Shifting Terrain: Interactive Surface


Date: 2010

Client: OPEN SPACES: Window to a View, City of Calgary public art program

Primary Investigator(s): Vera Parlac

Collaborators: n/a

Project Budget: withheld

Research Assistants/ Project Team (Role): Brett Osness, Mike Kryski

Sponsors: LID Laboratory for Integrative Design

Publications: “The Shifting Terrain: Interactive Surface” in Project Catalog of the 31st Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), University of Calgary, Calgary, 2011

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Project Description: Interface is defined as a common boundary, boundary between things, boundary across which data passes, a point of interaction, linking software, or linking device. Interface could be a place, situation, or a way across which things or people act together and affect each other.

The “Shifting Terrain” project explores a notion of an urban interface, through a responsive surface activated by an inquisitive observer/passerby. The undulating surface is made of strips of veneer that form a regularly patterned field. When stimulated by sensory input, the field shifts animating the surface. Sensors attached to the window glass entice the viewer to touch them, registering the change in light intensity and triggering the movement of the surface. This installation links art, design, technology and public realm. Its goal is to engage the public by providing an alternative, interactive interface between the street and the interior of the building. The broader goal of the project is to explore the role of the responsive surfaces in architecture.