The Cartography of Ambiance

The paper entitled “The Cartography of Ambiance” that I wrote for the Third International Congress on Ambiances that happened in Volos from September 21 to 24th semester gives a glimpse of my current research on mobility.

Abstract. This paper explores the cartography of ambiance as a means to parametrically generate ambiances that enable “wayfounding”, i.e. the ability to “keep your bearings” in contemporary hypermobile environments. It presents a process of architectural experimentation led by the author at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture (2013-2015) and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Malaquais (2016) in France and Kyoto Seika University (2015) in Japan, that explored the cartography of ambiance as a spatial practice through iteratively “practicing the landscape” (Thibaud, 2015), drawing from memory, gathering data, decoding and encoding parameters of ambiance.

Keywords: Cartography, Ambiance, Liquid Architecture, Wayfounding, Psychogeography, Parametric


Neo-nomadism at Archiculture

On March 29, 2016 I presented updates on my research on neo-nomadism at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Nantes. The theme of this year student-organized Archiculture festival was nomadism:

La huitième édition d’Archiculture, festival des étudiants de l’ensa Nantes, a cette année pour thème “le nomadisme”. Dans ce cadre, deux conférenciers, Yasmine Abbas et Marcello Frediani, sont invités à venir présenter leurs réflexions sur ce phénomème, en amont et pour nourrir un workshop qui se déroulera pendant le festival, du 17 au 22 mai.

I explained how the need for anchoring to spaces is the greatest lesson I learned from investigating mobility and digital culture and space should respond accordingly.



Ambiance Computation

In February 2016, I taught an Intensive Studio entitled Cartographie Générative: Paramètres Sensibles and Ambiances to a groupe of architecture students (mixed years) of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure D’Architecture Paris Malaquais:


Students explored spatial production as a series of ambiances generated through the gathering, visualisation and sensory parameters with the aim of computing ambiances.*



Here is a picture of the final review. The jury included in addition to myself: Christian Girard, Philippe Morel and Minh Man Nguyen from the Digital Knowledge group at ENSA-Malaquais.

* Many Thanks to Minh for the sponsorship and his students from the Digital Knowledge group who guided students to using Grasshopper.

Heightened 2016!

Now a self-imposed tradition.. because neo-nomads need rituals to anchor.. an image of an ambiance that inspired me deeply. I wish your 2016 to be as profoundly moving and elevating as this bamboo grove seen in Arashiyama, Japan:

New Year 2016

Generative Mapping Workshop, Kyoto Seika University, Japan

Got selected to conduct, as visiting professor, an architecture workshop at Kyoto Seika University in Japan. Thank you to Prof. Takayuki Suzuki and the entire team at Kyoto Seika University for the warm welcoming.

The workshop aimed at exploring the architectural process by investigating generating and parameterizing ambiances through mapping mobile and sensory data. An ambiance results from the physical features, sensory data (humidity, smell, etc.) and the movement of people within (with different backgrounds and moods) space.

On a sunny day of early October, students conducted their observations in the Kyoto Station designed by famous architect Hiroshi Hara (1997).

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Teams observed for example that people waiting for others chose particular spots in the station, against a wall, nearby a column, protected from the wind as shown on the map below, which reveals the architecture without showing it (Map recorded by Maho Okada, Libai, Daiki Yanagihara and ESA exchange student Juliette Champêtre).

Map Maho Okada - Libai - Daiki Yanajihara - Juliette Champetre

Others recorded movement in space and the “ballet” of people going around obstacles and created an animation – maps are dynamic! On the bottom right of the picture below, what looks like a wool ball represents the space taken by an individual waiting for someone.

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These observations led to ambiance-based architectural parameters (“architectural attractors” for example) that students could use to generate/parameterize new ambiances expressed through study models.

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