Google Unveils Brillo: An OS for Your Home

Late last month at Google I/O, the company announced Brillo, the "underlying operating system for the internet of things". Senior VP Sundar Pichai described it as “Android, polished down… an end-to-end functioning operating system.”

But Brillo isn’t just Brillo—it’s also Weave, a communication layer that will enable IoT devices to talk to one another, the cloud, and of course, your phone. Pichai says Weave gives the growing world of connected, smart devices a common language. The actions each of these things is responsible for—smart ovens change temperatures, smart doors unlock and lock—won’t be so singular. Weave wants to make it so these devices aren’t linked only to your phone, but to one another as well. Weave exposes developer APIs in a cross-platform manner, so any connected device will speak the same language.

“Weave is available cross-platform,” said  Pichal. “You can have Brillo and Weave together or you can have Weave alone.” There will also be voice interface, so that when you talk your refrigerator will listen.

For instance, a trash bin could tell the council or city when it is full and needs collecting, rather than just on a set schedule. A fridge could detect when the milk is empty and order another gallon. A heating or air conditioning system could track its owner and only turn on when they are on their way home.

Upstate NY Home Spins at the Push of a Button

About 90 minutes north of New York City in New Paltz, NY, sits a spectacular wooden UFO-like dome dwelling in the middle of a 28-acre forest at the foot of the Mohonk Nature Preserve. Built in 1999, the 2,300-square-foot prefab was created by French kit home company Domespace. Of some 200 "Domespaces" built worldwide, this may still be the only one realized in the U.S so far—and its site seems to be perfect. The three-bedroom home, designed to be eco-friendly and engaged with nature, can rotate 360 degrees by the touch of a remote, ensuring it's always taking advantage of the sun for controlling indoor temperature, as well as providing a change of scenery. 

Inside, a very open floor plan, soaring 40 ft ceilings, and huge curved windows. The two-level space, includes a custom-built spiral staircase that leads to the upper level library, office, guest bedroom, and bath. This unique property is currently on the market for $950,000.

Inman Shares 10 Marketing Predictions for 2020

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Inman is known as one of the industry’s leading source of real estate information. Industry professionals from around the world turn to Inman first for accurate, innovative and timely information about the business. They recently put together a list of 10 predictions of where real estate marketing is headed in 2020. With sellers and buyers becoming savvier in the marketplace, it will become increasingly important for agents to cut through the clutter to get their message across. What is the #1 tool to have in your arsenal for cutting edge real estate marketing according to Imnan? 3D Interactive Tours. Get ahead of the trend with ReallyThere™.   

Austrian Architecture Firm Designs Invisible House

Designed by Austrian architecture studio Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, these reflective housing housing unit consists of a prefabricated timber structure ready for implementation at any designated plot. Appropriately named ‘casa invisible‘, or invisible house,  the building is 14.5 meters in length and 3.5 meters in width (about 47 feet by 11 feet), which allows the scheme’s individual pieces to be easily transported to site. Through the use of modular construction and the intensive use of wood, the housing units can be completely disassembled – minimizing their environmental footprint. Other advantages of the product are its relatively low cost, uncomplicated assembly, and its potential to suit a variety of locations. Take a look at the full gallery and renderings here

The Future of the Kitchen, According to IKEA

"Food as design" was one of the big trends spotted at Milan Design Week  and furniture retailer Ikea dedicated a whole exhibit to Concept Kitchen 2025, a deep exploration of how the kitchen will change in the next decade. The project, a collaboration with design innovation firm Ideo and students from Lund University and the Eindhoven University of Technology, stems from a set of basic assumptions about the world in 2025.  "Our homes will become physically smaller, 'Shopping' will mean 'home delivery'." Unlike "kitchen of the future" predictions from, say, the '50s, these prototypes are less about a magical convenience and more about practicality and the environment. Think a sink that conserves water, built-in waste and composting system, and a stove that also doubles as a prep table. The future is looking bright! 

China to Build World’s Tallest Skyscrapers

The world’s tallest skyscrapers could be built in Wuhan, China. British architectural firm Chetwoods proposed Phoenix Towers – iconic landmark within an earnest environmental master plan for the capital of central China. At one kilometer high, the Phoenix Towers will be the tallest pair of buildings in the world. Arching bridge-like over the surrounding boulevards, each tower will have a unique personality and attributes: the Feng tower will lean towards the commercial zone, the Huang tower towards the cultural and recreational zone.

