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Architects Using Digital Displays

Architecture is both an art and a science. Without the art, buildings become bland, stolid fixtures, but without the science, structures might not even stand, let alone inspire. Where architecture is at its best both function and form come together to create something that is both beautiful and practical.

Purpose over Personality

Within the world of architecture there are stars, just like in every other realm, and those famous architects have created stunning structures to earn their clout. But looking at the purpose behind the design is becoming as important as the person creating the design. The managing partner at the innovative firm NBBJ, Steve McConnell says design is shifting toward “a greater emphasis on the opportunity represented when people gather.”

Looking at how people use spaces rather than simply the beauty of the space is driving architects to reimagine structures. As an example, the Gemological Institute of America needed a secure area for customers to wait in their New York headquarters. But instead of bars and concrete, they opted for a glass wall with digital displays mounted in the middle. So customers on both sides of the wall can see the display showing the breadth and depth of what the GIA does, while still providing all the security needed for such a high-profile facility.

Design that Disappears

Not everyone wants to look at a building on the skyline, no matter how beautiful it is. So South Korea has approved a design by the United States firm GDS Architects to create the Tower Infinity which will be a nearly 1,500 foot skyscraper outside Seoul that can disappear. Using a series of cameras and digital displays, the building will process and project images onto its surface that cause it to appear invisible by showing viewers what the camera sees on the opposite side of the structure.

Spaces that Speak

For their own lobby in Los Angeles, the architecture and design firm Gensler chose to integrate digital displays into nearly every aspect of the space. Combining a fluid table, a hidden projector, and a brilliant video wall, the space creates a multi-surface, interactive experience for visitors – without any instructions.

As people walk into the lobby the design of the space draws them to the table on which a book about Gensler is sitting. As they approach, the table is lit from above by projectors while the video wall responds to their movements. All of the interactions are discovered through experimentation and intuition as the visitors learn more about Gensler through the unspoken language of pioneering design and digital displays.

Theaters that Transcend

When movie-goers step into Cinemacity in Beirut, Lebanon they may not notice the 256 displays above their head at first, but when the virtual shutters pull back and the sky appears, patrons of the upscale theater might just forget about their popcorn.

Integrated into the ceiling of the main lobby is the world’s highest resolution screen (6,480 by 3,840 pixels). The domed ceiling of the space only adds to the illusion of a skylight to another world. The screens can mimic the effect of looking up at a towering forest or being submerged beneath the ocean or flying to a distant star. The sense of wonder in movies that transports viewers to different worlds is captured in the lobby as the theater invites the visitors to sit back and gaze at the ceiling awaiting their next adventure.

Architecture for Anyone

As the art and science of building design embrace the latest technology, digital displays are helping to bring wonder and function, delight and purpose together into a unified whole.