Choreotopography is a research project currently being undertaken by Deakin Motion.Lab, run by Deakin University in Victoria, Australia. The project is a synthesis between 3D virtual environments, dance movement and design space. The central focus of this project is the design concept, Pearl: a cultural facility based on the Darwin Waterfront Peninsula.
Developed by the independent design studios Material Thinking (creative director, Paul Carter) and Dyskors (principal designer, Edmund Carter), Pearl investigates the idea that public spaces can be designed within the framework of a building’s environmental and human context. Pearl is literally shaped in metaphorical response to the movement of the people who walk within it and the natural flow of its immediate environment. The central focus of Pearl is the circular and tidal design of its interior, forming a continually moving site of social and environmental activity.
The process of developing Pearl, and the overall project to which it contributes, is based on the capturing of dancers’ movements in Deakin’s Motion.Lab. Here, dancers’ movements are captured to generate 3D stereoprojection images of the pathways of their bodies as they move. This process informs the development of Pearl as a structural space that mirrors intangible movement.
A project like Choreotopography asks the question of what movement can teach us about design. Buildings are usually designed with stillness and permanency in mind, not movement and change. They are often conceived as stable entities that “house”, rather than develop from, the people who inhabit them or the environment in which they are situated.
With Choreotopography, the creative team at Deakin Motion.Lab and the Design teams behind the Pearl project have created a dialogue between the human body, structural design and the natural environment. The tidal movements on which Pearl is based mirror the waterfront in the same way as they reflect the human body in artistic motion. Such a concept signals the way forward for future design of buildings as we adapt the spaces we occupy to not only our bodies, but also, our environments.
All images Copyright James Lauritz, for Deakin Motion.Lab.