Built for Change, according to Stewart Brand
As Stewart Brand says in one of his episodes, “All buildings are predictions.”
Forecasted at a point in time, constructed at another point in time, buildings then remain static. Only a few may enter the elite world of regular renovation. (According to this America’s Pledge report, 3% of US building stock are new or renovated annually.) A building’s opportunity to evolve and re-calibrate to real-time needs (of people, energy, etc) takes sufficient incentive and project management, at a cost of inconvenience and time.
What if you could simplify this effort, though? What if you could enable buildings to re-calibrate to real-time needs conveniently, with the right incentives? Tall order, I know. But, say you started with one component of the building system, could you do it then?
How Buildings Learn, 1997 BBC documentary
Writer and Presenter: Stewart Brand
We don’t realize that, but buildings change and change and change because the people who use them have their own ideas. We have to know that, we have to have a better understanding of that organic change that happens in all buildings.
Whether it’s a home, a commercial building, or institutional edifice — Buildings keep changing because people either have to or want to keep reworking them to suit the unfolding patterns of their lives.
Reality makes a new building necessarily unfinished and imperfect. But, perhaps perfectible in time. If that reality were designed for, architects could do civilization a great service. Buildings need to learn, the same way we do.