation pod created. the habitation pods will consist of a basic frame to which material panels can be created and surface mounted alongside the console panel which links each pod to a system that allows connection between habitations, basic construction information and the ability to order goods and services from the utility pods, all channeled through a basic, identity sensitive profile of the inhabitants most immediate needs.

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Jaime Frias, Ali A. Al-Gahmi, and Rafael Milla

The virtual world has no rules. Rules only appear when code is written in a program to declare its conditions. This codes then becomes data, fading away only to be stored in a closed location where occasionally someone decides to collect the information. What if instead of storing data within virtual boundaries, we store information in the physical world?

Inhabiting the digital world allows the user to leave a fragment of themselves. The information becomes broadcasted for the rest of the world to see. Located in Ipanema Beach, the project turns into a coexistence between virtual essence and physical experience. Every step you take in the sand becomes part of a network that records a presence in time and space. As people walk in the sand they create footprints that vanish into the past but retain their figure for the future, allowing their path to be in both realms. The footprints become a recording of an existence.

The perfect geometry of the project embodies the sense of infinity and an impression of an existence that has always been there. The transparent structure creates a dialogue between a spiritual world and the physical appearance of the water, presented in the form of a light show. Beaches are physical spaces used for entertainment. Ipanema Beach, located in Rio de Janeiro, lies amidst the development of the city and the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is used for visiting and tourism but amongst the entertainment, people constantly fill it with their presence without being aware of the damage the growth of the city implies in nature. The value of the sea is in being extremely visually empty, in contrast to the ever changing form of the digital world.

The sand is changed by the movement of the people. The sand washes and fades away, symbolizing the thoughts, comments, shares, and ever-updating form of the internet. Similar to the digital world, someone would be able to inhabit the interior space and leave their “mark” so as to share it with the world outside. The library now becomes an element of the beach’s soul. Rather than feeling closed in your own virtual world, you now feel open to share your information and leave a mark on the physical world.

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A globally responsive field of memory.
Niko Maestas, Robert Peebles, Brandon Pachuca and Nick DiDonato

[TECH]TONIC is an emergent architecture which responds to the relationships amidst the digital and the physical and investigates the phenomenology of interaction between the two. The design is intended to create a global condition of event which allocates for interaction between user-architecture, user-user, and architecture-architecture. This artificially intelligent system acts as a social neural network between people and a world-wide database of our human history.