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:
- Architectural theory is essentialist.
- Architectural tools are instrumentalist, architects don’t work on or near the site, as they need specialist tools connected to databases not to experiences.
- 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).
- Architects are not trained in user experience design and evaluation.
- Nor are architects trained in interactive media, their tools (see argument 2) are instrumentalist and passive.
- Traditional architectural craft is embodied, sited, takes time and records care. This is less and less the case.
- 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.