Rendering of Woven City by BIG
Toyota Rendering of Woven City by BIG

Toyota has revealed plans for a prototype city on a 175-acre site at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan that will be powered by an "ecosystem" of hydrogen fuel cells. Designed by Danish firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), the "fully sustainable" Woven City will feature mostly timber structures with rooftops covered in photovoltaic panels to power hydrogen cells. Toyota reports that full-time residents and researchers will be able to test emergent technology from the "living laboratory" city, including robotics, personal mobility devices, and smart homes. "Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies, including a digital operating system for the city's infrastructure," said president Akio Toyoda in a press release. "With people, buildings, and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to test connected AI technology ... in both the virtual and the physical realms ... maximizing its potential." [Toyota]


Revealed at the 2020 Consumer Electric Show in Las Vegas, South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai's vision for smart mobility includes community transit hubs frequented by air taxis developed in partnership with ride share giant Uber. The new aerial vehicles will operate entirely onelectric energy and travel distances up to 60 miles. "For our smart mobility solutions, we considered what truly matters in cities and in people's lives," said Hyundai executive vice chairman Euisun Chung in a press release. "Urban Air Mobility, Purpose Built Vehicle, and Hub will revitalize cities by removing urban boundaries, giving people time to pursue their goals, and creating a diverse community." [Hyundai]

Improvements to solid state lighting have resulted in smaller, more versatile, and more efficient light-emitting diodes that have helped transform architectural lighting and design. Here are some of the latest advances in LED technology. [ARCHITECT]

Stockholm-based software and sensor company Hexagon has released HxDR, a new cloud-based, digital reality visualization platform that can create 3D city models with environmental simulations. To do so, designers license real-world replicas of towns, cities, or landscapes from Hexagon and add their own 3D building designs. “HxDR enables customers to create their own Smart Digital Realities, addressing the growing need for simple-to-create yet highly sophisticated and accurate visualizations of reality capture data that boost project efficiencies and cost savings,” Hexagon president and CEO Ola Rollén said in a press release. [Hexagon]

The Living poured blocks into formwork that then joined together through bio-welding in “Living Bricks,” which was on display at the Centre Pompidou's 2019 exhibition La Fabrique du Vivant.
Andres Baron courtesy The Living The Living poured blocks into formwork that then joined together through bio-welding in “Living Bricks,” which was on display at the Centre Pompidou's 2019 exhibition La Fabrique du Vivant.

What were the most notable tech-related developments in architecture over the last decade, and where do the opportunities remain for 2020 and beyond? Nine design and technology leaders with myriad backgrounds and skills offer their insights. [ARCHITECT]


Charged with helping Hong Kong attain its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2025, a research team of scientists from MIT and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has developed a smart window film to block heat transfer, ultimately limiting energy loss in buildings. The thermochromic aerogel silica material remains transparent up to about 90 F. Once the surface temperature exceeds that threshold, microparticles in the film transition to a milky appearance that can block up to 70% of solar radiation. In the next phase of development, the team hopes to embed the material directly into window glazing. [MIT]

Regular contributor Blaine Brownell, AIA, offers takeaways from the Future of Wood studio at the University of Arkansas, where students explored novel wood fabrication techniques for architecture and engineering. [ARCHITECT]