[p2p-research] organic architecture and post-scarcity

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Mon Nov 2 19:31:18 CET 2009

Michel Bauwens wrote:
> here's an interesting request from edward miller:
> Edward:  I was thinking the other day about organic architecture which could
> automatically grow as needed, and was wondering if there was any
> post-scarcity potential in this. Has anyone discussed that? I know people
> talk about organic buildings from a eco-sustainability perspective, but I
> haven't heard of buildings which grow as needed.

He maybe means nanotech etc., but historically, buildings have grown as 
needed because the occupants have expanded them as desired. It's only fairly 
recently with certain architectural forms (skyscrapers, or other complex 
purchased construction by people without building skills, etc.) and building 
codes and the idea of "renting" that the occupiers of buildings have lost 
their ability to adapt them to their needs. Go back a thousand years ago, 
and except for crowded cities out of room, buildings were expanded as needed.

"Utility fog" is a nanotech idea in that direction of "automatic growth". I 
know I've seen adaptive buildings to some extent in various sci-fi and 
speculations here and there. I'm hard pressed for a specific example though. 
There are bits and pieces lots of places, example:
"Organic Self-Growing House Design"
But that's not exactly what he means.

This may be more like it:
   "Growing rooms, buildings & cities"

But still not quite.

Those from googling on:

But it still doesn't get at the idea of an aware building adapting itself as 
needed. That theme does come up though here and there. Usually when you have 
a huge space ship (Culture series, by Iain Banks) or Space Habitat (Peter F. 
Hamilton) that are both sentient and friendly.

Here is another search approach:

Which finds stuff like:
We believe the time has come to make the conceptual and practical leap to 
"adaptive" buildings, which can attune their performance, in real time, to 
environmental changes.
   The logic is compelling: Buildings with adaptive systems use less energy, 
offer more occupant comfort, and feature better overall space efficiency 
than static buildings do.
   The ability to implement adaptive systems stems from a series of 
technological advances over the last 10 years. Production costs of motorized 
systems have dropped significantly, and standardization within the 
automation industry has helped to improve system reliability. Microprocessor 
technology continues to move in the direction of low cost, low power, 
small-form-factor design implementations, allowing for a greater 
distribution of embedded network intelligence. Combining these advances with 
diverse computational tools, sensors, and environmental modeling allows us 
to create truly dynamic and responsive environments.
   Together, these technological advances allow us to create buildings that 
are self-optimizing, rather than merely best-fit compromises.

That is somewhat about changing shape:
"While our adaptive cladding systems focus on the building envelope, ABI's 
structural systems are designed to provide operable control over a 
building's shape and structural configuration. Applications include 
retractable coverings to allow spaces to change from indoor to outdoor, 
transformation of interior space, and rapidly deployable structures. "

But it is still not the same as growing things.

I'm thinking now on the Tok'Ra of StarGate who grew underground tunnels as 
needed using mining crystals...

I know there is a lot more out there. It's not something I've really focused 
on myself. I'd just be happy with plain old sustainable structures. :-)

--Paul Fernhout

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