Published December 6, 2012 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

Unconscious Perception in a Responsive Architectural Environment

  • 1. Ph.D. Research Fellow at the Planetary Collegium University of Plymouth Plymouth, Great Britain


The language of architecture has evolved with human cul- ture and has built a repertoire of forms and topoi that we take for granted without being forced to constantly reflect about the meanings of these forms. We perceive and orient ourselves in the built environment without interpreting ev- ery form or space separately. However, this is not usually the case in the architecture of change. In such responsive envi- ronments, the changes are often so omnipresent and explicit that the interactor’s attention is fixed during these changes. There might be situations in which demanding full attention while the environment changes is necessary. But as a general rule, such an approach cannot serve as a model for future architecture. This is because, if all technology, flexible ar- chitecture included, is to compete for the attention of the user, the consequence will be a dissonance and overload of signals and events – a scenario which the user would try to avoid or ignore altogether. One approach by which respon- sive architecture may become a part of our lives as static architecture has is to adapt it in such a way that only our peripheral awareness is stimulated. But for this architecture to function properly, it needs to communicate with its users. Can this be achieved without demanding the full attention of the user? What could be the strategies for such archi- tecture to inform the users unconsciously and to obtain the input necessary to perform properly? Is such architecture still deterministic, or would this kind of interpretational ar- chitecture lead to non-determinism and the emancipation of the user from the will of the architect?



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