Testing Buildings to Destruction

E-Defense Shake Table
Japan has engineered the world’s largest earthquake simulator, the nation’s first line of defense in a geophysical war.

Many older homes in Japan don’t meet modern earthquake code and have proven a major liability in deadly earthquakes like Kobe suffered in 1995. Full-scale testing to destruction at E-Defense gauges their widespread risk to society and the efficacy of reinforcing them with retrofits. Continue reading

A+U Magazine: Data-Driven Cities

A+U Magazine Data-Driven Cities IssueI edited the November 2014 issue of a+u (Architecture & Urbanism) magazine. The issue’s theme – Data-Driven Cities – is broad, designed to encompass a range of technological drivers reforming urbanity. It’s also a provocative title which elicited many contributors to implore that human agency, not big data, should sit firmly in the driver’s seat when harnessing computation to analyze, develop and improve cities. Continue reading

Ofuro – The Wonderous Japanese Bath

Bath

A Culture of Bathing
In a land where hot water seems to bubble up from volcanic hot springs at every turn, it is little wonder that bathing is an integral part of Japanese society. When the country urbanized, the tall boiler chimneys of public bath houses (called sentos) popped-up throughout dense residential quarters of Japan’s towns and cities. Sentos offered a plentiful supply of piping hot water jetting from long banks of showers and overflowing from piping hot pools for communal luxuriating. These were also important social hubs where people from all walks meet, stripped bare of society’s trappings. As Japan became a leading technological and industrial exporter, household affluence grew and homes were built with their own baths. Today, local bathouses are a dieing institution, but the tradition lives on inside the the Japanese home – each equipped with its own miniature sento. Continue reading