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How Holograms Will Fuse, Augment, and Extend Real-World Environments

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

‍Image Credit: © DirtyOpi | Pixabay


As technology continues to advance, it is important for designers to consider (and guide) how such technologies will affect and be injected into environments. This is particularly true for the long-promised technology which is now gaining ground in its development – the hologram. It has been reported that at Brigham Young University an “Optical Trap Display” is making it possible to project an object in real 3D space. (1) This can occur as a “base releases a tiny opaque particle into the air and moves the particle in a predetermined path, illuminating it with a laser”. (1) Now, you may ask: What does this have to do with the design of environments?


As holograms continue to progress, I believe there will be three key ways in which they will impact the environment, and how people experience and perceive place. The following are three critical ways the hologram can fuse, augment, or extend real-world environments.

  • Fusion between the Physical and the Virtual: In this case, a hologram projects the virtual into the physical 3D real-world space. Just imagine if a video game character or location was to manifest holographically in the real-world.
  • Augmentation of Physical Space: In this case, a physical object could be digitized, then altered (through enhancement, reproduction, or manipulation), and then projected as a hologram into physical 3D real-world space. Just imagine iterating a physical object holographically, and when doing so, the holograph would show an augmented version of the original.
  • Extension of Physical Location to a Different Physical Location: In this case, a virtual 3D copy of a real-world object could be created. A hologram could then be used to project this 3D copy at a different real-world location. Just imagine an original 3D physical sculpture on display at a museum, but then having holograms project this 3D sculpture within physical space to different and numerous locations.


As you can see, the development of holograms has the potential to create some very interesting perceptual changes to the way we think about space in the real-world. And once developed and in use, holograms will present some very exciting opportunities to augment space (environments). While the hologram is not yet within your immediate toolkit as an architectural designer, its advancement does pose some interesting questions, and concepts that should be explored. After all, such technological developments can benefit from explorations by architectural designers about their impact and ability to bring positive change.

Ask yourself the following question: How would I use hologram technology to improve experience for my project’s building occupants? While this may be a hypothetical question now, your answer may have real impact for future environments or for the ongoing development of hologram technology, as it makes its way into our lives.


(1) Dymoke, N. (2018) Hologram Technology Finally Advances to Blade Runner Levels. [Accessed Online: February 11, 2018]


what members are saying...
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 an award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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