MIT and Google Team Up to Create Transformable Office Pods

The MIT School of Architecture’s Self-Assembly Lab has teamed up with Google to create Transformable Meeting Spaces, a project that utilizes woven structure research in wood and fiberglass pods that descend from the ceiling, transforming a large space into a smaller one. Designed as a small-scale intervention for reconfiguring open office plans—which “have been shown to decrease productivity due to noise and privacy challenges”—the pods require no electromechanical systems to function, but rather employ a flexible skeleton and counterweight to change shape.

This skeleton is composed of 36 fiberglass rods, which are woven together into a sort of textile or cylindrical braid. Thus, the structure behaves “like a Chinese finger trap: The circumference of the pod shrinks when it’s pulled, and expends when relaxed.”

Courtesy of MIT Self-Assembly LabCourtesy of MIT Self-Assembly LabMIT and Google Team Up to Create Transformable Office Pods Courtesy of MIT Self-Assembly Lab+7

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Courtesy of MIT Self-Assembly Lab

Courtesy of MIT Self-Assembly Lab
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Courtesy of MIT Self-Assembly Lab

Courtesy of MIT Self-Assembly Lab

Expanded fully, the pods measure about ten feet in diameter and eight feet tall, providing space for up to eight people to either sit or stand inside.

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Courtesy of MIT Self-Assembly Lab

Courtesy of MIT Self-Assembly Lab

http://imgur.com/dSVi5J8/embed?ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.archdaily.com%2F796317%2Fmit-and-google-team-up-to-create-transformable-office-pods&w=540

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Courtesy of MIT Self-Assembly Lab

Courtesy of MIT Self-Assembly Lab

Furthermore, the inside of the spaces are lined with felt, so as to dampen outside noise.

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Courtesy of MIT Self-Assembly Lab

Courtesy of MIT Self-Assembly Lab

We’ve had four people sitting in there at tables, or standing in there for a meeting, said MIT Self-Assembly Lab’s co-director, Skylar Tibbits. We also thought it could be a sort of nap pod. It’s more about the transformation of space rather than trying to present what happens in that space. We’re just trying to create different capabilities.

Research on the project is ongoing, and in the future, will be concentrated on applying these transformable materials to larger-scale architectural practice, for instance in retractable stadium roofs. With such technology, the Lab hopes that stadium roofs or even stadiums themselves, among other systems, could be collapsed after use without major disturbances to the urban landscape.

Learn more about the project here.

News via Fast Company Design and the MIT Self-Assembly Lab.

Walk Inside: Google Cultural Institute Puts New York’s Guggenheim On The Map

Installation view: Storylines: Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim. Image © Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Installation view: Storylines: Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim. Image © Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

The Google Cultural Institute have teamed up with New York City’s iconic Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and completed in 1959, to open its doors through Street View. Additionally, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has made over 120 artworks from its collection available for online viewing. “Using Street View technology, it will now be possible to tour the museum’s distinctive spiral ramps from anywhere online,” the Foundation said. Continue reading “Walk Inside: Google Cultural Institute Puts New York’s Guggenheim On The Map”

Launch of Google Sunroof Brings Valuable Solar Power Data to the Mainstream

Google is in the unique position to truly understand what people want. As millions key in their questions, the search giant is actively working to provide better answers. When it comes to questions about solar energy, Google wondered, “If people are lost trying to get answers about solar, why don’t we give them a map?” And so, the tech company announced the beta launch of Project Sunroof: a tool “to make installing solar panels easy and understandable for anyone.” Continue reading “Launch of Google Sunroof Brings Valuable Solar Power Data to the Mainstream”

Is Thomas Heatherwick designing Google’s London HQ?

Render of the proposed Google campus plan in Mountain View, CA, by BIG and Heatherwick Studios. It's unclear whether the designs for the London HQ will follow a similar sensibility. Image credit: Google.

Render of the proposed Google campus plan in Mountain View, CA, by BIG and Heatherwick Studios. It’s unclear whether the designs for the London HQ will follow a similar sensibility. Image credit: Google.

Google’s ambitious £1 billion King’s Cross development, which will be the technology giant’s European headquarters, has faced repeated delays since it was first announced back in 2013. The project currently has “no target completion date.”

Continue reading “Is Thomas Heatherwick designing Google’s London HQ?”

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