Material Information

Emergence design translation for the 21st century
Kaup, Steven T
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
xii, 85 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Biotic communities ( lcsh )
Construction industry ( lcsh )
Emergence (Philosophy) ( lcsh )
Human ecology ( lcsh )
Biotic communities ( fast )
Construction industry ( fast )
Emergence (Philosophy) ( fast )
Human ecology ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 82-85).
General Note:
College of Architecture and Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
by Steven T. Kaup.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
75183273 ( OCLC )
LD1193.A72 2006m K38 ( lcc )

Full Text
Steven T Kaup
B.A., Colorado State University, 1995
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver/Health Sciences Center
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
M.A. University of Colorado at Denver
College of Architecture and Planning

This thesis for the Masters of Architecture (M.Arch.)
degree by
Steven T Kaup
has been approved
Ekaterini Vlahos

Kaup, Steven T. (Masters of Architecture, Department of Architecture and Planning,
University of Colorado at Denver)
Thesis directed by (Kat Vlahos, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture and
Planning, University of Colorado at Denver)
Critical socio-cultural conditions can be likened to agents inspiring response and
change in natural ecosystems and the science of Emergence. Agents inspire change
that, like in nature, is directed toward growth for the entire system. The contemporary
building industry is an important indicator and respondent to the agents; climate
change, natural resource depletion and population expansion. Natural ecosystems
have ancient, adaptable properties that are highly complex systems continually
responding to their environments. Emergence is a systems science utilized by many
disciplines for interpreting hard-to-define concepts of creation. Emergence may
be utilized to translate ecosystem properties into energy proficient, life promoting
built environments. A means to visually and intellectually experience the potential
structure of investigating an aesthetic expression of nature through Emergence
is a virtual architecture. This can be explored at Seeds
visually expressing the conceptual properties of natural ecosystems can be
developed by referencing precedents from nature and technology. Seeds may be
layered with influential elements to expand an integrative aesthetic expression of
natural properties to the built environment. The properties identified in this work
are; feedback, distributed nutrient generation/deliver, self organization, swarm,
modularity and distributed energy generation/delivery. Three critical properties are
discovered when translating the listed properties; power, convergence, and sublimity.
The aesthetic expression of these three concepts result in important compositional
events; holistic awareness of energy application to built environment, awareness
of converging consciousness and technology, and adjacency potentials informing
users of their holistic relationship to a grand ecosystem. These concepts can be
visually explored at large-scale, contaminated urban locations such as the Gates
Rubber Plant, East Campus in Denver, Colorado.

This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
(Ekaterini Vlahos)

This project would not have been possible without the enduring, persistent love and
support of my wife, Christy. This work, and the wonderful projects resulting from
your support are a garden for you.
Kat Vlahos has been a clear beacon through the intense storms of creativity. Thank
you for believing in me.
The seeds of inspiration for understanding built environments through our most
intimate element of life; nature, comes from my dear friends Todd Stewart and
Timothy Moore. One day our largest markets may indeed be measured by the frog
index. Life is indeed good.
Last, my deepest appreciation goes to Nina Palmer. You elegantly navigated through
some of the foggiest directions ever given to a designer. May our collaborations
happen again soon.

1. SECTION I: AGENTS OF CHANGE.................1
AGENTS IN ECOLOGY..........................2
AGENTS IN EMERGENCE........................2
SECTION SUMMARY............................8

TERMS OF EMERGENCE.......................34
SECTION SUMMARY..........................43

SECTION I APPLIED.........................62
SUBLIMITY APPLIED.........................68
FOR THE 21st CENTURY......................79
FURTHER STUDIES...........................80

