5. Interactive Architecture

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Designing for design hacking may seem limited to small scale objects and interactions but this idea can actually scale to the built environment that surrounds us. While adding new technologies to the traditionally static structures in the environment can add a level of life, similar to finessing the tween in an animation, it often stops at that level. Currently, what is usually considered “interactive architecture” tends to be just a linear relationship between an input and output, taking in A and giving out B. The environment recognizes my presence, and reacts in a pre-determined way (see Fig. 5). In this scenario the designer still controls the whole experience and leaves no room for people to create their own outcomes. On the other hand a more complex interaction would be able to adapt to the intentions of the people or the system (Greenfield, Shepard “Urban Computing and Its Discontents”).

Fig. 5. Studio Roosegaarde. Dune 4.2.

While graphic designers have traditionally been experts at controlling every aspect of the beautiful glossy page, or what I would consider the keyframes, architects have traditionally been well versed in controlling every aspect of the big beautiful structure which functions as a threshold separating the outside world from the inside world (Beesley, Khan “Responsive Architecture/Performing Instruments”). But even if a structure has the added technological ability to react to the presence of people, by not designing it in a way that adapts to complex goals it fails to understand the human experiences that fill the gaps above, below, through and in between the structure.

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