Responsive Architecture and the Problem of Obsolescence

Mark Meagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Responsive architecture, a design field that has arisen in recent decades at the intersection of architecture and computer science, invokes a material response to digital information and implies the capacity of the building to respond dynamically to changing stimuli. The question I will address in the paper is whether it is possible for the responsive components of architecture to become a poetically expressive part of the building, and if so why this result has so rarely been achieved in contemporary and recent built work. The history of attitudes to- ward obsolescence in buildings is investigated as one explanation for the rarity of examples like the one considered here that successfully overcomes the rapid obsolescence of responsive components and makes these elements an integral part of the work of architecture. In conclusion I identify strategies for the design of responsive components as poetically expressive elements of architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-104
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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