Figure 1) Red-toed tree frog;
Figure 2) Odell, Agents in Emergence diagram;
Figure 3) Global warming image;
Figure 4) Global warming graph;
Figure 5) Fossil fuel use illustration;
Figure 6) Fossil fuel resource capacity graph;
Figure 7) Cars and China;
Figure 8) Population expansion graph;
Figure 9) Thinkers; author...........................................................6
Figure 10) Seed Image Menu'; author, 2006..............................................8
Figure 11) Thesis Flow Diagram 1; author, 2006........................................9
Figure 12) Ecology diagram;
Figure 13) Biocoenosis diagram; Odum, Energy and Man...................................12
Figure 14) Feedback illustration; author, 2005.........................................13
Figure 15) Feedback seed development process; author, 2006.............................14
Figure 16) Illustration offeedback arriving at nodal conclusions; author...........14
Figure 17) Motherboard diagram;
Figure 18) Distributed nutrient generation /delivery identification diagram; author....16
Figure 19) Summary Composition 1, Ecosystem Investigation 1; author, 2005..............22
Figure 20) Summary Composition 2, Ecosystem Investigation 2; author, 2005..............23
Figure 21) Summary Composition 3, Ecosystem Investigation 3; author, 2005..............24
Figure 22) Public access, Genes To Life Program;
Figure 23) Emergent Architecture examples, Wicome;
Figure 24) Leaf vascular system precedent images; Swamy and Krishnamurhty, 1981........37
Figure 25) Self organization seed development; author, 2006............................37
Figure 25.1) Summary Composition 4, Emergence Translation 1; author, 2005...............38
Figure 26) Summary Composition 5, Emergence Translation 2; author, 2005................39
Figure 27) Swarm precedent image;
Figure 28) Swarm seed graphic translation; author, 2006..............................41
Figure 29) Summary Composition 6, Emergence Translation Investigation 2; author, 2005..42
Figure 30) Illustration of hydrogen village;
Figure 31) Golden Mean graphic;

Figure 32) Newtons Cenotaph, The Architecture of Death, 1984........................48
Figure 33) Solar Sculpture, Conger, 2002...........................................50
Figure 34) Neural networks and computer network systems;
Figure 35) ENSAR Charrette;
Figure 36) Cell, bird bones, feather module precedents;
Figure 37) Aurodyn geometric precedent images;
Figure 38) Modularity seed graphic development; M.C.Drew'............................55
Figure 39) Modularity translating with STO; author, 2006............................55
Figure 40) Natural ecosystems precedent for DEG;
Figure 41) 2003 Energy blackout graph; Lovins, RMI, 2003............................57
Figure 42) DEG translation development; author, 2006................................58
Figure 43) Summary Composition 7, Technology translation; author, 2006..............59
Figure 44) Summary menu of seed images; author, 2006...............................62
Figure 45) Seed imagesfeedback and DNG; author, 2006..........................63
Figure 46) Seed imagesself organization and swarm; author, 2006...............64
Figure 47) Seed imagesmodularity and DEG; author, 2006.......................64
Figure 48) Flow diagram of thesis summary; author, 2006.............................65
Figure 49) Gates site; wvvw.
Figure 50) River clean-up;
Figure 51) Inventory graphics of Gates site; author, 2006...........................69
Figure 52) Summary Composition 8; author, 2006.......................................71
Figure 53) Leaf vascular system translation to solar canopy systems; author 2006.....74
Figure 54) Summary Composition 9; author, 2006......................................76
Figure 55) Sublimtiy, Power and Convergence summary graphic; author, 2006............78

Problems can never be solved at the same level of awareness
that created them.
Albert Einstein
This work is an intellectual mapping of the process of actualizing me as an agent that
generates motion to something unexpected, life supportive and holistically fulfilling.
Inspired into action by passion driven by both positive technological developments
and the contradictory elements of our contemporary world, this is an investigation of
built environments that reference the mechanisms of ecosystems through the science of
Emergence. Emergence is defined as the spontaneous collaboration of non-linear events
or entities.
My education in architecture and the liberal arts has prepared me to critique socio-
cultural issues, technological advances, and economies occurring in our fast changing
world. Inspired inquiries range from, Why is my country in an uninitiated foreign
war?; Why is our planet warming at an accelerated rate?, or Why is my once
protected, local open space being aggressively developed for natural gas?. In addition,
my training opens my curiosity to such questions as, How does the advance of computer
technology assist in design and implementation of life promoting built environments?,
or What do clients of the future expect from their high-tech buildings? This thesis
is a personal, broad view architectural response to the contradictory and inspirational
evolutions occurring in our contemporary world.
What comes with the charge to question is the realization that I am a node in a large
web of opportunities and events. Seen from Natures perspective, I understand that
I am a singular member of the largest of ecosystems where, for example, a shift in
my behavior (e.g. damaging wetlands) can affect the reproductive cycle of a myriad
of nesting bird species. Empowered with this insight, and being a component of this
massive ecosystem provides me with the potential-filled opportunity to be a component

