Mapping futures – human and the built environment

Mapping the material

The architectural image transfers the information embedded environments by the moving body to ‘respond and support human use and activities through through the provision of specialized information'(Addington and Shcodek 2005:8) into becoming the ‘smart materials‘ (Addington and Shcodek2005:205).

The interaction generated through the environment  is determined by the interconnectivity defined by body and mind as Derrick de Kerchove (2001) points out.  Every memory acts as a reminder through the suggested space which are defined within the limits of  the surroundings of the mental space, ‘between mental and virtual‘ (Kerchove, de Derick 2001:18).

 Mapping the body

“Words are difficult, but the sound, motion and imagery can really give you the feel”                                                                                                   (New Scientist 2009)

The sensory experience, has the capability to enhance the mechanical power of sensors into becoming the reading mechanism of the human body. As shown in Force Field at the Science museum in London, the experiences lived by the astronauts can be re-translated into remotely architectural products, which act on energy impulses. The body becomes to product of sensorial bounds where the feelings are determined by the electric impulses. As Addington and Shcodek (2005) points out, it is the ‘smart materials’ which articulate various types of products to become the bridge between the manifestation of the material and the actual behaviour of the technology.

 Mapping the dwelling

            “A building cannot be treated as an autonomous object; the architect must also think about its impact and interaction with a variety of systems that no one would consider remotely architectural.”                                     (Addington and Shcodek 2005:226)

The designs which Addington and Shcodek (2005) points here, are the information embedded systems where the interaction between building and environment becomes the variety of the systems, where in the architectural image would engage with other information media, that no one would consider as being architectural.

The example of dwellings which Brett Steele (2001) points out, are the buildings which already implement and better the natural environment to achieve an efficient state, in order to communicate with the user, before and after the construction of the dwell, to perfectly adapt to user’s needs.

It is one of the few conceptual dwellings where the World Wide Web is incorporated into the user’s needs before building the community. It is the map which assimilate the information about the user in order to build a better place. It is the logical assimilation of similar things, which articulate the same behaviours under the same roof, where changes and movements are fluidly transferring the spaces to become the potential in building a new one. As Brett Steele (2001) points out, it is the symbiosis which moves different spaces to become one symbiotically generated, which incorporates and maps the development for the future dwellings.


Mapping the urban

Applying logical distributed systems, as shown by Brett Steele (2001), in traffic analysing systems, generate redistribution based on the analyses gathered into previous interaction with the human activities, by reading the data from the video cameras.  In this case the system has been already classified into dynamic linear patters, as being streets, and junctions as being the intersection between at least two dynamic linear patterns.

Classifying the dynamic linear patterns with the classifier of the activities developed by the dynamic linear pattern into codes of interaction, which transfers the information into sets of visual patterns (coloured patterns depending on the activity at one defined point within the given spatial interactivity), and places the information gathered into packets of information. The dynamic linear patterns are then transferred to the visual receptor as Kamijo Lab. (2009) points out.

The information gathered into previous interaction, is placing the visual receptor into direct negotiation with information gathered from the whole grid of dynamic linear patterns.

Connecting them together is accentuating the receptors with large packets of information. The information is stored and negotiated between other connections. This is helping the system to understand the traffic positions within the chosen grid which is than redistributed through the flow of the grid, transferring large loads to other routes creating a homogeneous flow within the city street grid.

The information packets are equilibrated at the same ratio.  This is achieved by transferring the information through traffic lights signals, managing their possition based on the information gathered. This is helping to keep the traffic into continuous flow, helping drivers and city transferability.

An example is being developed by University of Tokyo which is able to measure and monitor the movement patterns of the pedestrians and vehicles. By processing the images from video cameras, they are able to provide close up monitor to avoid accidents, to increase the response time and to redirect patterns.

