Shaping Space by Experience Data

by Johanna Jõekalda from Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia
Tutored by: Martin Melioranski, Phd Renee Puusepp

Author comments:

The project examines how the main actors in spatial perception as a cognitive process – space, senses and the brain – have become definable in terms of data, and how to make use of it while shaping spatial experience. The proposed technique allows to extract test subjects’ experience data from brain-computer interfaces as they visit virtual reality environments, and apply this data in the design process. The potential use of the technique is demonstrated by the example of an innovation centre situated in the empty riverbed of the River Wien, the spaces in the building being programmed to adjust according to the visitors’ experience data. The principles for the adaptation of the spaces are based on various illusion techniques that allow the ostensible properties of the environment to be distorted in a data-based manner. The boundary situations and adaptation logic are designed by the architect, while the user shapes the situation at a given moment in time. This results in an experience-charged space that recognizes the beholders’ spatial experiences and adapts itself accordingly.

Tutor comments:

The topic of XX’s master thesis is intriguing especially in the context of contemporary data society. Her experiments with virtual reality and brain-tracking technologies led her to innovative methods of expressing spatial experience in data format. She has skillfully applied her previous experiences with new media techniques (Estonian pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014 and other interactive spatial installations) in the body of work. The project is elaborate equally on theoretical as well as technical level. The developed workflow and practical solutions have evoked the interest of several designers and and developers (creative studio Frost FX, architecture offices Kadarik Tüür Architects, KUU Architects, Ülemiste Smart City etc) both in Estonia and abroad, where she has lectured about her approach (Aalto University, Estonian Architects Union etc). Public interest only assures the relevance of her research. We suggest rewarding XX’s project at European Architectural Medals for the Best Diploma Projects.

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