If ethics can’t be built into a machine, then we’ll be creating super-intelligent psychopaths, creatures without moral compasses, and we won’t be their masters for long,
James Barrat, “Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era,”
Recent emerging technologies have allowed architectural design to imagine and build increasingly complex shapes and objects, but have diminished the time considering what the building feels like, how it surrounds the occupant, and how it reveals itself to the viewer. It is crucial to good architecture that a human understanding of volume and space be incorporated into the design from the very start.
I was recently at a symposium on lighting design and was disappointed when the discussion turned from how light, both natural and artificial, can define space to how skyscrapers can be turned into glowing l.e.d objects. Yet the architecture is lost, the building becomes subservient to the picture being displayed on it. I raised a question about volume and sequence and was quickly told that these are “old school” concerns, that architecture has moved on to the digital age.
If this is in fact true, we are turning the design process into a simple act of editing what the computer algorithms show us. We are not participating in the design, and there can be no spiritual mystery to our buildings. In this process we will create objects, some of which might be beautiful, but the experiential nature of great architecture will be lost. There is more to the built form than a pretty picture.