• Elvin Ou

When computation meets architecture

A Throw-back to my undergraduate thesis project.

The understanding of change as the only constant, and contingency as the process of becoming, leads to the question

of “Can you create an ameliorative space where users will respond to and converge within, to which enriches and

empowers both the users and the space.”


The whole idea of human-space interaction is being explored within the creation of an Outpatient Addiction Rehabilitation Center. The shared experiential program produces a space of Amelioration that can guide individual

users to increase the quality of their experience through time and effort, and reveal the positive outcome caused by progressive actions. Within the designed environment, light and sound correspond to help define programs and

indicate one’s state of mind and at the same time reflecting others’. Programs are divided into three categories, public , staff, and the patient. All three areas are organized to respond to the existing site and light conditions throughout.


The interior boundaries are composed of solid and translucent walls, their changing height and translucencies allow for a various range of lighting and sound conditions, meeting programmatic requirements while revealing

the physical evidence of occupancy. Through this awareness of one’s surrounding environment and inhabitants, a sense of interaction/community is created to help patients build trust, and a realization of how far they have gone in the process.


Where the computation plays a huge role is the proposed responsive lighting system throughout the entire space. Within each designated space, lighting are proposed to be have a certain response to the program and occupancy of the space.

The computational part of this project isn't rigorous at all since it was not the major focus,

so it was rather vague. Different programs are designated to have different occupancy, lighting condition and interaction, for example: Group therapy room is a space where a big amount of patients meet and interact to share their stories and help improve their recovery, this environment is designed to have responsive dimmer lighting condition to keep the space and user anonymous (the more patients in the space, the dimmer and more diffused the light gets); Individual exam room is

a space that only contains limited occupancy but requires enough light for the examination to function and proceed (the light differs according to the need of function); the corridor is the space in-between that doesn't has its own light source but still has its own lighting condition because of the translucent boundary condition of the programs that formed the corridors. (This is where all the responsiveness of the lighting condition from all other programs start to form this in-between circulation path affecting and guiding users)


There are couple precedent studies that also present the idea of using programmed light to inform and alter a space and human experience. The project "Forest" is a 450-square-meters musical forest comprised of 150 ‘trees’ for audience to explore spatially and physically by tapping, shaking, plucking, and vibrating them to trigger sounds and lasers. Marshmallow Laser Feast created this installation, performing the constant changing music manipulated by users. COS commissioned the Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto to create an immersive installation that composed light, sounds, fog and mirrored walls to create the illusion of an infinite and immersive landscape, with the spotlights appearing as towering trees. The constant changing volume of light creates moments that happen and disappear, which directs visitors to move through a contingent circulation, seduced by the forest lights.

In conclusion, my interest in computation will mostly focus on creating immersive experience that associates all elements in space, light, sound, temperature, smell, reflection etc. I am very looking forward to not only think about the possibilities of these experience but also creating the possibilities.