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Contribution to Book
Biotechniques: Remarks on the Intensity of Conditioning
Performative Architecture (2004)
  • William Braham, University of Pennsylvania

An exploration of the concept of Biotechniques, adapted from the term originally coined by Frederick Kiesler in 1939. Biotechniques derive from three basic propositions: first, that technology was based on steadily evolving human needs; second, that despite their origin in human needs, technological systems develop according to their own “laws of heredity;” and thirdly, that the final criteria of technological design is not technical performance, but human health. Applying these premises to the technology of conditioning contemporary buildings yields two conclusions. First, environmental conditioning is not just a collection of devices whose performance can be optimized. They are complex systems that operate on buildings and people simultaneously, systems with their own history, trajectory and momentum. Second, there are critical thresholds in the scale, velocity and intensity of that conditioning that radically alter the effects they produce, meaning that more, or even more efficient, conditioning is not always the answer.

Publication Date
Branko Kolarevic and Ali Malkawi
Spon Press
Citation Information
William Braham. "Biotechniques: Remarks on the Intensity of Conditioning" LondonPerformative Architecture (2004)
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