Indeterminate Architecture: Scissor-Pair Transformable Structures


  • Daniel Rosenberg



Most traditional approaches to architectural design assume that the analysis of present situations and the prediction of future ones will offer unique answers that would ultimately define correct and unique architectural solutions. However, this approach is based on two questionable believes: First, that present situations are representative of a reality to be produced in the future, and, second, that these situations are fixed and invariable throughout time.

The vision here is that an alternative approach is needed: a method that assumes and uses the uncertainties about present and future situations through the design of indeterminate solutions. Instead of analysing present and predicting future situations, designers should envision transformable environments able to offer a range of alternatives to be defined and redefined by the users in real-time – an indeterminate architecture, sympathetic to uncertainty, incompleteness and emergent situations that can neither be analysed nor predicted beforehand.

This paper addresses the design of an indeterminate architecture, through proposing two main directions: Designing the Range and Enabling the Choice. While the former refers to transformable solutions able to offer a variety of states, the later refers to the selection of states by the user, within that range according to chance and emergent situations.

The structure of this paper is organised around these two ideas by presenting an architectural background, some technical methods, and an empirical experiment. While the theoretical background investigates the original ideas and project about indeterminacy within an architectural framework, the technical methods analyse the range of states within the transformation of scissor-pair transformable structures, and study the real-time control and interaction within artificial intelligence (AI) robotic solutions. The empirical experiment uses the architectural background and the technical methods to materialise and radicalise indeterminacy by proposing a novel scissor-pair transformable solution. 

Author Biography

Daniel Rosenberg

Daniel Rosenberg studied at the Catholic University of Chile, receiving his professional degree in Architecture in 2003 and a Master in Architecture degree in 2005. From 2004 to 2007, he worked as a professional in his own architectural office - called W.A.R. - and as professor of architecture at the Catholic University of Chile. In 2007, he moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he completed a Master of Science in Architectural Studies (SMArchS) degree in the Design and Computation program. He is continuing his studies in this program as a PhD student.