The project’s key emphasis is on the balanced combination of 21st century Western technological know-how and experience with Chinese tradition and culture. In response to the Client’s wish to develop a new style of architecture that emphasizes Chinese identity, the use of a pair of towers reflects the dualist elements of Chinese culture in contrast to a more Western monolithic form.

The scheme will provide the environmental catalyst to re-invigorate the city, actively avoiding the disastrous consequences of developments elsewhere in China. Environmental features used in design include thermal chimneys; suspended air gardens; wind turbines; water harvesting/recycling and hydrogen fuel cells at ground level. The towers will generate their own power requirement while contributing to the surrounding district.

Milan Expo: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life

Expo Milano 2015 is the Universal Exhibition that Milan, Italy, will host from May 1 to October 31, 2015. Over this six-month period, Milan will become a global showcase where more than 140 participating countries exploring the theme "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life". The participating countries will showcase the best of their technology that can guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet and its equilibrium. 

A platform for the exchange of ideas and shared solutions on the theme of food, stimulating each country’s creativity and promoting innovation for a sustainable future, Expo 2015 will give everyone the opportunity to find out about, and taste, the world’s best dishes, while discovering the best of the agri-food and gastronomic traditions of each of the exhibitor countries.

Head over to ArchDaily for a guided tour or the Expo. 

Louis Vuitton Takes Over Bob Hope's Iconic Palm Springs Estate

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High fashion and architecture collided Wednesday May 6th, when French fashion house Louis Vuitton left Paris for Palm Springs, taking over the spectacularly futuristic Bob and Dolores Hope Estate. The landmark California home, designed by architect John Lautner for the Hollywood icons, was the perfect setting to debut the cutting-edge Cruise 16.

The architecture of the house itself paired well with the collection, which conjured up images of a folkloric fantasy.

Nicolas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton's director of women's collections, tells fashion trade publication WWD that the 1973 Lautner work is a "symbolic landmark" that has inspired him ever since he first saw it.

After allowing the audience a teasing glimpse of themselves through the large windows of the Bob Hope home, models weaved their way down the twisting staircases to strut the catwalk poolside, weaving in between the rows of audience members who sat in a winding pattern on benches placed on the lawn.

 One of the largest private estates in Palm Springs, the 23,366-square-foot Hope residence features an undulating concrete roof, indoor pool, and sweeping views of the entire Coachella valley.

A Modernist Treehouse in Norway

Todd Saunders, founder of Saunders Architecture and creator of the Fomo Island Inn took on the greatest design challenge yet: building the perfect home for himself and his family. The result, a haute Modernist treehouse, nestled in a leafy grove just outside Bergen, Norway, the country's western seaside shipping hub. Clad in striking blackened-timber, Villa S,as it's been dubbed, is a three-story dwelling marked by a long second floor perched on a podium-like ground-level that makes it appear to float off the lush site. Broad windows on the second story let in the sun, and the interiors (done in collaboration with designer Hannes Wingate) are as crisp as precise as you'd expect from a Scandinavian designer. 

As children many of us dreamt of tree-houses like those in Swiss Family Robinson and Peter Pan, but this is a tree house re-imagined by an architect whose married whimsy with form and function.

 

Tesla Unveils Batteries for Powering the Home & More

Tesla has finally unveiled Tesla Energy, its ambitious battery system that can work for homes, businesses, and even utilities.  The product aimed at average homeowners is the Powerwall, a shield-like pack that measures three feet by four feet in size and six inches thick, and can be hung indoors or outdoors. Targeting solar energy adopters, Powerwall stores electricity generated from solar panels during the day and saves it up for use at night and as a backup supply.

The larger battery system, aimed at businesses, industrial operations, or even public utility companies, is called Powerpack. According to Tesla, 160 Powerpacks can power the U.S. and 2 billion can power the world.

As more electricity is generated from renewable but intermittent sources like solar and wind, demand for storage is going to go up — batteries can absorb surplus power and flow it back into the grid when needed, evening out supply and demand.