A primary attraction to the science of Emergence is the concept that singular entities
generate outcomes of complex and unpredictable entities through spontaneous
and atavistic inspirations. This is an excellent intellectual interpretation of how
historically meaningful architecture may develop. Be it references to natural forms
for the architectural works of Alvar Aalto, for instance, the sensual spontaneity of
Hundertwasser, or the intensely convergent work of Koolhaus, a comprehension of an
underlying language of creation is suggested. Specifically, through Emergence, this
thesis asks if a translation of underlying issues may become inspirations for artful and
passion-filled built environments.
Today there are a number of socio-economic issues such as natural resource depletion
in the shadow of industrial economies, world population duress, and global climate
change that demand the attention of global leaders and communities. Fortunately, there
are solutions emerging in our contemporary ecosystem thanks to convergences in
technology and the opening of economic opportunities for visionaries at every level.
This thesis will focus on the role of architectural designers and inspire such a profession
to participate in an evolving and immensely rich format for architecture that includes
meaningful, positive, and artful design intention in concert with contemporary world
events. As such this work is requesting and motivating the profession of architecture to
accept a much needed leadership role which can serve to guide our communities into
the future.
READERS NOTE: This research project is an exploration ofEmergence
principals applied to a virtual architecture. The structure of this project is
non-linear, self-referencing and convergent. Although non-conventional,
this structure is intentional as it strikes an underline to the intellectual
thrust of this work. An attempt is made to request the reader to accept
non-conventional information per the subject of architecture (though
common in pure sciences) and apply that information in contemporary>
non-conventional ways. Graphic descriptors and representations are
developed throughout the work, which stem from the writer s personal
inspiration; a passionate, intimate consciousness drawing from a work
experience in industrial science, carpentry, architecture, and the arts.
This work has no other way to begin than with the grounding words of Kierkegaard:
'To dare is to lose ones footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose

The hypothesis of this research investigation is stated as; Translating natural ecosystem
properties through the science of Emergence may provide aesthetic inspiration for
life-promoting, energy proficient built environments.
The contemporary science, Emergence, is a systems science that is utilized to interpret
concepts that are used to understand events in natural ecosystems. These important
yet seemingly vague terms are interpreted and mapped to form complex concepts
that address the focus of this thesis; can Emergent properties of natural ecosystems
influence the design and implementation of built environments appropriate for the
21s' Century?
The process for investigating this hypothesis will introduce the concept of agents.
Three critical agents will be highlighted: natural resource depletion, population duress,
and climate change. Such contemporary world issues will serve as entities and a purpose
for inspiring the use of Emergence and integrating natural ecosystems into action. The
reader will then be guided into exploring the aesthetic influences that exist within the
elements of natural ecosystems and begin to understand the theorem and process of
Emergence. It is hoped that the reader will be able to assimilate his or her experiences
with the built environment and be inspired through discovery of emerging technology
that responds to the critical agents.
In the conclusion, the reader will be introduced to a hypothetical design project;
revitalizing the former site of the Gates Rubber Plant in Denver, Colorado. The
processes proposed for revitalization will be through the means established in the
following thesis sections.

If this century is to be known for peace, prosperity, beauty,
and the restoration of our world, kinship with nature
must become one of the foundations of our cultural life.
And architecture, with its profound ability to create new
relationships to place, is uniquely positioned to lead such a
renaissance. *
William McDonough; Bis and Green

In the following discussion, a number of events and issues pertinent to our contemporary
world are presented. Immediately taking concepts from both natural ecosystems and
the science of Emergence, these events are considered agents of change. As in nature,
these events are both positive and negative. This investigation adopts the moniker of
agents for events and conditions of our contemporary world because it has a presence
in both Emergence and ecology.
Agents in Ecology:
Our first connection of how ecosystem concepts may positively influence built
environments, we look to ethno-biology and the use ofagents for modeling ecosystem
research. In the word of ethno-biologist, Louis J. Gross, from the departments of
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, [agent based modeling] is a methodology to track
the actions of multiple agents which are defined to be objects with some type of
autonomous behavior. Like this research which is attempting to utilize large-scale
socio-cultural issues as its agents for action, in ecological research, Gross has a host
of agents for change. Examples range from animals and plants, single cars or airplanes,
letters or packages, etc.1
Due to living In freshwa-
ter, amphibians have been
found to be primary bio-in-
dicators alerting scientists
of initial changes to local
and global environments.
sea rch/ b iolndi cato rs_f rogs.
Agents in Emergence:
Agents acting in the science of Emergence have striking similarity to those acting
in natural ecosystems. This first correlation is introduced to prepare the set-up that
natural ecosystems can be translated through the science of emergence. To gain an
understanding of one of the primary elements of Emergence science, we turn to the
author, James Odell. 1
1 Gross, Agent-based Modeling in Ethnobiology: A Brief Introduction from Outside.

