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Does Augmented Reality Technology Change Your Building for Better or For Worse?

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © plantronicsgermany | Flickr

As people travel through the world today, they experience many dimensions to the spaces they encounter. Whether within a building, or when exploring a city, people are navigating with the help of things like cars, handheld instruments like smart phones, cameras, books or various map-like devices. However, one thing is for sure…

New technology often leads to realizing new ways of designing spaces with a “sense of place” — and that is something you should be keenly aware of as an architect.

When a certain building radiates this “sense of place”, it often can lift occupants to higher levels where greater learning, spirituality and a sense of well-being can be achieved. And it is no secret that many places have exuded this “sense of place” in both timeless and universal fashions — well before certain state-of-the-art technologies that we see today ever existed. But, I do ask…what happens when new technologies find their way into architecture? Do they enhance or detract from it as they augment its very being?

That, furthermore, leads me to ask…”What does “sense of place” mean today? And with all of the new and rapidly developing technologies being literally carried around by occupants all over the world, how does this re-preset, re-define and re-introduce people to the built environment which surrounds them?

Including Augmented Reality Technology to Exude a “Sense of Place”

When I can walk down the street and “see” to form an impression of a building, using my smart phone for example, I am often given a preview (whether it be accurate or not) of what an architectural “place” might have in store. But then the question really becomes… Is this sort of augmented reality really enhancing that buildings’ ability to lift me to that higher-level I spoke about earlier? And what happens once I bring that augmented reality with me once I step inside?

In other words, does augmented reality help a building when it is an accidental after-thought? Or when it was well pre-conceived and designed by an architect to help that building to teach me, spiritually lift me, or guide me to have a better sense of well-being?

So, take a moment to consider how the widespread use of augmented reality technologies will impact your building, and its occupants. Ask yourself how such devices can contribute to your building’s message and its ability to convey that message. After all, not only do buildings exist in the moment as an occupant physiologically experiences them through their body’s senses, but they also exist well before (and after) that occupant ever steps foot inside.

This idea for this article was inspired by: A Sense of Place: A World of Augmented Reality

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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