The Principals Office


Welcome to our new weekly column by The Principals, where every Friday they summon someone or something to the Principals office. Lessons will be learned, tears might be shed, parents could be called.

Riding the theme of “architectural gimmicks” put forth by a commenter last week, today we’re calling the Arduino into our office.


A lot like 3D printing, the Arduino is one those magic words you can tack onto the end of any project description that ensures instant success and press in abundance. While separate, the two bandwagons share the same highway – the information superhighway. Most of you may have heard of the Arduino, but were too afraid to play the fool and ask the obvious question, what the fuck is it? Well fear no more, The Principals have ridden this highway like Tom Cochrane rides the Highway of Life! We’ve got answers to your questions because that’s what we do – GET THINGS DONE.

In 2005 in Ivrea, Italy a couple of kooky Italians named Massimo Banzi and David Cuartielles were looking to make a tool students could use for interactive projects. What they ended up with was a single-board microcontroller running on an open-source software, allowing students to prototype interactive projects cheaply and easily. Little did they know that someday these very same students would flood the internet with endless tutorials on how to make your own LED matrix or remote-controlled car. So you might be asking yourself the obvious question right now, “wait, I love LED matrixes and remote-controlled cars, what’s wrong with them, what’s wrong with me?!” Simply put: Nothing. Who wouldn’t want to build a sign that reads out “The Principals are cool” while driving their ultra fast remote-controlled dune buggy through the mud pit in their backyard? The naysayers, and there will always be naysayers, claim that if this is all your $80,000 in tuition added up to, then you should ask for a refund. They state our buildings need more character and less digital superficialities, a slice of humanity instead of virtual reality. To which we respond: Any reality without a remote-controlled dune buggy is a reality we don’t want to live in.

Grade: A for the reality that Architectural Gimmicks can be Amazing.

The Principals are a Brooklyn-based interactive design studio 

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