Soft Architecture and Intelligent Machines
With the advent of a information age, the fusion and mutual influence between architecture and other subject, such as cybernetics and interactive technology, have been a new trend before several decades ago. According to the Soft Architecture Machine, soft architecture is based on the computer system, which creates various thinking methods of architecture design and architectural forms. To be specific, architectures can be self-evolutionary and adaptive to the humans’ behaviors by optimizing the inner organization and physical structure. Does this show the soft architecture itself an architectural machine?
In the book Everything Is Said by an Observer [Maturana, H. 1987] , the author talked about the role of machines in scientific research. The machine is just a tool for scientists to reach the destination of scientific exploration. The proposal of a mechanism is also the central point of scientific research which is not the predictability. Similarly, I consider the proposal of an architecture is the central point of architectural evolution, which promotes architectures to develop. Like machines, buildings do not predict peopleâ€™s behaviors either, but the building is able to feedback and define peopleâ€™s behaviors mutually, as humans are reconstructing buildings all the time, which might be the predictability that belonging to an architecture and makes building a machine.
The architecture is a machine if the optimization satisfies human’s requirement no matter the power of the evolution comes from outside or inside. For example, in the project Wingscape, memory metal is used to make the architecture machine shrink, expand and swell by desired needs.
From a softer perspective, if we offer the architectural machine intelligence to be artificial, it may have the ability to observe the problems and start an evolutionary search and get a solution using different kinds of algorithms.
The author of Soft Architecture Machine explored the goals of computational intelligence. Firstly, peopleâ€™s machine partners should have the capability to perceive the useful information from a biased environment. Secondly, machines should be able to have the initiative of internal computations. Thirdly, machines can handle concepts and relationships for people. In terms of artificial architectural intelligence, soft architecture itself should not only a problem-reader by acquire data, but also a solution-solver by giving response.
This diagrams shows the way that can support soft architecture work intelligently by using evolutionary algorithms. It is a methodology that allow soft architecture machine to optimize problems from a very large number of solutions. However, this require the coding part extremely precisely and comprehensively.
The project Open Columns shows a responsive architecture that acquires data about Carbon Dioxide and then change the shape of physical columns as a solution. This is a simulation with architectural artificial intelligence that shows the physical architecture has the capability to give response to users which is like a machine does. In this case, the context environment will change, including space, light, temperature, atmosphere-flowing.
Definitely the soft architecture machine with intelligence is an architectural machine by itself, having the ability to give response initiatively. The largely amount of oversimplified information received by architecture machine can be acted on itself to optimize the inner organization and even the context environment. Though architectural design problems are too complex to be simulated at coding simulation part, such as political and mental issues, we also can use soft architecture as a intelligent machine to create more adaptive architectural context by data analyzing and physical response, focusing on specific issues.
[Negroponte, N. 1975] “Soft Architecture Machines”, MIT Press, ISBN0262140187;
[Maturana, H. 1987] â€œEverything is said by an Observerâ€.