How the Dutch design the cities we live in - archiDUTCH
DutchDesign is an undergraduate field school and research program offered by the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.
I loved working on this.
If you had a flexible screen, how would you use it? A couple days ago I sat in the kitchen at work in a vain attempt to escape my desk, stubbornly refusing to admit that I was almost twice as fast when working with a second screen (something I’ve become incredibly reliant upon). What if your laptop was merely a series of folding sheets that you configured as you saw fit? Sometimes you would want a traditional landscape display, others you would extend it to be three times as wide, or sometimes you would fold it up and layer it so that it was closer to tablet size. Will movies be produced wherein the actors solely occupy the foreground and the lighting and tone of the film is responsive to the background you place it against? Imagine sitting near the ocean watching a conversation unfold between two people at sea, but for the thousands of people watching that same film across the world there were no two scenes in which they sat on the same sea? No two scenes where the characters and the movement of ships on the water were exactly the same? This smart-screen could look for whitecaps or read in tidal data and wind speed from weather satellites to determine the most likely configuration of pre-populated narrative elements to match your viewing experience.
If this was the case then perhaps we should have programmatic user experience design. This would be a series of scenarios that no one person could possibly comprehend but that a baseline of logic could try to account for. Rules and algorithms established to try to locate breakpoints in the experience that were not based on screen size but on a multiplicity of factors from altitude to time of day. The return of Indiglo, f.lux on steroids. Over ten years ago the creator of f.lux wrote this brief piece on “why interfaces will be procedural”. In this author Michael Herf cites three reasons:
1. Animation enhances interactivity, and some spaces are too large to be animated by hand.
2. Resolution independence is important as we move towards an increasing variety of screen sizes (remember, this is from 2001, before tablets as we know them today existed).
3. Design flexibility for dynamic content and layout is very small currently, even if the content plugs in dynamically.
This was twelve years ago. Twelve years from now will we face these same problems? Or will we face an entirely new set as we try to construct the logic that will make these vast and responsive interfaces possible? The year will be 2025, but where will our interfaces be?
Watch the Oblivion GFX Montage; you always need something to aim for. I opened up Processing for the first time today in over a year, took a look at the minim library for processing sound and started writing down the logic to build a photo-based oscillator app. Can’t promise big things, but I can promise small steps and big dreams.
In the past week I’ve been to the velodrome three times, run twice, and I’m not done yet. When I ride to work in the morning my legs ache, when I climb the stairs they moan, and when I get back on my bike or sprint along the path no amount of pain can stop me from smiling. This is how my body was meant to be.
By: Charlotte Neilson
Arch Daily, December 19, 2012
We all know that psychopaths prefer contemporary design. Hollywood has told us so for decades. From the minimal lairs of Bond adversaries to the cold homes of dysfunctional families, modernist interiors scream emotional detachment and warped perspectives.The classic film connection between modern buildings and subversive values is well documented and, for the architectural community, quite regrettable. The modernist philosophy of getting to the essence of a building was intended to be liberating and enriching for the lives of occupants. Hardly fair then that these buildings are routinely portrayed with villainous associations.
John Lautner’s work has probably suffered most at the hands of Hollywood. Having based himself in LA in the 1940’s, Lautner’s resultant body of work became fodder for the film industry. His houses have been the motivation for murder (Polin House, Twilght, 1998), witness to murder (The Malin Residence/Chemosphere, Body Double 1984), the murderer’s lair (The Elrod House, Diamonds are Forever 1971), and the object of Mel Gibson’s destructive fury (The Garcia Residence in Lethal Weapon 2, 1989).
But it wasn’t just Lautner’s work which felt films’ wrath. The 1986 film Ferris Buellers Day Off featured James Speyer’s Rose House in Illinois, an elegant steel-framed, Modern building with modular panels of glass that create a barely present built envelope. In real life, the pavilion was multi-purposed, hosting art exhibitions and auto shows; in the film, it’s a domestic garage, a space that comments upon its inhabitant’s less-than-positive values.
The house gets the full Hollywood treatment: filmed in cold hues and with very few furnishings, it seems not only institutional, but bleak and unwelcoming as a family home. Ferris complains that the house is like a museum- which makes sense, considering that the house’s owner is the distant father of Ferris’ friend Cameron, a wealthy man that, according to Ferris, has priorities that are ‘out of whack’.
But do minimal interiors still represent heartless occupants with attachment issues? If our most recent films are anything to go by, these old clichés have become less meaningful.
Take the hugely popular Twilight series. Whether you are interested in the saga or not, the buildings associated with this group of ‘vegetarian’ vampires, are certainly notable. The work of Portland’s Skylab, Vancouver-based Brian Hemingway and Brazilian architects Bernardes Arquitectura all feature prominently. These unconventional contemporary spaces represent sophisticated modern domestic design. Yes, they house vampires, but these are characters we are meant to like and approve of – particularly their choices (they fill their lives with music, art & good design rather than succumb to their less sophisticated desires). Rich finishes, timber cladding and textured elements all emphasize a connection with nature and bring the occupants a step closer to humanity.
Given that the Stephenie Meyer books, on which the films are based, depict a predominantly white, turn-of-the-century mansion for the coven’s home, there was a deliberate choice by the production team to use a warmer palette to make the spaces more appealing. This approach not only turned out to be well suited to film (and an interesting alternative to the traditional foreboding castle), but also caused a stir in online forums as fans discussed glass pivot doors, naturally lit bathrooms and the use of timber. That’s right. Teenagers talking about architecture. And with approval.
The growing computer graphics industry has also had it’s effect on the old stereotypes. 2010’s Iron Man 2 featured a Lautner-inspired cliffside design to accommodate it’s central character, Tony Stark. Digitally created for the film, the house is an upscaledChemosphere, relocated to a dramatic location and refitted to suit a tech age billionaire. Lautner’s timeless, centrally-supported silhouette and characteristic dramatic volumes are celebrated. Oh, and Tony Stark is also an unequivocal hero.
So why has our relationship with Modernism, as reflected in film, changed? It could be that, with the advent of smart phones and wireless technology, that we now consider it preferable – and not psychopathic – to live in houses without the traditional trappings.
However, it could also be an effect of our economic reality. It’s hard not to compare this recent turn of events to the introduction of ‘moderne’ styling in cinema of the 1930’s. Led by legendary MGM Art Director Cedric Gibbons, the clean stylised lines and geometric details of what is today known as “art deco” translated well to the back and white medium of the day; but, more importantly, it also allowed a glimpse into a monied, carefree world, providing a kind of escapism audiences were looking for during the Great Depression. Are we seeing a similar effect from the current Recession?
Either way, it seems we are entering into a cinematic era that actually embraces the vision offered by the architectural profession. With the changing portrayal of modern architecture in production design and the popular revival of mid century modernism, today’s films are correcting the disservice handed to modernist buildings in the past. At last.
Two of my favorite things (film and architecture, not vampires and psychopaths).