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Introduction

“Emotive Environments” is an approach to enrich the predominantly static characteristics of architecture with responsive, adaptive and smart elements and thereby create a space that exhibits some of the dynamics that can be found in nature. The project aims to realize a prototypical architecture that dynamically responds to the presence and behavior of its inhabitants. These immediate responses, including kinetic movements, visual, acoustic and vibrational feedback, are based on algorithms that model the behavior of self-organized natural systems. Accordingly, the interaction is initiated locally and subsequently spreads across the architectural space. The inhabitants can augment and alter the movements and sounds that are already present in the space generating an enhanced and novel spatial and behavioral experience. Due to a symbiotic relationship among the inhabitants and the “Emotive Environments”, the design is strongly informed by the human experience.

The project merges the following interests and research questions:

  • active materials and structures:

The integration of novel materials and technologies into architectural design and construction has always resulted in new spatial and formal expressions. Especially the development of lightweight construction methods and flexible skins has allowed for more complex geometries, reduced transportation costs and easier and faster construction. How can today, a biologically inspired design, combine smart materials with thin-film membranes and synthetic textile structures? If this is merged with generative computation, evolutionary strategies and digital fabrication what kind of spaces can emerge from such an approach and how can this extend formal and structural adaption towards a new understanding of materiality?

  • behaviors of the environment:

The implementation of biologically inspired processes of self-organization can augment an artificial system with some of the properties of an autonomous and responsive organism. How can an environment manifest itself as a distributed but coherent entity? How can an environment’s behavioral repertoire be designed from correlated movements of its structural, visual and acoustic properties? How can these behaviors be consistent with both the individual and collective activities of its visitors?

  • social and phenomenological interaction:

“Emotive Environments” do not only frame the activities of its inhabitants, but hold the potential of dynamically affecting and even transforming them. What kind of social and phenomenological experiences are generated by materials and structures we develop in this project? How does their spatial arrangement and temporal responses influence the behavior and emotional state of the inhabitant? How is the agency (e.g. that of space, single module, person, group…) perceived and produced?

Team:

Prof. Dr. Karmen Franinovic, Interaction Design, DDE, Zurich University of the Arts

Dr. Nat. Sci. Daniel Bisig, Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology, DMU, Zurich University of the Arts

Collaborators:

Dipl.- Ing. (arch) Manuel Kretzer, CAAD – Chair of Computer Aided Architectural Design, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

EMPA The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Dübendorf