Special Subject: Building Technology — Active Architectures Workshop

Note: this subject originally appeared under subject 4.154 but is now a workshop. 

This workshop combines the inventive capability of 3 organisations to not only imagine future architectures but to create them. Active Architectures enlists 3 areas of experience; to investigate the interaction of advanced technologies with the built environment and imagine applications.

  •     Atelier One’s radical structures
  •     Tait’s dynamic stage installations
  •     Self-Assembly Lab’s advanced materials/assembly research

The students enrolling in this course will be encouraged to dream about these future architectures and through investigation (design/prototyping), predict how these new (possibly as yet unknown) technologies might be used to improve buildings, structures and environments.

Mike Davies of Richard Rogers Partnership created the following image of tomorrow’s buildings at a lecture he gave at the world teleport Association Conference in 1987 entitled ‘Design for the information age’.

‘look up at a spectrum washed envelope whose surface is a map of its instantaneous performance, stealing energy from the air with an iridescent shrug, rippling its photogrids as a cloud runs across the sun, a wall which, as the night chill falls, fluffs up its feathers and turning white on its north face and blue on the south, closes its eyes but not without remembering to pump a little glow down to the night porter, clear a view patch for the lovers of the south side of level 22 and to turn 12% silver just before dawn.’

This quotation from almost 20 years ago was impossible to imagine, but today the technology is available to actually make it happen. Potential areas of study include (students are encouraged to expand upon these or propose alternatives):

  • Kinetics / transformation
  • Material evolution
  • Self — construction
  • Programmable materials
  • Environmental adaptability / responsiveness
  • Alternative energy sources

Throughout the course various guests will be invited to talk about their own experience of new worlds to encourage further thinking within the workshop.

A very exciting part of the course will be to create an outdoor lab on the site of the former MIT Bexley Hall as part of the solve initiative. This lab will be used to demonstrate some of the emerging ideas.