Book Review: Disappearing Architecture by Georg Flachbart and Peter Weibel


The book is a collection of papers by reserach scientists and architects presented at the international conference on development of real and virtual spaces in global era. To speak the truth , the book is a vast and deep research material that takes you through a world you have never experienced, but as the book says you are guided through a virtual environment. The concepts which are explained foresee the future of the world through an architects vision as well as an outsiders. As they say architecture is game from now onwards and its a home game for us(architects) and an away game for them.

The paper revolves around the concept of real and virtual interface than the conventional static environment.They call it heterarchitecture, conceived as a hybrid, mixed reality environment developed by the digital technology we have.
Which performs complex functions in a split of a second.It will be a self managing, self diagonosticand transparent interface were you interfere with the environment rather that accepting the existing. Here real space(i-off) and virtual space (0-on ) are coherently superposed , obeying the rules of quantum mechanics.(1and 0 can exist at the same time)rather than the classical physics were only one can exist at a time. .The multiverse is the existence of more than one at the same time without knowing each oter using the quantum interference effect. You are no longerstatic but non static, present nowhere but everywere.

The infrastructure that led to this development dates back to the time computer was invented. Since then it established itself as the inevitable interface of the common man making explicit relations with the user. It opened a wide possibilty of being virtually present anywere without being present physically, which till then was impossible. The dependence on mechanically driven to transform from one place to another was substituted by the introduction of world wide web.The digital revelotion has taken us to heights of virtual interconnections. Knowingly or unknowingly we are all part of an interconnected network of virtual reality.

Now this digital development has provided to platform to move forward to the new era of existence which is supported by systems like world wide rid(wwg) ubiquous computing, quantum computing. The ornamentations which were complex in itself and difficult interpretations were cleverly avoided or discarded by the industrialist modernism ,establishing itself with mass production and prototyping. The hetrarchitecture proposes mass customisation and file to factory (f2f) systems in which they try to solve the higher levels of complexity of the digital imaging by splitting them into simpler functions which can perform seperately but once together create the complex structure.

The point cloud concept and the flocking behavior concept are theoritical applications which are yet to be applied commercially to solve the complexities of the digital imaging to create the virtual interface. In general these concepts consider 1 and 0 as the top and bottom nodes of a sphere. Unlike classical physics which either give the maxima or the minima oscilating up and down the quantum computing consider it as a nodal ambigous atmosphere in which the nodes can exist anywhere in between 1 and 0 but not knowing exactly were it is. It consider a huge surface as a collection of nodes were each node is dependent on the neighbouring nodes not knowing the whole perspective of the form. In short each node performs its function which is comparetively a simpler to create the complex structure.We may say they are intelligent , not with respect to the notion of human intelligence but collective intellligence. The only roadblock is the process of transforming this hardware to a softform in an economical and fast manner.

In fact we are talking about an architecture that is ambiguos,non location specific and presenting absence. It is a paradigm shift from the conventional static architecture were you define your existence inside or outside, above or below. A leap from the traditional concepts of building, asthetics. The paper questions the existence of traditional architecture in the changed scenario. Design will no more be a one mans vision, rather it will be a collective input programmed by the digital softwares.
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This book review was written by: Anjith Augustine