Reverberations: Architectural Practice through the Lens of Multiscale Dynamical Fractal Systems Theory

  • YEAR
    Kerr, Cliff
    Sarkar, Somwrita
    2017 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers


The postmodernist emphasis on context encourages us to pursue understandings of the
communities within which buildings exist as a central component of the discourse of architectural
practice. However, significant challenges to this approach exist, since the contexts in question subtend a
wide range of spatial and temporal scales, and are driven by self‐referential dynamical systems that are
centred on the psychologies of agents who perform complementary and overlapping roles as buildingdwellers
and community‐dwellers. This work addresses this epistemic gap by exploring the causal
relations between object and context through the introduction of the concept of building‐ascommunity.
Specifically, this entails a radical rejection of the dichotomy between buildings and
communities, arguing that together they form a complex system that can be explored from the
ontological perspectives of dynamical systems theory and fractal geometry; the spatiotemporal patterns
thus elucidated can helpfully inform aspects of architectural science. For example, the interactions
within (and without) a building can be understood as a microcosm of the interactions between the
building and its embedding community, suggesting a shift in emphasis towards a unified, congruous
framework for understanding both buildings and communities as interrelated phenomena operating on
non‐coextensive but nonetheless overlapping and intertwined spatiotemporal scales.


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