Responsive Environments

The course introduces students to the tools and design methods for creating responsive environments and technologically driven experiences in the built environment. By putting the human experience at the center and forefront, from the immediate body scale to the larger environment, encompassing buildings and the urban spaces, the course examines new and emerging models and technologies for the design of innovative architectural human interfaces and technologically augmented physical environments.     

The class also addresses fundamental questions including: What are the benefits of creating technologically augmented environments? What are the psychological, social and environmental implications of creating such hybrids? And what are the criteria to measure successful responsive environments?  

These questions of analyzing, understanding and designing responsive environments will be tackled through the lens of different thematic topics. These themes include:     
– embedded intelligence (integration of technologies at all scales), 
– augmented spatiality (fostering hybrid realms),   
– adaptive change (dynamic response to contextual constraints),   
– hacked perception (shifting our understanding of space through technology),   
– tailored dynamics (empowering people through technology and design).     

Within each theme, the class will discuss relevant case studies and the methods to conduct critical analysis to understand the opportunities and limitations of the enabling technologies. In addition, each thematic topic will be complemented with conversations and talks by guest practitioners and researchers from both industry and academia.     

The final project will be a site specific design solution of varied scales using the tools and methods discussed in class. The course will take advantage of the resources and the ongoing research at the Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab, and the outcomes will be a contribution to an exhibition and a publication. Any prototyping expense will be funded by the lab's resources. 

No specific prerequisites are needed. Students from any background and concentration are encouraged to apply to the lottery.


Due to no classes being offered on Labor Day and course selections being due on Wednesday, September 9, this class has scheduled a first irregular meeting on Thursday, September 3, 7:00-8.30 pm EDT. Please make sure to check the Canvas site of the course for the meeting Zoom links.