Inhabit: to live or dwell in a place; to exist or be situated within.
Architecture’s ability to mediate experience has historically been tied to the inherent qualities of material form and function. Digital media and new forms of visualization increasingly dominate our daily experiences, and what we experience as real is no longer just physical sensations. We become situated in an environment that is no longer material, and it rather exists as hybrid space apart from cognition and tangible experience. What is the role of formal architecture in supporting interactions in non-material space? What potential or operative qualities exist to enhance interpersonal interactions? As immaterial stimuli overlay experiential space, what leverage do we have as designers to improve our surrounding environment and heighten our connections to each other and improve our shared experience?
“We become situated in an environment that is no longer material. This environment rather exists as hybrid space apart from cognition and tangible experience.”
An installation in our studio allowed us the opportunity to formally explore an environment’s ability to change awareness and challenge the relationship between material and immaterial (it was also a great reason to invite friends over and have a party). The exploration began with a daylight study that generated a form with data sets specific to the time of day and the narrowness of the space.
The surface undulates and conforms to the space reacting to activity zones, access points and the shade and shadow created by windows and skylights. The surface was divided into 64 labeled panels which were laser cut and installed. On the night of the event, the assembled form provided a surface for mapping texture, information, wayfinding in a way that altered visual relationships and allowed the space to be experienced in multiple ways.
Although we no longer have vibrant graphics or natural images projected on the canopy, it still suspends from our ceiling, and continues to be a topic of conversation.