CumInCAD is a Cumulative Index about publications in Computer Aided Architectural Design
supported by the sibling associations ACADIA, CAADRIA, eCAADe, SIGraDi, ASCAAD and CAAD futures

PDF papers
id acadia08_340
authors Chalmers, Chris
year 2008
title Chemical Signaling as a Model for Digital Process in Architecture
source Silicon + Skin: Biological Processes and Computation, [Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) / ISBN 978-0-9789463-4-0] Minneapolis 16-19 October 2008, 340-345
summary The role of the architect is quite literally one of assembly: synthesizing the various parts of a project into a cohesive whole. It is a difficult job, often requiring the architect to weave many seemingly contradictory concerns into a solution that benefits them all. It is not surprising then, that the many elegant and effective systems found in nature should be inspiring to the architect. Emerging fields like biomimicry and systems dynamics model the patterns of interaction between organisms and their environments in terms of dynamic part to part and part to whole relationships. ¶ Observations of real relationships between organisms and their environments, as they exist in nature, reveal complex feedback loops working across multiple scales. These feedback loops operate by the simultaneous action of two observed phenomena. The first is the classic phenotypic relationship seen when organisms of the same genetic makeup instantiate differently based upon differences in their environment. This is the relationship that was originally proposed by Charles Darwin in his theory of natural selection of 1859. Darwin’s model is unidirectional: the organism adapts to its environment, but not the other way around. It operates at the local scale as individual parts react to the conditions of the whole. (Canguilhem, 1952). ¶ The second phenomenon, which sees its effect at the global scale, is the individual’s role as consumer and producer in the flows of energy and material that surround it. It is the subtle and incremental influence of the organism upon its environment, the results of which are often invisible until they reach a catastrophic threshold, at which point all organisms in the system feel global changes. ; The research presented in this paper addresses the dialectic between organism and environment as each responds reciprocally to the others’ changing state. Such feedback loops act in a non-linear fashion, across nested scales in biological systems. They can be modeled to act that way in a digital design process as well. This research is an exploration into one such model and its application to architecture: the simple communication between organisms as they affect and are affected by their environments through the use of signal chemicals.
keywords Biology; Cellular Automata; Feedback; Material; Scripting
series ACADIA
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