Oct 30th 2015

Sean Keller in MIT Technology Review

Sean Keller's article on self-assembling granular material published in the online journal arXiv.org was featured in MIT Technology Review.

In the article, written with Heinrich Jaeger, a physicist at the University of Chicago, Keller explores the idea of “aleatory architecture”. The article will appear in early 2016 as the lead essay for a special issue of the journal Granular Matter (Springer).

Keller and Jaeger write, "Aleatory architecture explores concepts at the intersection of granular materials research and architecture/structural engineering. We coined the term to imply a new approach that explicitly includes stochastic (re-)configuration of individual structural elements — that is to say “chance.” Aleatory architecture disrupts the traditional assumptions about the authority of the architect as planner as well as the typical hierarchy of the design process. Aleatory architecture suggests that building materials and components can have their own agency — that they can be “designed” to adapt and to find their own responses to structural or spatial contexts. In this way the very meaning of “design” is brought forward for reconsideration (though not abandonment): Can there be design by disorder? What are the possibilities of material agency? Can we develop a vocabulary of concepts to interpret various orderings of chance?"