                         ‘Toward the goals of efficiency and safety, we developed a precise tracking algorithm based on the Spatio-Temporal MRF model which is able to track both pedestrians and vehicles simultaneously against occlusions in the images. During the past few years, this model has been practically applied to acquire traffic flow statistics.                           However, in this paper, we present an improvement of the S-T MRF model so as to deal with flexible objects such as pedestrians as well as rigid objects such as  vehicles. Based on experimental results, this model was able to simultaneously track pedestrians and vehicles against occlusion even in very cluttered situations.                                    Consequently, the improved S-T MRF model was proven to be effective for traffic monitoring at urban intersections.’                                                (Kamijo Lab., 2009)


The accumulation of information generated by this process of interaction between the build environment and the natural environment is turning the reality of the urban streets into a digital interface, a display monitor.

Visual sensors, which are the visual receptor for a junction, are placing the information technology at the extension between human body and natural environment. In this case architectural object becomes sensible to human interaction.

Traffic Management Patterns

FIG. 3 – Traffic analysis (Komijo Lab, 2009)

Street Traffic Patterns

FIG. 4 – Traffic colour analysis (Komijo Lab, 2009)

Another example of sensor embedded construction is the St Anthony Falls Bridge which makes the connection between natural environment and the built environment to blend, to respond in real time to interferences, to discover and predict patterns within the internal structure.

                         ‘It has an embedded early-warning system made of hundreds of sensors. They  include wire and fibre optic stain and displacement gauges, accelerometers, potentiometers and corrosion sensors that have been built into the span to monitor of  structural weaknesses, such as corroded concrete and overly strained joints.

On top of this, temperature sensors embedded in the tarmac activate a system that  sprays antifreeze on the road when it gets too cold, and a traffic-monitoring system alerts Minnesota Department of Transportation to divert traffic in the event of an accident or overcrowding.’  (The Economist, 2009)

Information accumulated from this process it is able to interact with the environment and its changeable nature, being able to deliver the information needed to generate and restructure a new pattern which interacts between architectural geometry and the architecture as an embedded organism as Peter Eisenman (2003) points out, simulated into a digital environment, and differentiated in natural form.

Similar embedded digital environments are developed by IBM to better articulate the existing connections between the building itself, but at the same time, to better articulate the connections with the natural environment. A building is no more a static object placed into a physical space, now is instrumented to interact intelligent through the surroundings, in some case being able to make individual decisions, which will affect the community as a whole.

             “Instrumented: Today, many of the systems that constitute a building are managed independently — and many of them are not managed at all for their occupancy, energy use    or thermal effect, due to a lack of sensors and monitors that would be needed to do so.

            Interconnected: A lack of standards for measuring energy use and carbon footprints isolates buildings’ systems from each other and makes practices that can control and manage energy use more difficult to implement. And the lack of standard interfaces across the broad array of  devices and systems in a building makes managing them from a central point or plan nearly impossible.

Intelligent: But with an instrumented and interconnected building, building owners and    tenants can make better decisions about the building’s energy use — and can often rely on the green building to “make those decisions” itself. Additionally, smart policies — new government standards for energy efficiency and incentives for architects, builders,      developers and owners, so that savings on future operating costs can go to the people making the upfront investments — can combine with incentives for utilities to achieve a    reduction in buildings’ demands for energy and water.’                                                                                                                                                                    (IBM – Smarter planet, 2009)

Is the connection with the information technology the pathway in directing the architecture towards new corporeal formations of spaces directed by architecture of logic and cognition as Derrick de Kerchove (2001) points out.

It is the new architectural form of the articulation in which man attempts to define the possibilities of space, to connect the spaces into becoming the main development in architectural practices.

Space is at the boundary between physical negotiation of logical cognition, and the formal representation of abstract thought as Dan O’Sullivan (1994) points out, than the represented form is interacting the connections of space into becoming the interactive space.
As Furio Barzon (2003) points out, symbols are taking the trajectory of signage which is placing the information into points of communication, generating physical interaction. In this way, space is becoming inter-connected by articulated points, generating forms of flow from packets of information through the entire system, which articulates and expands continuously, creating the framework for the embedded mapped world.


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