In his 2004 paper, Agents and Emergence, Odell states how most Emergence scientists
understand agents; Agents work as non-interactive individuals or as a collective. When
agents work as individuals with little or no interaction, you get just that: agents simply
doing what they are asked to do. When they work as collectivessuch as ants in an
ant colony, or individual trades on a stock market interactionsomething new and
different can result.2 This last statement by Odell summarizes the thrust of this work; to
make something new and different, but from eventsagentsand conditions existing in
our world. However, as this work is intended for the built environment, the something
new intended is built environments that are highly connected and interactive. The
anticipated result is space that promotes life and the success for attentive life forces. A
companion graphic for Odells research into agents of Emergence is presented below.
In its simplest form, one can see that agents generate, through random interactions, a
resulting cohesive whole.
Flow diagrams representing
the mystic movements of ele-
ments in the process of cre-
ation are a primary quality of
Emergence research. Applica-
tions of this diagramming pro-
cess seed the initial attempts
for interpreting natural ecosys-
tems through Emergence.
Agents of Change for the Built Environment.
To understand what responsibilities building industry professionals must recognize, a
short sampling of the most critical issues must be identified. Be it by human-formed
impact or by the long-range, ever-changing manner of nature, the global environment
is changing. Accelerated melting of ice caps, rising ocean levels and increased violent
weather has made us all aware that humanity exists in a delicately balanced system.
Coupled with this, the hard reality of finite fossil fuel stock reminds us that humanitys
2 Odell, Agents and Emergence, pi

primary energy source has pending shortages. To further exacerbate the issue, add to
this more consumption of fossil fuel by populations such as China and India; both on the
brink of population explosions. When one analyzes this combination of events through
the science of ecology, for example, it is not a veiled fact that humanity resembles an
imbalanced member of an ecosystem. These agents suggest that major events should be
items on the radar of humanity, and more importantly, one on the forefront for leaders
defining our consumption through built environments. Below, three reference graphs
begin a visual dialogue for the agents highlighted:

In parallel to criticalnegativeagents in our society, this work will also identifies
positive agents. Computer networking technology, market demand for high performance
built environments, and inter-disciplinary communication capabilities are but three
important agents creating inspiration for building industry design professionals. It is
the intention of this analysis to show that, like negative impulse, positive influences
also generate motion and success for responsive organisms.
Design structure: virtual architecture.
The reader is invited to visit www.kaup-studio9, where the virtual architecture design
of this work is presented. When engaged, the reader will find that important text hyper-
links to primitive images identified as responses to the agents charging this visio-
intellectual expedition. In this project, an underlying concept of Emergence is initiated;

through intellect, passion and visual exploration, the concept that built environments
appropriate for the list Century may be referenced in unique convergence of ancient
wisdom, advanced technology, and conscious response by members of the grand
ecosystemwe humans.
The contemporary science, Emergence, is the systems science utilized to interpret
concepts that exist in natural ecosystems. These important yet seemingly vague terms
are interpreted and mapped to form complex concepts that address the thesis question;
can Emergent properties of natural ecosystems influence the aesthetic expression of
built environments appropriate for the 21st Century? This work attempts to institute
a virtual architecture which provides the structure to intellectually engage this charged
thesis investigation environment. Hyper-links and digital linking mechanisms encourage
a self-organizing means by which to understand the passion behind this work. User
response may be as simple as linking through the computer interface to understand
more, or skip to sections with more acute information.
The structure by which this thesis is established is intended to provide a modular format
that has the qualities of flexibility and versatility. Like natural ecosystems, positive and
negative agents drive mechanisms to perform functions, as do the following influences
and inspirations. Each discussion element is, like in nature, proposed to generate
spontaneous events of positive swarm for the contemporary building industry.
Throughout the following investigation, primitive graphic images are presented in
graphic and intellectual layers in an effort to show a response from design of built
environments that is influenced by the agents previously presented. It can be understood
that these agents are charged, like seeds, to continue to grow throughout the succeeding
sections. This work will result in a final, comprehensive design project spawning from
discoveries in all sections.
This work, by nature of its intended study, is an organic, self-organizing inquiry into
systems that influence built environments. Metaphorically, the thesis condition can
be seen as a technologically charged, meta-organic environment where influential
elements are encouraged to provide activities such as feedback and information
generation/delivery mechanisms. A continuous parallel is made with properties of
natural ecosystems that perform similar functions.
Below is a menu of seed images developed in the process of this thesis research to
address the contemporary events highlighted as agents of change in this section.

