Edge of Chaos

Edge of Chaos
Towards intelligent architecture through distributed control systems based on Cellular Automata

Ruairi Glynn, Interactive Architecture Lab, Bartlett UCL
Vasilija Abramovic, Interactive Architecture Lab, Bartlett UCL, Faculty of Architecture CTU
Johannes T. B. Overvelde, AMOLF & Studio Overvelde Amsterdam, NL

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 by Ruairi Glynn, Vasilija Abramovic and Johannes T. B. Overvelde, 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.

Authors 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. They 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. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of a custom CA for maximizing aesthetic impact while minimizing the live time of architectural kinetic elements.

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