You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘automated environments’ category.

What will survive into the future? Which State? Which language? Into Eternity follows the spearheads of this discussion, the Finns, who deal with it by avoiding it altogether. The problem of handling nuclear waste responsibly (a statement which proves to be oximoronic) is so pressing that it seems the only way to resolve it is to release it from its problematization and simply take action. A series of interviews with the private company that is undertaking the 100 year process of depositing Finland’s (only Finland’s) nuclear waste in the Onkalo (literally “hiding place”) displays one of the most provocative collection of blank faces. The repository must store and conceal the material from any disturbance for at least 100,000 years (that number, while inconceivable in itself, is smaller by a factor of 10 than the American one). The curiosity of mankind and the inconsistency of civilizations over time prove to be more of a problem than finding a hiding place in the earth. The scale of time above ground is so fast for such an endeavor that there’s a certain increase in assurance in underground deposits.
In a time when architects are just as concerned with information technologies as they are in structures, this film finds its relevance in showing how the project of sustaining a material condition is a lot simpler than sustaining a conceptual one. How to communicate to the future victim/perpetrator of this hiding place that they should not approach it? What is the form of this “marker?” What is a monument to and of the future? A multilingual explanatory stelae? Infographics? An emotion (a la Eisenman meets Lebbeus)? Encrypted or conceited message to deter or mislead visitors? Or is the best communication not to have any at all? Respondents in this film describe how maintaining oblivion is even more taxing than maintaining a memory.

Very few decisions can be made in the space of uncertainty, but countries like Finland have a protocol for operating in this darkness. The logic speak of the general logic under catastrophies, like fires in buildings: retardant. The project provides a series of strategies that would delay human discovery and intervention in the future. That darkness, though, cannot be simply maintained materially (which can easily be made to be self sustaining); it must also be buttressed by an intentional obfuscation of information. Darkness in this way takes more enery than light.

The EU HQ project is a seed for reconstituting the politics and economy of matter in Berlin.  It reinterprets the built environment and the rebuilt environment.

PIXEL VIRUS

Bacillus pasteurii is a “microorganism, readily available in marshes and wetlands, [that] solidifies loose sand into sandstone.” Check out a BLDG BLOG post about a proposal for the Sahara desert here.

“The structure is made straight from the dunescape by flushing a particular bacteria through the loose sand… which causes a biological reaction whereby the sand turns into sandstone; the initial reactions are finished within 24 hours, though it would take about a week to saturate the sand enough to make the structure habitable. The project – a kind of bio-architectural test-landscape – would thus go from a balloon-like pneumatic structure filled with bacillus pasteurii, which would then be released into the sand and allowed to solidify the same into a permacultural architecture.”

The final result can also be imagined by observing Tafoni stone formations, even though in this case it’s erosion rather than aggregation that’s taking place. There’s some of this stone in Germany, actually.

-yb

Some inspiration from kokkugia

From the project Swarm Urbanism…

“Agency operates through two main processes within this proposal: firstly by using design agents to self-organise urban matter and secondly encoding intelligence into urban elements and topologies.”

“Agents within this system are not generic, instead there is an ecology of agent systems which interact, each set of agents programmed with their own desires and information.”

There are two key points here that they use to relate a swarm model to urban phenomena. First, the interaction between agents and their landscape. The agents have a series of behaviors, but they are also directly affected by information that is stored in the landscape, and the landscape itself is affected by the agents. This is the basic definition of an ecosystem.

Second, there is a hierarchy of agents, each performing their own task. In this model, there is a group of agents who aggregate matter, similar to the behavior of termites in building a colony. A second class of agents operates more like a slime mold, to build infrastructure by connecting certain locations in a minimal system.

I think both of these points are crucial when starting to think about how swarm models can be applied to think of the organization of a city.

-dn

http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/soft-robots.html

http://www.darpa.mil/dso/thrusts/materials/multfunmat/chembots/index.htm

Darpa is researching soft robots to be used to gain covert access to denied or hostile space during combat. The video above demonstrates just one example of such a chem-bot, which moves through fluctuating levels of air inside pockets of expandable rubber skin. Through this technology, the robot is able to go from a rigid to a fluid-like state and shift shape considerably to go through openings smaller than itself.

From Darpa:

“The program seeks to develop a ChemBot that can perform several operations in sequence:

  • Travel a distance;
  • Traverse an arbitrary-shaped opening much smaller than the largest characteristic dimension of the robot itself;
  • Reconstitute its size, shape, and functionality after traversing the opening;
  • Travel a distance; and
  • Perform a function or task using an embedded payload.”

Amazingly, it also looks very similar to Cronenberg’s conception of bio-technology in Existenz.

This is extremely relevant to our previous discussions about a technology that could repair damage after natural disasters and catastrophic events. Other than war scenarios, earthquake rescue operations is one of the more positive applications proposed for this technology.

As we discussed earlier, I think the real breakthrough in technology will not be based on developments of current technology, but on something that mimics biological systems. This could be how we start to imagine our system of “instant architecture”.

-dn

Look under “more info” for links to point cloud animation.

-YB

“Something shapeless grafted onto existing tissue, something that needs no vanishing point to justify itself but instead welcomes a quivering existence immersed in a real-time vibratory state, here and now. Tangled, intertwined, it seems to be a city, or rather a fragment of a city. Its inhabitants are immunized because they are both vectors and protectors of this complexity. The multiplicity of its interwoven experiences and forms is matched by the apparent simplicity of its mechanisms. The inhabitants draw sustenance from the present, with no time lag. The form of the territorial structure draws its sustenance directly from the present time. It is a zone of emancipation, produced so that we can keep the origins of its founding act eternally alive, so that we can always live with and re-experience that beginning. The public sphere is everywhere, like a pulsating organism driven by postulates that are mutually contradictory and nonetheless true. It belongs to the many, the multitude. The world is terrifying when it’s intelligible, when it clings to some semblance of predictability, when it seeks to preserve a false coherence. In I’ve heard about,” it is what is not there that defines it, that guarantees its readability, its social and territorial fragility and its indetermination.”

From Wikipedia:

Lithification is a process of porosity destruction through compaction and cementation. Lithification includes all the processes which convert unconsolidated sediments into sedimentary rocks. Petrification, though often used as a synonym, is more specifically used to describe the replacement of organic material by silica in the formation of fossils. In geology consolidation is a synonym for lithification.

A library of simple diagrams of geological processes.

The aesthetics of striation as a result of lithification.

The aesthetics of tafoni as a result of erosion.

Modelling of compaction (packing) (also, lithification) through computation.

-dn

This pavilion was made by 3D scanning a termite mound and enlarging it to fit humans before being milled and assembled. I think such analogies will be useful, especially in ideas of reconstruction, memory, and such.

-yb