fp a
.. .A 'if x, > s3i
Figure 10 SEED MENU.
The agents empowering this thesis will support the thesis discovery that the concepts
of power, sublimity, and convergence may be a result of aligning concepts of natural
ecosystems with Emergence. These concepts have been identified as comprehensive
concepts which summarize the alignment of the graphic and intellectual exploration at
hand. These results will show a direct correlation with potential aesthetic expression of
architecture. These important concepts are defined below.
Convergence: dense accumulation of critical information and events that
result in a new and sometimes unexpected entity.
Power: includes all applications of this term such as financial, political and
Sublimity: understanding the beauty and bliss in reality; sadness and
happiness adjacent to each other.

The thrust for the coordination of these three concepts is to prepare the reader for
understanding how graphic interpretation of natural ecosystems through the science
of Emergence may contribute to life-promoting built environments. By expanding the
conventional perspectives utilized by traditional building industry practices to one
that adopts the ancient wisdom of natural ecosystems, the journey to defining a more
comprehensive aesthetic for built environments is explored.
To understand the layering and inter-actional method to this research, a flow chart
commonly seen in both ecology and Emergence is presented below:
Section Summary:
In this section, agents are indicated as a primary alignment of this thesis discoveries
of power, sublimity, and convergence. These three terms will be analyzed extensively
in the succeeding sections. Agents, a concept of both ecology and Emergence, was
analyzed in both disciplines to understand that this concept identifies the important,
sometimes autonomous elements in systems that have energybe it intellectual,
physical or emotional. Agents, in summary, generate change and result in complex
entities when doing so. Specifically, when agents collaborate, such as ants in an ant
colony, or the response of a sensitive ecosystem member, such as the red-toed tree frog,
a complex construction resultsthe ant hillor, human stewardship for protecting

rainforest environments.
The agents recognized as important impulses directed toward a response from
contemporary built environments in this thesis work are identified as large-scale, socio-
cultural conditions that are both positive and negative. Climate change, natural resource
depletion, and population expansion are the agents identified as critical impulses.
Positive agents are identified as computer networking technology, market demand for
high performance environments, and inter-disciplinary communication processes.
In response to these agents, a menu of seed images is introduced as a graphic first
response to the identified agents. It is proposed that in the following sections, these
seed images will converge in a layering process by utilizing the language of Emergence
to evolve into complex graphic compositions. The seeds identified in this work are;
feedback, distributed nutrient generation/deliver, self organization, swarm, modularity,
and distributed energy distribution/delivery. It is presented that these seeds contributed
to the thesis discovery that concepts capable of visual mapping are; convergence, power,
and sublimity.
The design intention of converging a response through the systems science of
Emergence, principals of natural ecosystems, and technology is presented in this section
as a place of virtual architecture. It is proposed in Section I that this may be understood
as a prescient application of 21st Century architecture resulting from this research
investigation. Readers are encouraged to visit, www.kaup-studio9 to experience this
virtual structure.

Except during the nine months before he draws his first
breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does.
George Bernard Shaw

A summary of this thesis is the hypothesis: Properties of natural ecosystems translated
through the science Emergence may inform aesthetic characteristics of life promoting
built environments. Referencing work of professional ecologists, specialized websites
and text references, concepts including Biocoenosis, Emergy, & spatio-temporal
organization will be explored. Power and sublimity will be woven through the text and
attempt to illustrate the inter-connections structuring this proposal.
Ecosystem is a widely accepted term ecologists consider the most basic unit of natural
systems1. This basic unit is a collection of entities within a boundary of natural or
human construction. This unit can be large or small, such as a back yard fish pond
or an intricate wetlands. The primary entities of an ecosystem are abiotic organisms
(plants), biotic organisms (animals), decomposers, and the energy necessary to generate
activityradiation from the sun. Below, a typical diagram of major entities for a typical
ecosystem illustrates these elements and their non-linear interconnection.
Flow diagrams represent-
ing the processes that
compose ecosystems
have historic presence in
the study of ecology. Vi-
sual qualities of this flow
diagramming has critical
influence in the attempt to
interpret natural ecosys-
tems through Emergence.
For this work, an important expansion of the term ecosystem is engaged to encompass
extended conceptual elements such as relationships, and adjacency potentials.
1 Ecosystem;

