Jim Wegener, “Lived-In: User Experience in Architecture and Design Criticism”http://www.vimeo.com/11555576
Architectural (and design) criticism is static. The media devoted to these interests rely heavily on observable form and visual shape, many times basing reviews just on images and interviews with designers. Critics are ignoring the relationship between people and design that develops after the building is occupied and used. The media is not holding buildings responsible for the good and bad effects they have on the world. The solution is simple: get inside the users’ heads.
While inspired both by epic architectural failures, such as the Pruitt-Igoe Housing Projects in St. Louis, and curiosity into how modern architecture can positively affect life, Jim has extracted the user experience of two heavily-used, recently constructed buildings that exist somewhere between the modest, everyday and the extraordinary. Both buildings (the MIT Media Lab and Williams College North and South Buildings) contain academic programs and are located within an afternoon train or bus ride of New York. The users of these spaces reacted differently to the same architectural devices, such as transparency, space, materials, and light. Some even rebelled against their architecture, redesigning the spaces that become deeply ingrained in their lives. Sometimes, designed objects and architecture morph with use—criticism should follow suit.
Jim’s thesis harnesses user experience to critique architecture after it has been lived in. Through the eyes of the occupants, we can feel, touch and experience designed phenomena, and then put these experiences in context. This approach may be a tough sell to a design press focused on the flashy and new, but “Lived-In” intends to include the more truthful, and more fun, human stories of architecture.
Amelia Black, “Design Smells: Criticism in an Olfactory World”http://www.vimeo.com/11555416
As humans, we breathe 86,400 times a day; in fact the human nose never stops smelling. And each time we inhale, we ingest essential information about our environment, including the people and things in it, affecting our emotional and memorial perception on an intrinsic level. Yet, since the rise of scientific understanding with the Enlightenment, we have actively lost the vocabulary to articulate the subtlety of smell’s meaning. Our lack of cultural awareness has left us as a society numb to the felt affect of scent and the largely untapped communicative power of the medium of smell in design. “Design Smells” presents why we should all care about smell, the limitations of the smell dialogue today, and how the conceptual vocabulary of a small community of practitioners is helping to shape future conversations around this essential part of our human experience. As smell-enabled bodies, we are all poised to be active critics of smell, and through this, of the embodied experience of design at large.
Becky Quintal, “Import/Export: Delivering Architecture in a Public-Friendly Format”http://www.vimeo.com/11656391
There appears to be an import/export dilemma when it comes to architecture. Most architectural discourse increasingly employs research beyond what would normally be considered architecturally relevant in order to create buildings most appropriate and responsive to the reality of urban life. However, once a design is ready to be placed back into the “real world,” an architect can encounter an export dilemma—how to best situate these findings in the media for public consumption.
This presentation examines the way in which the Office for Metropolitan Architecture’s (OMA) Mexico City project, the Torre Bicentenario (Bicentennial Tower), was communicated to the public. This project provides a point of departure for a larger discourse, one that brings the architect’s role as a communicator into sharper focus. Taking a closer look at examples of architectural output that continually rely on the use of complex language in text-based information and visual materials that merely show the building as a piece of sculpture in the urban landscape reveals that many architects fail to adequately or comprehensively address issues of public communication of their work. It is a call to rethink the way in which architects communicate, educate, and persuade the public.
When: 30 Apr 2010