‘ALIVE 2013’ – Towards Primary Abundance?

machinic matter

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to attend ALIVE 2013, a one-day international symposium on adaptive architecture at the Chair for Computer Aided Architectural Design (CAAD), ETH Zürich. Organised by Manuel Kretzer, the day featured keynote presentations from Professor Ludger Hovestadt (ETH Zürich), Professor Philip Beesely (University of Waterloo) and Professor Kas Oosterhuis (TU Delft).

Throughout all three of the sessions, I was struck by the power of architecture (and particularly of contemporary architectural experimentation) to disturb any sense of a clear-cut boundary between the natural and the artificial, and to establish novel – and perhaps sometimes unnerving – material encounters. As Kretzer pointed out in his introduction, developments in both ‘smart’ materials and digital connectivity are facilitating approaches to architecture in which the built environment is no longer defined as that which resists change. The goal of the architect, therefore, is no longer to achieve rigidity in the face…

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