Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Reflexive Architecture by Keystone Bouchard at 2nd Live

Posted by Alpha Auer

I shall take the huge liberty of quoting the text from Keystone Bouchard's notecard related to his project at 2nd Live more or less in its entirety, with few omissions and no additions from me, since I feel that I cannot present this more cohesively than the architect himself:

"The Project: In physical reality, the architectural shell is a relatively static and motionless artifact. The occupant plays a passive role, observing but rarely impacting its composition. Winston Churchill's statement, 'We shape our buildings and afterwards, our buildings shape us,' illustrates this point well. However, in a virtual environment, the architecture is capable of transcending the limitations of static buildings, and can become as fluid and dynamic as the communities of people it hopes to serve. The topic of this installation, 'Reflexive Architecture' is just one vector suggesting the emergence of a new language of virtual architecture, free from the habit of pure physical replication.

I believe we can shape our virtual buildings, and afterwards we keep shaping them...

The Theory: There is a polarizing tension emerging between virtual architecture primarily focused on replicating elements of physical reality, in contrast with architecture that explores purely virtual concepts not possible in any other medium. In an environment where avatars are free to create anything they can imagine, the vast majority of the architectural fabric created is still largely driven by very literal parallels to the physical world. This happens for good reason, as we have learned to visually organize the world around us, real or virtual, based on familiar cues and patterns. A roof may not need to protect us from the elements in virtual space, but it organizes a space. Even though you can fly, a ramp is still a strong wayfinding mechanism.

(It did my graphic designer's heart good to see such beautiful and refined usage of typography within such an apt context. A.A ;-)

While we import these visual cues from physical reality with good cause, I think we also need to consider the native, inherent characteristics of this environment and build a new language of virtual architecture based on those characteristics. New architectural technologies such as steel, glass, elevators, and electricity have traditionally challenged architects and designers to explore new and unprecedented forms of architectural creation. The same will be true of virtual environments. What can we do in virtual space that could never have been done before?

In examining the differences between real and virtual environments, it becomes clear that physical architecture is relatively static and unchanging, whereas virtual architecture has the capacity to become far more dynamic; behaving more like a liquid than a static and passive artifact. I believe this seemingly simple distinction could serve as a core ingredient and driving force behind a new language of virtual architecture. In this way, the idea of reflexive architecture is not a new language of virtual design, but only a simple diagram that exists within a much larger community-wide exploration of dynamic new forms of virtual architecture.

Many thanks to the 2nd Live series, and to Drifter Rhodes for his time and energy setting this all up. Also, many thanks to Annabelle Fanshaw and Vicki Brandenburg for all of their outstanding work with the reflexive landscape architecture!"

More about Jon Brouchoud / Keystone Bouchard can be found here. More about the concepts behind this project can be found at these links:

This very beautiful as well as thought provoking structure can be seen by teleporting directly from here. Larger sizes of the photos I took can be viewed here.


Hugobiwan Zolnir said...

Great post, great work, great pictures.

Thank you a lot.

Hugobiwan Zolnir