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Bachman, L R (2008) Architecture and the four encounters with complexity. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 4(01), 15–30.

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: complexity; design; history; systems; wicked; messy; ordered; natural; post-industrial; Gestalt
  • ISBN/ISSN: 1745-2007
  • URL: http://earthscan.publisher.ingentaconnect.com/content/earthscan/aedm/2008/00000004/00000001/art00003
  • Abstract:
    In the surge of scientific revelations concerning chaos, cybernetics and systems theory since the Second World War, architecture has been drawn into several encounters with dynamic complexity. Architects have often danced with this complexity, but there has never been a full embrace - the encounters only amounting to skirmishes between two radically different perspectives. Increasingly however, these two histories of design and science are convergent, drawn together by forces of post-industrial knowledge, society, globalization, economic interdependence and ecological sustenance. Through past literature, that convergence can be framed by four modes of architectural complexity - wicked, messy, ordered and natural - but the history of these encounters has seldom been couched in terms of their teleological and dynamic influences, nor have their separate operations been characterized or connected in a way that adds coherence. This paper addresses this missing history by making explicit distinctions between each of the four modes of architectural complexity, tracing their early proponents and characterizing their operations.