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id acadia18_226
authors Glynn, Ruairi; Abramovic, Vasilija; Overvelde, Johannes T. B.
year 2018
title Edge of Chaos. Towards intelligent architecture through distributed control systems based on Cellular Automata.
source ACADIA // 2018: Recalibration. On imprecisionand infidelity. [Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) ISBN 978-0-692-17729-7] Mexico City, Mexico 18-20 October, 2018, pp. 226-231
summary From the “Edge of Chaos”, a mathematical space discovered by computer scientist Christopher Langton (1997), compelling behaviors originate that exhibit both degrees of organization and instability creating a continuous dance between order and chaos. This paper presents a project intended to make this complex theory tangible through an interactive installation based on metamaterial research which demonstrates emergent behavior using Cellular Automata (CA) techniques, illustrated through sound, light and motion. We present a multi-sensory narrative approach that encourages playful exploration and contemplation on perhaps the biggest questions of how life could emerge from the disorder of the universe.

We argue a way of creating intelligent architecture, not through classical Artificial Intelligence (AI), but rather through Artificial Life (ALife), embracing the aesthetic emergent possibilities that can spontaneously arise from this approach. In order to make these ideas of emergent life more tangible we present this paper in four integrated parts, namely: narrative, material, hardware and computation. The Edge of Chaos installation is an explicit realization of creating emergent systems and translating them into an architectural design. Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of a custom CA for maximizing aesthetic impact while minimizing the live time of architectural kinetic elements.

keywords work in progress, complexity, responsive architecture, distributed computing, emergence, installation, interactive architecture, cellular automata
series ACADIA
type paper
email r.glynn@ucl.ac.uk
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