Technology today has continued to drive design, namely in the way we create space. This may happen in the production of the materials to make the space. It may happen within the space to control the environment, such as in the way a building heats and cools itself. Or it may happen in a way in which the building actually connects physically with the user.
A big question that comes to mind is why? Why does technology need to be integrated into the way we create spaces? Maybe it isn’t necessary, we have survived without it for most of humanity’s existence, but maybe it enhances the quality of the space, or even connects a system of spaces.
Many times technology is intriguingly researched and developed in ways that lead to interactive facades. “PixelSkin02” by Orangevoid is one of these “electrographic facades,” though as designers’ inquiries develop with interactive architecture, it is now one of many. To me the exciting part of interactive architecture is in how and why it moves and changes, specifically in a social manner. I am less interested with pixels showing an image or video than I am with it telling me something about my surroundings. Perhaps that the next train is coming in 2 minutes? The opportunities for these “electrographic” and reactive facades are plentiful, but in my opinion still in their infantry.
At a smaller scale, “Dynamic Terrain” takes these ideas a step further. An interactivearchitecture.org blog post describes “Dynamic Terrain” as, demonstrating a possible future of an interactive system that forms our surrounding depending on the action taken by the user and as an area in which to experience the mix of digital and physical space. This scale in which the physical space is directly in contact with the user, helps create a more meaningful physical experience with technology. But could ideas like this act as part of a system?
As the world becomes a more global society, projects like “RemoteHome” manifests the ways in which we can live in a more inherent way, yet spread across the globe. Since humans have been trading and travelling, we have been trying to make this shift in space and time a more smooth transition. We now can get halfway around the world in a little less than a day, but once we get there, it can still be pretty difficult to connect with those back home. Sure we have things like skype and facetime, but we still have to deal with the time difference. We also are constrained to actually telling each other about our experiences. We cannot have the same experience with someone halfway across the world. “RemoteHome” creates an environment which interactively connects us with someone at another location. For example, the wall panel at the apartment your spouse stays at while they work in Berlin, reacts, moves, and changes as you walk past the same wall at your flat in London. ArchRecord shows a great interactive PDF explaining further (click the link on the lower right side of the article).
Those working with technology need to keep asking technology questions, just as Louis Kahn did with brick. What do you want technology? Do you want to teach us? Do you want to teach us about yourself? About our surroundings? About others? Do you want to help connect us with others? Technology’s answer may be more complicated than brick’s liking of an arch, but I think the continued experimentation with people and technology will eventually lead to a clearer answer, it just may be a long, interesting road to get there.