Soziale Architektur 2 3Jhg

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Spiel und Objekt 3Jhg, Hannah Perner Wilson

15-26.1.2024, 10-13/16:30, Ladenlokal

Architecture is described as the art and technique of designing and building our environments. We may think of architecture as something big that surrounds us, contains us, creates spaces within which we can move and interact with others. But the smallest elements that populate our surroundings are also architectures that shape our social interactions and everyday experience of reality.

In this two week course we will take a good look at our surroundings, observe how people interact with and within them as well as reflect on our own use of these spaces. We will build/extend/modify these surroundings and observe what influence we can have on human behaviors and experiences.

Our material/technology of choice will be physical computing - combining sensors, actuators and code with materials such as paper, wood and textiles. What we build may be big enough to contain a few of us or small enough to swallow.


Interaction design we will spend a lot of time observing as well as building things to observe. Because people aren’t very good at remembering or describing their own behaviors we can learn a lot from simply watching them. And because the less we interfere, the better we can get at how people actually interact and not how we expect them to interact. We will use drawing as a tool for observation and imagination. Apply the wizard-of-ozz prototyping method for quickly testing silly ideas. And do playtests in the field.

Technology we will open things up to look at how they work. We will get to know many sensors and actuators as well as how to make our own. We will look at code and libraries for debouncing, smoothing, and calibrating sensor readings as well as for moving, blinking, flashing, writing to and speaking through actuators.

Making takes time. We will look at various options for connecting electronics in robust and beautiful ways. How to handmake sensors, actuators and circuitboards. And take a quick look at PCB design tools and work-flows for producing multiples. We will iterate through a series of prototypes so that we don’t start with a grand plan and end with a useless device. Rather we will take small steps so that we can fail often before arriving somewhere completely unexpected.

Discussion inbetween the making and observing we will find time to chat about what we are making and why.

Documentation sharing is caring. As we benefit from other people’s documentation - step-by-step tutorials, component datasheets, code repositories, wikipedia articles... We will take time to consider what we can give back, and make use of Spiel und Object’s Hyperdramatic wiki for sharing what we can.

What is Soziale Architektur 2 about?

  • An opportunity for Spiel und Object years to make something (useful?) for themselves and/or others
  • While learning new skills and making mistakes
  • To enjoy making something (big) together
  • To leave something behind for future years
  • group effort
  • 2000 euro
  • Can it also fail? Would that also be okay?

Previous years

This year++:

  • Iterative process
  • Observation as skill for idea generation and evaluation (useful later in playtests)
  • Make it Interactive: with “physical computing” - functional & beautiful combination of materials and electronics
  • Inventive use of materials
  • Make it playful

Who is it for? Where does it go? 3 Spaces - 3 Audiences

  • Inside LL - personal/jahrgang
  • Ladenlokal shopfront windows to the street - public
  • Hfs building inside/out - institution

Collect wishes for this year

  • Permanent
  • ...


Rough schedule draft: SCHEDULE == FLEXIBLE




Collect first wishes

Examples&Inspiration: bombard you with examples (see bellow)

Collect more examples as a group?

Take a walk and reflect on:

  • the examples shown
  • what you initially thought
  • what you would like to make
  • how you would like to spend these two weeks

Return and discuss more wishes, generate first vague direction(s)

Talk about (user) observation & field notes

Wander around, select a space, observe, take field notes

  • FIELD NOTES - describe in great detail, interpret what you see (because you are never objective and always anyway interpreting)
  • DRAWING as observation technique
  • USE YOUR SENSES - close your eyes, what do you hear, smell, sense...?
  • P.O.E.M.S.

(Return and share/compare notes)

Tape notes to LL windows to show process?




COME PLAY CLIMATE COMMUNITY GAMES Play Date 19.01.2024, 14.30 - 17.00 hrs Treptow Town Hall (2nd floor hall of the district council), Neue Krugallee 2 - 6, 12435 Berlin


today we started experimenting with window-front interactions via a series of variations, where we each time only modify one aspect of the experiment:

  • 1) ball
  • 2) "hier klopfen bringt GLÜCK"
  • 3) +backlight
  • 4) "knock here if you hate the AfD"
  • 5) +watering can
  • 6) curtain with person inside
  • 7) curtain pulled by strings inside
  • 8) LED ring that lights up when touched
  • 9) LED ring that slowly lights up when touched
  • 10) LED ring that glows and slowly turns off when touched
  • 11) LED ring that pulses and slowly changes colour when touched
  • 12) 2 LED rings that react to touch


today we started working with the following sensors that we think might work to sense human movement/touch through glass:

"Light Sensor" LDR + voltage divider + analog read example

IR Receiver Infrared Receiver CHQ1838 Sensor Module

Piezo element and LM386 amplifier module + analog read example

Adafruit MPR121 12-Key Capacitive Touch Sensor Breakout

GY-291 ADXL345 3-Achsen Gyroskop Accelerometer/Beschleunigungssensor

Here some of the IR modules we tried as INPUTS.

