Architecture and Adaptation details the sense of awakening and buoyancy that characterized the 1900s utopian architecture experiments and the shift in the following decades to doomsday scenarios of environmental pollution and cataclysms, which foregrounded visions of life inside secluded reservations of pneumatic structures, PVC capsules, wearables, and prosthetic devices aimed at altering the perception of space. In the opening chapter, Yiannoudes provides an extensive overview of the literature in relation to cybernetics, cyber culture, and post-cognitivist theories as well as the work of avant-garde experimental architectural practices such as Archigram. Reflecting on the changing nature of human-computer interaction, Yiannoudes’s work oscillates between the futuristic and fantastical imaginations of AI and artificial life, moving from descriptions of hypothetical yet influential projects, such as Cedric Price’s Fun Palace, to examples of actual applications of domestic intelligence. The book highlights concerns about the impact of AI on the patterns of domestic life as well as the potential for spatial and functional transformation in domestic space.
In this book, Yiannoudes poses questions about the nature of architecture within modernist theory, kinetic architecture, and practice, and challenges the traditional mechanistic model of “hard” technology implementation. By promoting the dissolution of the artifact and the base concept of an object, in chapter 2 Yiannoudes positions architecture as a landscape of complex and indeterminate systems. Describing architecture as an animate machine situated at the margin between the living and nonliving from both a theoretical and philosophical point of view, Yiannoudes explores the notion of architecture as an adaptive machine that can sense, respond to, and learn from stimulus and provides the end user with the ability to control and modify elements through tangible computing devices and interfaces that provide a “friendly” relationship between the system and users. While in places chapter 2 may drift from the concept of domestic-user–driven design, such as through the inclusion of a discussion on flight assembled architecture, Yiannoudes provides keen insight into embodied cognition, artificial life, and swarm intelligence. Through an exploration of end-user–driven systems, the author creatively explores the role of subsumption architecture—a control architecture that links action selection with sensory information and enables the functionality of such “decentralized” systems to “emerge from simple environmental interactions.” Yiannoudes points out that through the development and adoption of subsumption architecture, “sensory-motor activity, analysis, and evaluation of successful interactions would make the system learn and gain experience in order to optimize its prioritized tasks, such as energy efficiency and adaptive structural stability” (61).