Genetic Weapons

Filipe Afonso
Proceedings of Bridges 2011: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2011)
Pages 555–558


Architects, designers and artists have long dreamed of forms that behave like living organisms. From Frank Lloyd Wright's ``organic architecture'' to Archigram's ``Living City'' or Salvador Dali's visions of a soft and hairy architecture, they have imagined buildings designed to operate as natural entities. Design may be thus inspired by nature, evolving from a core of complex genetic mutations. What if buildings could be designed in the same way a cell develops into complex organisms from elemental forms? This suggests a direct comparison with the world of digital design, even the configuration of programming sequences, computational material or code able to generate and develop according to their own artificial computer ``species''. Genetic processes based on code are changing every aspect of design and construction, it being merely a matter of time before generative-self-assembly completely takes over. Real ``genetic weapons'' are now being used in the warfare of design. Evolution may reveal the way to a new conceptual design methodology taking as starting point computational processes, the expression of code oriented to geometry and form, producing in the end an antidote to preconceived architectures.