Oblivious to Gravity: Virtual Architecture between disciplinary dead ends and complex intersections

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Abstract

Design media have an intimate relationship with architecture, and also serve as the means of its practice. With new technologies, and especially virtual reality, a new rhetoric of design media is becoming increasingly possible. That is, media being used as means both to design and to experience space. Such rhetorics expand the formal manifestations of architecture besides building, as well as the horizon of what can be design as well as what can be aesthetically experienced as architecture. This research is concerned with the topic of ‘Virtual Architecture.’ That is architecture specific to the virtual domain that is experienceable, however unbuildable. As an alternative mode of computational design, Virtual Architecture is concerned with a latent domain of architectural experience that is not attainable through traditional practices of building but only accessible through the virtual dimension, and as such its design is not restricted by the concrete physical world. The aim of the paper is to construct the research foundations for ‘Virtual Architecture,’ through the assembly of knowledges from multiple epistemic domains. It sets off by highlighting disciplinary limitations and challenges as well as the potentials of transdisciplinary practice that are central to this research. It proceeds by reviewing relevant literature domains and precedents from architecture and game studies, identifying and examining their limitations. Furthermore, it describes practical constraints in the design-investigation of media-specific virtual environments which require a shift of paradigm in design media. More specifically, that is the replacement of the Cartesian-Euclidean understanding of space to the spatiotemporal model of Riemannian non-Euclidean geometry that treats ‘space’ as a variability. Lastly, it describes how design knowledge can contribute in experimental studies of virtual environments for the investigation space-related aesthetics capacities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-37
Number of pages14
JournalArchidoct
Volume8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Virtual architecture
  • Computational design
  • Virtual reality
  • Aesthetics
  • Design media

Field of art

  • Architecture
  • Design

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