WIT Press

Diversified Longevity - An Architecture Of Disengagement And Localized Production


Free (open access)

Paper DOI








556 kb


J. E. Fernandez


Diversified longevity - an architecture of disengagement and localized production J. E. Fernandez Building Technology Program, Dept. of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. Abstract The work presented here introduces and describes a new suite of concepts that regulate the designated longevity of contemporary buildings in ways that derive from the generation, metabolism and termination of life forms. The concepts of an architecture of disengagement and localized production are regulated by the Theory of Diversified Longevity for a fundamental reformulation of the designation of obsolescence for built form. Through this reconsideration of lifetimes, buildings may become more attune to, and therefore responsive of evolutionary forces that arise from user needs, economic flux, demographic changes and other contextual elements. The overall intent is to allow a greater flexibility in the accommodation of present needs while providing for anticipated and unanticipated future uses. The intent is achieved through a process that does not require the accurate prediction of any particular future scenario. The value of such a process resides in the fact that the building then possesses a range of lifetimes, and by consequence, a range of embedded attributes such as embodied energies, adaptive reuse possibilities, materials systems, rearrangement options, initial cost and durability. Each section of the building carries within itself a genome that specifies its longevity and determines its service life. The theory is applied to an ongoing design commission for which the research project team is involved. 1 Animated form Animate forms may be distinguished from inanimate structures by examining the broadest range of characteristics of the lifetime of the organism. From initial generation through end-of-life termination, the ability of the organism to metabolize and sustain its own processes, to seek out energy sources, and