Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

The Responsive Environment

Design, Aesthetics, and the Human in the 1970s

2019
Author:

Larry D. Busbea

The Responsive Environment

How new conceptions of human–environment interaction became central to design theories and practices in the 1970s

In The Responsive Environment, Larry D. Busbea takes up the concept of environment as an object and method of design at the height of its aesthetic, technical, and discursive elaboration. Exploring emerging paradigms of environmental perception, patterning, and control, he shows how living space itself was reimagined as a domain capable of modification through input from its newly sensitized inhabitants.

At the end of the 1960s, new models of responsiveness between humans and their environments had a profound impact on theories and practices in architecture, design, art, technology, media, and the sciences. The resulting initiatives—design philosophies, art installations, architectural projects, exhibitions, publications, and symposia—sought to bring together insights from biology, systems theory, psychology, and anthropology with modernist legacies of total design.

In The Responsive Environment, Larry D. Busbea takes up this concept of environment as an object and method of design at the height of its aesthetic, technical, and discursive elaboration. Exploring emerging paradigms of environmental perception, patterning, and control as developed by Gregory Bateson, Edward T. Hall, Wolf Hilbertz, György Kepes, Marshall McLuhan, Nicholas Negroponte, Paolo Soleri, and others, he shows how living space itself was reimagined as a domain capable of modification through input from its newly sensitized inhabitants.

The Responsive Environment intercuts the development of new ideas about environmental awareness with case studies of specific architecture and design projects for responsive environments. Throughout, Busbea connects these theories and practices to the contemporary obsession with “smart” things: responsive technologies, intelligent environments, biomimetic materials, and digital atmospherics.

The Responsive Environment

Larry D. Busbea is associate professor of art history at the University of Arizona. He is author of Topologies: The Urban Utopia in France, 1960–1970.

The Responsive Environment

Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. Invisible Environments

2. Pattern Watchers

3. Responsive Environments

4. Soft Control Material

5. Cybertecture

6. Arcoconsciousness

Conclusion

Notes

Index