Rough Outline on Architected Place

I am finishing a chapter (Chapter 3: ‘Architected’ Places) for my own book on Virtual Places, but the structural arc has escaped me until now. It will be polemical and controversial so I need to rewrite it to show that I realize this, there will be gaps and generalizations.

The basic premises are:

  1. Architectural theory is essentialist.
  2. Architectural tools are instrumentalist, architects don’t work on or near the site, as they need specialist tools connected to databases not to experiences.
  3. Architectural media is loath to include people and architectural spaces don’t work as places without people (Marseilles, by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion, architectural masterpieces tend to be pavilions).
  4. Architects are not trained in user experience design and evaluation.
  5. Nor are architects trained in interactive media, their tools (see argument 2) are instrumentalist and passive.
  6. Traditional architectural craft is embodied, sited, takes time and records care. This is less and less the case.
  7. So applying theories of architecture, or practices of architectural design to interactive digital media in order to create virtual places, may well leave some gaps. How to resolve these in the design of virtual places? Corruption? Fancy theory? Post modernism? No, through embodiment, multimodality, role-play (and thematic affordances), allowing user-infill, environmental change to affect the design environment, and digital personalized patinas, materials that show the effect of time, wear and care.



2 thoughts on “Rough Outline on Architected Place

  1. Interesting points and arguments.

    True, that Architects do not work/may not need to ‘work on or near the site’, however, from their experiences and training they became aware of developing ‘place’ which (suposed to) fit the occupants. For example, most of the works of ‘Geoffrey Bawa’, are well articulated with site and user-experience and don’t tend to become a ‘pavilion’. To design of such ‘space’ which can later turn into ‘place’ needs experience and sensitivity, and may not be trained in a classroom.

    Architects may not, but built-environment professionals do ‘post-occupancy evaluation’ for building projects, which provides feedback to architects for their next design works.

    Definitely, you are questioning a big issue, and I will be waiting to read the full section!

  2. 1 Pavilions-I was talking about the so called 20th C masterpieces by the ‘masters’. Certainly not many buildings are pavilions (and not in the sense of a secondary building) but those featured in 20th modernist books typically were, or were factory/warehouse-inspired (Le Corbusier, Gropius).
    2 Post-occupancy evaluation, yes architects do this but this is still not that common, nor do that many architecture schools have extensive courses and specialists in post-occupancy evaluation, and not enough developers (in my opinion) pay for it.
    The problems are to do with the industry overall rather than the architects.
    I agree #1 and #2 are changing but my conversations with architects suggest to me these are still problems. And they are of direct importance in the design of virtual places.

    Zimmerman and Martin:
    ” The barriers to implementing POE are found to include: fragmented incentives and benefits within the procurement and operation processes, lack of agreed and reliable indicators, potential liability for owners, exclusion from current delivery expectations, exclusion from professional curricula. Recommendations for overcoming these barriers are made at governmental, institutional, corporate and project levels.”

    “The unique contribution POE could provide, in addition to the multiple benefits that are described above, is the important emphasis on the ultimate consumers or users of facilities, something that has been neglected for too long. It is the recommendation of this author for facility managers to adopt POE as part of their “tool kits”, to conduct pilot POEs on limited performance aspects of their facilities in order to become familiar with the methodology and the results and, ultimately, to integrate POE into their routine data-gathering and reporting activities.”

    Riley Noora , and Pitt. 2010:
    “The general uses of POE are discussed alongside the potential benefits that would come from having it as a mainstream process. For this to happen, the barriers against the process need to be overcome. Not only does the industry need to make changes to the organisational culture by either delineating what best practice would be, or to start including POE as a part of their regular services therefore taking away the issue of who conducts it (Bordass and Leaman, 2005). If the service is integrated into a package deal, prices could be set accordingly. Education can also help mould the future practitioners.”

    -Cooper, Ian. 2001. “Post-occupancy evaluation – where are you?” Building Research & Information 29 (2):158-163. doi: 10.1080/09613210010016820.
    -Preiser, Wolfgang F. E. 1995. “Post-Occupancy Evaluation: How to make Buildings Work Better.” Facilities 13 (11): 19.
    -Riley, Mike, Noora Kokkarinen, and Michael Pitt. 2010. “Assessing post occupancy evaluation in higher education facilities.” Journal of Facilities Management 8 (3):202-213. doi: doi:10.1108/14725961011058839.
    -Zimmerman, Alex, and Mark Martin. 2001. “Post-occupancy evaluation: benefits and barriers.” Building Research & Information 29 (2):168-174. doi: 10.1080/09613210010016857.
    -Zimring, Craig M., and Janet E. Reizenstein. 1980. “Post-Occupancy Evaluation.” Environment and Behavior 12 (4):429-450. doi: doi:10.1177/0013916580124002.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s