how buildings learn

Buildings learn through adaptation*. To the extent that our homes, workplaces, and institutions are energy intensive, uninspiring, and univiting, they are reflecting the deep values and assumptions imbedded within our culture.  At this level, a building can be read for information about where we've been, and who we are today. But buildings are more than just cultural artifacts: they can also be expressions of our emerging values, hopes and aspirations. As we learn to read them, and to undertand their creation stories, we learn about ourselves. As we learn to adapt them, and as they adapt to us, we discover the deep structure of change, and how to integrate it into both the visible, and the intangible aspects of our lives. In this way, buildings not only learn: they teach.



*For a superb, in-depth exploration of how we shape, and are shaped by our buildings, check out How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand (Viking Press).