Richard Difford
David Scott
Francois Girardin

In previous years DS23 explored the architecture of the factory: from the first mass-produced motor cars to the rise of automation and robots, we traced the way the rational order of the production line inspired a culture of functionalism and an aesthetic of the machine. This year we left the factory behind and turned our attention to the way industrial technologies have spread from the factories and the labs to change every aspect of people’s lives. Our focus has been on the contemporary world in which we now live; the rise of digital network technologies and the so-called “Internet of Things”…

Connected systems, we are told, “will ripple through education, government and business and fundamentally remap and rewire actions, behaviour and social norms. The technology will affect everything from the way people vote to the way we eat at restaurants and take vacations.” But tempting as it is to celebrate this brave new world, it is also necessary to consider the social and cultural implications of these technologies and look critically at the more sinister aspects of a networked environment. As Bruce Stirling points out, the corporations that promote the Internet of Things, “don’t have customers. Instead they have participants under machine surveillance…” All the more reason then, to take back control of these devices and to revisit the architectural potential of the machine; to attempt to discover how the information gathering sensors and embedded technologies of today will shape the architecture of tomorrow. In response to this provocation, a series of innovative programmes propose new forms of adaptive architecture. Considered both as technical detail, and at the scale of the urban or natural landscape, these schemes are not virtual worlds but material architecture through which digital technology and physical mechanisms interact.

"We'd like to thank ...

Guest Critics: Anthony Boulanger (DS16/ AY Architects), Jami Cresser-Brown (Bryden Wood), Gillian Lambert (DS21 / AOC Architects)

Ben Pollock (DS18/4D Island), Ben Ward (SOM), Andrew Yau (DS13/ AA)

Special thanks to the Fabrication Lab team for their unerring support."