Architecture Goes Wild

by | 23. Aug 2012



Architectural bodies are the target of technological invasion. They take part in global networks, they are connected. They interact with databases [people, websites, buildings, tables] in realtime and their shape and content changes all the time. Architecture no longer has a static end-configuration. The visible appearance of any building will become as unpredictable as the weather. Architecture Goes Wild.
/Kas Oosterhuis

ParaSCAPE. ParaSCAPE is an interactive sculpture in the urban environment designed by visual artist Ilona Lénárd and Kas Oosterhuis with composer Richard Tolenaar.

In his writings Kas Oosterhuis bridges the gap between theory and practice. His observations are based on the intriguing principle of concrete science fiction. He is convinced that every construct – hardware and software – that can be formulated as a consistent set of rules is realizable within the social constraints of our present-day culture. In his 1990 essay “Space_Time_Volume” Kas Oosterhuis places himself in the local and temporary delamination point between the micro- and macroworlds.  he speculates on a seamless continuity of these worlds where the instrumental human position is only one of many possible positions.  

Programmable structures reconfigure to provide for our basic need for shelter.

Facades incline to have fine views of the New York marathon passing by.

First we need that body.  Not your human body, but that product body. While conceiving that body in weightless 3-D space, we are going to shape it. We stretch, twist and scale that body. We are developing a client-specific body style.  During the design process the product body transforms along its growth path. The body is subject to a multiplicity of vectors. Multiple forces are working upon it from the outside and from within.

That vectorial body is a unibody with structural integrity. It is described by variable sections connecting together series of reference points. This body has only one detail for top, right, left and bottom. The body-splines are set by the formula and a series of subsequent parameters. That body then needs a skin. Both an exterior skin and an interior skin. The construction is the adjustable spacer between exterior and interior skin. A seamless skin is wrapped around the body. Doors are cuttings out of the skin. Windows are warp holes where the exterior skin folds back into the interior skin. The unibody lands smoothly on the local skin of the earth after having exchanged data regarding their properties. Body-skin meets planet-skin. The product body is a spacecraft feeding upon data from its local and global site. 

During its life cycle we will feed that body with fresh data from weather stations, the internet and from direct input by users. The users trigger sensors to play with the light and sound massage. The body becomes an instrumental playstation and gradually transforms into a push-and-pull medium. Virtual worlds are a direct extension of real worlds. Users experience the real and the virtual at the same time as parallel worlds. Architecture becomes animated and as unpredictable as the weather. The animate body displays real time behaviour. Fresh data is always calculating its values in relation to neighbouring data. Swarms of real time data are the flocking parameters inside the computer scripts. These formulas are building the emotional factor of that body in real time. That building body finally goes wild.

Heavy transport plane by Colani. The tension between space and time is increased in the object at rest when the forthcoming movement is anticipated.

Trans-ports v2.0, 1999. A hyperbody is a programmable building that changes its shape and content in real time.

X-ray rendering Saltwaterpavilion, 1995. The dimming of the fibres is controlled by the buildings biorhythm.

Atrium Town Hall Kampen, 1996. The building’s construction must be organized in such a way as to raise the intelligence both of the building and the cities in which it stands.

Space station game mode, 2000. “Architecture goes wild”.

In the following excerpt, from an interview with Michael Bittermann of the Hyperbody Research Group, Kas Oosterhuis elaborates on the term “Emotive Architecture”.

KO: Emotive Architecture feeds on data. These days I am reading the book “Flow” by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He states that we humans can handle 126 units of information per second.

This implies that he is treating us as data processing vehicles, just like I always tell my audience in a lecture. We absorb data, we process data, and we pump fresh data into our environments. Emotive Architecture does the same. It feeds on data.

There is the data input, there is the processing of the data, and there is the data output. This procedure runs in real-time. Real-time means in practice a smooth process of many operations per second. A desire usually is a complex of operations. According to Csikszentmihalyi we can handle 7 different information units at the same time. We humans practice parallel processing.

I expect the power of processing units immersed in the product bodies to continue to increase and hence to be able to process more operations per second that we humans can. The bottom line of this thought is that I expect that the built environments will communicate with us soon on an emotional level.

That’s one of the reasons why I am ready to label our attitude towards architecture Emotive Architecture.

MB:  What makes Emotive Architecture so emotionally appealing and intriguing?

KO: That is up to the designer and up to the user. Theoretically Emotive Architecture uses a wider bandwidth of emotional states than traditional architecture. The intriguing part is also that Emotive Architecture – since it is programmable – can be programmed to be either more static or more dynamic than traditional architecture.

Imagine a high rise building in stormy weather. The traditional skyscraper would bend with the wind; the top would be displaced several meters. The programmable structure of an Emotive building would be able to actuate its structure as to lean against the wind. As a result the programmable skyscraper would stand straight up without any deflection at all.

This I find really intriguing. Emotive Architecture can lead to either higher or lower emotional levels. It effectively broadens the bandwidth of our experience of spaces, in both directions of our emotional spectrum. I feel such an enormous potential for E-motive Architecture, there is so much energy, it’s so connected to what’s going on in the world around us. We are in the Flow.