Immersion Design

Fourth Year

Model, Performing Arts Center WTC. Students: David Sakumoto and Zibo Zhao. Critic: Dan Bucsescu

At a 2016 conference on Immersion Design held in Germany, the poster for the event stated that "a complete break with all traditional notions of reality has occurred under the impact of digital simulation: right up to an agony of the real."

“Architectural design education) has been resistant to technologies of immersion, which have become a natural part of the everyday communication and aesthetic experience."

Contemporary art has dealt with "trans-medial" and "multimodal." This opens the need for an advanced design studio focused on immersion design which means considering the following topics:

Embodied/Bodily Engagement - somatosensory system experience; all senses, no just visual.

Participatory - neuroscience/consciousness.

Synthetic-cross modal - being present in the "here and now" fully.

Psycho-social Density - affection/subjectivity/intersubjectivity/mood

Familiar/Unfamiliar - memory/cognition/space and time relations/language

Non-normative Design - non-deterministic, nomadic thinking/poetic logic

In teaching fourth year design. I asked the students to "zoom in" as closely as possible” inside a project they had previously done and and design a moment of architectural experience (or "a thick present. )

In the first six weeks, in teams of two or three people, the students are asked to produce a preliminary design concept that includes a well-developed Performing Arts Center program, an architectural concept, a structural concept, and sited design.

In the second half of the semester, each student is asked to individually insert a "temporary multisensory (synthetic) and interactive architectural installation" inside of their designed space.

This offers the student designer an opportunity to imagine a particular moment of experience inside their overall design. The goal is to allow the student to imagine and simulate as close as possible, through various mediums (e.g., animation, virtual reality, etc.), a particular "moment" in the architectural experience of a person moving through their design.

This exercise aims to encourage the student not to be timid in their approach to the design process even if it includes (more or less) a 'subjectivity', or a personal vision, mood, or atmosphere.