Rem Koolhaas

Architect Rem Koolhaas has spoken out towards the way technology is infiltrating buildings, saying it is “totally astonishing” that people are willing to sacrifice their privacy for convenience and describing the rise of intelligent systems as “probably sinister”.

Speaking to Dezeen in Milan, the OMA founder claimed that digital technologies signify the most radical shift in architectural practice for in excess of a century – but that architects have grow to be too distracted by the advantages and overlooked the dangers.

“The way we architects look at the digital is simplistic, simply because we see the digital basically as a domain that enables us a better position and that eventually – in the type of 3D printing for instance – could provide us a return to unfettered creativity,” he said.

“But in the meantime, a great deal of organizations are really seeking at architecture as possible carrier of new technologies.”

The Dutch architect described the growing recognition of domestic techniques like the ones offered by Nest, which let residents to control products this kind of as thermostats and smoke alarms utilizing a smartphone, as “weird”.

“There is a potentially sinister dimension to, prior to you know it, being surrounded by a home total of sensors that can follow you on the moment of entry, to the second you set your bedroom temperature, to the second you set your most likely return to your house,” he stated.

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“It produces, in my feeling, unhealthy understanding of your individual behaviour preferences”.

Koolhaas explained he very first grew to become conscious of the part digital technologies were possessing on architecture when OMA was studying for the Factors exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014, where he was imaginative director.

The exhibition, which presented the historical past of architectural elements like the staircase and the window, featured many modern domestic devices that function by tracking and recording the movements of a building’s occupants.

These integrated Nest, as well as a heating system that makes use of movement sensors to concentrate beams of infrared radiation on individuals as they move via a creating.

Other intelligent-residence methods on the market contain a lock controlled with a smartphone app rather than a physical essential, and a wireless doorbell that makes it possible for consumers to examine who’s at their door remotely.

“By some means we are practically completely content to have no privacy anymore,” Koolhaas stated.

“Notably for somebody of my generation, it is absolutely astonishing that in the 1970s we marched for privacy, and here we are surrendering our privacy almost with eagerness.”

The interview took location at the recent opening of the OMA-designed Fondazione Prada complex, which occupies a renovated century-previous distillery in Largo Isarco, southern Milan.



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