Placing Matter: Experiencing Spatial Assemblage, Meta-plasticity and typological boundary effects, through new materials.

Kay-Jones, Simon orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5741-3875 (2021) Placing Matter: Experiencing Spatial Assemblage, Meta-plasticity and typological boundary effects, through new materials. In: 11th Annual International Conference on Architecture, 5-8 July 2021, Athens Greece.

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This paper addresses the topic of ‘Placing matter’ into spatial assemblage. It discusses the role of experiences and materials within the intersection of experience design and material agency to address how we may ‘energise’ the Material Surface, as an emotive experience built upon universal, spatial and gridded structures from spatial thinking. With the aim of positioning the notion of spatial assemblage as a primary concern of material engagement theory (MET), we may view experience as a change in perspective to the material role of architecture to emotions. This may enable us to ‘attach matter’ to emotive experiences and the design strategy of architectural projects. Taken from recent discourse in material engagement theory the paper takes the position of reframing ‘Thinging’ from being a mere material concern, to a notion as a ‘Framing’ of materials to reveal certain ‘typological boundary effects’ in matter. Such effects establish the assemblage process to meta-plasticity with 3 states of assembly being indicated: minimal, topical, and comprehensive, which can then be utilized to in-fluence the meta-plasticity from one event to another. We illustrate how this may avert spatial illusions in cognitive and abstract thought.

One method utilised was the ‘framing’ of materials; the specific and episodic sequences of material presented to warrant different experiences in order to test and explore varying material responses by participants. Observations were recorded of ‘typological boundary conditions’ in matter to evidence their effects while outlining differing environments and scenarios by comparing real and perceived material phenomena with interchangeable materials. This enabled a setting up of contexts where 3 types of assemblage could take place: Minimal, Topical and Comprehensive assemblage.

We analysed multi-year architectural design projects to establish a broad range of cultural and critical contexts as links between recent Material Engagement Theory (MET), Decision theory (DT), with cognitive Spatial Thinking Theory (ST) to show how, framing experience of materials; the ‘placing of matter’ affects spatial assemblage and how this contributes to Framing experiences and emotions and further develops theoretical approaches to materials and matter in architecture.

The analysis leads to the conclusion that it is certainly possible to establish degrees to which spatial assemblage, its material composition and its perceived experience are all factors into the experience value, and that this affects decisions that are either, motor-influenced (mobility navigation) or that of cognitive enquiry (problem solving) or that of the psychophysical state (wellness, depression, and outlook) to form a wider scope of space and matter directly affecting experience that can be evidentially proven. Concluding on this work, This can be written not as, the utility of the experience, but rather the expected subjective experience placed on future events; emotional experiences of value that are placed on an anticipated experience. Such expected subjective experiences once tested and verified could therefore fruitfully be utilized as speculative architectural design tools to devise important analogous typologies in material form. This paper proposes rather than the typical Taxonomies of materials, a new Architect’s material toolkit (of sorts) for emotive response and an emerging partonomy of material preferences all in the pursuit of a new theory and emergent terroire of architecture.

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