The conceptualization of architectural space is undergoing radical innovation. Our relationship to the thinking and making of architecture is directly linked to technologies utilized in the conceptualization, visualization, and fabrication of ideas pertaining to the body, movement, space, and program. These new technologies take their form as digital tools and are used in the representation of ideas as projective realities for human experience. These imagined projections are not limited by the conventional mediums of architectural representation and as such permit a greater perceptual range of experience in a fluid, time based and animate medium. These liquid image fields are cinematographic in nature and are imbued with what Juhani Pallasmaa refers to as qualities of lived space "where memory and dream, fear and desire, value and meaning, fuse with the actual perception." [4]

This is precisely the condition in which new architectural possibilities exist. Hence, this space of perceptual transformation brings to fore new experiential realms out of which not only new human realities are created. Indeed, this spatial arena of human experience is being understood and utilized as the precursor to human built environments. Eventually, architect-designers as stagers of human experience can capture and elucidate meaningful experiences through the fluid time based medium embodied in digital stereoscopic space and create an experiential condition within which the architectural design process can originate. Architect-designers thus become perceptual painters of animate experience through a technological medium that permits the sensorial intensity of an experience of movement, color, form, and space.

Keywords: Architecture, Stereo Space, Synesthesia, Inscription, Anthropomorphism, Virtual Environments

1. Introduction

Architecture has long been concerned with the body's critical role in the creation of culturally significant symbolic orders of human experience. The role of the body within architectural production has often relied upon the longstanding tradition of anthropomorphism. However, contemporary architectural inquiries into the role of the human body in relation to the digital medium, particularly ideas pertaining to movement, transparency, transformation and inhabitation / dwelling have resulted its the discovery of new ways of understanding the world through bodily experience. This new knowledge shares similarities with knowledge obtained through the anthropomorphic methods concerning "manners of perception", specifically those relating to spatial inhabitation. [2] However similar these new understandings of bodily experience and bodily consciousness may be, there exists a measurable difference between the tools and processes employed. Through the utilization of advanced digitally interactive visualization technologies, as opposed to the hand crafted drawing tools and processes of traditional architectural production, contemporary architects and artists have created alternate modes of bodily mediation that have revealed new embodied experiences. It is through such experiences that transformations of the idea of inscription in relation to the body are revealed and give rise to new strategies for an orientation towards the design of Architecture, In examining the ideas of the body in the work of Marco Frascari and Char Davies, the formation of an architectural inquiry centered on notions of bodily experience within digital architectures will be revealed.

2. Inscriptive Anthropomorphism

Marco Frascari, in his book "Monsters of Architecture", has claimed that the employment of an anthropomorphic method must be considered in the production of architecture today. He posits that there must be a corporeal presence within architecture that is initiated at the stage of conception and developed through the practice of architectural drawing. For Frascari, this corporeality must yield an imaginative and meaningful body-image that results from the coalescence of sensation, representation and perception. [2] In so doing, this corporeality based process will result in an architecture that embodies a "well-being", one that creates a condition conducive to apprehending the timeless space / form relation through an anchored bodily presence and experience. His version of architecture opens itself up to new figurative means of thinking about bodies interacting with other bodies, an ultimate corpus of body images from which to construct and construe the true substance of dwelling within the space-time of architecture. What is curious is how this approach, one that is dominantly employing transformation, inscription and the body, may reveal the invisible corporeality of time through the work of another artist/maker, Char Davies, within a different medium, the digital medium.

