architecturally augmented curiosity

Architecturally Augmented Curiosity (AAC) is a way of thinking about architectural anonymity, object-oriented ontology, and non-traditional means of architectural representation. For the object represented in this project, AAC is about treating it as a thing that exists, despite existing entirely in the realm of digital space. Physical construction may not always be seen as the desired end goal for architecture. However, it is important to understand that this is not because of any issues concerning finances, construction, or sustainability, but simply because it is not always good enough to build something in the real world.

Due to recent advances and developments in virtual and augmentation technologies, the digital world has the potential to challenge the role, status, and importance of architectural objects to exist in the built environment. However, for this to happen, a shift in perception must also happen. On smaller scales, the object within AAC is not to be treated as a prototype or miniature to be put into a gallery, but rather as a fully scaled and absolute thing which can be architecturally quantified, dissected, and described through diagram, section, plan, elevation, perspective, etc. Rem Koolhaas argues that architecture will have to fabricate a “new newness” which will be more about uncertainty, non-permanence, underdevelopment, and thinking of architecture as things that are able to remove boundaries and manipulate conditions of growth: it is about “living in the sea which swept away our sandcastles” (Koolhaas, 1995). This brings up questions regarding particular ways to compliment and represent a “new newness” through digital techniques that stray away from traditional diagrams and instead explore the potential of augmenting the reality of the object itself.

The particular object-oriented ontology for this project is focused on non-anthropocentric characteristics of water flow on object materiality, texture, and form. This is achieved through fluid dynamics simulations that manipulate and erode geometry in four-dimensional, real-time space. However, despite all of the potential for manipulation and study, the object represented still does not concern itself with the opinions of others – it just is. It is an anonymous thing that alienates itself from human perception. And any illusions to anthropocentric program and space are further blurred by the repeating series of unpredictable views to its liquid self. It is visibly strange and ultimately the result of inverting traditional forms of architectural representation within existing understandings of familiarity.

This project is explorable in virtual reality within Unreal Engine.

Koolhaas, Rem and OMA with Bruce Mau. (1995). What Ever Happened to Urbanism? The Monicelli Press, New York. pp. 959/971.

Design, research, and prototyping with the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL), University of Calgary, including Josh Taron, Ryan Cook. 2015.