Atlas of Places
ARCHITECTURE ⊻ TECHNOLOGY
Technology usually implies a fundamental distinction between types of elements within the realm of building: the services and the shell. Piping and wiring – or even wireless networking – gradually transform every building from a place, with its tectonic shell, to an open interface connected to the world. Sophisticated technologies are thus often separated from the realm of architectural design since it is considered to concern only specific, isolated aspects of architecture, to which particular functions can be ascribed and whose mastering can be delegated to specialized engineers.
What would it mean to overcome this division? What would it mean to turn the relation between architecture and technology upside down, to think of technology as its original root of techne– as a precondition of design and not just an addition? What does it mean to conceptualize again an architecture that is no longer an object but a thing measured by its performance; an architecture that is no longer only “four walls and a roof over one’s head” but an architecture that has absorbed contemporary technologies; an architecture, in other words, that no longer merely serves as shelter – one has to ask, from whom and what? – but an architecture that also supports the activities of its users?