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The Lighthouse – Architecture as Level Design – NEW PAPER

Nature and its relationship to the human body has been studied, mapped and analyzed for centuries- that architecture should respond to the proportions of the body. Building codes and patterns defined by Da Vinci, Le Corbusier (or, even better, Charlotte Pierrand), Leon Alberti, among many others exist today based on general universal measurements, from bodily relationship of one’s elbows to the foot, arm, palm, etc. The perfection of Cindy Crawford itself.

As architects, we are equipped to think on a human scale, the gestures that accompany each bodily movement increase user presence. We’ve been taught to design in regards to the program of space, to create emotional landscapes that intensify the physicality of a users’ gestures as they circulate, augmenting feelings of presence. Just like how we intuitively manipulate physical objects, architecture can manipulate how a user inhabits a space. We must crouch or crawl in small tunnel spaces, descend with ease down a ramp. Simple elements that make up a building, their proportions and material qualities push the user to move and react. Breaking one of these codes can be dangerous: like the obnoxious “women staircases” designed by men in the 70s to fit the perfect “female stride” that satisfy nobody but cause people (both women and men alike) to misstep and plummet down the steps… Afterall, form follows function.

In this course, students will design a level for a virtual reality game. The game’s core mechanic is based on the concept of The Lighthouse and will require navigating and using a 2 x 2 meters area as an infinite plane to inhabit the world. An endless lighthouse effect. Each level will uniquely play with space, physicality and gestures in the physical and virtual world. We will do this by learning game design, user experience design, supernormal interactions and building these spaces with new proportions. Students will experiment with nonEuclidean architecture, interaction design, and do case studies on VR experiences that have physicality in terms of navigation and perception of virtual architecture.