OBjective - EXPLORE ARCHITECTURE AS A PRODUCT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
TEAM - 1 Engineer, 1 Developer, 2 Designers
CONTRIBUTIONS - Research, 3D Models, artwork, Strategy
In contemplating contemporary architecture as a product of artificial intelligence this study takes a stand against the notion of static architecture and introduces the concept of how architecture can react to its surroundings. While exploring the best ways to approach the problem the team came to the conclusion that we should focus on one area of "sense" as our senses are what define space. In exploring the ideas we came to these conclusions:
Visual: The most amount of impact, however the most obvious and overdone aspect of AI for Architecture.
Smell: The least amount of impact and the hardest to manipulate.
Taste: Again, minimal impact, unless you plan to lick the spaces you are in.
Touch: Worth exploring, however may be quite challenging to execute
Sound: Easiest to explore and the most influential
If you couldn't guess by now which one we went with based off the above biased writing... we went with Sound and named the project Stalagmite Sound.
Sound is possibly the most emotional sense. For example, a movie with out sound can be good, but a movie with sound makes it amazing. You can tell there is suspense by perhaps an ominous score before a thrilling moment happens. Music can make you feel happy, sad, energized, and so forth. Sound can create so many emotional triggers and we use it in society today in many ways to create unique experiences. Architecture certainly uses sound to enhance a space, however there are not many instances of architecture using sound in a dynamic way to influence a user's experience in that space.
Sound should take on the role of creating spatial qualities as well as new acoustical qualities to transform space from one state to the next. It is constantly reacting and changing as its environment changes or becomes more intense. The project heavily relies on an intricate, yet simple system that aggregates to form a space.
While exploring best case scenarios for use of sound and architecture we came to the conclusion that a concert or music venue would be the ideal situation. A music venue presents the perfect problem as most venues struggle to have the venue itself interact with viewers. They are essentially looking towards one focal point, while the only other influence around them is the crowd (not to say that can't be substantial). One instance of a stage bleeding out into the crowd is when Cold Play used light up wristbands to interact with the crowd and enhance the experience of the music. In our exploration we thought we could take a music venue even further.
We explored a numerous amount of ideas, like magnets that could assemble and fall apart, tensile structures that could be dynamic, however through many failures we stumbled upon a unique shape that would allow us to achieve what we were after. A Cubeoctahedron.
The built system is an aggregation of cubeoctahedrons that rely a specialized hinge system allowing the strands of structure to unfold, move, and open up. These transitions in movement allow light, sound, and air to filter through. The geometry helps to reduce or direct the sound to create the different acoustical environments as the system changes.The pieces of the system create spaces that open and enclose. As the environment gets louder, the system reacts in a way to help enclose the sound creating a more intense space and in the opposite sense as the environment becomes more subdued the system opens up inviting more to contribute to the space. The effects of the system happen at multiple scales starting from the entire music venue enclosing around itself to the system focusing on one person and enclosing around that person. The initial sound study looked at a smaller environment and how sound would influence the space.
As we studied the sound we started to analyze how the geometry, sound, and users would begin to interact. Essentially we came to the conclusion that if an area got louder we could reduce the size of the space to create a more acoustically pleasing environment and if it was open we could allow more environmental noises in to create an experience targeting towards it surroundings. Before jumping into a full music venue we looked at integrating the idea into a bar and testing it at a smaller scale.
Our findings showed exactly what what had hypothesized and showed to us that if we scaled up we would could create a similar effect and environments. Thus we broke the music venue into 3 different phases:
1 - Enclosed Space: the ideal acoustical situation for viewing the concert itself
2 - Transient Space: The venue starts to transform to a crowd focused event
3 - Environmental: The venue is more party focused and user centric.
Once we had studied the acoustical qualities of the geometry at a large scale it came time to show that it could actually be built. Thus, we created a prototype that used sound to influence the shape that the structure took at which point the shape could then influence the acoustical qualities and environment.
We were able to build the structure, we were able to have the structure react to our voice as we got louder, it opened up, as we got quieter it shriveled up. All sounds great right? Well, no. What we discovered was our structure began to fail once we scale the geometry up past a certain point. This then lead us to what you see above as we maxed out at 1/16 the scale. Anything larger than that failed. We decided that would be acceptable to move forward with the study and we would continue with our findings.
The Full Monty
At this point we had all the information and proof required to move forward with a full concept design. As mentioned previously we broke the venue down int 3 phases and the final result is as follows:
What We Learned
Through the use of this architectural intelligence we are able to redefine acoustical space and redefine how a user interacts with a building. Stalagmite Sound introduces the user to a new experience every time. With the appropriate backing this technology could be implemented at a small scale at your local neighborhood drinking hole, or large events such as Coechella redefining what it means to your favorite band.