I wonder if one can say that what you put into your architectural design, your occupants will get out of it? Yet, I do not necessarily think that the amount of time or money spent on a project is linearly reflected in its positive or negative outcome for occupant experience. Yes, it can help…but with the proper design ingenuity and by capitalizing on the right leverage points within your design process, your architectural designs can speak volumes to your occupants no matter how large, small or costly the project.
However — does the level of “immersion” with which you design get carried through into your occupants’ experience of your design? And what makes for good design immersion?
Well, another word for immersion is “absorption”, also defined as “the state of being deeply engaged or involved. In light of this definition, I must say that most often reaching the proper level and state of immersion while you design user experience in a building can work wonders for creating an equally immersive environment for your occupants. For, such an environment will cradle your occupants in such a way as to not only alleviate their functional needs, but to also present them with an architectural world that seamlessly and almost invisibly brings beauty into their lives.
In today’s day and age, when speaking of an immersive environment, people generally think of virtual reality spaces in terms of another world often filled with things like amazing graphics, avatars and new rules that make up the physics to their new world. However, much can be learned from such virtual reality environments…especially when you bring those lessons back into the daily life of your occupants.
For starters, immersive experiences can occur for your occupants well within your physical, and very real, architectural buildings. I think that in order to do this, however, you as an architect need to truly “immerse” yourself within your environments as you create them. This requires that when you design, you go beyond the programmatic needs of your occupants so you can instill that poetic value within your future building. After all, if you can feel the poetics of a building on your drawing board, the probability of your occupants feeling it once built will be greatly increased.
Image Caption: A Second Life shopping mall design that reflects trends instantly, showing what people buy, current fashions, quality levels and so on.
Image Credit: © Torley | Flickr
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