Document Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2011

Capstone Advisor

Lori Brown

Honors Reader

Ramona Albert

Capstone Major

Architecture

Capstone College

Architecture

Audio/Visual Component

no

Capstone Prize Winner

no

Won Capstone Funding

no

Honors Categories

Creative

Subject Categories

Architectural History and Criticism | Architectural Technology | Architecture

Abstract

The rapid growth of the internet and the far-reaching ubiquity of our virtual networks within the last decade have spurred an entirely new generation of interactive devices and technologies; these include the technologies seen in cell phones, video games, televisions and computers. Furthermore, online social networks such as Facebook and our portable Internet devices, mainly the iPhone, have begun to redefine our sense of time and place in a world of global connectivity and instant-access. This phenomenon results in a constant flow of communication and information that blankets the globe and marks a cultural paradigm shift to a much more pervasive and personalized “climate” of technology.

As a result of this paradigm shift, contemporary modes of conceiving our interactions with our surroundings have made a distinct shift from traditional architectural modes of place making. Architecture should no longer rely on the repetition of static, mass-produced components, but should be like a “second skin” that adapts and responds to its inner workings—a network made up of people interacting with each other and with their physical environments, all while being mediated by technology. Diller + Scofidio explain the user’s consciousness of the body in its relationship to space and the possibilities that exist for architecture as a living body:

The first task architecture ought to assume, therefore, is that of defining and imagining an environment not just for “natural” bodies but for bodies projected outside themselves, absent and ecstatic, by means of their technologically extended senses. Far from assimilating the tool with the body according to the mechanistic tradition of Cartesian dualism, we must conceive tool and instrument like a second sort of body, incorporated into and extending our corporal powers. It then becomes possible and even necessary to logically invert the terms of our proposition on the role of architecture. The incorporation of technology is not effected by “imagining” a new environment, but by reconfiguring the body itself, pushing outward to where its artificial extremities encounter “the world.”[1]

In this way, the architecture becomes not only a building, but a body that expresses a “post-spatial” notion of a globally networked, soft architecture or what Francois Roche referred to as a “habitable organism.” [2]

Space is a manifestation of human behavior and interaction. Traditionally, people have always been expected to adapt to their spaces. But what if our spaces could adapt to us? Architecture would then shape our experience and play a more active role in suggesting new ways for inhabitants to interact with and perceive their environment. A greater consciousness and self-awareness would be the result. The goal becomes to design adaptive behavior and architecture that is integral to the interactivity and inner-activity of the users within the space. It is important that the project’s intervention not only respond to those interactions as a kind of cause-and-effect relationship but that it initiates a dialogue and participation between people and the environment it creates. By questioning the outdated concepts of space and time, contemporary relationships between the users, the environment and a global network can emerge.

[1] Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, and Georges Teyssot, Flesh: Architectural Probes. (New York: Princeton Architectural, 1994), 16.

[2] Neil Leach, “Digital Cities” Architectural Design 79.4, (2009), 8-9.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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