Webcam House

Ryuji Nakamura

Architect  Ryuji Nakamura designed a tiny paper house to place over your webcam so you can appear as a giant in your videochats. The paper house was part of a workshop Nakamura did for DESIGNEAST 01 back in late 2010. Look inside the house to find your own gaze exposed on the computer screen. Spy yourself through a device for reversed voyeurism.

Ryuji Nakamura 2

Through the globe looking-glass


Following the Door Hacks series, that begun with our Infopanel project and the first DH installment, we present A room in the glass globe, Hideyuki Nakayama, a prototype for a doorknob presented in 2010.
“Architect Hideyuki Nakayama teamed up with UNION, a manufacturer of door handles and levers, to create the glass globe doorknob presented at DesignTide Tokyo. It allows you to “catch a glimpse of what appears to be another world, waiting for you to enter and join” showing instead a “reflection of the room on the other side of the door”.  (




Door hacks (I)


Here is another post about the InfoPanel Spirit, or “how students find ways to communicate through the apropiation of their surrounding Architecture”.

InfoPanel was one of the features in the project for the Student House in Trondheim. It was some sort of communication or socialization device, that, among other features, it would allow students to control their profile inside the community of the Student House.

In this case, an MIT student, Dheera Venkatraman, designed an innovative way to hack his dorm door and  enter his room without using a key.

In this version of the door opener (he went through several ones) he completely disassembled an old IBM typewriter and used it to pull the doorknob. This was also accompanied by an LCD display, separated from a laptop and mounted through the door, sending the wires through the hole left after unscrewing the provided eyehole.

The LCD display permitted people to leave messages as well as enter a dialog box that would allow a password to be entered to unlock the door.

LCD display on the front of the door
LCD display on the front of the door

This version of the door opener also used a variety of other entry authentication systems, including using a barcode scanner,  magnetic reed sensors positioned strategically behind the door (where you would have to tap the correct sequence at the correct place on the door with a strong magnet), and capacitive (where you just tap your fingers on the doorknob itself in a particular pattern).

Back of the door
Back of the door
keyboard on the front of the door
keyboard on the front of the door

Info Panel

The info-panel is an empathy multiplier. It was proposed to be installed in the front of each bedroom in MySpace Student House.

It helps to get an individually responsible management of a building, this way becoming socially sustainable.

Myspace Building Info Panel had three blocks of information, or three kinds of information that could be displayed: Image port, Personal Messenger and the Sustainabiltiy Co-Responsibiltiy Device.

1. Image Port.

Room occupier identity image (avatar, user’s photograph…) and Personal image/video collection (as in a digital frame).

2. Personal messenger

– Message screen. “We’ll meet at the hyperlounge at 12.00” “I am currently reading Ulyses” “Recent acquisitions in my ipod: Coldplay, Metallica, first Lou Reed record”.

– Icon mode for recurrent messages. Messages like “I’m out”, “I’m busy”, “Water my plants please!” could be substituted by easily recognisable graphic icons.

– “Post-it” dispenser. A sort of mailbox for short informations introduced by others into the message board, or directly as phisical notes. USB accesible from the exterior or phisical mailbox. For persons who wish to leave a message to the owner of the room. Info panels should be interfaces for interchange, not only individual means of information.

The Info panel was also a tool to find reciprocal affinities among the student community, to encourage the idea of the building as a community of people related. When someone simply writes “I like James Joyce” on his panel, and that information is visible to others, he would be likely to meet people with the same tastes for literature.

3. Co-responsibility device

Here the following information would be introduced: Water and energy consumption. Even temperature of the room (compared to that of all rooms). Waste generation.Paper consumption. A software introduced in resident`s printers would easily tell the amount of paper he is consuming. This is a possible example of how the waste generation could be traced. Other debris could be weighted directly on personal rubbish bins.

All of this information related to the building’s average numbers.

We imagine two complementary ways of exposing this information. The first one would be simply a screen where to have facts and figures of personal co-responsibilty rates. The second would directly affect the look of the corridor spaces: Each info panel would have a light panel that would change from green to blue, the more consumption, the more the panel would blush into blue. That would give a quick map of the consumption of each level, a map that would involve the building itself. In a way, the building would “talk”.


Possibly the implementation of the InfoPanel system would require to have a centralized computer net, a sort of Myspace intra-net that would serve as bridge between users and info panel (when someone plugs his computer into his panel) and a means of coordinating the energy consumption lectures. A resident should have the resposibiltiy to act as net-master.

Lounge Info Panel

An Info Panel, like an airport display,  introduced in the Collective Lounge wouldo offer a sort of general map of co-responsibility practices. This panel also would transmit general information to others. “Data-Rock concert at 19.00 on the west lounge area” “Record of low electric consumption at 1.00AM this morning!”

Technologies involved in the Info Panel would not neccesarily encompass very sofisticated solutions. From the digital to the analogue, it could incorporate different degrees of technology, from the very standard computing devices and  flat screens to mechanical or electrical ones, resulting in an interesting combination of present day technologies and ‘vintage looking’ less sofisticated ones.

Although in the end none of these technologies was installed, the students living in Teknobyen Student House did use some of the surfaces available to write their own messages and express themselves.

Teknobyen Construction Process

During the construction of the building we had a webcam installed in the building just across the street pointing to the construction site. It was a great way to monitor the process in Norway from our offices in Madrid and Delft.

We made this video with some frames captured from the webcam along 12 monts, from june 2011 to june 2012.

Shut up and take my pancakes!

MySpace’ student’s housing in Trondheim (Norway) by Murado & Elvira and Krahe Architects (MEK) Detail of fridge doors at the communal kitchen.

In order to achieve a collective-driven atmosphere, students share a flexible lounge and a self-managed, ‘ultrakitchen’, designed as an experimental space for the use and simultaneous enjoyment of 116 students , like a 24/24 sort of social sustainability condenser.

This way of structuring common space trough collective actions as a means to strengthen the bonds within the newly established community impell dwellers to come up with rules, responsibilities and unexpected ways of counterbalancing interests.  At this domestic parliament the shared kitchen is the space where common life is negotiated. Self management is common, and frequently the building is a scenario for new experiences: late night pancake contests in the kitchen, cooking seminars held by local celebrities, etc.