In the stereoscopic work of Char Davies a conflict arises between the bodily sensation of an immaterial space (virtual) and the visual or retinal mapping of the stereoscopic content. Her work manifests a transformation of the navigators perceptual experience through the body's reframed consciousness, as psychologist Arthur J. Deikman notes 'a 'de-automization' of cognitive structures, an opening to the sensory intensity of objects outside of conceptualized awareness or attachment". [5]

In Davies' work there is a process of inscribing that occurs at the level of the immersant. It is the immersant who is subject to the will of the virtually rendered stereoscopic landscapes through the act of witnessing and participating in the animated/lived properties of the work. Davies resituates the kinesthetic body in a new body schema, one that questions the immersant's habitual perceptions about being in the world. She is interested in dissolving the Cartesian relationship between mind and body, and between self and world, in order to construct new ways of apprehending the world. [3]

Char Davies and Marco Frascari share a common desire to render visible the invisible. Frascari promotes the use of the anthropomorphic method in which the human body serves as an integral component in the production processes of creating architecture. It is one where the imagined body-image in the mind of the architect must be transposed within the architectural body through a process of coalescence between sensation, representation and perception. Therefore the bodily act of inscribing is central to the architectural conception, design and production processes. Davies on the other hand creates a new awareness of the human body in relation to the natural world, one where the flesh of the body is understood as the flesh of the world. This awareness is achieved through shifting the emphasis away from vision as an exclusive perceptual system and engaging the body in an affective manner thereby dissolving the boundaries between self and world. The role of inscribing in her work is a critical feature in the creation of a transformation of experience. This transformation makes visible the invisibility of a dormant awareness of the body as the flesh of the world. Bringing this invisibility right to the surface of experience, through a physically, physiologically and psychologically engendered transformation, Davies achieves what she has identified as one of Gaston Bachelard's desires:"by changing space, by leaving the space of one's usual sensibilities, one enters into communication with a space that is psychically innovating… For we do not change place, we change our nature." [1]

A departure point that challenges architectural thinking and making, as argued by Marco Frascari suggests that the representational space of the image is the space of mental inhabitation and differs from the physical space of the body as it can only be imagined through the metaphoric projection of synesthesia. This anthropomorphic centered approach attempts to capture the visceral and tactile material dimensions of the building in order to engage the bodily senses as though one were actually physically situated within the spaces of the projected design, Char Davies however manages to fuse the representational space of a fluid image with bodily interaction in order to flesh out a direct encounter that fuses all senses simultaneously, effectively inducing synesthesia during a physical encounter within her interactive virtual stereoscopic worlds. It is therefore apparent that if we can utilize digital visualization tools in an interactive stereoscopic context, there exist innumerable possibilities for opening up the experience of architectural ideas as presented within the digital stereoscopic medium. This process of exploration will attain a more permeable exchange between a projected representation of an architectural design and the direct bodily experience of the design effectively moving beyond the experiential limits of traditional anthropomorphic drawings.

3. Considerations Towards Designing Virtual Architectural Skins

The digital and interactive stereoscopic realm provides a set of opportunities that we can utilize in wayfinding through the representational expressions of human experience. These opportunities are conceived as vertices or nodes and form the basis of the folds of experience that embrace us, surround us, and invite us to partake in its physically and virtually rendered splendor. As such, a more weighted conception of spatially enhanced digital environments understood as nodal points should be considered. In this context these are comprehended as constituent elements of the infrastructural skin matrices that mediate their hidden presence within the everyday world of experience. They are the vibrational fields of phenomena that engulf our perceptual state(s) received as information and filtered through our active physical and linguistic participation within charged spaces of encounter.

The multi-nodal net of skin matrices is composed of latent informational content, network relations between material and sensed phenomenon, and the relations between information materially present in all forms electronic and otherwise physically defined. The experience that is intrinsically tied to the nodal points of informational density define the thickness of the skin at the interstices and identifies the necessity of a privileged position and proximity within the encounter. However, the nodal organization within the relational field of experience is a topological condition that encompasses such influential forces as global and local economies, politics, social histories nod cultural trajectories. The skins topology is demonstrative of the flux and flows of the forces of influence, inclusive of those belonging to the domain of human agency, slowly caressing its malleable surface in order to coax its sensory inputs into new configurative orders with the desire of shaping alternate experiential realities. The illustrated work of the author explores dense three dimensional digital architectures as a liquid set of multiple and evolving knots, nodes, and vibrations that are punctuated with encoded descriptions of the familiar, such as human figures, animate motion of micro organisms, morphologies of organic matter, and numerable geometrical typologies all of which are engaged in narrative dances of mythic origins. These digital environments are manifest within a larger fluid perceptual field that challenges the viewer's habitual framework for understanding and accessing these worlds as they surround him /her. (Figures 1 and 2)

