Living buildings

In The Economist this week, there is an article about “Responsive” buildings" capable of changing shape andresponding to their users' needs, namely how architecture can be thought as "living systems rather than static buildings". Some excerpts I found interesting: What woudl that look like?

Houses, for example, might shrink in the winter to reduce surface area and volume, thus cutting heating costs. They could cover themselves to escape the heat of the summer sun or shake snow off the roof in winter. Skyscrapers could alter their aerodynamic profiles, swaying slightly to distribute increased loads during hurricanes. Office buildings could reconfigure themselves to improve ventilation.

And to do so, what is needed?

Such “responsive architecture” would depend on two sorts of technology: control systems capable of deciding what to do, and structural components able to change the building's shape as required. (...) One approach being pursued by researchers is to imitate nature. Many natural constructions, including spiders' webs and cell membranes, are “tensegrity systems”—robust structures made up of many interconnected elements which can be manipulated to change shape without losing their structural integrity.

Why do I blog this? one of the most striking features of such description is that the "dynamic" paradigm" (that I would define as linked to the responsiveness of an artifact to the environmental conditions) now pervades static objects, long life to biology-based inspiration!