Three University of New Mexico architecture student teams received honorable mentions in the gURROO Innovative Minds 2016 Competition.

gURROO hosts the annual Innovative Minds Design Competition to become a catalyst for creative thinking while rewarding designers for their ideas. The competition focuses on the blending of physical and virtual architecture and how innovative minds can address societal issues.

Alex Webb, assistant professor of emergent technology, taught the architecture 402 course through which the students competed. He said, “It was not an exclusively student competition. Our undergrads were competing against graduates as well as professionals. The studio was run as an ideas lab, the focus was on the students developing their own methods of innovation and tools for dealing relevant, global issues,” Webb said.   

The students competed in teams. The first team included Niko Maestas, Robert Peebles, Brandon Pachuca and Nick DiDonato. The second team featured Jaime Frias, Rafael Milla and Ali Al- Gahmi. The third team was Cole Cottrell and Lam Nguyen.

The team of Maestas, Peebles, Pachuca and DiDonato designed, [TECH]TONICS: a globally responsive field of memory.

They wrote, “[TECH]TONIC is an emergent architecture which responds to the relationships among the digital and physical and investigates the phenomenology of interaction between the two. The design is intended to create a global condition of event, which allocates for interaction between user-architecture, user-user and architecture-architecture. This artificially intelligent system acts as a social neural network between people and a worldwide database of our human history.”

Frias, Al-Gahmi and Milla’s project, titled [IM]PRINT ARCH[IVE] asks, “What if instead of storing data within virtual boundaries, we store information in the physical world?”

They wrote, “Inhabiting the digital world allows the user to leave a fragment of themselves. The information becomes broadcasted for the rest of the world to see. Located in Ipanema Beach, the project turns into a co-existence between virtual essence and physical experience. Every step you take in the sand will become part of an archive network. Over time, the water will wash away the physical presence of the footprint, but the record will be retained in the future.”

Cottrell and Nguyen’s project is Podsocial Network. They wrote, “Once the largest auto production plant in the Motor City, the Packard plant stands as an abandoned symbol of what once was since the late 1980’s. The once thriving auto industry in Detroit has accounted for the loss of jobs and homelessness of a popularly of nearly 17,000 people currently living without basic amenities.

Not just another social housing concept or a typical homeless shelter, the podsocial network attempts to serve as a reintegration into society for its users, borrowing concepts first from social networking platforms such as the location based anonymity of yik yak, and the real time data gathered by Netflix uses to create a profile of preferences, tracking the history.”

Tracking would not just include preferences, but need to facilitate the best means of service by the utility pods which move along the exterior of the existing structure.