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Structural Feeling: It's Not Alice, but Wonderland
1  DIA (Dessau Intern. Architecture Graduate School), Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, HumboldtUniversity zu Berlin, Tactile Architecture


“We have started handling the new scripts, but we are still very far away from thinking the protocols, from defining the definitions for the tools needed.” (Werner, 2014)

The desire to understand our technophile novel information society, as response to the responsibility of the sciences of information, requires a encoding of its components, and relationships between them. The mere understanding of an environment as a set of physical boundaries belongs to the past, and is increasingly replaced by structures of communication. The physical codes of architecture are being extended by digital means of information exchange, leading to a transformation not merely of the city itself, but also of the city’s behavior; in the age of cognitization a phenomenon that offers unknown fields of operation. The smart city is dead, the cyborgian city as a biological conscious organism is rising. However, when investigating into the subject we first and foremost are required to look into basic strategies of how biology computes in order to understand the main principles of action, reaction, interaction, input, mutation and conversation.

For architects and urban designers think, work and handle decision-making processes differently to computer scientists or biologists, the current approach of the smart paired with biological form bears the risk of remaining in a formalist stylistic betrayal rather than comprehending concepts of behavior, process and homeostat as the architecture itself.

The talk discusses if and how we as an ecology for and of design can design the right differences for decision-making.

Do we need to at all?

Or is a natural design strategy given?

Since “the organism and its environment are to be treated as a single system, the dividing line between ‘organism’ and ‘environment’ becomes partly conceptual […]. Anatomically and physically, of course, there is a unique and obvious distinction between the two parts of the system; but if we view the system functionally, […], the division of the system, into ‘organism’ and ‘environment’ becomes vague.”
Design for a Brain, Ross Ashby, 1954


  1. Ashby, Ross W.; Design for a Brain, Publisher: Wiley New York, USA, 1954;
  2. Werner, Liss C.; Clarifying the Matter – It’s a stage change not a paradigm shift. In Biodigital Architecture and Genetics II, Editor, Alberto T. Estévez; Publisher: ESARQ Barcelona, Spain, 2014; p. 218.
Keywords: city, cognitive, digital, design strategy, design, society, tools, urban