San Jose, coined Silicon Valley in the twentieth century, is the lifeblood of the San Francisco Bay region.  This region is the home of most of the world most well established technology companies.  Due in part to collaborative efforts with Stanford University, this region has breed many of its successful technology businesses from within its own territory.  Stanford, unlike many of the University founded in the late nineteenth century, declared “life is, above all, practical: that you are here to fit yourself for a successful career.”  The Stanford model was to educate future entrepreneurs and businessmen that would transcend the region into the future.

Many companies in San Jose have direct connections to Stanford, either through alumni or collaborative efforts.  These include Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, Eastman Kodak, Cisco Systems, Google, Nvidia, Yahoo, and Sun Microsystems.

According to Edward Glaesner, “Unlike Detroit, Silicon Valley is not concentrated in a few big firms, and that keeps the area entrepreneurial.  It has superb educational institutions and continues to invest in its schools and universities.


Stanford Research Park is a technology park located in Palo Alto, California on land owned by Stanford University. Built in 1951, as Stanford Industrial Park, it claims to be the world’s first technology-focused office park. Leases were limited to high technology companies. Its first tenant was Varian Associates, founded by Stanford alumni in the 1930s to build military radar components.  In 1954, Stanford created the Honors Cooperative Program to allow full-time employees of the companies to pursue graduate degrees from the University on a part-time basis.  Frederick Terman is often credited with the idea and success of the Stanford Research Park, which was the first university-owned industrial park at the time of its founding and played a key role in creation of Silicon Valley. Early tenants included Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, and Lockheed.

The park covers 700 acres (2.8 km²) in an area surrounding Page Mill Road, to the west of El Camino Real. It is now run by the Stanford Management Company which was established in 1991 to manage the university’s financial and real estate assets. The park’s 162 buildings hold 23,000 employees who work for 140 different companies.  The park is still home to the main headquarters of Hewlett-Packard and recently Facebook’s headquarters. Since the early 1990s, many large American law firms have established Silicon Valley branch offices in or near the park, and their logos are prominently displayed along Page Mill Road. (3)


Over the Lab’s six-year migration, there will be three distinct mobile structures and thematic cycles. Each structure will be designed by a different architect, and each will travel to three cities around the globe. The theme of the Lab’s first two-year cycle is Confronting Comfort—exploring notions of individual and collective comfort and the urgent need for environmental and social responsibility.

The BMW Guggenheim Lab launched in New York, running from August 3 to October 16, 2011. It will be open from May 24 to July 29, 2012, in Berlin before moving on to Mumbai in late 2012. Cycle 1 will conclude with an exhibition presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2013. Two additional two-year cycles will follow, each with a new mobile structure and theme, concluding in the fall of 2016.

Part urban think tank, part community center and public gathering space, the Lab is conceived to inspire public discourse in cities around the world and through the BMW Guggenheim Lab website and online social communities.

The structure’s lower half is a present-day version of the Mediterranean loggia, an open space that can easily be configured to accommodate the Lab’s various programs. The upper part of the structure houses a flexible rigging system and is wrapped in a semitransparent mesh. Through this external skin, visitors are able to catch glimpses of the extensive apparatus of “tools” that may be lowered or raised from the canopy according to the Lab’s programming needs, transforming the ground space into a formal lecture setting, a stage for a celebratory gathering, or a workshop with tables for hands-on experiments.

A series of smaller wooden shelters placed in close proximity to the main structure provide space for restrooms and a cafe. Whereas the main structure is forward-looking in its materiality and highly urban in its programmatic approach, the design of the restrooms and cafe references timeless timber construction that has been used in many settings, both rural and urban. Together, the wooden shelters and the main structure form a temporary 21st-century ensemble that in each city frames a particular urban void. (4)

Design Architect: Atelier Bow-Wow, Tokyo, Japan

Superstructure: NUSSLI Group, Switzerland/USA

Structural Engineer: Arup, Tokyo, Japan

DIGITAL WATER PAVILION Carlo Ratti Associati – Smart Cities Group (MIT Media Laboratory)

At its core, the DWP has been designed to be an open system where its technologies can be improved upon and can evolve with advances over time.  The pavilion is also an open system in the sense that the designers do not decide how it reacts, but leave it in the hands of it users.

The water is controlled by over three hundred solenoid valves, in which the entire surface becomes a one-bit-deep digital display continuously scrolling downwards. Something like an ink-jet printer on a large scale.



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