Architecture Shorts

the sky bent down to earth – architecture shorts

Research concept: Cornelia Lund, Holger Lund (fluctuating images e.V.)

A new visual culture has come to dominate the presentation of architecture in recent years: animated digital visualisation, boosted by ever growing computer capacities, is now the tool of choice to render both actual building projects and futuristic architectural visions.

When architectural designs are shown in an exhibition context today, often videos have to carry the issue and form even the highlight of the presentation – just look at the exhibition of Zaha Hadid’s Casino project in Basel (Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum Basel, 2005) or Christian de Portzamparc’s exhibition “Rêver la ville” (Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine, 2007). Also, a regular and by now established festival has been held in Florence since 1997, the “international festival for architecture in video/beyond media”.

The video visualisations incorporate elements of music, graphics and text within a realisation of architectural vision. The term “vision” can be taken quite literally here, since this technique allows the user to envisage not only commissioned architecture, but also free architectural design and experimental work.

Digital video has become an integrated part of the architectural everyday. But this doesn’t mean that video is automatically integrated into architectural theory. And this is exactly the point, where this project takes shape.

Architectural presentation modes have changed from two-dimensional plan drawings (which often detailed technical specifics), to three-dimensional models, to videos unfolding in time – clearly there has been a paradigm shift in architecture: both the plan and the model have been superseded by a two-dimensional medium, the video, which suggests an illusion of three dimensions and seems to offer the possibility to move through the space of a building to the viewer. The illusionist quality of digital animation additionally is enhanced by the use of background music. What is the significance of this displacement of media, this media transfer for the perception of the architecture itself?

These digital video visions share the fact that they access media (video, music, graphics) or media genres (music video, games) that are not traditionally connected to architecture, furthermore, they develop a specific language designed to present architectural detail within a short film, going beyond simple videos on architecture as a means of communication. At the same time, this language, spoken through software developed for the presentation of architecture, already has been transferred into other contexts, the software refined or rewritten to be used, for example, in music videos. The crucial point here is that the medium has taken on a life of its own: besides serving as a representational film that replaces the old architectural model, video is increasingly used as a platform for freely experimental fictions.

The project proposed here aims to investigate all the different forms of visualising architecture, from concrete site-specific projects to free play with the aesthetic parameters behind the medium. Core topics would be: the special features of architectural videos compared to other video works; a definition of these videos’ specific aesthetics; and the questions: where are the possibilities or limits, and what signification do these videos carry right now?

Text: March 23, 2008

Three screening pogrammes have been developped in th frame of the research project, two of them shown both at the Festival of Animated Film, Stuttgart:

Festival of Animated Film, Stuttgart, 2010
Animated Architecture – screening curated by Cornelia and Holger Lund with curatorial assistance by Elisabetta Enne and Roberto Barbieri

and Festival of Animated Film, Stuttgart, 2011
Animated Architecture II – screening curated by Cornelia and Holger Lund with curatorial assistance by Meike Frank

and Friday, August 10, 2012, 8pm, General Public, Berlin
Architectural Thinking in Architecture Shorts
Lecture with videos by Cornelia and Holger Lund