Identiscentory: Kinetic + Sonic, UK

I have been truly very impressed by the younger generation of architects, interior designers and engineers for their commitment towards their academic quest. Each of them that I have interacted with has taught me so much about various specialized fields that I had not known earlier. Gaining knowledge is an ongoing process of one’s life. The more I know about avant-garde topics, the more I realize there is so much more to know and learn about.

Meeting Taiwanese student architect Jr-Yun Lin, a 2023 graduated Masters in DfPI – Design for Performance and Interaction from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL – the world’s top architecture program, was enlightenment for me. Honestly, I had not known that a specialized field like DfPI existed and students are excelling in ameliorate the society at large. Jr-Yun Lin’s talent and creativity did increase my yearning for knowledge. She is a multicultural, multidisciplinary designer, who focuses on human-centered interaction and spaces.

Identiscentory – Kinetic – in Ars Electronica

Jr-Yun Lin reveals, “As a third culture kid, I grew up between Taiwan and China with American education. I pursued Interior Architecture in Japan and the UK, and in December 2023, I completed my Master’s in DfPI from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. My global upbringing sparked my interest in how people communicate unique stories and find common ground. I emphasize designing meaningful experiences. Although my family lacks a design background, they supported my pursuit. My identity stems from my father’s work relocating us to China. There, an international school surrounded by global students was a formative experience laying my cross-cultural foundation.”

Identiscentory – Sonic – Browsing Narrative Archive

Jr-Yun Lin informs, “Growing up under multi-cultural environment, I love to communicate with people around the world in different languages. Therefore, I chose to start my studies in interior architecture first in Japan graduating in 2020 from ICS College of Arts, Tokyo with a Senmonshi degree, followed with BA Interior Architecture from Middlesex University, UK in 2021. This way, I gained experience of both the Western and the Eastern style of culture and design, which aligns with my vision and sense in designing spaces (smiles).”

Jr-Yun Lin holds a secondary class architect license in Japan. She is well-trained in model-making and technical drawings in Japan and 3D modeling and visual/graphic presentation in the United Kingdom during her education. Johnny D interacts with Jr-Yun Lin to explore her academic quest and her interesting thesis ‘Identiscentory: Kinetic + Sonic’.

Identiscentory – Kinetic – Detail Gears

What was your childhood ambition? Have you always wanted to become an architect?

My family’s background is unrelated to architecture, engineering, construction or even general design. However, considering my future career, I asked myself, ‘What do I enjoy doing?’ I have always liked maths – my favourite subject, while enjoying arts and crafts. Architecture seemed like the perfect fusion of both interests. I had never envisioned myself becoming an architect when I was young. The realization led me to architecture, which aligns well with my interdisciplinary nature. Architecture requires exploring possibilities across different domains. My affinity for maths, arts and design makes architecture a fitting career path to pursue my passions.

Identiscentory – Sonic – Plan, Elevation and Details

How has architecture influenced your life as a student?

My background in interior architecture and the influence of Japanese craftsmanship has honed my eye for detail and human-centered design. Studying spatial experience through architecture reshaped my worldview in ways I didn’t fully grasp until encountering diverse perspectives in graduate school. As an architect, I believe the smallest details make or break a design. This led me to iterate extensively and test materials meticulously to bring my visions to life. At times, the process feels laborious, but such care is the architect’s burden and privilege. My attentiveness to nuance aims to craft spatial experiences that uplift the human spirit. Though challenging, I find deep meaning in this meticulous creative work.

Identiscentory – Kinetic Olfactory Prompts

Briefly tell us about your University and the Masters’ course.

In December 2023, I completed my Masters in DfPI – Design for Performance and Interaction at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. DfPI spans multiple disciplines, teaching cutting-edge technologies for human-centric design. We focus on three major areas: mechanics, movement and sound. Students gain skills from robotics to VR to enhance interactive experiences. Despite being based in an architecture school, DfPI diverges from typical architectural courses. We believe experiencing design through advanced interactions is the future of spatial development in architecture. This progressive program equips me with multidisciplinary knowledge at the forefront of interaction design and its applications in reimagining architecture.

Identiscentory – Sonic – Movement in Space

Briefly describe the significance of your project with the ‘Title of the Project’.

My project ‘Identiscentory – Kinetic + Sonic’ is a series of two projects: the Kinetic and the Sonic. ‘Identiscentory’ explores translating olfactory narratives into sensory experiences, emphasizing self-reflection and shared environments. It facilitates perceiving narratives through inter-semiotic translation.

The Kinetic installation offers respite from automation by highlighting tactility, human engagement, kinetics and personal narratives. By connecting participants to memories and emotions, it transforms scents into visual art. Inspired by music boxes, participants generate kinetic motions blending scented oils into water, creating abstract narrative prints. The tactility allows immersion in self-reflection and witnessing intangible memories take tangible form.

Identiscentory – Kinetic – Dropping

The Sonic uses scents and sounds to bridge individual and collective memory. Surrounded by olfactory prompts, participants record oral narratives. Analyzing speech, the installation translates narratives into music. Audiences toggle between recordings and musical translations through spatial movement, browsing the narrative archive. The dual perspectives enable sharing personal narratives while engaging with collective memory from one scent.

Both projects approach storytelling through different sensory experiences, focusing on how individuals facilitate self-reflection and connection through sensorial narrative engagement.

