Spectral considers the aerial activity above Columbus, such as commercial and military flight paths, and speculates on a future in which urban spaces engage with aerial imaging technologies. Recent technological advances make it possible for cities, landscapes, and public spaces to be monitored by military, federal or state organizations, and private companies. Beyond the visible spectrum, these technologies record and analyze sub-perceptual shifts in heat signatures, radio waves, and radiation. Low-cost and widely accessible, they transform the city into a multispectral environment, where previously invisible activities are newly detectable.

Constructed from infrared obscuring material, Spectral is a public gathering place—a “safe space” where visitors’ thermal activity is shielded from the view of multispectral cameras.

Team

Ersela Kripa
Stephen Mueller

Research Assistants

Jerod Booth
Sofia Dominguez Rojo
Collin Whitener

Site Coordination and Fabrication Support

Jess Schnepp, The Crump Project

Fabrication Supporters

Central Sheet Metal
Lear Machining & Waterjet
Texas Tech College of Architecture

The Crump Theatre
1889

When John Crump opened the theater as Crump’s New Theatre in 1889, it was the first stand-alone opera house in Columbus. The Art Deco façade was designed by architect Alden Merenda in 1941 and the interior has seen campaigns of additions and renovations over the years. Despite numerous plans to restore the building, in April of 2019 the Crump was placed on Indiana Landmarks' "Top 10 Most Endangered List."

Ersela Kripa is an Assistant Professor and Acting Director at Texas Tech College of Architecture (CoA) – El Paso, and Director of Projects at POST (Project for Operative Spatial Technologies), a CoA research center. Ersela is an editorial board member of the Journal of Architectural Education (JAE) and the International Journal of Architectural Computing (IJAC). Ersela is a registered architect and founding partner of AGENCY. Her awards include the Rome Prize in Architecture and the Emerging Voices award from The Architectural League of New York, among others. Ersela holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University GSAPP.

Stephen Mueller is a Research Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University College of Architecture (CoA) and Director of Research at POST (Project for Operative Spatial Technologies), a CoA research center. Stephen is a registered architect and founding partner of AGENCY. His awards include the Rome Prize in Architecture and the Emerging Voices award from The Architectural League of New York, and the 2019 GSAPP Incubator Prize from Columbia University among others. Stephen holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University GSAPP.

"The unprecedented challenges of rapid urbanization, ecological instability, and widespread resource depletion are matched only by an exponentially increasing capacity for innovation in architectural thought and production. Emerging technologies, communications, and models of practice offer a new generation the ability to identify and transform the most pressing urban and ecological issues through design."

— Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller

Watch this ten-minute video by Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller, who presents and describes the design concept for their installation, Spectral. Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller is a University Design Research Fellow, a participant in the 2021 Exhibit Columbus Exhibition New Middles. This is a previously recorded and archived event, view more on our YouTube channel.


"The project seeks to engage the site’s connections to militarized airspace around it. Recent development in infarred imaging and other remote sensing technologies have transformed the capacity of urban and military planners to image and to imagine the city from the aerial perspective."

— Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller
2021 Design Presentations