‘Intelligent’ Architecture: Cybernetic Theory and Architecture Abstract


Session Title:

  • Architecture

Presentation Title:

  • ‘Intelligent’ Architecture: Cybernetic Theory and Architecture Abstract



  • The paper discusses current descriptions of ”Intelligent” architecture and proposes the relevance of cybernetics in affording an alternative criterium for it’s conception and production. The recent appearance of what has been cited as a ’new genre in architecture’ includes buildings which have various levels of automated and computer controlled functions – “robotic” infrastructures. Information Technology and Communication Systems have since the 1960’s aided new conceptions of architecture and fueled speculation concerning architecture’s future development. Contemporary, architectural discourse now includes artificial intelligence in the technological debate, contributing another dimension to the modern ‘machine esthetic’. Current descriptions of ”intelligent” architecture are consistent with a model of artificial intelligence which has been generated by the predominance of the electronic digital computer and the prevalent symbolic and logic driven descriptions to which it adheres.


    Consequently, the existing ”intelligent” building is unable to achieve better performance over its initial, well defined specification and is incapable of interacting with the world as an autonomous entity. The cybernetic concept of an ”intelligent” building demands some degree of epistemic autonomy in order to improve itself, a capacity which is only attainable through structural autonomy, as is the case with all biological systems. The development of ”intelligent architecture” as an informationally open, organizationally closed, cybernetic system is discussed in relation to existing extensions of ”robotic” technologies in architecture. Interaction, a fundamental characteristic of intelligent, decisionally autonomous and unpredictable living systems, was explored by cybernetician Gordon Park (1928 – 1996). His work is compared here to the predefined, receptor-effector devices currently in use in order to highlight the limits of existing adaptive machines and to suggest the relevance of his ideas in providing an alternative, human-centered design methodology.


    Full text p.30-31