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Augmented (hyper)Reality

Part 2 Project 2010
Keiichi Matsuda
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL), UK
As media and technology-mediated interactions occupy ever-greater amounts of our time and attention, how will our experience and use of the city develop?
Augmented Reality (AR) is an emerging technology defined by its ability to overlay physical space with information. It is the next giant leap for humankind; not an escape from meatspace or an uploading of the soul, but the dissolution of the divide between physical and virtual, the explosion and reconciliation of geo-data and the city. The spatial organisation of data has important implications for architecture, as we re-evaluate the city as a human-computer interface.
This project focuses not on the built infrastructure of physical buildings, but on the infinite virtual layering of augmented realities. How will augmented space change our understanding of ideal space? Of privacy? Of branding and consumption? Although, like the internet, the possibilities are initially overwhelming, standards and protocols gradually start to emerge. In AR, these are spatial; a set of flexible rules and hierarchies that define the architectural composition of the augmented city. The overlaying and organization of meaning, branding, controls, symbols, skins and meshes onto the built environment is an architectural problem.
In a saturated interactive infoscape, media becomes indistinguishable from reality. Long-established dichotomies of public/private and home/work embedded in the city are disrupted, and new terms must emerge. As wireless fields of presence envelop the built environment, the electronomad uses an enhanced perceptory array of filters and controls to define the space she inhabits, bringing together channels and feeds to create a customised and subjective environment. Previously defined programmes are broken down into their constituent activities and recombined as necessary to create hybrid and specific conditions, spontaneous clusters of activity.
Where we once found beauty in the elegant resolution of a detail or the acoustic and tactile qualities of a space, augmented cyborgs will appreciate the narrative/temporal structuring of a space, the quiet simplicity of an intuitive spatial interface, or the intelligent crafting of emotive scenes. Architecture will merge with the filmmaking, game design and programming, an experiential form of new media to be practiced and broadcast by anybody so inclined.

Keiichi Matsuda

The architecture of the contemporary city is no longer confined to the physical space of its buildings and landscape, more and more it is about the augmented synthetic spaces created by the digital information that we collect, consume and organise. Developments in Information Communication Technology mean that we are already able to customise our experience of the city in much the same way we customise our computer interfaces. However the possibilities of this technology and the impact that they will have on the built environment, for good and bad, are only just beginning to be understood. The spaces of this Architecture2.0, like our other web portals, will be customisable, they will have numerous levels of sovcial interaction, questioning the very concepts of public and private, and will represent one of the biggest developments in the perception, articulation and transformation of human spaces that has ever taken place.
Kei Matsuda’s work clearly articulates some of the architectonic possibilities of the ‘augmented’ realities of this information space and how an immersive interface may interact with and become as much part of the world we inhabit as the buildings around us.
The Augmented City project follows two people on their way to a meeting up, we see the spaces that they inhabit and how they can adapt their perception of the world around them.
The work is beautifully executed demonstrating both a highly developed visual sensibility with some amazing technical skills. The film constructed in 3D gives one of the most powerful articulations of how the space of information will be an instrumental part of the architectural spaces of the near future.


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