Virtual space and arhitecture

A young girl is sitting in a cafe and reading an article on a phone. An older man is arguing with his wife, who is in another country. You see a woman jogging and listening to her favorite playlist. Everyone is in the same space, yet are building their own bubbles an imaginary obstacles that form their own space.

It feels weird saying that you own smartphone can build obstacles, when we all know it was build to connect. There’s nothing wrong with building obstacles. Quite on the­ contrary. It’s a nice representation of manifestation of our micro cosmos. A bit like taking a part of our own home with us. So in an alien setting we can feel at ease, private even.

All of this is surely happening on our phones, laptops, PC ‘s you name it, but in actuality it’s the internet that emerges us in infinite warmhall of informations, sets, environments even. The premise is simple. You want to zone out of reality and enter something more exciting, soothing or just to change your environment. Not a lot of people enjoy the morning commute on a train. The space is cramped, people are sweaty, there’s no free seats. So you resort to this virtual escapism to make your day less uncomfortable.

If we continue this thought, we can equate virtual world with comfort, maybe even home. Because what is home If not an absolute comfort and ease. But with this comes another question. How can an architecture be implemented in the virtual world. Now we can be literal and say that this has been happening for many years with the phenomenon of gaming. Each year the experience of playing a game becomes more real, and with the whole culture becoming more mainstream, we can surely predict it will feel more and more like a simulation. Then there is another immersion going on with the boom of different you tube chanels, where people are talking from the comfort of their cameras at home and talking to you. Usually the conversation is one sided, but the concept stays the same, there is this huge virtual world being build and it’s expanding more and more each day.

Now this is no modern concept books and stories have been here to let us escape from our world for centuries if not millenia. But what is it that makes that world so alluring and how can we translate it to the real one, or more importantly how can we implement it on our architecture. Well firstly the laws of physics more often than not do not apply, so there go our castles in the sky. But the more real aspect that can be is the fact that we can carry this bubble of comfort with us and make ourselves feel at home everywhere we go. Now there might be some potential of merging something so dematerial as virtual space with something as tangible as architecture.

And the first steps have definitely been made with installing wi-fi routars an almost every tree we have. The connection is very litteral but efective. How will it go in the future? Will we be living in an empty box and all the grandeur of architecture will be an empty projection. Well in a way it does indeed sound optimistically ascetic, with use of actual materials being minimal.

We will see where the future will actually bring us, but instead of making ourselves a second home in a virtual space, maybe we should strive to merge both of our worlds.


Author: Katja Orehek