“The determination of your environment need no longer be left in the hands of the designer of the building: it can be turned over to you yourself” (1967 Control and Choice. Peter Cook. 1972. Archigram)
“…is it possible to re-structure the space and domain of use to respond to the inhabitant’s intention, and can this relationship be realized by simple devices…” (1970 Responsive House. Arata Isozaki. Unbuilt. Arata Isozaki. 2001)
In 1967, the British group Archigram (as guest at the Youth Biennale in Paris that year) introduced the project “Control and Choice” (result of previous experiences as the Living 1990), a housing that is liberated from the dictatorship of the designer by creating an open system in which the user can evaluate (control) and choose (choice) how to configure his/her home depending on the “way of life” at each time. The houses present a temporal component drawn by hypothetic situations during various stages of the user’s life, something quite new in architectural scene obsessed with the “type“, with a closed and perfect tendency.
Three years later (1970), Arata Isozaki designed the “Responsive House“, a house prototype sensitive to changes where the Japanese architect sees an opportunity to experience how much a house can be modified by the use of the inhabitants and the changing conditions of their environment (through a combination of robotic devices, coinciding with its fabulous automatons of Osaka Expo 70 and traditional screens as Shoji).
At present the astonishing development of the technologies to collect information such as sensors, phones, security cameras, credit cards … will allow the houses to interact with people. In the very near future when the Internet capacity allows us, will emerge the internet of things. All objects around us will have small position and identification devices, they even will capture data from their surroundings and directly rise to the network. A person is surrounded by between 1000 and 5000 objects, which could pick up a big amount of information about their behavior. Every time we are getting closer to be able to advance in the development of these projects conceived in the decades of 60’s and 70’s, and which established the foundations for the LEARNING HOME.
From the guests: how, when, where they have lunch, dinner and breakfast, go to the bathroom, shower, work, enjoy, laugh … From their environment: light, oxygen, energy, temperature, humidity, sunlight, … Learn and respond to this learning, a flexible housing, reconfigurable and capable of change. It can make decisions and modify itself. The design of the house no longer need to be left in hands of architects, the inhabitant will modify the controls and choose the ideal conditions every times. The architect will work on the design of controls, interfaces and data gathering. The architect will become a videogame designer.
“Inevitably, the assembly as drawn has to be a conglomeration of systems, organizations and technical apparatus that permit the choice of one response out of a number of alternatives; and exploit the different natures of (say) the physical limitation of a piece of hardware against the unlimited atmospheric power of an ephemeral medium…There is a natural fear in most of us that suspects the power of the machine and its takeover of human responsibility…The dependence upon such things for an emancipatory life is one of our paradoxes.” (1967 Control and Choice. Peter Cook. 1972. Archigram)