Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Virtual Home

Everything these days is being virtualized so that we can interact with them through our electronic devices. We have virtualized the art of letter writing into email and opening an encyclopedia into searching Wikipedia. We have virtualized ourselves on Facebook, creating a digital representation of ourselves on the internet. We post what we like and dislike about our lives. We list our attributes, what we do, where we live and where we go to school. It's a database of our friends and a history of our lives. In video games we create 3d Avatars that represent our selves as we interact in the virtual world.

It's only logical to think that one day architecture is going to be virtualized into an electronic form. What will this look like? How do we interact with our home virtually? Who is going to design it?

These are questions I've been trying to answer over the last few weeks as I start working on building the user interface for HomeNet. Currently, I'm taking the Facebook approach, building a website that allows you to create a virtual profile of your home. The HomeNet website will allow you to create a detailed profile of your home listing all of it's rooms and properties and allow you to view and control all of the smart HomeNet devices you have. You will be able to personalize each page with photos of your house creating a unique personal link to your home.

I think that the future architect needs to not only design how one physically interacts with the building but also how one interacts with all the electronics and technology the future home will contain. The virtual world is currently dominated by Engineers and Graphic Designers. I think that architects need to get involved so that people have the same quality experience in the virtual building as the do in the physical building. I'm not sure if it's the architects role to design the virtual building but I think that the architect needs to represent the owners interests in it's construction the same way an architect works with a contractor to build a physical building.

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