Elon Musk told reporters during a briefing last Friday that the system can be used to create "smart microgrids" — and can be used as a redundancy system, or potentially allow a home to go off the power grid entirely. "The whole thing is a system that just works."

Musk goes on to describe this as an "infinitely scalable system" that can work for businesses, in industrial applications, and even public utility companies, that comes in 100 kWh battery blocks that can scale from 500 kWH all the way up to 10 MWh and higher. "Our goal here is to change the way the world uses energy at an extreme scale."

 

Case Study House #25 is for Sale in Long Beach

There are roughly 20 houses left in greater Los Angeles that were built under Arts & Architecture's Case Study House program, which ran from the late-1940s to the mid-1960s and made Southern California the epicenter of Modernist residential architecture. The Case Study Houses were intended to be relatively affordable for the middle-class, and replicable for post-War family living, with an emphasis on new materials and new techniques in house construction. Architects included the still-widely-remembered Charles Eames and Richard Neutra.  Most of the survivors are still private residences and we don't often get a look inside, but recently Case Study House #25, or the Frank House, designed by Killingsworth, Brady, Smith and Associate and built in 1961, has come up for sale with a full gallery of photos.

Its A&A feature from 1962 says that "while unique in many ways," the architecture still had to grapple with a site "very typical of the usual mundane urban condition," and it compensates for a small lot by "turning in upon itself, creating its own singular quiet and seclusion."

The man who commissioned the house was a bachelor, but asked for a family house that could provide both privacy and lots of entertaining space, and he wanted the living room and master bedroom both to take advantage of the canal views. This house can be yours for $2.549 million.

Live Next Door to Warren Buffett for Shares of Berkshire Hathaway

Every first weekend in May, tens of thousands make the pilgrimage to Omaha to listen to legendary investor Warren Buffett and his vice chairman, Charlie Munger, take questions at the annual Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Conference. 

This year shareholders and attendees were surprised to learn they have the opportunity to live next door to one of the word's most prolific investors, the "Oracle of Omaha" himself. 

However, as Time, Inc. has reported, "Getting to call the Berkshire Hathaway CEO your neighbor won't come cheap." The property, located at 225 S. 55th St., Omaha, NE 68132, as the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services yard sign promoted, is available for "10 Class A Shares," no cash offers. Berkshire Class A stock opened today at $217K per share, so this lovely brick home from the 1920's could be yours for just north of $2 Million. But hurry, as Berkshire stock continues to rise steadily and surely.

"Given that many are willing to pay up for Buffett’s time and former possessions—including one man who paid more than $2 million to lunch with the Berkshire CEO and one who splurged for his old Cadillac—it seems reasonable to think that a buyer might pay a premium to become neighbors with Mr. Buffet,"  says Huston the current owner of this home. 

You can learn more about the property, see more photos and tour the home at LiveNextToWarrenBuffet.com. The home ReallyThere would love to 3D scan is Mr. Buffett's beautiful, yet modest 5-bedroom he purchased in 1958 for $31,500 and still calls his primary residence. 

 

The New York Times Presents its First Virtual Reality Film

The New York Times is adding virtual reality to its arsenal of video content as it races to increase digital revenues.

The Times debuted its inaugural virtual reality film, "Walking the City." early this week. The five-minute short goes behind the scenes of the making of the latest New York Times Magazine cover,(attendees viewed the film using virtual reality headsets) including a stomach-dropping shot from a helicopter high above a massive Flatiron District art installation. You can view a time-lapse here

Times Magazine editor Jake Silverstein said the Times has "big plans" for integrating virtual reality into its content. "We think the journalistic potential of this emerging technology is huge,"

"Walking New York, was created by TED Prize winner JR. It shows a 20-year-old man in a hoodie and jeans, walking through New York City. What makes this so special? The image is 150 feet tall and pasted on a plaza near the Flatiron Building. Cabs and cars flow around him while pedestrians scamper past.

 For the cover, JR photographed 16 people who arrived in New York within the last 365 days. While living in New York part-time for the past four years, the artist has found himself intrigued with immigration and origins.

“The first question we ask you when you get to the city is where you’re from,” says JR. “That’s something really special.

