Designing for Connectivity: Rethinking the Interaction with the Built Environment and Wireless Communication Infrastructure

Selena Savic

pp. 48 - 67, download



In this article, we present research on the design of buildings that respond to the performance of wireless networks by use of different materials and human-building interfaces. We discuss the way buildings accommodate propagation of wireless signals and different techniques to make this propagation more relevant to the use and experience of space. Early ubiquitous computing research proposed seamful design of interfaces and services as a way to promote embodied interaction and agency of the user. Contemporary approach to the design of seams aims to promote legibility of interactions with infrastructures. These interactions include connection, use, and quantification of wireless network performance. We review the work in architectural design that specifically addresses building permeability to electromagnetic radiation. We also examine electrical engineering research that explores the development and possible uses of frequency-selective surfaces in buildings. As a result, we make two proposals for the use of wireless networking infrastructure to promote location aware services and the design of connectivity-selective interiors. These proposals incite the rethinking of design and interaction with the built environment in terms of communication infrastructure that it relies on.


Keywords: Wireless connectivity, Seamful interaction, Full-spectrum design, Indoor positioning, Frequency-selective surface, Design for connectivity.


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