Luminapolis: Christoph Kronhagel, you are founder of Kronhagel Mediatecture (Bonn/Germany). These days you publish a book on the conjunction of architecture, digital media and public space. “Mediatecture / Mediatektur” is the title. Is mediatecture a new discipline?
Christoph Kronhagel: Currently we have reported a great deal on Media Architecture. I prefer the term “Mediatecture”, because it describes in a more suitable way, the claim of architecture being comprehended as a media. The use of electronic media in architecture is only a secondary matter. Rather, it is all about building a link between a spot with ideas, visions and happenings (media…), so that the spot receives an individual construction (…tecture).
Luminapolis: What are your personal experiences with mediatecture?
Christoph Kronhagel: As a one of the founders of ag4 in Cologne in 1991, I have mediated, as a sensorial experience, the ideas and visions of many enterprises in their spatial structures, such as foyers and exhibitions. For some years now the subject “media façade” has shifted into focus and with ag4 I have developed technologies and products, in order to be able to integrate the transparent and daylight adequate media techniques on façades. Thereby, I experienced that the building of a media façade is not only a technological, but especially a contentwise and conceptual challenge. Therefore I founded Kronhagel Mediatecture in 2009 and my first job has been the book.
Luminapolis: Mediafacades are interventions in the urban space. Could they be more than digital billboards? What are possibles places to realize such
Christoph Kronhagel: Billboards are like postal stamps in the façade. Mostly they are much too small in proportion to the architecture and mainly they don’t accept any creative context to the architecture or to the urbane space either. In contrast, media façades are ideally a part of the architectural concept. This can on the one hand increase the architecture’s quality and on the other hand, enable the location access to worlds, which physically through the architecture alone, cannot be entered.
Luminapolis: In your book a lot of experts are discussing several aspects and possibilities of Mediatecture from the culture history to social media. Your book gives also an overview on best practice projects. You explain that mediatecture could be a tool to make urban identities visible. What are possible strategies to generate the contents?
Christoph Kronhagel: It depends on the project’s business model and here one can discern between three possibilities:
1. The media façade is part of an enterprise’s Headquarter and should uphold the Corporate Identity. The content for these projects are solidly oriented towards the communication interests of the enterprise.
2. An enterprise or an institution affords itself a media façade in the sense of a cultural sponsoring. Within a program structure, which is conceptually oriented towards its location, there are artistic events planned, which change continuously. The promoter thereof can also be a city that wishes to distinctively express its identity and is looking for typical cultural impression for its urban space.
3. A real estate investor wishes to fashion his building attractively for the occupants with a media façade. He wants to receive back a good part of his investment through advertising revenue. Classic advertising on a media façade can only be partially accomplished, as it is not simple to become a license therefore – which is understandable, if you want to set up simple ad-clips on the facade. It would be preferable to operate the media façade exclusively with one or several Brands and intelligent and programmatic to link execution with the Brand’s Marketing Strategy. But than it is the best way to construct hybrid content between marketing strategies and cultural concepts.
Luminapolis: I think mediatecture is a revolution in architecture because the archtects have to create the process of reception with the buildingowners and the users of the spaces permanently. Do you agree?
Christoph Kronhagel: The great difference between architecture and mediatecture is that with the media façade the project really only begins when the façade is technically and creatively accomplished. It is not that the media technique alone is fascinating, but which performance the media façade shows. And for it not to get wasted away by the continuous repetitions, the Content Design must be processually applied and always stimulate new situations and moods. That is the real important job!
Luminapolis: What is your next project?
Christoph Kronhagel: I accompany the project “Bayer Media Sculpture” for ag4 media facade GmbH in regard to creation and media design. We hope to be able to inaugurate this project this year. Besides this, I am waiting for the decisions concerning other delivered concepts.
Book-Tipp: Christoph Kronhagel: Mediatektur