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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Transcendent City / Richard Hardy

As everyone who's a regular visitor to this blog knows, my love for everything comic books/sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction/geeky stuffs has no bounds. That is why with glee I share this post. A prove that architecture can also be a interesting sci-fi subject, particularly from the utopian/dystopian future angle.


The Transcendent City / Richard Hardy:
A recent graduate from London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, Richard Hardy has produced a fascinating animation for Nic Clear’s Unit 15 that pushes futuristic architecture to a new level. Using David Foster Wallace’s ‘Infinite Jest’, a novel that questions certain aspects of Americans’ obsessive behavior – in terms of the intense fascination with entertainment, materialism, technology etc – the studio challenged students to analyze the implications of society’s “obsessive/addictive behavior…to develop tactics to cope with the difficulties of creating an architecture in uncertain times.”
More about the project after the break.

View toward Wind Generators © Richard Hardy


Hardy’s approach responds with a futuristic new world, filled with machines that have surpassed human intelligence. These machines have created a new sustainable city that effectively responds to its environment by obtaining energy from site specific renewable resources.

View toward Nerve Center © Richard Hardy
“The Transcendent City is an autonomous artificial machine that extends across the earth adapting to the natural eco-systems it encounters… The system’s desire is to maintain homeostasis within itself whilst maintaining homeostasis within the greater system, Gaia,” Hardy explained.

Monitoring Device © Richard Hardy
The video comments on our obsession with pushing the limits of technology, yet makes us step back to see how our artificial creations could potentially cooperate with the natural and function as a complimentary system.

Monitoring Device © Richard Hardy
“The project questions whether the conception of artificial intelligence has been a necessity in human evolution and if we therefore should embrace emergent technologies to engage with problems of sustainability and the city,” added Hardy.
What do you think of Hardy’s video?

Jungle of Monitoring Devices © Richard Hardy

Axonometric View © Richard Hardy
Video info: THE TRANSCENDENT CITY from Richard Hardy on Vimeo.
As seen on bldgblog.


Wow, an animated video about an artificial intelligence network that coexists with its ecosystem. It's a welcome break from the presupposition that AI overlords would scorch the Earth, don't you think?
In this film, machines are able to do what us meatbags can't — achieve perfect equilibrium with the environment.
Says Hardy about this project in another website :
The concept of a future sustainable city is developed for a society that is currently not responding effectively to environmental dangers. "Transcendence" in this case referring to a point when artificial intelligence has reached or surpassed that of the human.
The Transcendent City is an autonomous artificial machine that extends across the earth adapting to the natural eco-systems it encounters while deriving its energy from the renewable resources available at each particular site. The systems desire is to maintain homeostasis within itself whilst maintaining homeostasis within the greater system, Gaia. Its processes are engineered on the molecular scale by nano technologies controlled by molecular computers that monitor and analyse the environment.
If that's not a perfect pitch for a new groundbreaking James Cameron movie.... 



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