The Architects' Role In Planning Virtual Spaces

The Architects' Role In Planning Virtual Spaces
October 12, 2018
In 2017, artist Sebastian Errazuriz digitally "vandalized" a geo-tagged AR public sculpture in Central Park developed by Snapchat in collaboration with Jeff Koons. Image: Sebastian Errazuriz, via


Over the past couple of decades, artists and designers have developed augmented realities that propose vastly different, and often more radical perspectives of what a digitally enhanced public realm could look like. [...] many actually existing AR projects instead ask critical questions about the implementation of this novel technology and its potential to shift both the everyday experiences and political economies of architecture and cities. — Failed Architecture


In his latest Failed Architecture piece, Joshua McWhirter offers an insightful history of noteworthy augmented reality-powered works of art, activism, game design, and simulation while also issuing a warning call about the impending privatization and commodification of the virtual public space without much input from architects. "And as this landscape increasingly constitutes a public realm in and of itself," McWhirter writes, "a collection of hybrid real-virtual public spaces, there are even glimmers of direct challenges to its creeping privatization."

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