The Application of an Understanding of Architectural Space to Make Sense of Interactions in Virtual Environments
The application of the language of architecture and urban design to give meaning to arguably 'cultureless' spaces, such as open plan office environments, has become commonplace. The research will explore the application of the language and codes of architectural space to virtual spaces that are overlaid onto the physical environment. The aim is to enhance the way in which these spaces are understood and inhabited, that currently leave few cultural clues to behaviour and interaction with others.
What role does the representation of architectural experience in non-physical environments play? Architectural design tools and strategies, such as drawing and the construction of miniatures, will help to inform both the interrogation of notions of space, as well as the engagement with users of the spatial settings under scrutiny.
Analog relatives and spatial typologies additionally offer a set of conditions against which to test social interaction in digital environments. The coffee house as one of the birthplaces of the modern public sphere in contrast to the home as the ultimate private domain offer architectural typologies to investigate a shifting understanding of notions of the public and the private. Abstraction used in theatre and film sets, in particular codes used in sets to evoke an understanding through a particular image of space, will further contextualise the understanding of interactions in the digital public space.
As part of the Creative Exchange network, the research project will inform and be informed by a series of projects with academic and industry partners. These will enable the testing of ideas and gathering of insights to better understand individual interaction in physical and virtual settings.
With mobile communications and networked social activity constantly challenging traditional notions of privacy, can a theatrical urban landscape act as the stage for our desire to make ourselves visible, while becoming the living-room for a densified and diversified part of the City?
Notions of display and concealment, the carving out of pockets of privacy, as well as the unawareness of one’s visibility are core themes of the architectural investigation. The landscape becomes the spatial relative of Facebook, Twitter and Grindr: an augmented urban theatre-scape.
School of Communication
Information Experience Design, 2013–2018
School of Architecture
MA Architecture, 2011
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Benjamin is a designer and researcher and has a background in architecture with an MA from the Royal College of Art. He has previously worked in architectural practice on projects ranging from small-scale interior design to the masterplan for London’s Athletes Village for the 2012 Olympic Games. From 2011 until 2013 he was a Research Associate at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, where his work was focused on analysing and improving the use of work environments through in-depth user research, resulting in the development of a design framework to act upon the findings of the research. In addition to his research activity, Benjamin is a Visiting Lecturer in Interiors at Middlesex University.
- BA (Hons), Architecture, University of Greenwich, 2008
- Architectural assistant, DLA Architecture, London, 2006–2007; Architectural assistant, Fletcher Priest Architects, London, 2007–2010