The finalists of the 2013 Radical Innovation in Hospitality competition recently gathered during Hospitality Design Expo in Las Vegas to present their ideas for the next big hotel concept in front of a jury of top industry judges. [...] the Copenhagen-based international architecture collective PinkCloud.dk took home the $10,000 grand prize for its Pop-Up Hotel concept, which utilizes empty Class A office spaces in urban centers, turning them into temporary hospitality spaces.
Villa for a couple in a Moravian village near forest and opened landscape
Where most people see packing material to be discarded after use, artist Bradley Hart sees a blank canvas waiting to be filled with pops of color. The New York-based Toronto native has been creating astoundingly realistic portraits of celebrities and friends using bubble wrap injected with paint. Besides people, Hart also has depicted some of his favorite places, like a square in Amsterdam, and brought to life more abstract ideas. The painstaking process involves filling each tiny air-filled bubble with acrylic pigment, making it appear as if the finished product is made up of thousands of pixels. On average, it takes the artist about 150 hours to finish each of his works. But even before he approaches his unusual canvas, Hart spends two-three days loading the paint into the 1,200-1,500 syringes needed to complete a single creation. One of his most famous works to date depicts the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. To complete the incredibly lifelike portrait, Hart injected over 16,000 individual bubbles with 89 different hues of paint to spectacular effect.
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This is the lowest level of inventory for the month of April since 2001, but this is also the smallest year-over-year decline since July 2011. The key points are: 1) inventory is very low, but 2) the inventory decline will probably end soon. With the low level of inventory, there is still upward pressure on prices - but as inventory starts to increase, buyer urgency will wane, and price increases will slow.
Important: The NAR reports active listings, and although there is some variability across the country in what is considered active, most "contingent short sales" are not included. "Contingent short sales" are strange listings since the listings were frequently NEVER on the market (they were listed as contingent), and they hang around for a long time - they are probably more closely related to shadow inventory than active inventory. However when we compare inventory to 2005, we need to remember there were no "short sale contingent" listings in 2005. In the areas I track, the number of "short sale contingent" listings is also down sharply year-over-year.
Another key point: The NAR reported total sales were up 9.7% from April 2012, but conventional sales are probably up close to 25% from April 2012, and distressed sales down. The NAR reported (from a survey):
Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 18 percent of April sales, down from 21 percent in March and 28 percent in April 2012.Although this survey isn't perfect, if total sales were up 9.7% from April 2012, and distressed sales declined from 28% of total sales to 18%, this suggests conventional sales were up sharply year-over-year - a good sign. However some of this increase is investor buying; the NAR is reporting:
All-cash sales were at 32 percent of transactions in April, up from 30 percent in March; they were 29 percent in April 2012. Individual investors, who account for most cash sales, purchased 19 percent of homes in April, unchanged from March; they were 20 percent in April 2012.The following graph shows existing home sales Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA).
Click on graph for larger image.
Sales NSA in April (red column) are above the sales for for 2008 through 2012, and close to the level in 2007. Sales are well below the bubble years of 2005 and 2006.
The bottom line is this was a solid report. Conventional sales have increased sharply, although some of this is investor buying. And inventory is low, but the year-over-year decline in inventory is decreasing.
• Existing Home Sales in April: 4.97 million SAAR, 5.2 months of supply
Scanadu, a startup based at the NASA Ames Research Center, has made the science-fiction of Star Trek a reality by creating a non-invasive tricorder that, within 10 seconds, can gather medical information about a person and then relay it to their smartphone. The device, known as the Scanadu Scout, has been in development for over two years and can measure blood pressure, temperature, ECG, oximetry, heart rate and breathing rate.
Read the rest of Scanadu Creates World’s First Star Trek-Style Medical Tricorder
TED news in brief: Esther Perel on female libido, an update on Henry Markram’s supercomputer brain, and more
Designer Annie Evelyn from New Colony Furniture creates weird and wonderful seats using a technique she developed herself. Her “upholstered” chairs are made from hard materials but can be “squished” to provide for comfy seating. Her latest design, the Scotty Chair, is an elegant outdoor seat made from reclaimed Cypress wood.
A freeway overpass is not the first place you would think to look for innovative art. But if you happen to be Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock, the freeway overpass is a natural canvas for industrial elegance. The artistic duo has created an art installation underneath a San Antonio overpass called Ballroom Luminoso, which utilizes steel, bicycle parts and LED fixtures to create a brilliant chandelier display right where you would least expect it.
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Post tags: Blessing Hancock, freeway art, I-35 overpass art, industrial art display, JB Public Art, Joe OConnell, LED art, LED Chandelier, LED lights, public art, recycled art, recycled bike part chandelier, recycled bike parts, San Antonio art, Texas pubic art
CNN's Tom Foreman explains the strength of the tornado in Oklahoma and why some buildings couldn't withstand the force.
