I wasn’t expecting that my first entry into the new radical architecture series would be produced by a large firm known for constructed the Radio Shack campus or the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
But as I read Monday’s email from ArchNewsNow, that turned out to be precisely the case. Last year, my colleague at NYU, Alex Galloway predicted that architecture would soon adapt rendering engines from video games. This has happened much sooner than I expected as HKS has adopted the Unreal Engine to produce interactive visualizations as Business Week recounts in this story on Unreal Architecture.
And it’s about time. If Mayatecture’s days were numbered before, it is doomed now. But punning aside, the devices that architecture uses for projection are constituent for its production. So if video games have replaced cinema and television as the dominant mass cultural form, then architects should respond appropriately.
The transformation promises to be immense. Take the means that we experience projects in the studio. For the most part, rendering engines based on cinema have produced static images or animations that offered no interactivity. If such technology takes hold the ubiquitous powerpoint or plotter image as well as the long zoom and pan on the object floating mysteriously in a field of black will be history, as well the row of critics staring obediently with their mouths agape.
Instead critics and audience alike will be riveted to their laptops, running through projects to understand them. Narrative and procession will become important again. Surfaces will cease to be interesting, except for the effects they produce as you pass them at a high rate of speed. Perhaps we’ll see the critics shooting at each other with rail guns? Take that, you gratuitous formalist!
More at the Archengine site.