Category Archives: Digital Logics – Critical Readings

Toward a Theory of Architecture Machines by NICHOLAS NEGROPONTE

Atessa Zandi-Toward a Theory of Architecture Machines


When a designer makes a machine that can solve problems, the designer gets credit. When a machine like this can find a method of finding a method of solution, the machine is the one who makes the answer. The machine may be more creative than the designer.

The evolutionary Machine
This paper is about machines that can learn about learning about architecture. These are called architecture machines. When an architect and an architecture machine can work together, this can make an evolutionary system. Computers are useful tools, which do everything that a human will command it to do. Why do we need a machine to be able to learn?
Most things that a computer does make things only work faster. If computers worked smarter as well, then things would be more efficient.
Two concerns in machine assisted architectureArchitects can’t handle large scale problems because they are too complex. But architects ignore small problems because they seem unimportant. Because of this, architects rarely get to see homes that they designed. 
To allow architects to be able to see the homes they design, it would be helpful to have machines that can learn. The machine would have to be able to respond to its environment.
The learning Machine
The 1943 theorem of  M and P states that a robot constructed with regenerative loops of a certain formal character, is capable of deducing any legitimate conclusion from a finite set of premises. Learning is can be done from several failures which can lead to success. Failure needs to be recognized.

To be able to recognize failure and learn, an architecture machine needs 5 things: 1) heuristic mechanism, 2) a rote apparatus, 3) a conditioning device, 4) a reward selector and 5) a forgetting convenience.
1) Heuristic narrows the search, or limits the search for a solution. When a problem is observed, the machine will recognize the problem and make sure it doesn’t do anything related to what it just did. Thus it limits even more possibilities.
2) Rote learning is the storing (remembering) of an event and associating it with a response.
3) Responses which are repeated become habits
4) a reward selector
5) unlearning bad habits is as important as learning. This way the machine won’t make the same mistake twice
The whole body (of the machine) will always be changing
One supercomputer could be connected to all the other architecture machines, allowing the machines and the humans who operate them to be able to 1) acquire large bursts of computing power, 2) to acquire stored information, 3) to communicate with other architects and other architecture machines
The Seeing Machine
Communication is the discriminatory response of an organism to a stimulus. The machine needs a stimulus – a way to sense or observe things that happen in its environment.
For a machine to look like its designer, 3 properties are needed: an event, an idea, and a representation.
In an architect-machine partnership the most important sense (out of the 5 senses: See, touch, hear, smell, taste) is to see. Computer graphics are used a lot.
Oliver Selfridge ‘s “Pandemonium” machine “saw” things and said what it was
It’s possible to build an architectural seeing machine that observes different models
This research helps to learn by focusing on visual stuff
Machine is more of a mannerist than a student but it reverses the fashionable role of computersFor eyes of an architecture machine, problem is the opposite. Given a form, generate the criteria… learn from the criteria and someday generate new forms.
Computers are usually used to store information, which is used to aid an architect in designing something which is then created and observed. An architecture machine could look at something that is created and observed, gather the information, and create something better and new.

Events can be seen, heard, smelt, felt, extra-sensory or a motor command.  In an architect-machine partnership the most important sense (out of the 5 senses: See, touch, hear, smell, taste) is to see. Computer graphics are used a lot. 

Oliver Selfridge ‘s “Pandemonium” machine “saw” things and said what it was.

It’s possible to build an architectural seeing machine that observes different models, and this research helps to learn by focusing on visual stuff.  
Machine is more of a mannerist than a student but it reverses the fashionable role of computersFor eyes of an architecture machine, problem is the opposite. Given a form, generate the criteria… learn from the criteria and someday generate new forms.
Computers are usually used to store information, which is used to aid an architect in designing something which is then created and observed. An architecture machine could look at something that is created and observed, gather the information, and create something better and new.

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a complex network of rhizomes Image courtesy: self

a complex network of rhizomes
Image courtesy: Boney K


Book: A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
Author: Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
Chapter: I- Rhizome

Rhizome: A horizontal, underground plant stem capable of producing the shoot and root systems of a new plant. (source: Read More »

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The Genesis of the World?


Image: The Matrix Wallaper
Extract from:


From the text of Manuel de Landa
Deleuze and The Genesis of Form

The essay we studied is an interpretation of Manuel de Landa (writer and artist) on the writings of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze about the genesis of form.

