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How Mobile Technology Will Augment Physical Space

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

As more and more technologies converge into smaller and more mobile devices, the spaces that we build are being understood and perceived in entirely new ways. In fact, when a person experiences a physical space with a mobile device, it can be augmented — where new dimensions about the space are revealed to the observer, within which it is made easier to navigate, remember, and find comfort.

For instance, in the following video, technology augments life’s experiences from the point of awakening every morning. This may be where technology is headed — and if so, how would you as an architect design for such augmented perception? Think about this question as you watch the following video.


As you can see from the video, at just about any point during the day, an event can occur that may be acted upon, shared, or downloaded for future retrieval. With the help of mobile technology, you could be reminded, taught, or even asked to socialize in new ways. So, what does this mean for architecture?

In a world where “places” are being shared virtually, or where way-finding becomes more intuitive, the architecture begins to enter into a new type of conversation with its visitors. The transformation of “place” that yields more real-time “events” means that architecture is becoming ever more dynamic.

With added layers of information making up a physical space, would it be possible to accomplish more in that place for the occupant? And if so, how could the architecture work hand-in-hand with the augmenting technology to feed occupants not only when they need it, but also where they need it?

In the end, augmenting mobile technologies are making it easier for people to find and act upon what they need. But how does the “static-ness” of architecture interact with the dynamic qualities of such technologies? How can the two come together to impact and uplift human experience?

One way, is for architects to consider that in addition to the classical human senses, occupants are gaining dynamic real-time information, visualized and understood as an added layer through technology. For instance, when technology is connected to the internet or is “crowd-sourced”, there is a deeper sensing that can occur. The trick then is to use such information and engagement to inform the design of buildings.

Augmenting mobile technology does seem to make a lot of experiences “easier”. But with architecture that takes such technologies into account, perhaps experiences can reach higher and richer levels — all in real-time, seamlessly woven into the fabric of daily life.





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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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