architecture as interaction design

Because I work with a lot of architects (and almost became one, once) I think quite a bit about architecture and its relationship to interaction design.

I’ve realised that much of this thinking is piecemeal and not really coherent, but I think that Ranulph’s comments in my recent proposal review were not just in reference to cybernetics, but also other disciplines and their contribution to IxD.

So, it’s great when you hear architects discuss their interaction ideas (albeit second hand). Like Dan Hill‘s reporting of Timothy Hill’s intentions for the State Library of Queensland:

Discussions with Timothy Hill indicated how the design of furniture across the Infozone was intended to, in his words, “break up the traditional anthropomorphic relationship between the user and their laptop”, based on observations of how intimately people actually relate themselves to their laptops. Hill had noted how people rest the laptop on their knees, lie down with it, use it in bed, curl up around it on the sofa, and so on. So the fixtures and fittings in the Infozone were intended to suggest this intimacy – in common with the ‘domestic’ touches in the design of the Library in general – and provide a wide variety of options as to how to use a laptop in the space.

On the one hand, a part of me finds this a great and direct link to interaction design, and the architectural situation, I’m also left wondering why these links are so apparent at this human scale. Why does the design of a seating area seem more ixd’ish than the design of a sporting stadium? of a Library for that matter?

Check out the original story; the bit above is just a small aspect of it that misses out altogether the way Dan is designing ways to communicate the urban industry of a post industrial workhouse.

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