The identity of cities is to a high extent defined by traffic routes, electronic environments and architecture - the latter often being a relic from the past. The influence of digital media and virtual worlds, however, require a re-location of architecture - and of town-planning. Gsöllpointner gives an overall view of the interaction between architecture, architectural theory and virtual worlds comprising city and environment utopias, the development of high-tech construction and de-constructivist architecture.
The way in which architecture behaves with regard to the electronic, virtual world can be determined by examining the manifold realizations of virtual reality (VR). It will be possible to find the specific architecture and environment through the depiction of utopian cities in theme-park rides, the representation of metropolitan structures in films and on television, and in the utilization of VR applications in architecture.
In this case, the question of the electronic culture's reflection in the contemporary architecture of the so-called real reality or the "non-virtual reality" is much more interesting. Architecture as the representative of social and political structures can mean, on the one hand, depicting the affirmation of these kinds of relationships (e.g. representatives of postmodern architecture, such as Michael Graves as Disney World's signature architect with the Swan and Dolphin hotels; or the unspeakable architectural programs of the Prince of Wales, which exert a very real influence on the situations of British architects). These kinds of architecture accept the traditional language without interruption and without question, and often cement (in the literal sense of the word) historical squabbling with a reactionary attitude. Or, architecture can unmask and deconstruct such products and their prerequisites.
The fragmentation, questioning, dissolution and the production of new
relationships of a constructed and coincidental environment can, however,
appear only simultaneously with the knowledge of urban and transglobal
(electronic) communication. A critical reflection of social reality can take
place only in connection with the idea of an experimental and visionary
alternative in the field of architecture and urban planning which not only
foresees changes in our environment, but also implies them in artistic designs.