zero-degree machine

[2023] Book | Utopia Computer. The “New” in Architecture?

Utopia Computer. The “New” in Architecture?
Editor: Nathalie Bredella, Chris Dähne, Frederike Lausch

The critical concern of the book “Utopia Computer” is the euphoria, expectation and hope inspired by the introduction of computers within architecture in the early digital age. With the advent of the personal computer and the launch of the Internet in the 1990s, utopian ideals found in architectural discourse from the 1960s were revisited and adjusted to the specific characteristics of digital media. Taking the 1990s discourse on computation as a starting point, the contributions of this book grapple with the utopian promises associated with topics such as participation, self-organization, and non-standard architecture. By placing these topics in a historical framework, the book offers perspectives for the future role computation might play within architecture and society.

“All that Is Solid Melts into the Cloud”
"The publication closes with Donal Lally’s “All that Is Solid Melts into the Cloud.” With the help of a “theory-fiction,” he reminds us that the Cloud—the data storage system floating in the sky—is a “techno-utopian fantasy,” an illusion that makes you forget the massive energy consumption, use of rare earth minerals and land consumption data centres require. Lally reveals the material side and the dirtiness of digitalisation. In this respect, the computer is not nowhere. It is right here, it is material, it has material effects— which brings us back to Frichot’s insistence on materialism."