This paper critically analyses the unsustainable industrial pattern pervasive in modern architecture. From an environmental perspective, the aesthetic features of modern architecture range from environmentally de-contextual to environmentally irresponsible. In response to the imperatives of sustainable design in the built environment, the author explores a new paradigm via a model of open systems evolution, which is offered as a new paradigm for sustainable architecture. It reflects the worldview of post-modernism whereby the creativity and complexity of the universe is self-organised achieving the emergence of order out of chaos. Underpinned by evolutionary thermodynamics and complex systems science, a model of open systems evolution consists of mechanisms such as open systems adapting to a host environment via natural gradients to optimize resource distribution and minimize entropy production in the host environment. Following this model, the author proposes a conceptual framework for sustainable architecture that describes the ecological interactions of buildings with their natural environment in open thermodynamic terms, with active involvement of end-users in micro-climate control. These multiple communications between buildings, nature and end-users obey the laws of open systems evolution, in order to optimize the environmental performance of buildings while meeting the functional needs of end users, resulting in a sustainable symbiosis of architecture and nature.
ecological architecture, evolution, the industrial pattern, intelligent design, open systems model, order, the post-industrial pattern, self-organisation, sustainable design
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