LIVING + DYING INBETWEEN
AUTHOR: PETER JAY ZWEIG
The working definition of the real and virtual in our private lives, in our families, and in society provide a roadmap to navigating the “InBetween” in the future.
THE REAL + THE VIRTUAL
As technology has increasingly become an integral part of our lives, society has not yet reflected on what it means to become so dependent upon machines. Electricity, the car, air conditioning, the radio and TV were all game changers in the early 20th century: One hundred years ago, there was no commercial airfare, there were no hospitals, no concept of germs and how they were transmitted, and no antibiotics with the average lifespan being 40 years old in 1900. The technological acceleration has become exponential in how we have seamlessly integrated machines into our daily living.
As the 21st century has evolved we are increasingly moving from the real world into the virtual and learning to live within different realities. It is no longer an exception to see people sitting at a table eating, or in a business meeting, pick up the phone and try to be present at the table and to simultaneously be on the phone in both realities, or walking down the street with a headset on talking to someone while appearing to those passing by as someone talking to yourself and experiencing mental health issues.
How did we as humans come to this new reality? Human language has evolved from, hieroglyphic picture images, to phonetic sounds, to the contemporary binary code that allows humans to communicate more easily with machines. Mathematics has also changed to what is now being termed the ‘new math’, which is simply a way of teaching coding where humans can more easily talk to computers. When we summon Siri, or have preprogrammed thermostats, or google a map or information we haven’t committed to memory, or calendars that remind us what to do, our very lifestyles are now superimposed on what is quickly becoming the virtual digital twin of the real world. People, locations, and data that come from the real world are reproduced in code and live as a digital twin on the computer. Our avatars, whether living on social media, META, or in our business links, have become projections of who we would like to be, to dress the way we imagine, or to have the house of our dreams. Avatars can also live after we have passed: even in death our relationship to this new virtual world is changing. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and genetic engineering will similarly become the new normal in the 21st century. The evolution of Sapiens will have to question what it is to be human when robots with machine learning will function better than people, since the world champion chess player, Garry Kasparov was beaten by a computer (Deep Blue) in 1997.
In history, architecture has evolved using real materials in order to build public and private space. In the beginning the reality of the sun, the moon, the earth and survival has been the primary inspirations for the language of architecture. However, as we spend more time on the spectrum of going from the real to the unreal, the INbetween has become a new territory for architecture in the 21st century. The dynamic nature of navigating between the real and the virtual has produced the opportunity to reimagine the tools of architecture and how space is communicated in multiple realities. We are truly in the infant stage of experiencing this four-dimensional world where space and time can be manipulated at will and gravity itself is no longer a physical restraint. Our collective experience of architecture has been under scrutiny in the 20th century as magazines, TV, and devices have been the one of the primary sources of experiencing architecture for quite some time. In the 21st century you tube (5 billion videos per day) and Google (5.6 billion hits per day) are now the most common ways of ‘seeing’ architecture.
How architects will design in this new reality of the INbetween was the premise for beginning the research and creating case studies of how to catalog four ways of perceiving a new architectural language: TRUTH, NO BORDERS, GAME ON, and AVATARS became the categories by which to organize the case studies and to investigate man’s desire to augment reality with new technologies.
As humankind is challenged by the existential threats of climate change, nuclear warfare, political and social equity, fossil fuel reliance and air pollution, lack of water, and cybersecurity - all beg the question, how do we communicate and plan for these unparalleled crisis’ that threaten the very existence of our species. Can architecture save the world? This book explores the possibilities of not just having architecture be sustainable, but to rethink how we communicate and build a future Living + Dying INbetween the Real + the Virtual.
—Peter Jay Zweig
I have always looked at architecture as more than just simply designing buildings, it’s always been a way to create new possibilities and realities for people to explore. You can step through a physical door, or a digital portal and be transported into a new world. Until now, construction materials were limited by reality but, with the invention of XR, the possibilities have now become endless. We now have an opportunity to redefine what architecture will become in the future.
For me the journey began in architecture in 1969 with a machine I built that was called the SIX SENSES. It was built with items at hand using 3D photography (one image for each eye) mounted in a scuba diving mask that looked very much like a VR headset today. The hands, the feet and ears were all bombarded with heat and cold, different textures, and an audio track on a headset. The concept was to inundate the five senses which would then trigger the sixth sense: very much like going into a movie during the day when there was sunlight and after the movie the disorientation you feel when coming outside and it is night and your perception of where you are has changed. In 1995 I worked with a new technological innovation called the cave through a NASA relationship in which a twelve-foot cube was built that was composed of computer projections on the surrounding screens to create an immersive, virtual environment. Wearing glasses and gloves that were synchronized to the computer images, weight and material could be experienced through the mechanical gloves, or joystick. My early search for a way to experience a virtual environment free from the constraints of reality is only now becoming possible in the 21st century with the invention of the fully immersive, virtual METAVERSE.
“By creating an innovative spectrum of multiple realities, the book define the tools for architecture working in the 21st century.”
By taking a deep dive into the spectrum of evolving technologies, the role of architecture will be explored in this new world of the INbetween. AI and machine learning have the ability to transform the architectural profession. These tools can be used to augment design and push the envelope, redefining what architecture means in the 21st century. In the real world, "smart homes" will be able to be truly smart, instead of just a home with smart devices, when they are designed to provide more than shelter. We can then innovate architecture by enhancing nature, perception, and reality itself.
As Web3 (cryptocurrency blockchains) and the Metaverse become more accessible, we will have the ability to create new worlds with endless possibilities, taking the redefined public and private realm into the new architectural dimension of Living + Dying INbetween the Real + the Virtual.
G. E. KIDDER SMITH BUILDSProject type
WAY BEYOND BIGNESSProject type
Living + Dying INbetweenPeter Zweig
The Landscape ProjectProject type
Environmental Activism by DesignColeman Coker, Sarah Gamble, Katie Swenson , and Thomas Fisher
Johnston MarkleeBenjamin Wilke
Impossible and Hyper-Real Elements of ArchitectureCarl Lostritto
Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop VLaura Garofalo and Omar Khan
Innovation In PracticeValeria Federighi
FIGMENTS OF THE ARCHITECTURAL IMAGINATIONTodd Gannon
Landscape ApproachDr. Shelagh McCartney, Samantha Solano, Sonja Vangjeli, & Hannes Zander
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