Evolutionary design and the economy of discourse | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1477-965X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9533


Combining genetic algorithms that produce complex, fluid, biomorphic shapes with probabilistic systems that incorporate randomness, the designers attempt to mimic adaptive systems in natural evolution in order to arrive at intelligent design solutions. The design processes are said to be interactive and sensitive to varying conditions, behaving like an exceptionally perceptive and adaptive organism during an evolutionary process (Somol 2004: 8687); this process can be compared to the recent attempt by the architectural avant-garde to move beyond the semiotic interests of deconstructionism and tap into the authority of the natural sciences. In some sense, an analogy can be drawn to natural evolution. In the natural world, adaptation and change result from an iterative progress, from one generation to the next, driven by mutation, recombination, and the survival of the fittest in the sense of selection. Following the model of nature in architecture, as proposed by some proponents of parametricism, should not be expected to make buildings more precisely adapted to particular circumstances and optimally functional. Evolutionary theory is used in contemporary architecture as a form of legitimization. It can also cast light on ethical issues, not reducing the human mind's creative intelligence to some sort of genetic determinism, developing in the free market of social choice. Therefore, searching for better ways of managing resources should be at the core of an adaptive concept of architecture.


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