Media Architecture is considered a rather novel phenomenon that interconnects media and architecture in manifold ways. It is a field that encompasses quite diverse projects; yet due to its ambiguous nature, it is rather difficult to define. Therefore, as part of our master thesis, instead of providing a definition, we aim to find the core elements of Media Architecture, which, when combined, they provide a more holistic approach to the field. Combining these elements in a conceptual framework, we apply it to a number of projects to examine its validity. The results of our analysis are being presented in this prototype web platform.
To answer the question, “what are the core elements of Media Architecture?”, we have collected various elements from our literature and created a conceptual framework. This framework is applied to several projects to examine its validity. The elements are as follows:
We consider space as Architectural Space; space that can be designed, occupied, experienced, immersed into or constructed by humans. We rely on the human perception of space that is based on the experience of space on a human scale. We refer, primarily, to buildings, architectural elements, architectural design, urban space, and physical structures or installations. In these cases, space plays an integral role. An element does not simply occupy space or is not just placed into space, but space plays an important part in the “equation”. In the framework, we have considered three types of space; Physical, Virtual and Augmented.
We refer to Physical Space, as the material, real space that surrounds us and we perceive as humans, without any mediation. In the context of our thesis, we consider Virtual Space as a computer-generated environment that has many similarities with the real world; as space that spatial awareness, interaction and immersion can be achieved through simulation. Augmented space is the physical space overlaid with dynamically changing information. This information is likely to be in multimedia form and it is often localized for each user.
Equally important with Space is the Media element. In our framework, the Media aspect of term the “Media Architecture” is perceived as Technology, as an intervening agency. Technology is an integral part of the field, without which Media Architecture cannot exist. In the framework, we refer to Technology either as Analog or as Digital. They can be found either individually or as a combination, which for us is the best possible scenario.
Human Presence refers to active participation, dialogue and engagement between built environment and people. Human Presence has two modes. Performer, an active participant, whose actions could effectively change the configuration, structure, content and in turn the experience of a space. And Observer, a passive participant, whose primary role is to be the receiver of the content or the message that is being communicated.
We refer to Media Architecture as a system, whose two main components of space and media technologies are integrated into one “body”. For that to be achieved, a Correspondence between Space, Display and Content should be present. With the word Space, we refer to a building, physical structure or urban space, where a display can be placed. The word Display relates to the form of the media technology or the display technology that functions as a medium. The word Content, coming from “contain”, refers to something that is enclosed within something else. The best possible outcome would be for all three parts to combine with each other harmoniously. However, as this would constrain the field of Media Architecture significantly, we also refer to this element as Space-Display and Space-Content Correspondence and we focus more on the former.
We refer to Media Architecture as a system, whose two main components of space and media technologies are integrated into one “body”. For that to be achieved, a Correspondence between Space, Display and Content should be present. With the word Space, we refer to a building, physical structure or urban space, where a display can be placed.
The Space-Display element concerns the level of integration of the media technology to a specific site, whether this site is a building or urban space. Here the question is, if the Display takes into consideration the spatial structure it is connected to.
Dynamicity refers to manifold concepts; dynamic systems, structures, environments, properties and materials, behavior, content or atmosphere. Essentially, Dynamicity can be thought of as a function of time where the state of an entity changes over time. We refer to it as an antonym of static and as a synonym of changeable.