Light Emitting Concrete

Ada Juwah*

Posted on Friday, November 12th, 2010 at 9:27 pm

This project proposes the linkage of the permanence of physical built form with the temporal nature of constantly adapting information delivery.

Cities thrive on the richness of their public spaces: it is where a sense of community, connection and identity are formed in the urban landscape. Our environments are composed of rich, analog and natural information—sights, smells, sounds, feelings. Yet, we are interrupted from our thoughts by discrete pieces of advertising, signage and our own privately held technological devices. How can we develop a shared space for the intangibles of knowledge and data within our physical reality? Is it possible to meld the sense of community that has been developed on the Internet into camaraderie on the ground? Can a wall be a public space, a portal, a mirror?

This project proposes the linkage of the permanence of physical built form with the temporal nature of constantly adapting information delivery. This information architecture is the catalyst in the creation of a physical knowledge space within the public realm. Specifically, the underlying project is a lamination of high and low resolution, analog and digital. The proposal is a building unit composed of glass-fibre concrete embedded with dot-matrix LEDs. Walls built with these units can seamlessly display dynamic information to engage the public. Interaction is based on the concept of me & your shadow, where information is displayed and manipulated within the digital shadow of the user. Cameras derive a live image of the user which then is displayed on the wall as the user’s shadow. This shadow is in turn controlled by the user to select and display information. It can be something as simple as accessing information, displaying your own individuality or leaving an imprint for others.

Through these means, the flow of information interacts with the spatial realm by encouraging the user to move through space in varying ways. For instance, if information is displayed in the form of horizontal scrolling text, it may be accessed from a stationary position. Vertical information flow creates incentives  for the user to move laterally to access different streams of text.  Static information encourages movement of the user—the user’s shadow becomes a window that unmasks hidden information.

*Guided by: Rodolphe el-Khoury and Nashid Nabian


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