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Robotic Ecologies Shape Themselves To Serve You

Robotic Ecologies is a new architectural term that refers to the growing importance of computational systems in buildings and other architectural structures. If you are a science fiction reader, this is not a new idea for you.


(Super Galaxy II)

Real-life architects have been slowly catching up, though. The Super Galaxy II is a concept piece, a structure that is constantly in tune with the needs of its occupants.


(Super Galaxy II)

Super Galaxy is an architectural system saturated in atmospheric and electronic phenomena. It is a nomadic enclave in an endless state of spatial and material flux. As it fluctuates between states of varying coherence (solidity, liquidity, and gaseousness) its inner structure maintains an invisible, yet definable pattern. It is an active and responsive organism capable of dynamically interacting with its surroundings on many levels.

Architecture professor Jason Johnson, whose recent Robotic Ecologies seminar participants have explored questions like "What if you could talk to a building - and it could talk back?", remarked:

"Robotic Ecologies refers to an emerging condition that is rapidly influencing our relationship with the physical environment," says Johnson. "The gradual intermeshing of technological and computational systems into the physical realm has both positive and negative implications, many of which are currently under-explored or misunderstood by architects or planners."

I think I've seen this future before. In his excellent 1962 story The Thousand Dreams of Stellavista, author J.G. Ballard wrote about houses that constantly changed shape depending on the mood of the occupants (and, as it turns out, depending on the mood of the house):

It's always interesting to watch a psychotropic house try to adjust itself to strangers, particularly those at all guarded or suspicious. The responses vary, a blend of past reactions to negative emotions, the hostility of the previous tennants...

...Stamers was fiddling desperately with the control console recessed into the wall behind the door, damping the volume down as low as possible... (Read more about psychotropic houses)

Update 15-Mar-2021: Even earlier, Fritz Leiber described adjustable houses in his 1943 classic Gather, Darkness! End update:

Take a look at these examples of structures that were presaged in sf novels:

Bits of this story were taken from Intelligent design: Will robots take over architecture? via /..

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/29/2007)

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