NewSchool of Architecture + Design

NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, CA


NSAD Final Thesis Projects: “Social Interaction Through Technology & Architecture”

By NewSchoolSanDiego
Aug 16, '12 3:12 PM EST

Rendering Credit: Peter Jones/NewSchool of Architecture and Design

One in an occasional series of final thesis project summaries from recent graduates of NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego.

Final Thesis: “Social Interaction Through Technology & Architecture”
Author: Peter Jones, NewSchool of Architecture and Design, Class of 2012
Program: NSAD Master of Architecture

This final thesis by Peter Jones at NewSchool of Architecture and Design focuses on the smartphone’s impact on architecture and the future of design’s relationship with technology, exploring how this could be applied to the Navy Pier in San Diego, California. Jones created a phone application prototype that aims to engage technology, architecture, and the user through a park, public social spaces and a new USS Midway Museum entrance. Visitors can change the colors of four cubes placed along the park, or upload pictures through LED lighting that would be reflected in a building façade, and learn about the area’s history, weather and food options through the application. The self-funding technology and architecture project would tap into the commercial potential for some of the interactive designs.

Excerpt from thesis by Peter Jones

Since its inception, the smart phone has had a dramatic impact on our lives. Five years ago, we used our phones for calling, texting, and emailing. Now, we use them for a multitude of communication and interactive tasks, including mobile apps, streaming, and social networking. They have become an extension of our mind and bodies, and our dependence on them will only grow with time. Pier 2 Peers begins to explore this relationship by combining user artistry, engineering, and sustainable design through an exciting and economical approach to interactive public space all through the use of a smartphone application and LEDs.

 Before interacting with the elements of the Pier 2 Peer Park, the user downloads the application straight to their smartphone from their device’s application store. From there they are able to interact with the park’s two main features: P2P Cubes and the P2P Hub. The Cubes allow for smaller intimate interactions, while the P2P Hub allows for user control on a grand scale through a cantilevered body housing an urban stage, food and drink, and smartphone device rental station. Both areas allow the user to control façade colors and photo images, check the energy savings from the glass PV cell paneling, as well as order food and drink all through their smartphone device. Additionally, the adjacent USS Midway Museum is included in the application allowing for detailed history, interactive movies, and guided audio tour.

Like language, we use the smartphone as a tool to help us stay connected, research, store and process information, and most certainly entertain. Looking at its application in architecture has yet to be fully explored. This one application and research thesis provides a case study of the capabilities of smartphone technology and architecture integration, outlining a frame of reference for discussion and experimentation as this field is further developed.  With additional research and application of uses, it can spawn ideas for countless applications and alter architectural form and function providing new areas of spatial interactions and evolution.

About NewSchool of Architecture and Design
NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD), founded in 1980, is located in San Diego, California. NSAD is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). ACICS is listed as a nationally recognized accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. NSAD’s Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Architecture and Executive Master of Architecture programs are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). NSAD also offers a pre-professional Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, a Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts, a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, a Master of Landscape Architecture, a Master of Construction Management and a Master of Science in Architecture. NSAD was ranked among the top 10 undergraduate architecture schools in the western United States, according to the DesignIntelligence report “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools 2012.” For more information, visit

For additional information/contacting Peter Jones:
Anna Cearley
Tel. 619-684-8791
Cell. 619-301-3701