Category Archives: Borislav Schalev

Borislav Schalev

Environmental Machine







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Reading text:
Toward a Theory of Architecture Machines – Nicholas Negroponte
Case study: Media-TIC, Barcelona – CLOUD 9 Architects

Nicholas Negroponte developed a theoretical framework on the need of machines to facilitate architecture. The “father” of the MIT wrote this article in 1969 where he describes that architects should join a partnership with architecture machines to create efficient architecture. At that time everything was created by hand and he revolutionary thought about the possibilities of machines to be self learning, self improving and adaptive. On the one hand he characterizes the architect as the teacher of the machine, but on the other hand he limits the work of an architect to minimum by suggesting a master machine, which can provide all necessary information to the other machines.

In my opinion machines should always remain tools for humans in order to make their work more efficient but not to do the whole work for them. A machine should support you, not decide for you. I admire his revolutionary thinking of advanced architecture at that time where even personal computers were not introduced but I think he exaggerates the role of a machine. His visionary machines have too much power and cannot be controlled. He portrays the creation of helping machines in a positive way but never describes how they their learning process could be controlled. If they can learn by senses, (see ‘’seeing machine’’) and to self improve, he is no longer talking of producing tools but a completely new race with a master machine as their main head. Architecture will be created on the “assembly line” and every design would be standardized. In that case, do we still talk about architecture? Machines as tools can help us research in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability and contribute to the protection of the environment and help us develop new strategies and materials to preserve our nature.

Take for example the Media-TIC, which was built in Barcelona in 2009 by CLOUD 9 Architects. This is a perfect example of an energy efficient building. Media-TIC was digitally designed and built using CAD-CAM processes (machines as tools). The 38-m high Media-TIC houses a photovoltaic cover on the roof. Rainwater is collected in a tank to cover the circulation of the building’s wastewater. All the facades of Media-TIC differently use the ETFE cladding, which allow savings of up to 20% of cooling costs. Media-TIC prevents the release of 114 tons CO2 into the atmosphere and is able to produce the same amount of electricity generated by 700 photovoltaic captors. The Media-TIC is just an example of sustainable architecture and we are heading the right way to create self-sufficient buildings, which will be the answer of futuristic architecture. The building industry has the biggest potential in being a leader in the energy management field. An architect does not need anything to do the entire work for him; he needs the right tools to make his research, his design and his final product the most efficient to help preserving our nature in order to save our planet.

In a future research I would like to realize how far we could probably go with technology and would it be still safe for us. Is it really possible to create self-learning machines? I am really concerned with the fact that a misuse of such an advanced self-improving machines will end in controlling us. Is this digital-era really helping us to live a better life or is it separating us from the real world? I am also really worried for the younger generation, which will completely lose touch with the reality.

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Gilles Clément and Philippe Rahm
Environ(ne)ment / Approaches for tomorrow

Environ(ne)ment presents two approaches of by Gilles Clément and Phillippe Rahm to preserve the environment and its biodiversity in the future. Rahm indicates the option that climate and invisible aspects such as luminosity, temperature, and humidity can replace typology, function, and three-dimensional form in the way architecture is defined. He questions the two major theories, Louis Sullivan’s “form follows function“ and Louis Kahn’s “function follows form“, that defined architecture through pointing the ralationship between program and architectural form. Due to Rahm, form and function should follow climate, an architecture free of formal and functional designations. Climate should be the main aspect to design, while regarding the intensity of light, the density of air, the very matter of space, the time, the seasons and others. Function and program should not be determined, but rather a free use of space created according to the function needed. For him the sustainable development is the main idea of futuristic architecture. The building industry is still one of the worst offenders when it comes to protect the environment, but has the biggest potential in being a leader in the energy management field.


Andrés Jaque Architects
Never Never Land (House)

Never Never Land is located in San José, Ibiza, and was constructed in 2009.
The name of the house “Never Never Land” could refer to the “Dreamworld” Ibiza. Like in Peter Pan’s fictional island “Neverland”, Ibiza became a major party area of the world.
The aim of Andrés Jaque (architect) was to minimizing tree and shrub removal and so preserving the natural habitat of this area. He wanted to integrate the project in its natural surrounding. 80% of the house is elevated and mainly built around and between the trees. The purpose was to preserve the continuity of the run-off and the continuity of the natural run-up. He created free spaces and connected public and private zones. This house is a very good example of “Positional Relation” where Andrés Jaque integrates the nature with its trees in his project.  However we can also see a “Disturbed Relation” regarding the interior of the House. Some trees protrude through the interior of the villa and are so “disturbed” in their natural growth.


As a conclusion I can say that neither Phillippe Rahm nor Andrés Jaque are very clear in their main aspects.
Phillippe Rahm for instance points out that form and function should respond to climate, but climate is not enough, sustainability is much more. It is about protecting the environment and developing new strategies and materials to preserve our nature. In my opinion Phillippe Rahm’s way of thinking is correct that now is the time to redefine architecture. Regarding only climate as the main point for design is not enough, economy, society and environment should be in perfect harmony together.
Then we can talk about “Advanced Architecture”.
Although sustainability was a major impact to Andrés Jaque’s “Never Never Land” the architect is not using the elements of nature to design this project. Regarding the date when this project was constructed it is safe to say that the architect should use sustainable and organic materials. When talking about Advanced Architecture the architect should not disturb the nature at all when this was his major idea and not to do it halfway, by creating such a huge material contrast and creating concrete walls on the ground.


As a future research I would like to investigate deeper in the field of self-sufficiency of buildings. In my opinion trying to create buildings completely self-sufficient is the only way to preserve our nature in the future. Advanced technology can help us realize this aim to make the building sector the leader in this struggle to save our planet, however I also believe that the inappropriate use of technology is separating us from nature instead of being part of it.



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