Whitney Museum of American Art to Open May 1st

When the Whitney Museum's new Renzo Piano-designed (in collaboration with New York practice Cooper Robertson) home on Gansevoort Street opens its doors on May 1, 2015, the inaugural installation will be the largest display to date of the Whitney’s permanent collection. At just a bit under seven years since the first designs of the building were released, the incubation period has been long enough on its own – but in fact the project has its roots in a scrapped 1981 design by Michael Graves, when the Whitney was instead planning an extension to their previous home on Madison Avenue. With such a highly anticipated building, the Whitney could hardly have a better man for the job; many believe Piano is one of the most prodigious museum builders of our time.

 
“The Whitney has been steadily building a remarkable world-class collection of American art since our founding by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930, much of which has remained largely unseen,” said Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director. “This transformative moment—the opening of our beautiful new home downtown—calls for a fresh look at ourselves and is the perfect occasion for us to celebrate our collection, the essence of who we are.”
 

Kofi Nartey Stays Ahead of the Curve with ReallyThere™

ReallyThere™ had the pleasure of creating a video tour for one of Kofi Nartey's newest listings in Marina del Rey. Kofi is the Managing Director of The Agency’s Beach Cities office and the Director of the Sports & Entertainment Division. We were able to sit down with him for a brief Q&A.

What was of interest to you with ReallyThere.com?

Clients hire me because of my innovative marketing and I find it important to always stay ahead of the curve. ReallyThere™ is providing a cutting edge service and taking Real Estate to a whole new level.  Now I can put amazing properties in front of the right buyers and bring the right buyers directly into those properties.

How are clients responding and interacting?

My clients love seeing their properties through the eyes of ReallyThere™.  More importantly, the buyers love it and are asking for ReallyThere™ tours of other listings.  My Sports and Entertainment clients are going to go crazy for this feature.  

ReallyThere™ also provides me with real-time analytics and data that allow me to further engage with clients. When I see that 70% of website traffic is in-bound from international markets, I can now recommend, with confidence, where to allocate marketing and promotional efforts.

Kofi is a regularly featured agent on the  nationally televised HGTV show Selling LA and uses this exposure as an opportunity to highlight his client’s listings and to help his buyers obtain properties in competitive markets. He has also been a contributor to the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Zillow, Trulia, and others. 

Take a tour of this dramatic Marina del Rey loft here.

Santa Monica Project Earns AIA's 2015 Housing Award

The importance of housing to shape our environment cannot be overstated. To celebrate the central role innovative design plays in residential building, the American Institute of Architects released its 2015 Housing Awards winners, focused on custom-built and remodeled homes, multifamily residences and special housing projects. The slate of winners showcases an array of styles, creative reuses of vacant buildings and designs in sync with both the urban and rural landscapes.

The winner of the 2015 Housing Awards is the Broadway Affordable Housing Project in Santa Monica. This project from Kevin Daly Architects, repurposed a vacant nursing home and created a dense yet light-filled complex where every unit faces the central courtyard and has access to natural light. The primary population served by this project is low-income families earning between 30% and 60% of Area Median Income. The property consists of 2- and 3-bedrom units with rents ranging from about $560 to $1,300 per month.

LA Modernism Show & Sale

The Los Angeles Modernism Show returns to celebrate its 28th year at 3Labs in Culver City, kicking off this Friday, April 24th. Some of the biggest designers are gathering to celebrate modernist design where more than 40 national and international exhibitors will showcase modernist iterations in furniture, lighting, sculpture, art, jewelry, and more.

Programming features a special appearance, lecture and book signing in celebration of the release of An Eames Anthology: Articles, Film Scripts, Interviews, Letters, Notes and Speeches by Charles Eames and Ray Eames. The book collects the Eames’s writings.

The design committee includes an impressive roster of names like Frank Gehry, Kelly Wearstler, Jeffrey Alan Marks, Alison Blumenfeld, and Windsor Smith. All proceeds from the event will benefit P.S. Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving children’s lives through arts education.

Opening night tickets for Friday range from $150 to $500 and general admission tickets for Saturday and Sunday are $15. 

