Architecture machinae

September 1, 2011

Essay on the ‚object‘ of architectural theory

The notion of ‘architecture machines’ has been around at least since the formation of the Architecture Machine Group [AMG] at the MIT. In the early days of digital design and fabrication, this group led by Nicholas Negroponte experimented with the construction of architecture machines as “all-purpose cybernetic design assistant[s]”[1. Mario Carpo, The Alphabet and the Algorithm, 1. Aufl., Writing Architecture (Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2011), 35.]. The sort of machines AMG had in mind were instruments to facilitate the design of architecture; in the course of development these machines were integrated also with the production of architecture by way of a digital chain. These design-production instruments are not what this essay sets out to address. It is not about machines used to produce architecture, but about the machines architecture itself consists of; it is not about technology but about society which relies on the cultivation of highly diverging machines.