I attended a workshop bringing together architects and coders to discuss the Internet of Things put on by Archis/Volume. It was an interesting event and it was fun to have a chance to share and reflect upon my experiences at EQUAL.
However, the biggest thing I took away from the workshop is that architecture is going to be disrupted like hell, if you pardon my French. Not all of the change is happening due to the Internet per se, though the cultural changes involved are definitely pushed by it. Put simply, people expect costs to go towards zero for digital content which can be perfectly duplicated for free and that will include architectural designs. Likewise people used to creating and modifying digital content to their heart’s content will more and more expect the same freedom and ability in the physical world. While some at the workshop saw this as incredibly novel thing, I pointed out that this trend has already been going on for some time with container and other prefab architecture and also with lofts, one of whose main attractions is that they are big open spaces that can be easily reconfigured. (This is one reason why the internet is not the only driver of this change.)
Naturally there was a fair amount of fear and loathing and, sorry, elitist anger at the loss of architects’ exclusive authorship for buildings but generally the attitude seemed to be cautiously open to the future. The challenge for us already living in this future, then, is to help architecture as a art – rather than as an industry, just like we must distinguish between journalism and newspapers – to get there.