Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture
Racial hatred, diplomatic conflicts, financial wars, environmental destruction, Covid-19 raging. In this imperfect world that doesn't run in the way we want, we may grow numb, weary, and look for alternate realities that act as a relief from these increasingly bizarre events. And due to the current pandemic, ordinary individuals forced into isolation in a strange foreign city risk losing their psychological identity as well as their connection with the society. The city becomes a metaphor of this alienation as, in some cases, it lacks a sense of belonging by already built urban structures that disenfranchise both the individual and the citizen. Could we rebuild this lost relationship between the city and its residents by empowering the individuals to control and manipulate some part of their perceptible reality?
Subjective idealism claims that to be is to be perceived. Why can't we believe that what we perceive is the reality that belongs to us and create a world to escape to for a moment of relief? I propose a highly customizable city viewing system in which residents can create and share their imaginary urban public space. Just like Video Game Modifications(MOD) allow players to change the appearance of different elements of a game and add more features to the game according to their preferences, With the help of Augmented (Mixed) Reality technology, this system offers people an opportunity to Modding the real world, which is so exciting that for a specific area of the city, there will be a variety of thematic sets of virtual content for users to choose from. These contents will replace, mask, or upgrade real elements through MR devices, or new elements that don't exist in reality will be simply added. I’d like to call these “Reality MOD.” And of course, in addition to downloading these Reality MODs by theme, people can also replace and delete any element in a pre-defined set of Reality MODs. At this point, people will create and embrace a version of reality that is only for themself. And they also have the right to escape from the real world in some of the extend.
This thesis will take Kennedy Plaza in Providence, Rhode Island, and its surrounding context as the site to explore the possibilities on how a public space could be redesigned, transformed or improved by virtual contents. This research is also a provocative experiment which questions the rising dichotomy of technologies and digital realities as tools for freedom of expression.
Huan, Xing, "Augmented city" (2021). Masters Theses. 714.
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