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Umwelt: Architecture and Interactive Digital Environments

Umwelt: Architecture and Interactive Digital Environments

Master Dissertation studio, academic year 2020-21, Ghent

Promotor: Dr. Corneel Cannaerts
Co-promotor: Michiel Helbig

In the framework of the Fieldstation Studio: http://www.fieldstationstudio.org/STUDIO/UMWELT/

Digital technologies have affected all aspects of architectural practice from design over construction, to occupation and dissemination of architecture. The most direct impact can be seen in the tools and media architects use in design processes, where early digital design tools mimicked well-known analogue predecessors of drafting modelling and rendering. However with developments in computational design, parametric modelling and visualisation, architects have access to a plethora of digital tools that allow for interactive modelling architecture in time, shifting from representation to simulation.  Interactive digital environments and game engines allow for dynamic, time based, narrative and performative aspects of architecture to be designed. They can operate as an design environment for architects or as means of engaging larger audiences, enabling other forms of collaboration and collective practice. They provide a necessary extension of the architects toolbox to engage with the complexities and urgencies architecture is faced with.

This master dissertation looks into the potential interactive digital environments through critical reflection on and hands-on experimentation with game engines.

This master dissertation addresses these questions through critical reflection on and  hands-onThe output consist of a (1) fieldguide, a catalogue mapping the topic through collecting references and written reflection, documenting a series of active experiments with digital technologies and (2) a series of design projects demonstrating the architectural implications of these technologies.

Students need to have excellent digital skills and have an interest in the critical and practical application digital technologies in architectural design.

This master thesis builds upon previous projects and ongoing research developed in the Fieldstation Studio:

Through the Eyes of the Machines, Cinematic Architecture Elective 2019-2020

Hello World, Computation & Materiality Elective 2019-2020.

Image credit: Inside, screenshots from game, 2016