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Producing place atmospheres digitally: architecture, digital visualisation practices and the experience economy

Degen, Monica; Melhuish, Clare and Rose, Gillian (2017). Producing place atmospheres digitally: architecture, digital visualisation practices and the experience economy. Journal of Consumer Culture, 17(1) pp. 3–24.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1177/1469540515572238
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Abstract

Computer-generated images have become the common means for architects and developers to visualise and market future urban developments. This article examines within the context of the experience economy how these digital images aim to evoke and manipulate specific place atmospheres to emphasise the experiential qualities of new buildings and urban environments. In particular, we argue that computer-generated images are far from ‘just’ glossy representations but are a new form of visualising the urban that captures and markets particular embodied sensations. Drawing on a 2-year qualitative study of architects’ practices that worked on the Msheireb project, a large-scale redevelopment project in Doha (Qatar), we examine how digital visualisation technology enables the virtual engineering of sensory experiences using a wide range of graphic effects. We show how these computer-generated images are laboriously materialised in order to depict and present specific sensory, embodied regimes and affective experiences to appeal to clients and consumers. Such development has two key implications. First, we demonstrate the importance of digital technologies in framing the ‘expressive infrastructure’ of the experience economy. Second, we argue that although the Msheireb computer-generated images open up a field of negotiation between producers and the Qatari client, and work quite hard at being culturally specific, they ultimately draw ‘on a Westnocentric literary and sensory palette’ that highlights the continuing influence of colonial sensibilities in supposedly postcolonial urban processes.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 The Authors
ISSN: 1741-2900
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Architectural atmospheres, branding and the social: the role of digital visualizing technologies in contemporary architectural practice (D-10-037-GR)ES/I038128/1ESRC
Keywords: architecture; atmosphere; computer-generated image; digital visualisation; Doha; experience economy; Qatar; senses
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Item ID: 42449
Depositing User: Gillian Rose
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2015 08:08
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2017 20:15
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/42449
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