With connected, data-gathering Interactive Architecture we could be able to build smart, reactive living, working and healthcare environments of tomorrow. These would change their sizes depending on the number of users, prepare buildings for upcoming activities such as the homecomings of inhabitants, enhance wellbeing by offering opportunities of multisensory stress reduction, or help us shut out the outer presence through changes in spatial enfoldments.
Regardless of the actual need, wish or disapproval for such a future, it seems important to explore how it could look and feel like, to gain fundamental knowledge useful in the future research and practice of architectural design combining art with cutting-edge technologies. This is especially important today, in the era of ubiquitous computing and digitalization.
Combining non-standard architectural geometry, unconventional
materials, original texture and colorationin one designwith the goal
of triggering haptic interactionwith the architectural object’s physicality
(the Pliant Flesh of Architecture prototype)
Therefore, in this architectural research exploration, our research team seeks to challenge the notion of an interactive architectural surface as a flat, two-dimensional interface. Instead, we propose the notion of Interactive Voluminous Substance, which moves the interaction experience into four dimensions, shifting it from superficial far-field interaction to a near-field, tactile one.
If the future architectural interiors and exteriors are made from the Voluminous Architectural Substance, how would it be to dwell with them? The two physical prototypes serve as speculative research objects probing this question at a fundamental research level, focusing on the aspects of visuo-tactile sensations of architectural interaction.
The design research team for the prototypes comprised Malgorzata Zboinska (architectural design, Chalmers), Delia Dumitrescu (prof, PhD, smart textiles and materials design, University of Borås) and Hanna Landin (PhD, interaction design, University of Borås).
Programming and mechatronic hardware prototyping was done at RISE Interactive Gothenburg and at KTH Architecture.
The molds for casting the prototype shells and bodies were fabricated at the Robot Lab at Chalmers ACE, using an industrial robot arm KUKA 150. The robotic fabrication team consisted of Karin Hedlund (architect, Artistic Instructor at ACE and research assistant for the Architectural Convertibles research project) and Malgorzata Zboinska.
The structures for mounting and presenting the objects were crafted manually and digitally at the Architecture Workshop at Chalmers ACE by Tabita Nilsson (Architecture Workshop representative and Lecturer at ACE).
The Pliant Flesh of Architecture prototype with its
mechatronic system for haptic sensing and actuation
Malgorzata Zboinska and Karin Hedlund running the mold fabrication process using an industrial robot arm KUKA150 at ACE Robot Lab
The exhibited prototypes form the result of fundamental Artistic Research in the project Architectural Convertibles: Towards an Alternative Artistic Approach to Designing Interactive Architectural Environments. Malgorzata Zboinska, PhD, is leading this large project, funded by the Swedish Research Council Vetenskapsrådet (VR) with nearly 5 mln kr in years 2016-2019 and hosted at Chalmers ACE. The VR funding supports Malgorzata Zboinska in the establishment as an Artistic Research leader and in building a strong Swedish research network around the subject of Digital and Interactive Architecture Design. 15 Swedish scholars are involved in the project, from academic institutions including Chalmers ACE, the Swedish School of Textiles (University of Borås), RISE Interactive Institutes of Sweden (Gothenburg), KTH and Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design. That team also includes 6 colleagues from the Division of Architectural Theory and Methods at ACE.
Malgorzata Zboinska, PhD, researcher at Chalmers ACE and leader of Architectural Convertibles