Aerial view of Aguada Fenix. Causeways and reservoirs in front and the Main Plateau in the back.
Courtesy Takeshi Inomata Aerial view of Aguada Fenix. Causeways and reservoirs in front and the Main Plateau in the back.
3D image of the site of Aguada Fenix based on lidar
Courtesy Takeshi Inomata 3D image of the site of Aguada Fenix based on lidar

Researchers across several institutions, including the University of Arizona, have leveraged the aerial deployment of lidar (light detection and ranging) technology to detect "massive, ancient platforms made of clay and earth, measuring about [1,300 feet] across and [5,000 feet] in length, at Aguada Fénix in the Usumacinta region of Tabasco, [Mexico]," according to a Nature article covering the journal paper. Dating back to between 1000 and 800 B.C., the large-scale landscape modifications "would easily have escaped detection by even the most seasoned conventional field mappers." Using lidar, lead author Takeshi Inomata and her colleagues documented 16 instances of "E-Groups," the earliest known form of non-residential construction in the Maya lowlands, consisting of an eastern rectangular platform accompanied by a western mound for "astronomical observations." The lack of rulers depicted on the excavated stone sculptures on the Aguada Fénix site has led the researchers to "argue that these constructions were truly public architecture and not built at the behest of rulers." [Nature]

Night view, seen from Schinkelplatz
Courtesy Milla & Partner Night view, seen from Schinkelplatz

Thirteen years after the receiving funding approval from the government, the Monument to Freedom and Unity has broken ground in Berlin. Designed by the German firm Milla & Partner, the bowl-shaped kinetic sculpture honors the people "who, in a peaceful revolution in 1989, caused the Berlin Wall to come down and Germany to be reunited," according to the firm. The lightweight steel space frame measures 164 feet long and tapers from approximately 8 feet at its thickest to a few centimeters at its edges. When about 30 people stand together on one end of the bowl, the sculpture will tilt in response, like a slow-moving seesaw; a spring and damping system will regulate the movement. Inscribed into the bowl's surface will be the chants of the 1989 protesters: Wir sind das Volk! (We are the People); and Wir sind ein Volk! (We are one People). [BBC]

Michael Ford, Assoc. AIA, founder of the Hip Hop Architecture Camp, is launching a call for submissions the Hip Hop Architecture as Design Justice Competition live on June 6, at noon ET. The competitions is encouraging anyone "to use hip hop's protest music as prompts for imagining a Just City," Ford writes in a related press email. "A City which has dismantled and defeated racism." [ARCHITECT]

To see Australia's Museum of Underwater Art, visitors must be prepared to dive 60 feet deep. The museum, situated on the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Townsville, North Queensland, was created by British underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, who has created other submerged museums in Europe and the Atlantic Ocean. For Australia's MOUA, the artist crafted his first submerged building, the Coral Greenhouse, which is intended to provide a substrate for new coral growth. [The Spaces]

As part of its effort to become fully circular by 2030, IKEA expanded its year-old furniture rental program to include the refurbishment and resale of used furnishings returned by customers. The Swedish company, also the world's largest furniture retailer, is investigating the circular potential of, and secondhand market for its approximately 10,000 products. It is also working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to serve as a model for other companies. “We’re entering a phase now where there’s a huge opportunity to enable millions of designers and creatives around the world to create for a circular economy,” the foundation's circular design program leader Joe Iles tells Fast Company. [Fast Company]

Watch the world's first-ever solar-powered, air-driven home elevator in action. The stand-alone system by Miami-based Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators currently accommodates a single passenger. The company offers other air-driven home elevators, including a three-passenger, wheelchair-accessible model. [PVE]

Automated exterior sprinkler system
David Hertz Automated exterior sprinkler system

Writer Murrye Bernard, AIA, explores wildfire resilience design strategies with David Hertz, FAIA, a Malibu, Calif., resident and founder of his eponymous studio with firsthand knowledge of wildfire's potential to cause widespread damage. [ARCHITECT]

Aerial imagery provider Nearmap has made available its Nearmap Artificial Intelligence innovation in Mapbrowser, "a series of datasets constructed from machine learning models deployed across Nearmap high-definition aerial images," according to a company press release. The datasets "allow users to automatically identify ground features, from tree overhang to residential footprints, track changes, and verify insights against current aerial imagery at massive scale." [GlobeNewswire]

Courtesy Cooking Sections

Harvard Graduate School of Design has selected Daniel Fernández Pascual as the recipient of its 2020 Wheelwright Prize. The $100,000 prize will help support two years of continued research for Fernández Pascual's proposal "Being Shellfish: The Architecture of Intertidal Cohabitation." [ARCHITECT]

Canada's largest building-integrated photovoltaic array is now in operation at the Edmonton Convention Centre, in Alberta. The BIPV installation, spread across 696 glass panels comprising the center's south-facing atrium roof, is expected to generate 200 megawatt-hours of electricity annually and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 150,000 kilograms. Toronto-based project architect Dialog designed the array to deliver a poem by the city's former poet laureate E.D. Blodgett in Morse code. [Edmonton Convention Centre]

AIA California has announced the results of its ninth annual Architecture at Zero competition, selecting three professional winners and four student winners from an international pool of net-zero energy (NZE) building designs. [ARCHITECT]

Magellan by Kuzco Lighting
Courtesy LightFair Magellan by Kuzco Lighting

LightFair recognized 14 products in its annual LightFair Innovation Awards during a ceremony that went virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING]

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