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After several years of extreme drought, last winter’s heavy rains quickly replenished many reservoirs and aquifers throughout the state. This wet season ended with months of record-high temperatures that dried out a surplus of vegetative fuel, and was followed by strong winds along the steep, hilly topography of many California suburbs. The result was one… Read more »

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On August 30th SWA’s innovation lab, XL: Experiments in Landscape and Urbanism, opened an exhibition entitled Urban Sensorium: 5 Cities, 5 Senses, 5 Maps at SPUR Urban Center in San Francisco. Over the course of the evening, about 200 people passed through the gallery space, checking out the freshly mounted panels, sipping on beers brewed… Read more »

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As a new chapter begins at SWA’s innovation Lab, XL: Experiments in Landscape and Urbanism, we want to reflect upon what we’ve learned, accomplished, and hope to tackle in the upcoming months. Over the past year, XL developed four new investigatory projects in our foundational areas of focus: foresight, research, visualization and simulation, and issues…. Read more »

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Last year, the Van Alen Institute held a flash competition that caught my eye. It called for ideas for a mobile structure to be located in a local park in Malmö, Sweden. A gateway city to Scandinavia, Malmö receives numerous migrants, refugees and asylum seekers every year. The mobile structure will be placed in the park… Read more »

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Last September, SWA’s innovation lab, xl, produced its “Report on the Current State of Immersive Environments for Design.”  It included an assessment of the emerging technologies of 360 video, spherical panoramas, virtual reality, and mixed reality for design. As the lab’s co-leaders, we had recognized throughout the firm a desire to use virtual reality in… Read more »

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Over the past few months, a team of designers in Sausalito worked on a tiny landscape measuring just six square meters as part of a competition entry. With nowhere to go but up, we quickly identified verticality as our primary design move. By freeing the ground plane, we aimed to take full advantage of precious… Read more »

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