August 21 – 26, 2017

The better self

Isabella Pasqualini

The better self as the architectonic or technological promise of a better life is not a new idea in itself. We find it for instance in Aristotle’s writings, Francis Bacon’s “New Atlantis”, or, Hannes Meyer’s Co-op projects. Since Ivan Sutherland proposed “The Ultimate Display” in the early 70’s, it has become a mainstream ideal for new technologies including immersive Virtual Reality.

Starting with Hannes Meyer’s Co-op interior, in this module we will gain a deeper understanding of the sense of place and space using immersive virtual media: Place, as a notion through which the present moment is related to an entire system of references; Space, as the immanent link between extension, time and the body. In this context, we will test different aspects of embodiment ranging from the user’s sense of presence in Virtual Reality, to feelings of space, well-being, as well as moods and emotions. We will define individual design parameters and learn to understand and to modulate the user’s sensations in a specific environment over time based on immersive media.

We will start our individual design project from a physical place that we conceptualize gradually through an augmentation in virtual space. The result is a custom-made technological approach to architectonic space and an innovative design method based on immersive Virtual Reality.

Most required for this course are good 3d design skills and an own laptop with 3d software or good video filming and editing know-how.

Course is fully booked

Isabella Pasqualini is an architect (ETHZ, 2000) and scientist with a PhD in architecture and cognitive neuroscience (EPFL, 2012). After studies in Venice, Zürich and Madrid, she has worked for international architecture firms before founding her own design practice in Switzerland in 2004. For her postdoctoral project “Visual Touches – Touching Views” at the Center of Neuroprosthetics (EPFL) she obtained the Fellowship grant by the cogito foundation in 2013. She is currently a visiting scientist at the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience (EPFL). Her works explore the mutual and intimate relationship between body and architecture through immersive multimedia, with a particular interest in a multisensory enhancement of the architectonic horizon. Isabella has published her empirical research studies in scientific media (Frontiers 2013, 2017) and is currently a guest editor for Frontiers in Cognitive Science. In 2016 she presented her research about mood enhancement through architectonic biofeedback at the Venice Biennale. She has been a visiting Professor at the Industrial Design Department of Zürich University of the Arts (ZHdK), at the Art and Design Academy of Tsinghua University in Beijing, as well as a lecturer in the School of Engineering and Architecture at EPFL. Isabella has planned a new City in Angola and built a temporary bank building in Luanda. She has won several international competition prizes and exhibited her work at Swiss and international art venues (City of Rome, City of Helsinki, EPFL south, Beijing Design Week, Beijing Triennale, Shanghai Art, Science & Technology Exhibition, SAST Award, Swiss Art Awards, EAC ‘Les Halles’, Werkschau Architektur 2015).

For more information about Isabella’s research, read the article: “Seeing” and “feeling” architecture: how bodily self-consciousness alters architectonic experience and affects the perception of interiors” here.