Visual Pollution and Architecture of the 21st Century

Cities like New York, Tokyo and Las Vegas never switch off, with screens and lights bombarding us visually. Tourist attractions have shifted from historical monuments – filling the viewer with knowledge and culture – to 21st century electronic screens.

Our contemporary culture is driven by technology and global media giants are now adopting digital advertisement to promote their brands. Screens have become a sort of digital public spaces, just like windows…

Therefore, another stage is being created in the huge field of architecture and we are here to watch and interact with it.

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Historical monuments. The important heritage of cultural, social and economic life of a city.

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While the issue of visual pollution, as this phenomenon is commonly described, has been widely debated, there is as yet no clear conclusion as to how best to control commercial signage and whether different urban contexts and people from different backgrounds and cultures have universal or distinct preferences. Several different commenrcial signage approaches are currently applied to different historic cities, but these initiatives are not based on principles derived from the perception and evaluation of users.

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Las Vegas, the King City of the Lights.

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Big led screens like windows which offer the potential for broadening use and participation, urban screens have the purpose of displaying products for consumption with a cultural logic designed to address consumer audiences.

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Negative connotations often surround the over use of screens, however Coca Cola have used screens for the good, connecting culturally disadvantage and war torn countries, India and Pakistan. Coca-Cola placed interactive vending kiosks in both countries as a way to reconnect civilians of the hostile neighbours.

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Collage City!

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Conceptual perspective of Venice, Italy, (how the historical city will be transformed in 2104) under the leds and neon lights of the advertisements.

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Overdose.

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Advertising spaces.

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It’s been argued that there are in fact visual preferences common to the majority of people, independent of their urban context and that these common views can be useful to the development of a general theory of how to control commercial signage. In conclusion, we suggest that the best way of controlling signage is not only to recommend general guidelines related to the operation of commercial signage, but also to recommend design principles that can create commercial streetscapes evaluated positively by different users.

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