Programmable Architecture

-Towards Human Interactive, Cybernetic Architecture-

Kensuke Hotta, Architectural Association School of Architecture

プログラマブル アーキテクチャ


堀田憲祐, 英国建築協会建築学校 


Statement of the Art/Background



2-1. Introduction


In this chapter, various precedents are considered both in reviewing what has led up to the contemporary situation as well as the latest developments. These include developments from different academic fields such as Architecture, Engineering, Computer Science, Psychology, and Art. The precedents are used not only as case studies but their methodologies can be applied to 'Programmable Architecture', the theme of this thesis.


2-2. From Architecture


2-2-1 . Cedric Price and the Japanese Metabolism Movement


With reference to temporal design linked with the idea of emergence, it is worth looking at the Fun Palace Plan, Plug-in City in the United Kingdom, and the Metabolism Movement in Japan in the 1960s and 70s (Lin, 2010). The emergent idea in this context is that the architect and designer designed ‘systems’ rather than depicting static images. This, in turn, led to an unexpected range of behaviours even after the building was built. The actual user would control how to use the structure. For example, in a capsule-based plug-in system, the residents would decide how to manage the capsules or components. (Auther note; need new discussion). From the outside, this development looks like a living system which is acquiring emergent behaviour. However, so far, these movements have not been successful in solving social and architectural problems. Because of various limitations such as cost, a building’s lack of portability, and a lack of an evaluation system (explained below), Metabolism never achieved large-scale success. 


     These ideas, first suggested by Cedric Price (Price, 1969) at the time of Britain’s total dissolution of the planning system in the late 1960s, were clearly unworkable. Already in the 1960s, in his counterattack to planning orthodoxy in his article ‘Non-plan’ (Price, 1969) and in his article ‘Activity and Change’ (Price, 1962), he shows an awareness of ‘time’.

“An expendable aesthetic requires no flexibility in the artefact but must include time as an absolute factor. Planned obsolescence is the order within such a discipline - shoes; motor cars; magazines.”

                         -Price, 1962

His time-based urban interventions have ensured that his work has an enduring influence on contemporary architects, though he built little. He frequently used the phrase ’Do you really need a building?’ rather than ‘What kind of building do you need?’. These stories reveal that his architectural concept is concerned with human activities.

 英国では「都市や建築の計画」することが1960年代後半に崩壊していた、セドリック・プライス(Price、1969)によって最初に提案されたこれらのテンポラルな計画のアイデアは、明らかに実現不可能であった。すでに1960年前後に、ある記事、「Non-plan」(1969年)と「Activity and Change」(1962年)において、正統的に計画することへのカウンターアタックとして、プライスは計画における「時間」への関心を示している。彼はその中でこう述べている。

                          -Price, 1962


Fig 2-2-1,1 Fun Place plan by Cedric PriceOne of his famous unbuilt works ‘The Fun Palace’ in 1961, initiated with Joan Littlewood, established him as one the most innovative architects of the period. Based on the slogan ‘laboratory of fun', the idea was to make facilities for dancing, music, drama and fireworks. Central to Price's practice was the belief that through the correct use of new technology, the public could have unprecedented control over their environment, resulting in a building which could be responsive to visitors' needs and the many activities intended to take place there. Using an unenclosed steel structure, fully serviced by travelling gantry cranes the building comprised a ‘kit of parts': prefabricated walls, platforms, floors, stairs, and ceiling modules that could be moved and assembled by the cranes. Virtually every part of the structure was variable. As the marketing material suggested, there was a wide choice of activities. (1964: Fun Palace, Canadian Centre of Architecture,
図2-2-1,1セドリック・プライスによる「ファンパレス計画」彼の有名なアンドビルド作品、ジョアンリトルウッドと始めた1961年の「ファンパレス」は、彼をその時代の最も革新的な建築家の1人として確立させた。「楽しさの実験室」というスローガンに基づいて、ダンス、音楽、演劇、花火のための施設を作るというアイデアであった。プライスの取り組みの中心は、新しいテクノロジーを正しく使用することで、一般の人々が今迄にないような環境コントロールを行えるようになり、その結果建築空間が訪問者のニーズや活動に対応できようになる、という信念であった。その提案する建物は、密閉されていない鉄骨構造で、移動式ガントリークレーンが完備されている。クレーンで移動および組み立て可能な「部品キット」で構成されていた。それは事前に製造された壁、プラットフォーム、床、階段、天井などのモジュールなどである。実質的に、構造を含むすべてのパーツが変動可能である。マーケティング資料が示すように、幅広い活動の選択肢があった。1964: Fun Palace,カナダ建築センター

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