Students and staff at Washington University in St. Louis are taking advantage of the proximity of two identical, early-20th-century apartment buildings on the school's campus to run what is effectively an architectural “twin study.” They will compare performance changes that result from the implementation of the university’s standard renovation protocols in one of the buildings and a more advanced alternative in the other. The latter criteria were developed through a series of studios attended by students in the university's architecture, engineering, and construction-management programs. The study aims to find a replicable means of renovating buildings to meet net-zero energy targets. “Working within the constraints of the marketplace meant that we had to be very creative with the technologies we selected,” said Phil Valko, the school’s assistant vice chancellor for sustainability, in a press release. “We had to find low-cost technologies that offered a lot of ‘bang-for-the-buck.’” Valko is leading the ongoing project with Don Koster, a senior lecturer of architecture in the university’s Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. [Washington University]

ICYMI: This year’s winners of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards. [ARCHITECT]

Just when it seems that Dubai has reached the limits of what it could or should build, it announces that it is researching an ambitious plan to build a mountain in order to boost rainfall and bolster water conservation in the desert city. [CityLab]

The next touch-screen interface? Human skin. (Don’t worry—it’s not as creepy as it sounds.) [MIT Technology Review]

The 2015–2016 iteration of the University of Stuttgart Institute for Computation Design and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design’s research pavilion explores textile fabrication techniques in timber-shell construction. [ARCHITECT Project Gallery]

This low-tech, woodworking tool chest can be yours—for $150,000. [Core77]

New York–based firm Davis Brody Bond, with Marks Barfield Architects, in London, recently proposed a suspended cable car that would connect Chicago’s primary downtown tourist destinations while giving visitors and locals alike a new view of the city’s iconic skyline. [Dezeen]

The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) named the winners in its 2016 Ideas2 Awards competition. Among the jurors was ARCHITECT senior editor Wanda Lau. [AISC]