Chronicle | A human transcended for an interactive architecture?

In his book ' The Interactive City-Architecture and urbanism at the risk of digital and ecology ' *, Serge Wachter, professor of architecture, wonders about the impact of new techniques on architectural and urban thinking. He points out here some of the essentials of his speech on new approaches to city life. Article published in the architect's Mail (02-11-2011):

Jean Magerand and Claire Bailly: Can we talk today about an interactive city or a digital city? Serge Wachter: The smart city is fashionable and most municipalities are now engaged in digital policies. Thus, actions to use ICT as a means of management of urban services and as tools for dialogue with users and inhabitants are numerous and in full development. As such, ICT enables the management of environmental and urban infrastructure through the ' smart-grids ' which allow the regulation of energy consumption at the scale of sectors or neighbourhoods. There is also a rise in E. Administration and E. Democracy is a new way to improve urban governance, although the progress made in this area is still embryonic. Digital technologies are the basis of a large number of ' clean tech ' enabling cities to fight climate change and reduce their ecological footprint. Let's add that smart homes are already on the market whose components dialogue in real time and in situ or remotely with their residents for a better daily life comfort. At the same time, easy and obligates access to communication networks via the Internet, smart phones, social networks… is now an essential vector of socialization that leads to profound mutations in lifestyles. In short, digital networks are increasingly integrated into the urban world and they revolutionize the way of being together, governance and urban management. They are increasingly conditioning access to the city's services and resources. 02 (@dsearls) _ S. jpgDo these mutations have an impact on the urban form and on the architecture? Despite this profusion, we must admit that the rise of digital networks and the communication flows that they induce have very little affected, so far, the physical form of the city. Above all, the ubiquitous networks, connections and easy access to Internet sites, platforms and databases are more about the individual than the urban space. In other words, it is much more the individual than the city that becomes digital. The interactive or digital city remains invisible in the image of the waves broadcast by the antennas and satellites. In fact, the changes that are taking place in the materiality of the city are inversely proportional, if you can say, to those who affect the lifestyles and the new numerical condition of the social actors. In this respect, the reflections of Rem Koolhaas aim just when he declares that the metropolis "hyper-modern" is less marked by a transformation of the places than by an escalation of the material and virtual flows that connect these same places. In short, just as the growth of ICTs does not have the effect of curbing urban polarization and increasing mobility, it has not affected, until now, the physical form of the city and the typologies of buildings. What are the main changes that are currently taking place in the interactive city and those that will mark the most in future years? Ambi03 (@maxkatz) _ S. jpgent computing and the Web 2.0 have already accelerated the flight of information flows that circulate between individuals and the interactions between them and the various communicating objects that populate the urban environment. Thus, walls and other surfaces can potentially become screens and display information, images, colors that communicate and interact with those who pass in front of them. Places can be ' tagged ' numerically by those who visit them, leaving comments, annotations and impressions to the following visitors and passers-by. Already, the public space is ' covered ' by cyberspace; It enriches itself and splits with a digital layer. Such an all-out and widespread interactivity raises questions and issues about the status of the public space in the digital age and its roles and functions as an essential agent and supporter of urbanity. De facto, the physical and hospitable qualities of the public space can-and can even more in the future-be enhanced by a digital offer capable of raising even more its degree of urbanity. Lessons should be drawn from ' urban design ' to include this new interactive capacity of public space in development operations. This would make ICT a leading component of the ' urban design ' approaches. In fact, today we face unprecedented issues that invite us to explore new roles and functions of public space in the age of the information society. For this reason, a great challenge for the future will be to find the paths of a fruitful and desirable articulation between real urbanity and virtual urbanity. 