Media Architecture Conference, London 2007

The Impact of Large Scale Integrated Displays on Architecture and Urbanism

Official Conference Website

Developments in display technology and building materials are leading to new forms of hybrid architecture that break away from existing conceptions of surface, structure, lighting and moving imagery. Light Emitting Diode (LED) displays integrated with the fabric of built structures allow prominent imagery to be integrated with the façade, even in direct sunlight. Although energy requirements are practical only when displays are used in less bright conditions, there remain significant consequences for the townscape and urban environment; cinematic topias as pervasive as Minority Report and Blade Runner have become technically feasible.

The MediaArchitecture2007 conference creates a new discourse among the latest theoretical and practical approaches. By reviewing outstanding projects and presenting the views of key architectural theorists, media activists, planners, advertisers and artists, the conference will provide the first-depth consideration of the intersection of media and architecture – the premise that architecture and media issues will increasingly be considered together, at the conceptual stages of building planning. Image has become an architectural element; media increasingly pervade the built environment introducing an important ontological element.

Altering the architectural relationship between image and structure has several significant implications – not only for visual encounter with the completed building, but in terms of planning and construction processes. The emergence of intelligent construction materials, which themselves incorporate display and data components, departs markedly from existing façade implementations in which lighting and display products have been applied in building projects where the underlying architecture is already advanced. The media façade becomes a data system to be specified and commissioned with the expectation of lifetime and maintenance commensurate with other structural elements. Content – the data and imagery that it will carry during that lifetime – is very different from both the rectangular clip material now common on LED billboards and from programmed lighting effects.

MediaArchitecture2007 will address these inversions in several respects:

  • the impact on architectural theory of practical media façade systems
  • departure of imagery from the confines of the clip towards dynamic creative based on building management and external information
  • the practical challenges of large scale displays for urban planning; display viewing design in public spaces
  • sustainable display and image data systems that can be specified directly by architects and installed by the construction industry and which are maintainable over the lifetime of a media façade

The conference will be formed of four panels with leading speakers invited from the academic community as well as major architectural practices and corporations providing and installing these new technologies.