According to De Landa, a constant in the history of Western philosophy, conceives matter as an inert element forms that come from the outside and not from the inside leaving aside the capabilities of the same shape and reducing the variability and the richness expression of matter at a gross concept of mass, in which only simple systems are studied in the same.

However, the author emphasizes the contrasting Gilles Deleuze’s work about Spinoza, in which a new possibility is discovered; resources or components involved in the genesis of the form (all elements) are forcefull for the generation of matter itself, defining the states in which matter is created from the inside out (not from outside) as imminent, ruling the collective behavior of the components and resulting in a geometric shape with divergent capabilities.

Likewise, Deleuze coined the term “divergent actualization” of the French philosopher Henri Bergson, distinguishing between “possible” and “real”, translating this to a network of forms or elements that together acquire a physical reality, I mean, an actualization that may differ from your starting point and ending point, depending on the differentiation of the same, creating a variation of different physical samples and always generating a genuine shape.

De Landa simplifies the complex Deleuzian’s thought coming from the Bergson’s theory, as follows: for Deleuze the “Noumena” (An existing world itself free of any human activity) is a part of the autonomous existence of real forms, which exists in synchrony with the virtual forms, making it is clear that the difference is not only diversity but also the difference is that by which the given is given, I mean, everything that happens (virtual and real) and all that appears is correlated with orders of differences: differences of level, temperature, intensity etc.


Therefore, Deleuze emphasizes the role of virtual singularities can only be captured during the genesis of form, before the final form one is updated and before the difference appears.


To clarify the above, the author points out the latest work of Deleuze, in which mention two very important types of structures “strata” and “self-consistent aggregates”, him refers to the strata as emergent elements through joining homogenous elements, while self-consistent aggregates emerging from the joint of heterogeneous elements. In both processes it is shown divergent actualizations of both the real and virtual form.

To end and completely clarify this text, I would like to define in a more austere way the above concepts. There are virtual diagrams that are possible through realities in the genesis of form. I mean, real processes such as the formation of a rock through layers or strata tends to settle through a “virtual” process to reach its final form, as well a society with different social “layers-strata” or actual roles, virtually settles in a variety of ranges or classification through a theological and legal codification. These virtual schemes or actualizations of shape merge the heterogeneous elements through an interposer agent forming new homogeneous networks and new possibilities.

Therefore, we can say that behind everything and every form is a virtuality or a process of strata and sedimentation forming a final shape through actualization and differentiation. As a personal topic, I would like to delve a little more to the last question posed by De Landa in his essay, “What is a novel or a painting or a piece of music” in this world?, As seen from the point of view of author, I understand the magnitude of the questions and new doubts as arise; Should be art a divergent actualization for society? Is the art and science two heterogeneous elements that should settle into a homogeneous one? Should be the art a real virtuality instead of a virtual reality? How could we reconceptualize the history through art and science?

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ANTS EYE VIEW- Local interaction creating global intelligence