Biocoenosis is the expansion of the term ecosystem which reveals these elements.
First termed in 1877 by Karl Mobius, biocoenosis is the concept of ecology that
identifies the elements and entities listed in an ecosystem, and include the inter-actional
relationships which unite them.2 This distinction is important because, as a term, it is
dualistic; identifying both the performance and existence of energy and its movement.
Biocoenosis has found a priority in this work because it is a technical description of
how natural ecosystems contain seen and unseen connections such as power and energy.
The biocoenic diagram below graphically illustrates the critical role that feedback and
distributed nutrient generation/delivery (DING) contribute to defining concepts of
power and energy. That is to say that this abstraction of scientific terms becomes critical
for implementing a visual interpretation of the means by which energy of natural
ecosystems results in power.
FIGURE 2. A functional diagram of an ecosystem, with emphasis on inter*
sal dynamic* tavoWtog energy flow, material cycles, and storage ($), and
food wehi comprising autotrophs (A) and heterotrophs (H).
Expanding on the con-
cept of ecosystems,
biocoenosis also en-
compasses energy rela-
tionships important in
natural ecosystems.
The return of information, both positive and negative, about the result of a process or
activity is known by ecologists and Emergence scientists as feedback lonps3. Moreover,
feedback is a critical element to understanding the event of biocoenosis. According
to Eugene Odum, arguably one of the most well respected professionals in the field
of ecology, feedback can accelerate or decelerate the processes of an ecosystem. He
goes so far as to include human and natural examples of feedback, such as smog
creating socio-cultural action such as government programs to uptake smog from the
2 Biocoenosis, Wikipedia.
3 Feedback;

environment.4 Although this may seem oversimplified, the point is to state that like
natural ecosystems, feedback is a critical physical and conceptual element for entities
of systems. Specifically, feedback can have an abstract context, such as monetary
commerce, as well as a physical context, such as environmental degradation.
Below, a visual investigation of feedback is initiated.
In interpreting the visual investigation of feedback, a number of aesthetic qualities
are important to highlight; organic diagramming, nodal conclusion of feedback lines,
and the avoidance of cross-over at feedback lines. Referencing ecology, qualities of
feedback in biocoenosis include:
Feedback promotes input from non-conventional sources of design
Feedback can be spontaneous and unpredictable.
Feedback is a critical means by which life-promoting entities become
more complex.
The artistic influence composing the organic diagramming of the feedback seed
image comes directly from the vascular arrangement of physiological infrastructure
of abiotic, or vegetation organisms. The choice for attempting to represent the organic
diagram of how a vascular system of plants may represent the concept of feedback
is a result of interpreting the ancient, efficient and critical nature of this ecosystem
component. Within this passion is the technical appreciation that plants perform the
ever-critical function of C02 absorption through the process of photosynthesis. In our
contemporary world, it is easy to highlight the incredibly important role that offsetting
emission from human manufacturing and fossil fuel burning may have.
4 161 /L15 .html

feedback seed
Leaf vascular precedent trans-
lated to seed image.
The i n )dal conclusion in feedback paths has underlying reference to an upcoming concept important
to thi > work, distributed nutrient generation and delivery. What this representation is attempting
to gn p hically interpret is that in the industrial science of creating built environments, the concept
of ha1 d ng depositsnutrient, energy, or financial concludes at nodal location via feedback routes.
Early graphic exploration of this topic inspired by leaf vascular system images is presented. It is
impo tint to note that the translation of this ecosystem property to the built environment references
technic al flow diagrams for mechanical and electrical systems in the human environment.

V *:

Nodal conclusions representing
locations of dense energy and
energy potential are referenced
from motherboard and electri-
cal diagrams.

