I investigate the connection between the human body and adaptive architecture, especially where adaptive architecture encompasses digital components to respond to user behaviour. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, I am especially interested in the effects of digitally-driven adaptive architecture on its inhabitants. Thus, my research occurs at the intersection of architecture, computer science, and psychology (and philosophy).
Such a triangulation of research fields and methods concurs with Groat and Wang’s approach to Architectural Research Methods (2013). They explain that it is becoming increasingly common in architectural research to use an “integrative approach to research” (p. 361) with the aim of “combining strengths and neutralising weaknesses” of the various methods.
My starting point to investigate how occupants/inhabitants interact with space is architecture. However, I take an inherently occupant-centric view. While I am interested in the technical capabilities of architectural space, I am mainly concerned with the effects space has on its occupants. This includes how occupants relate to and interact with their architectural environment. Additionally, I draw on architecture theory regarding the inhabitant’s perception of and relation to static space. Finally, my design and fabrication experience enables me to create full-scale, fully functional research environments.
Computer Science contributes both interaction theories (Human-Computer Interaction, HCI) as well practical tools to my research. Such tools include computing infrastructure and digital prototyping methods to build functioning prototypes. This allows the fabrication and operation of adaptive structures and the manipulation of an occupant’s experience inside it. At the same time, HCI offers frameworks on, for example, tangible user interfaces, usability, or collaborative/colocated interactions with digital technologies that enable interpretation of inhabitant behaviour. Eventually, this understanding informs the design of new prototypes.
Psychology and Philosophy
Psychology and philosophy provide much of the theory to interpret the observed phenomena. Currently, this revolves around embodied cognition, perceived control, and behavioural synchrony, which I have so far investigated using lab-based, hypothesis-driven experiments as well as an extended “in the wild” study.