Dematerializing Architecture - Skinning Buildings

Architecture in one sense deals with the most material of human creations, structures. Buildings are physical entities in the realm of atoms as much as bits. The physical layout of buildings, their mass, structural elements, and so on are the work of architects. But there is another aspect of architecture which is primarily aesthetic. The surface form of structures, the gargoyles appended to buildings. This art lies firmly in the realm of information, even though it has historically been presented in concrete, wood, and masonry, rather than on paper, vinyl, or plastic.

The advent of augmented reality will allow us to dematerialize this aesthetic aspect of architecture. Instead of seeing the building as the architect designed it, we can see it according to our preference, with the skin we wish to attach. In a world of augmented reality, no one will pay for any ephemerally fashionable aesthetic attachments when they can subscribe to a set of aesthetics in software.

The form will still matter, as we still need to be inside buildings to stay dry, and need to know where the entrances and exits are to avoid walking into walls. Buildings as housers of beds and containers of furniture and tools will remain important, as will their spatial location. But ornament will not, as that will be in the eye (or the AR glasses) of the beholder. We can expect a new construction based on the plainest surface which will be the easiest to adapt to computer models.

We will no longer need worry about historic preservation, bridges with egregious sight lines, or other offenses to our sensibilities. We will simply need to don the appropriate goggles (or farther into the future, jack our brains into the appropriate computers), and find ourselves presented with the world as we wish it to be.

David Levinson

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on August 17, 2011 2:53 PM.

Mural Painted on Mpls. Street to Help Slow Traffic was the previous entry in this blog.

The Undeath of Distance is the next entry in this blog.

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