Amidst the current surge of smartphones, tablets, and augmented reality eyewear, users increasingly isolate themselves from the built environment refocusing their attention upon a digital interface. While such technologies arguably alienate us from our immediate physical experience of the city, their location-based services and social features also offer new opportunities to reengage with our urban context and society at a wider scale. How does constructed architecture respond to users shifting focus to connect to a wider virtual networked realm of digital life?
In ‘Learning from Las Vegas’ it is suggested that the speed enabled by automobiles impacted drivers’ perceptions of space, influencing the production of architecture. The driving experience is described as “a sequence played to the eyes of a captive, somewhat fearful, but partially inattentive audience, whose vision is filtered and directed forward.”1 This altered state is argued to have influenced transformations in architectural scale, hierarchy and symbol.
‘RE: Learning from Las Vegas’ takes this theory one step further, referencing these arguments to analogically project into near futures. It examines the potential consequences of the shift in user attention on the way our buildings and cities may evolve. The automobile is replaced by mobile technology, and Las Vegas by the future urban metropolis, in an analysis informed by observation of current social behaviour, urban and technological trends, and an understanding of past visions of future cities.
1. Donald Appleyard, Kevin Lynch, and John R. Myer, ‘The View from the Road’, 1964, quoted in Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour, Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form, (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1972), 74.
© 2016 Andre Kong