The great thing about the architecture industry is its ability to collaborate, learn from, and borrow concepts from allied [or not so related] disciplines for the sake improving spaces and design. A key example of this is the pivotal publication from Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake called Refabricating Architecture , which argues for moving architecture from a part-based, linear approach to an integrated one that brings together technology, materials, and production methods. The work presents examples from several industries that have successfully made the change to an integrated component approach, and the authors were the first in the field to advocate for this much-needed change in the building industry. For the year 2017, the emerging field in architecture that is feeding off allied disciplines much like the example above is Interactive Architecture.
This research, technology and media based concept advances architecture by promoting the use of novel STEM-heavy concepts such as multi-sensory interfaces, robotics and kinetic structures, responsive environments, wearable computing and prosthetics, the internet of things, performance, and choreography. The concept was popularized around 2009 by Architects Michael Fox (FoxLin) and Miles Kemp (Variate Labs and Series Design/Build) who put out a book called Interactive Architecture as a guide to creating spaces through emerging technologies that could interact with inhabitants in a variety of “pragmatic and humanistic” ways. The authors describe Interactive Architecture as a processes to creating dynamic spaces and objects capable of performing a range of pragmatic and humanistic functions, made possible by a twenty-first century toolbox and skill set using virtual and physical modeling, sensor technology, CNC fabrication, prototyping, and robotics which necessitates collaboration across many diverse scientific and art-based communities. Almost a decade later many of their assumptions and desires were realized through new advancements in computation and environmental design.
So the concept i’m sharing in this post is the emerging field of interactive architecture, and where to find the latest information about this topic. Here’s the resources I recommend:
- Check out the book by Fox and Kemp as listed above to get an idea of how the concept began.
- Check out Fox’s follow up publication, where the author has gathered eighteen global case studies to create Interactive Architecture: Adaptive World.
- Perhaps the biggest force driving this topic and promoting from both the academic and professional practice sides is UCL Bartlett School of Architecture’s Interactive Architecture program and web resource. They even have a Masters program dedicated to the subject commencing October 2017. I also wrote a review on the resource last year:The Interactive Architecture Lab. Multimedia & Technology Reviews, Art Libraries Society of North America. 2016 URL: https://www.arlisna.org/publications/multimedia-technology-reviews/1023-the-interactive-architecture-lab
- To get an understanding of how artists partner with architects to achieve this, check out a leading designer in the area: Jason Bruges