This paper inquires about neo-biology in architecture by examining House_n, a compelling house-of-the-future project that emerged from a design workshop at MIT conducted by Kent Larson and Chris Luebkeman at MIT in 1998. House_n has since expanded from a relatively direct “home of the future” to a “research consortium” called Changing Places that “explores how new technologies, materials, and strategies for design can make possible dynamic, evolving places that respond to the complexities of life.”3 It is a remarkably successful project whose organizing concepts and keywords—changing, dynamic, evolving, and complexity—have made it broadly appealing to manufacturers, designers, researchers, and corporate sponsors. Not accidentally those concepts are also central tenets of the technological dimension of architecture, whose practices are still firmly organized by the ideas of function and perfectibility in architecture. I ask these questions about the evolution of buildings to better understand the nature of change and adaptation in architecture and also to criticize the naïve notions of function.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/william_braham/4/