Casa Batlló: Living Architecture

by Refik Anadol Studio (RAS)

ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN COLLECTION AWARDS 2022

Gold Winner

Audiovisual Design

Professionals Category

Designer / Architect: Refik Anadol
Studio: Refik Anadol Studio (RAS)
Design Team: Alex Morozov Carrie He Christian Burke Daniel Seungmin Lee Efsun Erkilic Kerim Karaoglu Pelin Kivrak Ho Man Leung Nidhi Parsana Raman K. Mustafa Rishabh Chakrabarty Toby Heinemann Yufan Xie
Country: United States
Copyright: Refik Anadol

Description

Casa Batlló: Living Architecture is a monumental generative artwork inspired by Casa Batlló’s iconic façade and the first UNESCO World Heritage Site to be represented in the form of a dynamic NFT. For Living Architecture: Casa Battló, Refik Anadol Studio (RAS) synthesized the vast data collected from Gaudi archives into ethereal data pigments, and eventually into a representational form of fluid inspired movements. This project was the ultimate manifestation of how advanced our experimentations with machine learning tools and blockchain technology have become: we used sensors from Barcelona that collect real-time environmental data so that the NFT changes according to the weather in the city and the events celebrated on the façade today and in the future. The work was sold at Cristie’s 21st Century Evening Sale on May 10th, and 10% of the proceeds was donated to institutions that work with neurodiverse adults and children. On May 7, 2022, our team projected a mapping version of the piece on the facade of Casa Batlló before 47000 attendees. The digital piece was also on public view at Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan, New York. The process for this multilayered architectural project began when we created the first AI-based immersive room in 2021, “In the Mind of Gaudí,” to be performed in a six-walls LED cube room inside Casa Batlló. For this 360-experience inside a 6-screen space set up at the building’s basement, Anadol collected a dataset of approximately one billion images consisting of Gaudí’s sketches, visual archives of the building’s history, academic archives, and publicly available photos of Casa Batlló found on various internet and social media platforms. The sorted image datasets were then clustered into thematic categories to better understand the semantic context of the Gaudí data universe. In the next stage, which is the data pigmentation pipeline, we engaged the process of combining visual elements from separate sources into single images. For more than 10 years, we have been experimenting with custom software and fluid simulation models to give these visualizations a unique dynamism. In other words, we train a unique AI model with subsets of the dataset which result in the machine’s “hallucinations” – new aesthetic images and color combinations through unique lines drawn by algorithmic connections. “The landmark was seen around the globe thanks to an unprecedented audiovisual show that was watched from Barcelona, New York, the metaverse, and thousands of houses live. Those who had the chance to watch it, we watched a unique moment in the art history: bringing together a World Heritage site and the digital artwork from Refik Anadol,” Gary Gautier, Casa Batlló’s Director

Refik Anadol Studio (RAS)

Refik Anadol Studio comprises designers, architects, data scientists, and researchers from diverse professional and personal backgrounds, embracing principles of inclusion and equity throughout every stage of production. Studio members originate from 10 different countries and are collectively fluent in 14 languages. The Studio’s internship program also demonstrates a strong commitment to mentoring young people from a variety of personal experiences, values, and world views.

We encourage designers and architects to share their best projects with the rest of the world so as to inspire the next generation and gain global recognition.