The "real" and the "virtual" in public space
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"The challenge for architecture now is to step beyond the physical threshold that governs the conventional spaces of the home and into the phenomenal or simulated spaces of the mind." i Public spaces today suffer from a lack of use, a use that allows strangers to interact and be a part of a shared experience. This interaction is in fact increasingly moving to a new forum: the virtual forum or the Internet. Statement of significance of issue . Real space, built and defined by physical materials, has inherent qualities that are fundamental to human experience. It has a tactile sensory perception; for example, in gothic cathedrals every architectural and material decision contributed to the perception of space and the aura created. On the other hand, virtual means of defining space give us a degree of control, flexibility and the ability to re-map a space. For example in 2003, a virtual community called "There.com" was formed. This community allows users to create their own world and populate and re-map it as they desire. Thus, it is significant in framing and executing my thesis, which attempts to intersect the two kinds of space, to explore the overlap of these two realms, study the qualities of both, and juxtapose them. Expected outcome . I will design an installation that incorporates the "real" and the "virtual", and explores the intersection of the two, locating the virtual construct in relation to the physical construct. They are then appropriately sited in the public realm. I see this work as a prototype, which may assume different scales and applications. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) i Michael Ostwald, Adam's House in Cyburbia ( Architecture Australia , March/April 1997).