detail_invert1The text from the book EMERGE from STEVEN JOHNSON makes me thinking about one simple question: what is an organism and what are its parts, and whether they can be viewed and studied in the same way as the organism itself?
In biology an organism is any contiguous living system (such as animal, fungus, micro-organism, or plant). In at least some form, all types of organisms are capable of responding to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may be either unicellular (a single cell) or, as in the case of humans, comprise many trillions of cells grouped into specialized tissues and organs. The term multicellular (many cells) describes any organism made up of more than one cell. But the principles that its using when functioning and performing tasks remain the same. So if we change the scale and observe a bacterial growth or an ant colony or a bird flocking, or on the end even a city in the same way, what will be our conclusion? Because the main idea of the Steven Johnson text was that the ant colony was always studied at the wrong scale.
Observing behavior of ants in an ant colony leads us to a conclusion that they are using swarm logics or a swarm intelligence, as the invisible force that makes it work perfectly without them even knowing about it. Swarm intelligence is the collective behavior of decentralized, self-organized systems, natural or artificial. systems consist typically of a population of simple agents interacting locally with one another and with their environment. The agents follow very simple rules, and although there is no centralized control structure dictating how individual agents should behave, local, and to a certain degree random, interactions between such agents lead to the emergence of “intelligent” global behavior, unknown to the individual agents. The definition of swarm intelligence is still not quite clear but in principle, it should be a multi-agent system that has self-organized behavior that shows some intelligent behavior.
On the other hand if we observe the city in the same way but just on a different scale- the city can be defined as an multicellular organism as well. The scale changes but the processes are staying very similar, just more complex, or not? Cities generally have complex systems for sanitation, utilities, land usage, housing, and transportation. The concentration of development greatly facilitates interaction between people and businesses, benefiting both parties in the process. A big city or metropolis usually has associated suburbs and exurbs. We live our lives occupied with our everyday problems, we always rush somewhere. But are we aware of the fact that there are so many things that we don’t know about the world surrounding us? Are we aware that a whole set of interactive systems are making greater decisions for us? Decisions that affect our lives? Seams that the difference is only in scale?
On the other side, the cell cannot continue to exist without other surrounding cells in a human body as a city can’t survive without singular groups of human beings performing different tasks. Then we are coming to a conclusion that we have individual cell that as one cell doesn’t make a difference but – when in group with other cells makes organs that further on form an organism (human body), and then we have an single human- when in group with other people (and their specific type of behavior) we have a new, larger scale organism- a city. Processes that are taking place in this network make us forget about the scale and the only thing that becomes important are the numerous interactive processes that are making the entire system working in a specific way which is not specified anywhere.
Studding and viewing all this relationships and interactions on different scales, we as architects are coming to a final question, is our job only to learn how to listen and recognize that even the smallest inputs could be very significant when making decisions on bigger scale? Should they shape even the decisions that we are making on a bigger scale -when designing bigger systems? My answer- DEFINITELY!

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‘We’re all made of lines’ || Deleuze

Title: “The Rhizome / A Thousand Plateaus”

Author: Gilles Deleuze / Felix Guattari, 1980.



Photo from Faire Rhizome


Deleuze and Guattari introduce the concept of the rhizome as a metaphor for understanding politics, social life, literature, history, and sexuality. A rhizome is “a rootlike subterranean stem, commonly horizontal in position, that usually produces roots below and sends up shoots progressively from the upper surface” (from, accessed March 16, 2011, based on the Random House Dictionary, Random House 2011). The rhizome “connects any point to any other point” and has “neither beginning nor end, but always a middle from which it grows and which it overspills”. The rhizome morphs, changing in “dimension” and “necessarily… in nature as well.

This is contrasted an “arborial” or tree metaphor which is much more like a hierarchy (roots to trunk to branches to leaves). It is hard to get away from thinking in this more tree-like way, but the rhizome concept forces you to start from the middle, rather than from the bottom or top, and to think in terms of “plateaus” rather than beginnings or endings. The rhizome is made of lines or “lineaments”, but these are not the orderly reporting lines in a “structure” (or hierarchy). As a “plateau is always in the middle, not at the beginning or the end,” a rhizome consists of plateaus. This is a confusing shift of metaphor—to understand this best, do not picture an actual plateau of land but rather the concept of something short of a summit or climax but still other than a beginning or base. The main metaphor is still the rhizome, but the plateau concept essentially means that one is always in the middle, neither at the start nor at some end-stage or goal.
In writing a book as a rhizome, the authors claim that it was written in a non-linear manner; “each plateau can be read starting from anywhere and can be related to any other plateau”. In true interpretive form, the barrier between observer and observed is blurred: “There is no longer a tripartite division between a field of reality (the world) and a field of representation (the book) and a field of subjectivity (the author).” Instead, “an assemblage establishes connections between certain multiplicities drawn from each of these orders”.
Finally, the rhizome is suggested as a model of history, in contrast with a state-centered, hierarchical approach. The state structure reflects “the sedentary point of view”; “What is lacking is a Nomadology, the opposite of history”.



Personal Question:

In this excerpt the authors do not indicate how this rhizome metaphor might be deployed, how an alternative history or “Nomadology” might be written, or what implications the metaphor has more generally. However, it bears a striking similarity to the concept of the network (inspired by the Internet), which has been suggested as an alternative to the hierarchy for organizations. It may be due only to the ingrained metaphor of the pyramid (or the tree, these authors would say) that we find it difficult to imagine other ramifications of the rhizome or network metaphor. What other implications or applications of this metaphor might we identify?

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