Research questions

How to endorse digital spaces with atmosphere (“Atmospheneering”)? What are the characteristics of an ‘atmosphere’?. How to install atmospheric elements in the construction of virtual worlds, to make their (presented) spaces believable?


To have an atmosphere belongs to the basic properties of a believable space. The problem with digitally constructed spaces is that they just simply have no atmosphere, but appear as technical.There have been several trials to endorse such spaces with atmospheric elements, but still, these spaces appear as “artificial”, unbelievable, not “as a real space”.

Constructed space with atmosphere. 17th century ideal landscape. Property of the Gehmann family

Basic Concept

Atmospheres are comparable to spatial feelings which adopt a quasi-objective character. This makes them not just subjective, but objective in that they are independent from the subjective spectator: they express a world’s very nature, its character. This property relates atmosphere to gestalt, since the latter also expresses the nature of something, what that something basically is. Atmosphere is that which mediates between the objective qualities of a (given) surrounding – e.g., expressed in the image of a world – and our subjective feelings. Atmosphere enables a holistic perception and mediates a feeling in what kind of space we are.

How to reach this with digital means? 

  • First step: Research has to be done if this is reachable at all, with digital means. For this, the atmospheric qualities of hand-made worlds have to be found, and put in relation to each other.
  • In a second step, it has to be evaluated if (at all), and how, digital means are able to produce the same atmospheric qualities
  • Third, a method has to be developed to ensure these qualities in case of digital construction

References external

Böhme, Gernot (2013): Architektur und Atmosphäre.