When I was in university, doing my CS degree, my friends kept talking about this guy called Sheep T. Iconoclast who worked up in the architecture department in the Bartlett, and they’d go on about all the cool things he showed them. Having a healthy geek’s addiction to cool things, I wanted to meet the guy, but I was hesitant about just barging in and demanding to be wowed. “No, just go!” said my friends. “Just turn up! It’s all you need to do!” And, ignoring my protestations of shyness, they shoved Micah and I in the direction of the Bartlett building.
Sure enough, we turned up at Sheep’s office in the Space Syntax Lab, introduced ourselves as CS students and didn’t need to say any more. For the next three hours he showed us the VR software he was writing, the various experiments the Lab was running and how they could be applied to both architectural and web spaces, an actual NeXT cube (he even lent me The NeXT Book) and all kinds of other things. Being a hybrid computer-scientist/architect surrounded by architects, he only really got to let his computing side rip when CS students were around. We staggered out a few hours later, brains bursting. It was completely fantastic.
I mention this now because, linked off the HHCL site I mention below, I found
spacesyntax.com – the Space Syntax Lab has gone commercial. They have
many clients in local government, which I find very heartening, since their research could lead to some really groundbreaking town planning.
Movement modelling, in
particular, is fascinating – it basically evolves the “deciding where to lay the campus paths by looking at where the students make trails in the grass” concept up several levels, and it was one of the ideas that Sheep showed us back in 1995.
As for what Sheep’s involved with now… that’s going to have to wait till tomorrow, because there’s just too damn much to write about it and I’ve only checked out bits. But it looks staggeringly cool.