Figure 1.
Schawn Jasmann, Visual Sensorium X1-A
Figure 2.
Schawn Jasmann, Visual Sensorium X2-A

The viewer establishes their own narrative horizons as a form of mediation through these worlds of unfamiliar histories. This results in an expression of mediated time that is disconnected from the pulsing electronic signal of binary switching: a rhythm that exists within a predictable range of known pattern, measure, and tempo. In other words, there exists the dialectic between two measures of time: the time of human experience, in which the event is located, and the time of the electronic signal, in which the digital data dwells. These two measures of time are mediated through narrative conditions that are delayed, interrupted, real, and result in differing bodily experiences of time. They are parallel measures of time: they are of the story intrinsic to the work and the time that is the discourse of the work. Within these two time-conditions the temporal dimensions that define multiple instances of a mediated cinematic event space shape the experience of the real and the virtual. This event space exists in the vibration fields of the wavelengths of memory, perception and the electronic signal, thus explicating a structure in which multiple narrative conditions within the domain of lived experience reveal ambihuity. uncertainty, and potentiality.

Within this metaphoric space of the interrupted signal, this fissure space, there exists an orientation towards the experiential as an ambiguous image of itself. It is this zone of indeterminacy in which alternate realities exist and are interrogated, alongside latent signals, pixel artifacting and computational aberrations. This is the space in which 21st century architectural inquiry is found, within the grey pixilated montage of multiple blurred boundaries of dissolving geometries, slowly oscillating their respective topological thresholds through each other.

4. Conclusion

Figure 3.
Schawn Jasmann, Visual Sensorium X3-A
Figure 4.
Schawn Jasmann, Visual Sensorium X4-A

The tools utilized in the creation of digital virtual environments, specifically those of stereo space and interactivity, may augment the existing design strategy of an architectural project or they may very well stand alone as part of a systematic approach that exists outside of the application of a subjective set of values. In either case, the turn towards employing digital stereoscopic technologies as instruments within a larger conceptual cross-programmed framework is necessary towards manifesting the desire of integrating a physically induced synesthesia with the enabling feature of a metaphoric schema of the body. Both the technological condition and the linguistic condition, one of mutual dependency in the explication of the other, can bring to fore the necessary rift, opening, rupture, displacement, or disconnect in order to create an alienated state of deconstructed habituated perceptions. This space transgresses the boundary conditions between the virtual and real, and shares a likeness to those imagined architectures that are created through an intensified interaction within a metaphorically enabled field of digital tectonics. (Figures 3 and 4) It is here, within this fluid dialogic space of encounter, where we become enmeshed within the interference noise or perturbed signals folded into and out of the robust sensorial field of human experience.


1. Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space. ISBN: 0807064734. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969.

2. Marco Frascari, Monsters of Architecture: Anthropomorphism in Architectural
. ISBN 084767648X. Savage: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1991

3. Mark Hansen, Embodying Virtual Reality Touch and Self Movement in the work of Char Davies (Critical Matrix: The Princeton Journal of Women, Gender and Culture. Vol. 12 (1-2) Making Sense), 2001.

4. Juhani Pallasmaa, The Architecture of Image: Existential Space in Cinema. ISBN 95 16826288.
Building Information Ltd., Helsinki, Finland, 2001.

5. Andrew Treadwell, Virtual Transcendence, date accessed: 25/07/03
http://users.ox.ac.uk/eng_s0294/andrewtreadwell/ma/right.htm [Oct 2017: link now defunct. Instead, please visit: http://www.immersence.com/publications/2002/2002-ATreadwell.html]

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