Evolutionary technology and its' influence on the structural integrity of architectural design : a proposed science research centre for Durban.
The evolution of technology has influenced the lives of man through the discoveries made and infrastructure created. It has allowed man to build shelter and survive. These strategies have been adapted by man and have informed him of future possibilities. In an evolving world, were every aspect of life can be adapted, man’s comprehension of daily life changes to fit in with these adaptations. How then has this ever changing status been understood and recorded and for what purpose? The industrial revolution proves to be the milestone of technology’s biggest step forward by increased supply and manufacturing processes. It also injected the world with the potential for mass production in aiding rebuilding after the destruction of the World Wars. The focus was directed to solutions for recovering from the losses due to wars. This may appear to benefit man but the sensitivity and connection from society was lost when mechanization came to the forefront. All sense of self was removed from design. This technological impact is evident in the evolution of architectural design. A separation between design and technology has occurred, where the urgency for instant results meant the shift of importance from holistic design to repetitive production. Man’s curiosity and intelligence has been the strength behind technology, thereby allowing it to evolve. This evolution impacts man, and conversely man impacts technology. In a world created by man, for man, man is the main instigator. This creation is evident throughout the world in the makings of man, one aspect of which is architectural design. The focus of this dissertation is on structural technology and its influence on design, specifically exploring the basis of structure as an ever changing system and how this impact on man’s perception as well as the effect structural technology has on architectural design. Architecture describes realms of change; it is influenced by its context, its people and the time of its existence. Through the background and literature review these changes can be seen as well as the influence that materials have had on mans perception. With this in mind this document explores the realms within which technology has influenced design and impacted on man. Theories and concepts are used as the tools for explaining the relationships and components of technology in the lives of man and architecture. Actor-Network theory summarizes structural technology as a network where man and technology co-exist. Here the acknowledgment of singular aspects is required to create a whole system. Conviviality is a theory derived by Ivan Illich which further reiterates what kind of tools technology has formed. It is used to uncover the flexibility of evolutionary technology, the possibilities of structure and the means in which technology has been limiting. This connection draws from the actor network theory being interpreted as a network that strives to become the tools of conviviality with flexible use and adaptive functions. Finally the concept of Bio mimicry is derived from the theory of Post Modern Ecology introducing the sustainable approach to futuristic design with regard to structure. Biomimicry is a concept that shows how advances in structural technology can incorporate design in its language, can learn from the complexities of nature and bring the sensitivity that man craves to relate to architecture. By using these concepts and theories, the literature review outlines the issues of self and human need. It will further explore the contextual response and materiality of built design as this forms part of the language of architecture. This establishes an understanding of what makes structural technology in architecture a mechanized system and how this impacts on the lives of man. It is found that sensitivity in architecture is lost when the ability of technology overwhelms design or conversely, when it is completely lost in a blanket of facades. This is comprehended through precedent and case studies using the theories and key elements from the literature review against them in order to understand how existing architecture has incorporated these aspects or failed to do so. The intention of the document is to explore how design is a reflection of technology and how they may co-exist with deference and relevance.
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