These ones are working through glass

SHARP 2Y0A21 2Y0A02 GP2Y0A21YK0F IR Distance Sensor

These did NOT work through glass

IR Avoidance Module

IR Remote receiver

IR Line Tracking Module


Here some of the OUTPUTS we tried:

NeoPixel Ring - 24 x 5050 RGB LED with Integrated Drivers

Adafruit 7-Segment Backpack


Test code

Functions explained

Final code


  • 1 x Arduino MEGA
  • 7 x 5m Neopixel strips with 300 LEDs each
  • 6 x 5m of 1,5cm diameter silicone tube
  • 6 x IR sensor
  • materials from Modulor


Budget 2000 Euro

Spent 1700 Euro


In previously years Soziale Architektur was held by Constructlab >>

The following are NOT examples of social architecture.

They are examples intended to inspire and open up possibilities. Many of these are large-scale, long-term works that take years to conceive and make.

The examples fall into some of these categories:

  • Physical computing (no screens)
  • Interactive art / media art
  • Mechanical/kinetic sculpture/art
  • Wearables, body connections
  • Material aesthetics

Jessica Frelinghuysen

Nacho Carbonell’s Cocoon Seats Encourage People to Socialize in a Playful Way

Andrea Zitttel

Lucy Orta

Pantalaine Provisioners of America's Finest Plural Clothing multi user clothing >>

Social Body Lab


Persuasive objects / Experiments in connected tableware

Tom van der Borght

Richard The

Jen Lewin Interactive Light Artist Jen Lewin creates interactive sound and LED art that can be the scale of an entire landscape. Humans across the planet understand light, so Jen can create pieces that everyone across the world can comprehend and interact with.

GRL Lasergraphiti LED throwies

Rozin Mirrors

Hand and Machine Interactive Mural

Air Giants

Rain room by contemporary art studio rAndom International

MegaFaces - The Making of the Kinetic Facade by iart - Studio for Media Architectures The making of the kinetic facade of the MegaFaces pavilion at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Casey Currian Mechanical sculpure

Mesmerizing Kinetic Sculptures A self-taught artist with a background in physics, David C. Roy has been creating mesmerizing wooden kinetic sculptures for nearly 40 years. Powered solely through mechanical wind-up mechanisms, pieces can run up to 48 hours on a single wind.

Berney Sanders

Mesmerizing Fluid Sculptures Ferrofluid is a liquid with nano-sized iron particles that was developed by NASA in the 1960s. Artist Eric Mesplé has been experimenting with this magnetic liquid in his art for the past dozen years, and the results are mesmerizing.

Little People – a Tiny Street Art Project

Zip Tie Massimal Architectural Design Research Installation by Design Office Takebayashi Scroggin

Papercup constructions

Newspaper dome

Untitled by Tara Donovan Exhibited at the Ace Gallery Los Angeles. Made of styrofoam cups and hot glue.

Pintrest board

  • Need not be digital/electronic
  • Need not be big
  • Need not be hard
  • Can be analog
  • Can be tiny
  • Can be soft


Ethnography - writing culture / portrait of people

Qualitative vs. quantitative

  • Sampling bias
  • Theoretical bias
  • Personal bias

What are the 4 types of observation in sociology? The 4 main types of observation in sociology are participant observation, non-participant observation, covert observation, and overt observation.

Field Notes

AEIOU Observation Framework:



Getting Started In Electronics by Forrest M. Mims: available for free pdf on internet

There Are No Electrons: Electronics for Earthlings, by Kenn Amdahl (1991)

An off-beat introduction to the workings of electricity for people who wish Richard Brautigan and Kurt Vonnegut had teamed up to explain inductance and capacitance to them.

Power Button: A History of Pleasure, Panic, and the Politics of Pushing


On Playtesting