Recently I have been thinking about interior walls of buildings and computer technology and how these could work together. I am an Architect and often when we design buildings the interior walls are simply painted a shade of white. These walls are often left as a blank canvas for others like interior designers, advertisers sign writers and artists. Interior walls are what we spend a lot of our time looking at so maybe there is an opportunity for these to be used more effectively.
Not so long ago I bought a book called “This building likes Me” about the work of Australian architectural firm John Wardle Architects. Designing buildings in way that they give the impression that the building somehow likes us seemed to me a worthwhile way of thinking. One way to design a building that does this could be to make the building more interactive. This could include things like interactive way finding, information systems, interactive artworks or moveable façade, climate controls. This gives the impression that we are communicating with the building and it is responding to us.
There are now devices and apps like Amazons Alexa and google home which allow us to control the lighting, heating, security systems and in a sense talk to our homes. This is usually something that is added on the if architecture rather than an integral part of the building design. There are also tools such as Touchdesigner that allow designers to create projection mappings and light shows which can be connected to inputs such as touchscreens or motion sensing devices.
So, I have been thinking about how to combine these ideas to create things like interactive way finding signage systems that could show people where they want to go around buildings. If physical retail spaces now complete with online retail, then shouldn’t it be as easy to search for a product in a shop as it is to search for it on the web. I am imagining that people could be guided around a building by a moving lights or interactive displays simulating a swarm of fireflies or perhaps birds. This could flock together to form arrows or text as needed to guide people around a building or respond to requests for information. On this page I am planning to past a few experiments with how this could work. In this example to the dots projected onto the wall would follow you around the building and guide you to your destination when needed. If you then left click with your mouse the dots would guide you to your destination.