Although holograms have been a possibility for decades—the first hologram was developed in the early 1960’s following the development of laser technology—many might still associate them more with science fiction, the term conjuring up images of high-tech superhero gadgets and spaceships in the distant future. Yet as we inch closer to the reality of a hyper-technologized future, and a variety of industries—including architecture and construction— begin to embrace new forms of increasingly advanced technology, holography, too, has a chance of completely reshaping the way we conceptualize and experience architecture. While it is impossible to predict exactly how holographic technology will be used in the future, below, we list several examples of existing projects that use holograms and other types of holography to create atmospheric environments, fantastical scenes, and practical visualizations. These examples move beyond the use of holograms to visualize structures and sites during the design phase; they utilize holography to shape the completed architectural space itself, completely altering the sensory and spatial experience of their environment.
NHKS4220 Bar Illusion / ARTECHOUSE
In recent years, the futuristic art space ARTECHOUSE has gained an enormous amount of popularity for its immersive technology-based exhibitions. In November 2020, it transformed its New York and D.C. locations using light projections to create a holographic effect, imitating Edward Hopper’s iconic painting Nighthawks in three dimensions in a tribute to the bars and restaurants that were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The experience of the dark exhibition room is entirely shaped by the pseudo-holographic projections rather than by the physical or material qualities of the room itself, completely reshaping how we might normally conceptualize architectural space and perception.
Garage Screen / SYNDICATE
In 2019, SYNDICATE’s holographic pyramid design won the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art Summer Cinema Pavilion competition, and was erected in Garage Square in front of the museum. Incorporating holographic technology in its façade, the pyramid is colorful, shimmering, and translucent, complementing the cursive neon sign reading “Garage Screen” at eye level. Demonstrating the possibilities for aesthetic holographic exterior design, SYNDICATE’s pyramid is an example of a different kind of application for this widely variable technology.
Quantum Field X3 / Hiro Yamagata
Another example of a holographic façade, these two cube-like structures outside of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was erected in 2004. The holographic effect is created by projecting laser beams onto holographic panels, which create the shimmering colors on the façade. Yamagata, though primarily a silkscreen painter, is also known for pioneering laser technology art.
The Snoezelen House (The Golden Horn) / Aarhus Arkitekterne
This curvilinear building is located in Solund, a village in Denmark for people with severe mental and physical disabilities. Designed in collaboration with ProShop Europe, a company specializing in audiovisual solutions, the Snoezelen House uses holographic projections to create therapeutic Snoezelen rooms for the village’s residents. Throughout the center, nine originally white rooms are transformed through these projections as well as a series of screens, lights, and sounds. Testifying to the ability of holography to create not just aesthetic architectural environments but therapeutic ones, the Snoezelen House is representative of the possible uses of holographic technology in contemporary healthcare architecture.
Roncalli Circus / Optoma
In 2019, the German circus Roncalli substituted holographic animal projections for its live animals, embracing a more ethical show practice with as much—if not more—spectacle. To create the holograms, eleven laser projectors are placed around the center ring, generating the enormous three-dimensional animal projections, which include elephants, horses, and even fish. An unconventional example of holographic technology that doesn’t quite transform the architectural space itself, the Roncalli Circus nonetheless demonstrates how holograms might change the objects, activities, and even people that populate and program different structures and environments.
Hologram Rooms / Euclideon
Euclideon recently made the news for its production of the world’s first multi-user hologram table, which could soon transform the way three dimensional architectural visualizations are conventionally made and discussed. However, the company also offers Hologram Rooms—immersive environments that recreate the potential functionality of the hologram table in larger scale. Using a control wand, users can travel through three-dimensional projected architectural environments or look at holographic products such as cars and aircrafts. Alternatively, they can create fantastical environments for entertainment, or even be used to play holographically projected three dimensional games.
Like the ARTECHOUSE installation or the Roncalli Circus, these hologram rooms demonstrate how holographic technology can be used to substitute physical objects or experiences with illusory yet immersive holograms.
This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: Automation in Architecture. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.