i+a

This studio will investigate the boundaries between physical architecture and information architecture. It will explore the possibilities designing physical and virtual spaces in conjunction with each other to provide new kinds of experiences of architecture. The studio addresses the need for a design that reflects the possibilities of an interconnected environment.BackgroundIn the first wave of Internet hype, technologists painted pictures of a disembodied future in which people would shed their skins and live on-line, turning from citizens into \”netizens\”. But while the Internet is changing the way we perform some of our most basic everyday activities – shopping, learning, working, praying, courting, playing – it obviously does not render the physical world obsolete or even less important. People enjoy and need social and sensual contact; they don\'t want to be disembodied. But even if the virtual world is not supplanting the physical one, the Internet is becoming an essential conduit for many of our everyday activities. Few elements of physical architecture are left unaffected by these changes. Emerging virtual spaces, while qualitatively different from physical spaces, are nevertheless contained in the physical world we inhabit. As networking infrastructures become increasingly part of our built environments, virtual and physical elements start to merge in many ways. This potentially leads to new typologies in architecture, spaces with components of both physical and virtual realm.Approach The studio will start with a two-week research on project precedents that address both physical and virtual dimensions in architecture. In this initial phase, we will discuss seminal texts that address the topic of the studio. In a series of \”element studies\”, we will then explore possibilities of merging physical and virtual components in small-scale objects. This phase will address basic conceptual questions as well as possibilities and limitations of available technology (such as RFID tags, large LCD projections, kinetic structures, plasma/LEDs) and its use in combination with traditional materials.ProjectThe second and main part of the studio will concern itself with perspectives and possibilities that the described developments open up for the (re-)organization of an existing museum. In the first half of the 20th century Le Corbusier and Frank L. Wright redefined the idea of the museum as a \”route\” or \”promenade\”, overcoming the 19th century concept of the museum as a \”Wunderkammer\”. Today, computer technology affects dramatically museum organization worldwide, yet the architectural implications of these developments remain practically unexplored. The studio addresses this challenge by taking on a radical agenda to pluralize the experience of a museum\'s vast collections by proposing a program involving an integrated mixture of exhibition spaces, educational facilities, and new methods of arts experiencing and interpretation. The studio engages in contemporary ideas about information architecture and experience design, and explores new possibilities of using a museum via exposing its own collections as well a virtually hosting collections of other museums. The display areas of the museum\'s extension will enable visitors to put works of art physically present next to related works of art virtually present. The resulting architecture will create new relationships between the objects and their surrounding space. The goal of the project is to explore the architectural (physical and virtual) possibilities for the dynamic organization of a 21st century museum.ContextOn June 19, 2002, the Governor of Massachusetts and the President of Basel signed an agreement to expand and deepen their mutual relationships and become official \”sister states.\” While such agreements usually remain in the realm of high politics and business, we want to explore whether by pr