No matter: theories and practices of the ephemeral in architecture

Anastasia Karandinou

Research output: Book/ReportBook


How do digital media (mobile phones, GPS, iPods, portable computers, internet, virtual realities, etc.) affect the way we perceive, inhabit and design space? Why do architects traditionally design, draw and map the visual, as opposed to other types of sensations of space (the sound, the smell, the texture, etc.)? Architecture is not only about the solid, material elements of space; it is also about the invisible, immaterial, intangible elements of space. This book examines the design, representation and reception of the ephemeral in architecture. It discusses how architects map and examine the spatial qualities that these elements create and questions whether - and if so, how - they take them into account in the designing process. Karandinou argues that current interest in the ephemeral in contemporary culture and architecture is related to the evolution of digital media; and that it is related to the new ways of thinking about space and everyday situations that new media enables. With sound and video recording devices now being embedded in everyday gadgets and mobile phones, capturing sounds or ephemeral situations and events has become an everyday habit. New animation techniques allow designers to think about space through time, as they are able to design dynamic and responsive spaces, as well as static spaces explored by someone over time. Contemporary video games are no longer based on a simple visual input and a keyboard; they now involve other senses, movement, and the response of the whole body in space. This book therefore argues that the traditional binary opposition between the sensuous and the digital is currently being reversed. Subsequently, new media can also function as a new tool-to-think-with about space. Designers are now able to think through time, and design spaces accordingly. Time, temporality, ephemerality, become central issues in the designing process. The notion first claimed by Marshall McLuhan in the 1960s, that the emergence of new digital media caused a ‘shift in the sensorium’, is more relevant than ever, and can be expanded in order to accommodate the new emerging technologies. Through analysis of theoretical concepts, design case studies, and real-life observations, this book challenges and inspires architects, theorists, researchers and students both about the above-mentioned series of questions, and also about possible methodologies for addressing them.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFarnham
PublisherAshgate Publishing Limited
Number of pages218
ISBN (Print)9781409466284
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameAshgate studies in architecture


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