HYPER-REAL VILLA: ARCHITECTURAL SIMULACRUM
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In the essay Figures, Doors and Passages, Robin Evans explains the evolving relationship between architecture and simulation. Using two historical case studies, Evans proposes that culture, through visual representation, directly influences architecture. He explains how the Villa Madama, designed by Raphael in 1518, provides a perfect example where representations, such as contemporary paintings, sculptures, and literature, influence the program, shape, scale, and experience of the building. Naturally, those representations reflected the values within the social structures of that time and prompted an architecture that reflected the contemporary culture. In today's landscape, visual representations have evolved into simulations that often have little association with reality. According to Jean Baudrillard, we seem to have accepted the simulated as a reality and have begun to shape our culture based upon it. The way we interact and respond to the simulation has changed, yet we are still practicing the same design strategy that was used in the Villa Madama. This is clearly show in video gaming arenas where we are still designing massive structures and slapping the simulation on platforms all around. Just like in the Villa Madama, we go to these buildings to be entertained by the representations and simulations surrounding us. This thesis proposes that architecture should reflect our cultural shift in the relationship with the simulated by blending architecture and the simulation. This is accomplished by re-interpreting the second half of the Villa Madama that was never built as an arena in which spectators can experience and be emerged in the simulation. This prompted two forms of design, the first part is a physical structure that is an abstraction of what was never built made up only by platforms and stairs. The second part is the simulation that allowed the movement through the structure to be perceived as a sequence or montage of spaces in which the spectators could experience the second half of the villa through a new perspective.