Distributed nutrient generation/deliverv (PNG')
Graphic exploration of DNG results in celebrated nodal conclusions. Specifically, where DNG
occurs, visual compositions inform that it is a place of richness and density fed by continual
energy/nutrient input. This interpretation drives an aesthetic design of nodal conclusions to have
intense visual intent. In the final project, the nodal conclusions are expressed in a wide opportunity
format; at a basal level, a node is a simple re-fueling station for common, everyday use.
DNG has been identified as a critical element of natural ecosystems that may have aesthetic
influence for built environments. The thrust of this investigation has been a response to conventional
built environments that have relied on centralized energy distribution plants such as coal-fired
energy generation systems in the United States. Inspired by the concept of communities in
equilibrium5 provided by natural ecosystems, one can understand how a centralization of energy
distribution for human environments puts communities in vulnerable positions. For example,
the 2003 blackouts on the east coast of the United States illustrate a contemporary situation
where brittleness of the community energy distribution systems was paramount. In contrast to
how natural ecosystems develop, this brittleness can be seen as an extremely precarious position
for future users as it, historically, points to a collapse or sudden change when resources decline.
Below, highlights of the visual investigation of DNG are presented:
With distributed energy nodes, greater opportunity for success of positive growth
is created through redundant feedback processes.
It is highlighted that the human is a composition of simple compounds held
together by electrified molecular forces. That same energy is still powerful in its
mineral state as well as its human form.
All forms of energy; their beginning and ending forms may have equal aesthetic
In a DNG translation, both simple and complex program elements may share
adjacent locations in that they are significantly feeding and informing the
importance of each other
Critical to the visual exploration, DNG is expressed with direct representation of built
environments that have an organic equilibrium; connected through feedback paths that
lead to rich nodal conclusions. Below, a description of the graphic exploration of DNG
is presented which has striking similarities to community transportation and circulation
5 Odum, introduction, Communities in equilibrium reference.

Odum, for years, focused on quantifying the energy balance between production and
consumption in both human and natural systems. It can be said that as Odum became
more and more impassioned with the communication about what humans use and what
nature is capable of producing, he understood that communication in terms that could
be understood by the accountants of the human species was needed. After all, with
the significant emphasis the Industrial Revolution placed on the value of production
in Western cultures, Odum realized that his means of reaching a public venue was to
reveal the value of natural ecosystems in a Tine item format. eMergy, (spelled with an
m), was his solution.6
6 Odum, Energy and Man, introduction of Emergy section.

Odums eMergy is defined as all the available energy that was used in the work of
making a product and expressed in unites of one type of energy. An important quality
is that eMergy analyzes energy used in the past and thus is different from a measure of
energy now. For instance, an eMjoule is energy of the past, whereas a joule is a measure
of energy available now. Another way of understanding eMergy is to see it as energy
memory and Odum made one of his largest contributions with this concept as he was
able to apply it to natural sources of energy. For example, eMergy available from the
sun is solar eMjoules, eMergy stored in coal; coal eMjoules, etc.
This research of eMergy has indicated that Odum has provided a push for language and
subsequently, translation processes that also push a portion of this thesis hypothesis;
Properties natural ecosystems may inform aesthetic characteristics of life promoting
built environments.
Keeping the broad view of Odums eMergy, this discussion now moves to the physical
manifestation of eMergy and power as it re-focuses of on the visual seeds; feedback
and distributed nutrient generation and delivery.
Among his many books, Odum has authored technical and holistic discussions regarding
the important inter-connection between the functions of natural ecosystems and the
human environment. In his book, Energy for Man and Nature, Odum bridges a gap
between human and natural systems as he indicates the importance of energy and its
relationship to power in both systems. Pointing his words to leaders of commerce,
Odum isolates where power comes from;
...the economists must leam how energy sources work. [Humans call]
such sources[renewable energy]externals and often is unaware that
their flows control the economy and cannot be ignored. Economists
have recently recommended stimulation of growth by means of money
manipulations. However, this works only when there are large, unused
energy resources. Now productivity is declining as energies decline, and
manipulating the circulation of money will have little effect. Economist
must leam that energy laws are primary [for the success of the human
and natural ecosystem.7
To further his point, Odum invested extensive time in developing a unique language
for describing how energy from natural systems could be understood in the human,
commerce-centered ecosystem. Intimately connected to the insight for attempting to
define natural ecosystem properties in cross-disciplinary terms, Odum developed a
7 Odum, Energy for Man and Nature, p5