ReallyThere™ Founder and CEO is Guest Speaker at IMN Conference

ReallyThere™; founder and CEO, Andrew Broeren will be featured as a guest speaker at the third annual IMN Real Estate Conference in Miami. IMN's Real Estate Division is renowned for developing and organizing conferences in emerging commercial real estate markets both in the United States and internationally. These events have consistently provided attendees with cutting-edge information and networking opportunities that ultimately work to expand and institutionalize the markets in question. Hundreds of senior colleagues from Homebuilders, Funds/Private Equity firms, Land Developers, Land Owners, Lenders, Property Management and other service providers to the industry will be in attendance. Andrew is thrilled to introduce our new technology to industry professionals at the highest level. We truly believe our 3D Virtual Tours are a game changer in real estate marketing. 

A Virtual Look Into The Eames Case Study House #8

Charles and Ray Eames' midcentury home in Los Angeles' Pacific Palisades, Case Study House No. 8, has become an icon due in large part to its detailed interior. During LACMA's California Design exhibition a few years ago a recreation of the famed living room, stood apart as a true highlight. This exhibition inspired  Archilogic's new virtual Eames House which is a fun, exciting experience.

This new site gives users the ability to reimagine the iconic layout with an arsenal of options and furniture including chairs, tables, beds and even Ikea items. Using 3D animation, the website allows visitors to virtually tour the home from three distinct views, exposing the theatricality of the interior and providing a new portal. Take a look for yourself. 

10 Iconic LA Buildings on our Radar to Scan

Los Angeles has plenty of amazing buildings designed by famous architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank O. Gehry, Renzo Piano, Richard Meier, Rudolph Schindler, and they're scattered all over town. Although it's debatable what makes a piece of architecture significant or interesting, wether its Art Deco, Craftsman or modern architecture, these structures create visual impact and some even have historic significance. There are so many, it's hard to narrow it down, but these are our top choices of buildings we would love to scan and archive.

1. Richard Meier's Getty Center looks like two completely different buildings, depending on your vantage point. You usually see views of the squared-off travertine stone facade or inner fountain, but we love the  curves of the main entrance, covered with off-white enameled aluminum panels.

2.The unassuming brown brick exterior of the Bradbury Building in Downtown LA doesn't hint at its spectacular interior. This is not a building that you can appreciate from the outside. You have to take the time to park and go inside, where intricately carved wood and wrought iron filigree are lit from above by a domed atrium.

3. The Capitol Records Building near Hollywood and Vine was designed by architect Welton Becket in 1956 to resemble a stack of vinyl 45 records. It is one of the most recognizable structures in the city. The 13-story tower is on the Los Angeles Register of Historic Places.

4. Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles was designed to look like a ship sailing down Grand Avenue with it's giant silver sails unfurled. One of the best things about Disney Concert Hall is you can climb up and down its stairways and walkways as if it were a real life M.C. Escher painting.

5.The Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, was designed as a prototype for what was supposed to be a series of dome cinemas around the country, based on R. Buckminster Fuller's geodesic design, but the rest were never built. Built in 16 weeks using 316 interlocking concrete panels, the theatre opened in 1963 with a curved 86-foot wide screen. The 76-foot high dome can seat almost 1000 people.

6.  The Sunset Tower Hotel is a historic Art Deco hotel on the Sunset Strip that was once home to a who's who of Hollywood celebrities from Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe to Iggy Pop. Bugsy Siegel's former apartment is now the Tower Bar.

7. The Chateau Marmont is a favorite celeb sighting haunt and perhaps best known as the location where John Belushi died in 1982. This 1929 hotel, modeled after a French chateau, has seen more Hollywood secrets than most, and its storied history still draws the curious.

8. If the Playboy Mansion's walls could talk, they would recount a bestselling memoir of raucous parties thrown by its owner, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, and plenty of naughty debauchery (most notably in its famous 'grotto.'). The Gothic-Tudor style mansion in Holmby Hills became famous in the '70s for its exclusive and wild parties.

9.The Stahl House (also known as Case Study House #22) is a modernist house designed by architect Pierre Koenig in the Hollywood Hills of LA.  It was made famous by a Julius Shulman photograph showing two women leisurely sitting in a corner of the house with an eventide panoramic view of the city through floor-to-ceiling glass walls.

10. Grauman's Chinese Theatre, now renamed TCL Chinese Theatre, is rarely mentioned in lists of top Los Angeles architectural sites, but Raymond M. Kennedy's 1927 movie palace is arguable the most famous and definitely the most visited architectural landmark in the city.