Everywhere a Pop Up!

Version Fest 12 starts today!  There are going to be Pop Ups everywhere for the month of May in the neighborhood of the future, Bridgeport Chicago.  There are going to be Pop Up bookstores, art galleries, donuts, parades, dog parks, and Bridgeport Day!

Myself and 26LAB will be participating in Bridgeport Day along with a bunch of others like ssh:chicago, lionVSgorilla, and many others. Check out Bridgeport Day for more.

Click on the image to learn more about the Pop Up Pup Park, part of Bridgeport Day and keep checking back to see more on Version Fest and Bridgeport Day throughout May.


Render Your Time and Money Effectively

Next Limit Technologies has come up with a great affordable plugin for SketchUp, a simpler version of their very powerful Maxwell Render.  Here are some quick one click renders using only SketchUp materials, sunlight, and environment.  See SketchUp exported images here.

There seems to be some limitations with advanced interior lighting, if there is not a lot of daylight but, who designs without daylighting anymore.  For $95 and one click not too bad!  There is a great set of starter tutorials that walk you through the interface as well as a large library of Maxwell textures and skies available for your rendering pleasure. Your SketchUp materials can also be saved with the Maxwell render settings for ease of use later.  As you can see from my portfolio, I am not a huge fan of photo-realistic renderings.  I find my time better spent on designing instead of waiting for renderings. With the new plugin though I can now have the best of both worlds without a lot of hassle.  Overall the Maxwell plugin is a well priced, simple, and powerful addition to your SketchUp workflow.

First Date at the New Navy Pier?

Which new design would you want to have a new first date at? Here are the first three redesigns for the Navy Pier Centennial Vision.  The second presentation with Field Operations and Xavier Vendrell Studio are probably starting right now but, here is how the first three presentations went.  The three contenders that went first were AECOM/BIG, Aedas Architects, and !melk.

The first up for the night was Aedas/HOK, PierEscape.  The most interesting portion of their project was the redesign of the Navy Pier entry it was recreated into a more natural marsh habitat with interesting look out point to view the city and the pier and some cool lighting sculptures.


Next was AECOM/BIG Pier +, easily the winner of the night.  We will have to see what Field Operations comes up with another one of my favorite firms.  I am a pretty big BIG fan but there are a few reasons why, he is one of the best presenters of our time and his designs are usually quite thoughtful.


Their presentation was well presented and well thought out, like the first date scenario that could take place at the new pier.  It takes advantage of the existing facilities and takes them to the next level.Great new winter sledding spot would maybe bring people to the Pier during their slowest season.  They also turned the green house into a great urban hydroponic garden with actual fish, not just a fish pattern on the floor.  Also it was refreshing to see an addition of a non-architectural solution, the Pier + card and app.  With the app you could control one of the interactive fountains.

The last team !melk, Great Pier.  They also had a good solution to the entrance of the Pier “business in the front party/park in the back.”  The space would be a great activator to bring new people to Navy Pier.  Their project included a glacier sculpture and theme.


For more information about all of the designs you can see them on display at CAF in Chicago or visit Navy Pier Vision website for all of the video presentations.

Architectural Bounce House?

What a great way to bring in the new year with a bit of fun.  Whenever I would describe this project to one of my non-architect friends they immediately think “bounce house.”  That may not necessarily be a bad thing, bounce houses bring back memories of fun and maybe a rolled ankle or two.

To be more architectural about the inflatable Bike Parking Oasis.  It was created with the quote from Buckminster Fuller, and Norman Foster in mind.  “How much does your building weigh?”  Also an Arch-documentary by Norman Foster.  We saw the film at last year’s Chicago Architectural Film Festival in Chicago, where we also met Bjarke Ingels.

It does not get much lighter than a portable inflatable structure that defines space and provides seating.  The project also pushes the boundaries for some, in that it takes up a “valuable” car parking space.  The title of the project comes from the sometimes vast desert of adequate bike parking in many areas around the city.  If bicycles are supposed to follow all of the same rules of the road as vehicles, why are they not granted the same parking rights?  For more details about the project, click on the image above.

Many more projects currently in the works for 2012.  Architecture, furniture, objects, 26lab curriculum, paper toys, graphics, and more DukeTIP Keep an eye out!

Happy Holidays!

Here are a few things that we were working on over the holidays.

Stocking holders created at MSI Chicago, Fab Lab for DS26. Laser cut acrylic.

Recyclable wrapping paper, thanks RedEye! It’s all about the details.

And a paper craft star.  Thanks Unfold Plugin.


No, not teen werewolves and vampires but, the Twilight Render plugin for SketchUp.  It is a great value for only $100 and works pretty well as a direct plugin for SketchUp.  The interface is extremely easy to use and I was able to develop some quick renderings using the Paper Art Gallery SU model that I had created already.  The bump maps were a little buggy at times, especially while working within groups and components.   All of the images below were directly exported out of SketchUp, no post production.

The watermark is on all of the images because, I was testing the demo version.