Digital Architecture Research Alliance
Digital Architecture Research Alliance

Towards An Electronic Ephemera

Architectural visualisation is often viewed with a degree of hesitancy by the architectural profession, for a perceived lack of criticality in the methods and outputs – particularly with the rise of hyper-real still imagery production. However, photography too suffers from a certain disconnect from an authentic experience of space, which we experience through our moving within it, our sensory gamut stimulated by the atmosphere memorable architecture possesses. This atmosphere is a holistic assemblage of design decisions made by the building designer, connected to mass, light, materiality, sound, among others. The field of gaming has been able to deploy many of these characteristics in virtual space for decades in some manner, and the tools used have been refined to the point where they are technically, and fiscally accessible to architecture.

This thesis proposes that real-time virtual engines, as used by game designers, can extend the field of architectural representation and design, by better conveying a sense of architectural atmosphere and providing increased immersion in virtual space compared to traditional techniques. It first seeks to define what architectural atmosphere may be recognised as, and how it may be caused to manifest, and then applies these findings to virtual space as a means to test the relationship between the real and unreal. Further to this, it applies this methodology to an iterative design process of both an architectural and virtual nature, with a final output that demonstrates the result of both concurrently.

Toward an Electronic Ephemera: Exploring Architectural Atmosphere in Real-Time Virtual Engines

Eliot Blenkarne - 2016

A series of abstracted forms that are instructed by place, programme and atmospheric intent

A series of abstracted forms that are instructed by place, programme and atmospheric intent

Architectural visualisation is often viewed with a degree of hesitancy by the architectural profession, for a perceived lack of criticality in the methods and outputs – particularly with the rise of hyper-real still imagery production. However, photography too suffers from a certain disconnect from an authentic experience of space, which we experience through our moving within it, our sensory gamut stimulated by the atmosphere memorable architecture possesses. This atmosphere is a holistic assemblage of design decisions made by the building designer, connected to mass, light, materiality, sound, among others. The field of gaming has been able to deploy many of these characteristics in virtual space for decades in some manner, and the tools used have been refined to the point where they are technically, and fiscally accessible to architecture.

This thesis proposes that real-time virtual engines, as used by game designers, can extend the field of architectural representation and design, by better conveying a sense of architectural atmosphere and providing increased immersion in virtual space compared to traditional techniques. It first seeks to define what architectural atmosphere may be recognised as, and how it may be caused to manifest, and then applies these findings to virtual space as a means to test the relationship between the real and unreal. Further to this, it applies this methodology to an iterative design process of both an architectural and virtual nature, with a final output that demonstrates the result of both concurrently.

Natural flaws in material provide atmosphere and an immersive experience

Natural flaws in material provide atmosphere and an immersive experience

Form that embraces the notion of looking out and looking at

Form that embraces the notion of looking out and looking at