The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and of ourselves.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Heightened Level of Realism

"Our society tries to understand its own structure, and builds its physical extensions on the earth's surface, guided by blank slate hypothesis. City planners believe that people's taste for green, for functions, is just social construction. We do no not inhabit architectural space simply for shelter. We do so because we need the experience of space." (Salingaros; Jane Rendell "Critical Architecture")

When the space can understand what it is what we appreciate about it, that space can sustain, replicate or even enhance the aspects that make it special on a personal level. When architectural space has a true communicative capability, it can foster a heightened sense of attachment.

"It is a well known saying that you see your habitat anew through the eyes of a stranger. It's a cliche so it must be true. Take a guide of your own city. For once try to follow its instructions and become a tourist in your home town. Everything will be different. First of all, the aesthetic experience becomes central, instead of functional and emotional ones. One must keep in mind though that there are more reasons than one to keep on searching for characteristics and qualities that do not only conform the aesthetic tourist or commercially successful image." (Arjen Oosterman; Volume #4 2009)

A guide is not only a program or a manual for making decisions. It might also show realities that are influenced by design decisions and other interventions. Exploration of the city does not need to start from the idea of continuously aligned streets, but looking at the "blocks" behaving independently. 

So what about taking Google Street View a step further and looking at those immersive spaces with panoramic video? Not only recording stills of streetscapes but exploring the interactive inner lives of city blocks? As Marshall McLuhan has once said: “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us” - our experience of the space.

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