I spend four hours a day on average on the web outside my professional life. I have a web identity and partly live in that virtual world. I socialize through Facebook, communicate via six different email addresses, follow through Twitter, network through LinkedIn, survive through design competitions, and project through my blog on Tumblr. I am working on my website so I may begin to share and express. There are many people like me who live part of their lives in the digital world. I prefer my laptop to smoky casinos or crowded nightclubs and bars. When I need a break, I travel to explore unknown destinations.
I recently came across the subject of digital deaths. People are now creating memorialized profiles to leave their messages behind when they die. It creates a platform of communication among friends and strangers that share memories of the deceased. No, I will not invest into creating a digital legacy; its just interesting how we are moving away from live interactions in this Skype world. Forget the idea of research on our fingertips through World Wide Web, thats old news. But it has transformed the society globally with one of the biggest impacts on the communication modes.
Digital Architecture has risen out of the norm as a specialty, as a style, as an architectural statement. Digital architecture is the destination commencing with the academia and passing through the competition world. It may or may not materialize, but it exists in time. Signature work of Zaha Hadid and UNStudio are examples of well established firms that specialize in digital architecture, much of which doesnt get built. From art installations to spatial construction, digital architecture allows idea sharing at the conceptual level of our creative minds that the practical world may never accept. It is an extremely important arena of our profession that seldom is respected in lieu of the built work. There are few who have figured out a way to make a living through digital architecture. Many bring it out through retail or hospitality projects, while the starchitects use it at a grander scale. People are coming up with grand ideas everyday for energy independence through virtual modes of expression. We are able to see beyond current possibilities leading to innovations of the future.
Digital architecture allows you to play with the materials. While in a real project you might be bound by how large a certain rainscreen panel may be, in the virtual world you may challenge the boundaries of material possibilities. Three University of Michigan students invented the FattyShell couple months ago, which is a project rooted in materials research and applications for new methods of elastic formwork casting derived from minimal surface algorithmic geometries. By pouring concrete between two layers of rubber sewn together, a free-flowing result is created. At the same time, some students of Architectural Association Design Research Laboratory at London invented a similar product, called Grompies. They used plaster and Lycra instead of concrete and rubber. Who thought of it first, I have no clue!
The Digital Life has its benefits. It allows innovation and interaction. The e-social networking is not a sign of a shy person or a nerd. To me its a sign of a person who lives and breathes what one enjoys. It brings like-minded people closer than ever. If it is used as a right tool, it can work marvels for you. I believe that it is important to know many people and know them well, not just in your hometown but worldwide. It is imperative to grow your creativity long after you have graduated through means such as digital architecture. It will keep you young and connected with the inventions worldwide.