70 401 Interactive Spaces and Environments


For students at Master level.

Recommended prerequisite knowledge

The course is transdisciplinary and targeting students from all studies at AHO. Technical skills and theory will be taught during the course.

Course content

The course looks at an expanding overlap between interaction design, architecture and media arts, to explore how the ideas and methods of interaction design can be applied in larger environments and spaces. The course investigates emerging trends in responsive spaces and installations, environments and interactive architecture, focusing on larger scale experiences, using physical spaces as the arena for interaction. These investigations will look beyond the direct point and click‐style interactions to less direct forms: the environment becomes an eco‐system where people are possibly one, but not the only, active ingredient. Environments and experiences can then be considered as responsive systems, and the interactions can be designed as ephemeral, passive, playful and incidental ‐ rather than deliberate, for a specific purpose and with a specific and predictable result.

Interactive Spaces and Environments is aimed at both design and architecture students, working in cross‐disciplinary collaboration, and aims to foster thinking and designing beyond the material object; to understand the space of sensorial range and effect that modulate in a feedback relation our environment.
The course gives an introduction to the following four fields and how they shape and inform our interaction and spaces:

• LIGHT and SPACE – see for example oslolux.no
• INTERACTIVE SOCIAL SPACES – how do immaterial experiences shape our real spaces?
• INFLATABLES – large scale spatial environments and how to manipulate space.
• AUGMENTED/MIXED REALITIES and MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES and their effect on space and experience.

Learning outcomes

• get an overview of a broad range of existing work and theories in the fields of sensate space, interactive architecture, immersive environments and digital installation art.
• gain a grounding in basic sensor and interactive technologies and how they can be used to create reactive and interactive experiences.
• build a theoretical and practical framework to begin to predict how people are likely to react to such interventions

be able to use tools and methods for prototyping interaction concepts and problems

General competence:
ability to utilize knowledge and skills (as defined above) in an independent manner in different situations and collaborations, within and across disciplines.

Working and learning activities

Different workshops and projects to be arranged according to activity plan.
• Project: During the final project and exam week, it is expected that the students are participating in a bigger group work building an experimental and interactive room/environment. The project needs to be documented with a short, written report.

Professor in charge

Ståle Stenslie

Mandatory work requirements

Work requirements Number Number of approved Mandatory presence Comment
Oral examination 2 2 Ja

Each student is expected to conduct research on interactive spaces and environments in relation to their own field of interest. The research will be presented orally in class.

Workshops 4 4 Ja

The course offers four workshops: 1) basic electronics, 2) inflatables/rapid architecture, 3) projection mapping/light design, 4) final project and examination week where all students must take part.


Assessment Date Duration Grade scale Oral examination
Prosjektoppgave Group 2015-04-27 00:00 5 days Pass / Fail 80

During the final project and examination week, the students are expected to take part in a larger group work and build an experiential and interactive space/environment

Resources allowed:

All tools and methods

Prosessvurdering underveis Individual Pass / Fail 20

Each student will be assessed by i) presence and ii) active participation in class

Reading lists / teaching materials

Mandatory reading:

Grau, O. (2003). Virtual art: from illusion to immersion. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Fox, Michael & Kemp, Miles (2009) Interactive Architecture. Princeton Architectural Press.

Ihde, Don (2010) Embodied Technics. Automatic Press / VIP.

Novak, Marcos (1991) ‘Liquid Architectures in Cyberspace’, Cyberspace: First Steps. (PDF)

Shepard, Mark (2011) Sentient City. MIT press.

Schwartzman, Madeline (2011) See Yourself Sensing – redfining human perception.  Black Dog Publishing, London/UK.

Recommended reading:

Bullivant, L. (2005).4dspace: interactive architecture. London: Wiley‐Academy.

Bullivant, L. (2007) 4dsocial: interactive design environments. London: Wiley.

Noel, S., Rucki, E., & Freyer, C. (2008) Digital by design: crafting technology for products and environments. London: Thames & Hudson.

Fox, M. and Kemp, M. (2009) Interactive Architecture. Princeton University Press

Roosegaarde, D. (2010) Interactive Landscapes. Amsterdam.

NAi Bullivant, L. (2006) Responsive Environments: Architecture, art and design. London: V&A Contemporary.

Stenslie, Ståle (2010) Virtual Touch. AHO.

Uexküll, J. v. (1936). Niegeschaute Welten: die Umwelten meiner Freunde : ein Erinnerungsbuch. Berlin: Fischer.