04 (@JPHH) _ B. jpgand architecture? The impact of digital technologies on architecture covers various expressions and experiments ranging from ' The Spectacle architecture ' obeying the laws of urban marketing to formal research carried out through models Parametric, exploring unpublished geometric figures breaking with the ' standard ' rules of aesthetics and construction. In this respect, several expressions of digital architecture now seem to be carrying mutations for project approaches as well as for the moral and cultural role of architecture in the context of the information society. The first concerns the new set of sensitive interactions that can now be established between ' the biological individual ' and its ' built environment '. In fact, Homo numéricus can now equip itself or equip itself with assistants or digital prostheses allowing it to perceive and experiment new sensory relationships with the built reality. A human transcended is born, able to experience unprecedented relationships with his milieu. In other words, a new ' being augmented ', a ' digital body ' can come into contact with buildings. Similarly, they can incorporate sensors and other sensitive devices allowing unprecedented interactions with visitors or residents. This heralds the promise of a city and a sensual and responsive architecture. This idea of a fundamental and corporeal organic link between the individual and his ' built environment ' goes in the direction of what had previously been put forward in particular by critics of the hyper-rationalism of the modern movement. Next, the city and lifestyles are now increasingly organized on the basis of physical and virtual activities. A hybrid reality results in mixing material and digital data. The rise of virtual communications and the digital World promotes the creation of ' Digital Me Territories ' lending itself to individualized narratives. We build his-or his-micro-universe where I can split, fragment and fantasize. Metaphorically, such a burst marries the figure of an archipelago. In other words, the personality splits in the image of the Metropolitan territories made up of islands connected by flows. Mutatis mutandis, architecture undergoes the same fragmentation process. Buildings appear as deconstructed sets, clusters of modules connected by flows and beings that inhabit them. In this context, the building no longer occupies just a physical site. It is connected to a virtual network of features that the architect must take into account. 05 (NeoSpire). jpgSo far, a building was generally designed and qualified according to the functions it had to accommodate and shelter. How can we conceive of it now and what aspects will it take tomorrow when these functions or activities are dematerialized? How do you imagine building networked in a sharing of tasks and physical and virtual activities? In this context, the development of digital interactions, the dematerialization of certain functions and the networking of buildings may at least eliminate the possibility of distending or distorting the relationship of the building with its environment. Of course, sustainable architecture or ' bioclimatic ' stands out today as a forced figure of cyberarchitecture. The interactivity between a building and its ecosystem represents a multisecular foundation of architectural design, but it is now being considered in a new light thanks to the possibilities opened up by digital technologies. Thus, an increasing number of building projects integrate a series of components that are called to change, to evolve according to variations, events affecting their ecosystem. This property implies that the architecture is now a mutant organism that interacts with its environment. This interactive architecture, connected to its environment, opens up promising prospects. It announces the advent of an architecture that lends itself to adapting to the continuous transformations of its environment, a reactive architecture in relation to climate, light, pollution, in short an intelligent ' green architecture '. The expressions of the digital architecture that have been evoked are diverse but they converge towards a radical questioning of the project approaches centered around the concept of building conceived as a material object with aesthetic properties or stylistic. The building is no longer enough to characterize architecture, much less the urban context where it could be established. On the one hand, these approaches favour the staging of a series of situations and events, which take place in singular urban environments and which question the new meanings of the relationship between the individual and his environment. Now assimilated to a hybrid ecosystem mixing material reality and virtual data. On the other hand, architecture is not-or is no longer-a constructed and masterful form designed to mark its time and its environment, but a service which can be punctual and temporary, in a particular context, adapted to the uses and needs of Users. Such a tendency to dematerialization-and desecration-of architecture, as to its incorporation into a general offer of ecological and urban services, had already been approached by Reyner Banham in his pioneering work on Los Angeles and Those relating to the impact of technological change on architectural production * *. Interview by Jean Magerand and Claire Bailly * The interactive City-architecture and urbanism at the risk of digital and ecology, by Serge Wachter; Publisher: the L'Harmattan; 238 pages * * R. Banham, theory and design in the Industrial era, pp. 389-403, HXY 2009; Los Angeles, The architecture of four Ecologys, introduction by Anthony Vidler, University of California Press, 2000