Curved Metal Panel Ceilings by Hunter Douglas Contract were specified for this project.
The 2013 global leaders in technology, design, media, music, movies, marketing, television, sports, and more.
Each year Fast Company puts together a list of the 100 most creative people in business. This year the list includes the following faces familiar to readers of Archinect...
12. Liz Muller
16. Ai Weiwei
60. Peter Marino
For the full list go here...
This year at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, something menacing was lurking among the tables and chairs. D-torso brought a giant 3D T-Rex made completely from cardboard. Standing a bit taller than an average human, the sculpture dominated the exhibit. Using laser-cut technology to bring the dino to life, the sculpture appeared as a mesh between the modern and the prehistoric.
Read the rest of D-torso Creates a Giant 3D T-Rex from Laser-Cut Cardboard
David Baker’s Station Center Affordable Housing Development Transforms a Brownfield Site in Union City, CA
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Post tags: "sustainable architecture", affordable housing, bay area, David Baker + Partners, david baker and partners, eco design, eco house, eco housing, green architecture, Green Building, green design, green housing, low income housing, San Francisco, station center, station center affordable housing, Sustainable Building, sustainable design, union city
From the Fed: Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, April 30-May 1, 2013. A few excerpts on the exit strategy:
After the policy vote, participants began a review of the exit strategy principles that were published in the minutes of the Committee's June 2011 meeting. Those principles, which the Committee issued to clarify how it intended to normalize the stance and conduct of monetary policy when doing so eventually became appropriate, included broad principles along with some details about the timing and sequence of specific steps the Committee expected to take. The participants' discussion touched on various aspects of the exit strategy principles and policy normalization more generally, including the size and composition of the SOMA portfolio in the longer run, the use of a range of reserve-draining tools, the approach to sales of securities, the eventual framework for policy implementation, and the relationship between the principles and the economic thresholds in the Committee's forward guidance on the federal funds rate. The broad principles adopted almost two years ago appeared generally still valid, but developments since then--including the change in the size and composition of SOMA asset holdings--suggested a need for greater flexibility regarding the details of implementing policy normalization, particularly because those details would appropriately depend at least in part upon future economic and financial developments. Also, because normalization still appeared to be well in the future, the Committee might wish to wait and acquire additional experience to inform its plans. In particular, the process of normalizing policy could yield information about the most effective framework for implementing monetary policy in the longer run, and thus about the appropriate size of the SOMA portfolio and level of reserve balances. In addition, several participants raised the possibility that the federal funds rate might not, in the future, be the best indicator of the general level of short-term interest rates, and supported further staff study of potential alternative approaches to implementing monetary policy in the longer term and of possible new tools to improve control over short-term interest rates.Based on comments by Bernanke today, and NY Fed President Dudley yesterday, it sounds likely the Fed will allow the MBS to run off (a change from their previous thinking).
Views differed regarding whether the best course at this point would be to simply acknowledge that certain components of the June 2011 principles had been overtaken by events or rather to formally revise the principles. Acknowledging that the principles need to be updated would help avoid possible confusion regarding the Committee's intentions; waiting to update the principles would allow the Committee to obtain additional information before revising them. It was also mentioned that the public's understanding of the likely exit process might not be improved if the Committee issued only a set of broad principles without providing detailed information on the steps anticipated for normalization. However, issuing revised principles relatively soon could give the public additional confidence that the Committee had the tools and a plan for eventually normalizing the conduct of policy. Moreover, one participant stressed that the Committee's ability to provide forward guidance about the normalization process was a key monetary policy tool, and revised principles would permit use of that tool to help adjust the stance of policy. Participants emphasized that their review of the June 2011 exit strategy principles did not suggest any change in their views about the economic conditions that would eventually warrant beginning the process of normalizing the stance of monetary policy. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Chairman directed the staff to undertake additional preparatory work on this issue for Committee consideration in the future.
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Post tags: Africa, Architecture, Dogon Education, earth, earth bricks, green materials, green resources, Joop and Jurriaan van Stigt, local materials, local people, mali, recycling / compost, social design
Architecture for Humanity is working with local and regional construction professionals to begin assessments and support rebuilding work after an F-4 tornado ripped through the heart of Moore, OK and surrounding communities.
Architecture for Humanity focuses on helping communities beyond the relief phase of disaster. The agency is currently working on rebuilding efforts post Superstorm Sandy and rebuilt in communities affected by Hurricane Katrina. Architecture for Humanity is mobilizing to assist in long term-reconstruction to help rebuild Moore and the surrounding communities. The agency works to incorporate resiliency and disaster mitigation strategies, leaving communities safer and stronger than before.
“After the Haiti earthquake students from Moore West Junior High raised funds for the organization to help rebuild schools for displaced students. Our thoughts are with the entire community of Moore, OK and those affected,” said Cameron Sinclair, Co-founder, Architecture for Humanity.