Panel: The Media Space: Evolving Media Architecture and Its Legend
The ideology of modernity has devoted a high importance to the public space. The democratic conditions were intended to manifest themselves there and support the free communication between people. The ideology was dealing with flowing spaces that created no barriers; it was dealing with the construction of spaces that were not repelling or intimidating by representative constructions. This evolved to the idea of transparency, the minimisation of all constructions, the concentration on the essentials. What has become of it? The idea of transparency has led to the rapid development of the glass technology in recent years. Result: All-glass façades, which increase the quality of the inner space by their transparency, however only contribute to a minor degree to the outer insight into the relations of the social system within the inner part of the buildings, because most views are blocked by reflections. And another question is: What can we see inside? Does that inside view help us to understand the social system behind the façade? The minimisation of the construction was adapted with enthusiasm by the construction industry. With respect to this parameter, everything was allowed to be optimized. Result: There are hardly any regional differences in architecture; the architecture became globalized. Often, the anonymity of the remaining public spaces obstructs processes that promote communication. Many architects have created important building art by the concentration on the essential. However, also merely profit-driven companies relate to the concept and justify the simplicity of their buildings in public by the concentration on the essential. Result: Many buildings are so characterless that the cities suffer from a large inhospitality – they just do not offer any sensory stimuli for the eyes to focus on. The idea of the public space is therefore facing hard times. However, it is very obvious that people have a large need for community and exchange. Otherwise the unbelievable success of the “social media” can hardly be explained. Now many individuals in our society are totally irritated due to the existence of real transparent relations. It is hardly possible to hide something. Especially the old representatives of the modern ideology regard it as a violation of their private affairs. But what is private and what is public? A difficult discussion that is still ongoing. But the new spaces have clearly been provoked by the media. These spaces are much closer to the original idea of modernity than the contemporary architecture itself. However, these spaces prevent us from real encounters because they are anchored only virtually. In the moment where these virtual spaces receive interfaces in physical spaces, the urban space becomes charged with social competence – I call it the “Mediatecture”. The media-tectonic instrument in the public space is the media façade. Worldwide there are many examples of media façades. However, in the sense of the public space as a room with social interaction, only a few have been created. There are many examples of artistic façades, which represent a symbol for the medial acting society through the digital application of medial technology. In most cases the medial illustration is more or less abstract and supported by curators of medial art or is funded by companies as a symbol of their innovative spirit. However, there are only a few examples of media façades which really are based on social processes. Why is that?? An important reason is the paradigm change that is induced by the media façade for those responsible for municipal planning developments. Now, virtual and urban spaces become mixed and that questions the ideology of the concentration on the essential in architecture. Digital art is just acceptable, it can be considered as constructional art. But a media façade, which can create the whole range of digital applications with its full video performance, is very concerning for the building department heads. And this is understandable, because the building department head has only few options to control the concept of medial content production. There is an urgent need to construct medial design statutes, which regulate carefully and in individual accordance with the neighbourhood the communicational aims of such media façades. This is particularly important because media façades are relatively expensive. Such projects are therefore expected to succeed only if they follow a business model that allows the operator revenue through integrated brand communication.
The concentration of many creative persons on media facades with purely artistic nature will not be sustainably productive. The challenge is rather to include the enormous dynamics of social media in the urban spaces. Only economically oriented business models can achieve this. And only by such business models free spaces will develop, that can be usefully filled with artistic applications. Now, the art can rely on clear concepts and take over communicative tasks in the public space. And this is the only way to prevent the art from being pushed in urban spaces without any contextual relation, which would even increase people’s disorientation.
- Christoph Kronhagel was born 1958 in Wolfsburg (DE) studied architecture at the RWTH University of Aachen from 1980-88. During his studies he developed an interdisciplinary way of working that enabled him to use all possibilities of visual designing. His ambition was to understand architecture as a medium for communication: How is it possible to reflect social conditions in a way that the citizens will be provided with a sensual orientation? In 1991 the company ag4 was established as a consortium for four dimensional constructions. Ag4 grew into an interdisciplinary company that creates media architectural projects which enable companies like, BMW, Aventis and Merck Serono, to communicate their identity in public space. The idea of transparent media façades was realised in 2004 when ag4 developed the application of LED’s that made it possible to design and install the first transparent media façade for the T-mobile company in Bonn. In 2008, Christoph Kronhagel left ag4 and established KRONHAGEL MEDIATECTURE GmbH in order to serve customers with holistic solutions for their mediatectures in the future. In addition to its formative competencies, strategy consulting, development and networking of mediatecture with various communication channels are among the range of services offered by Kronhagel Mediatecture – services which architects, companies, urban planners and investors equally benefit from. As base for this work Christoph Kronhagel published the book „Mediatecture“, Springer NewYork 2010.