Nikol Kirova is an architectural graduate from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia.
Her project ‘Synapse’ looks at the future of urban mobility and the ways in which people navigate and interact with urban spaces.
“Our societies are evolving and our cities are changing. The way we experience space is more dynamic than ever yet the places we live and inhabit are as static as they ever were,” says Kirova.
Kirova recognised that cities and the people living in them are creating urban spaces that are more walkable. She found that today people are more willing to walk and use their private vehicles only when necessary.
Wanting to know how people navigate within these spaces without breaching any privacy issues, Kirova developed a material system made up of graphene-casted tiles.
The tiles are heat and electricity conductive. They operate as a data gathering system sensing human interaction and vibrating to help guide blind people. In order to analyse the movement of the city’s people the tile is optimised to be energy efficient due to it having to cover really large areas.
She notes that in order to truly understand the reason behind pedestrian behaviour we need to overlap different layers of data, starting with the ground floor of where different areas are located, the presence of environmental elements such as wind of solar radiation, the movement of traffic in a particular location and then finally the pedestrian activity data.
“As architects we often design spaces that guide people. We might have to consider moving to spaces guided by people. I believe that the tool that I’m trying to create can be very beneficial in order to understand behaviour better and to design more human cities,” says Kirova.