Identiscentory – Kinetic – Mechanical Structure (Isometric)

Which National or International architect has inspired/influenced you? Please specify as to why.

Zaha Hadid and Toyo Ito’s organic forms initially inspired my pursuit of flowing sculptural architecture. Before studying architecture, buildings seemed mere boxes. They opened my eyes to how form expresses ideas through light, space and movement. Though my aesthetic evolved, the spatial flow remains core.

Later, I became drawn to immersive spaces, looking to Punchdrunk, who entrances me with interactive narratives transporting audiences, unlike viewing stories from afar. I aim to similarly design tailored-spatial experiences immersing individuals in narrative worlds. Activating spaces through intentional form and movement continues to inspire.

Identiscentory – Kinetic – Generating the Installation

As an Intern, what is the most important lesson(s) you have learnt from senior architects while being a part of a project?

The most important internship lesson is clear communication despite language gaps. When instructions confuse, asking clarifying questions trumps pretending to understand. I once hesitated to ask senior architects to re-explain, fearing to seem unqualified. However, I have learned they appreciate interns seeking clarity and showing dedication to quality work. Now I openly express my confusion about comprehending assignments correctly the first time, preventing wasted efforts.

Simply asking vocabulary meanings without shame has allowed me to grasp nuances working in foreign languages. Though full understanding remains challenging as a non-native speaker, I have learned to vocalize questions and ideas. Good communication, listening and expressing are vital for an intern to maximize learning.

Identiscentory – Sonic – Recording Olfactory Narratives

Will the younger generation of architects make innovative changes to mitigate the catastrophic effects of the Climate Crisis? Elucidate your perspectives.

I believe young architects will drive innovative changes to combat climate change. With the 2030 SDG deadline looming, architecture must play its part in sustainability. As cities densify, we must maximize space efficiency and recyclability alongside societal needs, pioneering bio-integrated and eco-conscious materials. Having grown up with these crises, our generation grasps the urgency for radical solutions not only to mitigate damages, but also reverse it through groundbreaking green design. Despite herculean challenges, I am hopeful our fresh perspective will spark the field’s ecological transition. We have the potential to lead the architectural revolution for a sustainable future.

Identiscentory – Kinetic

Which significant aspects of the global platform ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ did you like the most, and why?

The opportunity for youth voices is what I appreciate the most about ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ Most architectural platforms feature established architects and firms, which offer invaluable inspiration. However, the lack of emerging perspectives is a loss for the field. We need to hear from the next generation to spur change, exchange ideas and embrace their novel thinking.

Young architects may offer out-of-the-box proposals only our cohort can conceive. By showcasing youth, the global platform fills this critical gap. The global platform enables essential intergenerational dialogue, uplifting fresh voices to diversify discourse and enrich the architectural community.

Identiscentory – Sonic – Drawings

The local charm of cities has diminished due to Modern Architecture as every city looks alike and similar. How should architects / urban planners/landscape architects modernize cities, while maintaining the local charm intact?

Globalization has integrated the world, making cities appear more unified. As a global nomad, I see major metropolises becoming indistinguishable duplicates. However, a city’s people shape its architecture and heritage beyond structures. In my view, designers must immerse themselves locally first. Understanding customs allows for crafting resonant spaces.

Identiscentory – Kinetic – Scented Oil Pipette

Immersion fuses global aesthetics with local traditions, progressing cities while retaining spirit. Technology enables renowned global architects to design across countries, but it also risks homogenizing architecture as designers may overlook local cultures. By experiencing differences first-hand, architects understand local cultures, the core of preserving architectural charm. This roots identity in place.

Looking at the past in the current present, what are the futuristic architectural changes you would like to see in your home city/town? Elucidate the reasons for your vision.

Despite relocations, my hometown Zhunan, Taiwan, a small coastal town, is filled with outdated and hazardous buildings. I envision renovating deteriorating sites for adaptive reuse to benefit the community.

Identiscentory – Sonic – Experiencing Sonic Narratives

Recently, a top Taiwanese IT company chose Zhunan for a new office, attracting young professionals. This influx can catalyze modernizing surroundings for this demographic. By adaptively reimagining unused spaces into vibrant cultural centres, generations can integrate. Strategic, human-centered architectural renewal can connect Zhunan’s heritage and future, evolving spaces while upholding the town’s spirit. As a transportation intersection between coastline and mountains, I hope renovation blends the natural surroundings with architecture, making Zhunan one-of-its-kind.

Identiscentory – Sonic – Headphones in Site

Honours and awards related to architecture, if any.

My kinetic installation ‘Identiscentory – Kinetic’ received the ‘Olfactory Commendation Award’ from the Interplay Kinetic Competition.

My graduate project ‘Walking on the Strings’, an artist residence renovation was shortlisted for the ‘Interior Educator Award’s Craft and Making’ category and nominated for ‘Interior Futures and Pushing Boundaries’. My dissertation ‘The Journey of Third Culture Kids’ was nominated for the Writing category.

My urban revitalization project ‘Blending Boundaries’ earned the ‘Chairman’s Award’ and ‘Top Grade Award’ from ICS College of Art in Tokyo, as one of the best in my cohorts.

Identiscentory – Sonic – Experiencing the Transition

International recognition of my work empowers me to continue pursuing this field, reinforcing my belief that effort and hard work elevate design.

Image Courtesy: Jr-Yun Lin

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