uniqild set of terms to describe power and eMergy in ecosystems. Below, a selection of terms
suppoiting his concept of eMergy are presented8:
Energy Hierarchy
o Self organization develops a network of energy transformations in a continguous
o The rate of emergy flow: eMjoules per time.
(Is it no small coincidence, per Odum s unique perspective of power in natural
ecosystems, that the term empower also has extensive meaning to human
psychology when connected to balanced natural environments?)
o Defined as the eMergy (in eMjoules) of one kind of available energy required
directly and indirectly to make a joule of energy of another type.
* Centers of Spatial Organization
o Self organization generates spatial centers as part of energy hierarchy and as a
commensurate feedback effect outward to reinforce systems. Examples are the
information centers of cities, the water convergence at the mouths of rivers, and the
concentration of organic matter in tree trunks.
eMergy and Systems Aggregation:
o Emergy evaluation has to adapt to the way systems are aggregated in the window
view of the minds eye. For instance, an IMAGE9 has to be envisioned, drawn with
a branch, and has a product outflow divided into two flows of the same kind (same
transformity) dividing energy and eMergy by the same percentages. For instance, a
stream may split as it flows around an island, re-uniting on the other side. In another
visual description, Co-products, drawn with separate lines from the transformation
unit. Both have the same eMpower, but their energy flows are different so the
output transformities are different.
o Real wealth, (food, clothes, houses, materials, water, jewelry, knowledge, literature,
art, etc.) is measured by its eMergy. Money buys real wealth according to market
prices. By dividing the total eMergy use of a country by its gross economic product,
Odum, Energy for Man and Nature.
Odum, Energy for Man and Nature.

an emergy/money ratio is obtained. The part of gross economic product
due to an eMergy contribution can be estimated as the eMergy value
divided by the eMergy/money ratio. The result is in eMdollars. The
eMergy/money ratios of two countries, for example, are required to
evaluate the real wealth benefits of their international trade and financial
Dynamic ecosystems have an important recent history within ecology. Specifically,
dynamic ecosystems are an aspect of ecology research that investigates the integration
of nonlinear adaptive systems5a concept of Emergenceto understand spontaneous,
self organizing aspects of ecology.10 This is of special importance because it offers
a distinct opportunity for this work to utilize Emergence to bridge the science of
ecosystems with built environments. To introduce the recent influence of emergent
properties to the field of ecology, the author Pahl-Wostl is referenced:
In recent years we could observe a burst of interest in the dynamics
of nonlinear systems. The flourishing of this new branch of science
has been mediated by the advent of computer technologies rendering
possible detailed investigation of complex systems behavior. Contrary
to prior experience with simple linear systems, nonlinear systems
may exhibit irregular time evolution and a sensitive dependence on
initial conditions. What was previously dismissed as perturbation has
meanwhile become fashionable under the name of chaos, being promoted
to the dignity of nonlinear science.. .6
With this insight, we now delve into Pahl Wostls prescient work on a specific
component of her investigations; spatio-temporal organization. It must be also noted
that in this layer of research, the first introductions of the science of emergence utilized
as a translation medium for understanding how natural ecosystems may influence
the performance and aesthetic expression of built environments is introduced. This
research aspect as it applies to this work is discussed in detail in the following section,
Emergence Concepts, but for now, STO is presented as a nascent mechanism informing
built environments.
To summarize STO, the following explanation is provided by Pahl-Wostol in her book
10 Merchant, Radical Ecology; p 35-38

lThe Dynamic Nature of Ecosystems .n
To develop some intuitive understanding of the diffuse nature of
feedbacks [establishing the structure of spatio-temporal organization] it
might be helpful to make reference to an example from daily experience.
As members of social networks we are continuously confronted with
events and phenomena in our social surroundings. As active members
we take part in shaping these social surroundings, as for example in
the workplace or by contributing to political decision. Even when
it is in general impossible to trace back the influence of us as single
persons or single social group, we have to be aware that we experience
surroundings that are generated by us. The lack of such an awareness
mediated by the vagueness of cause-effect relationships is actually
central to most environmental problems facing us today. The situation
is aggravated by the mismatch in temporal and spatial scales. We act
locally and experience adverse effects at a national or even global scale.
It is rather difficult to establish links between local actions and global
threats. Rather than tracing single processes in detail, we need to develop
improved overall understanding of the dynamic nature and organization
of such systems. (PW.P.48)
From this explanation, one can interpret that in dynamic natural ecosystems, there is a
an intellectual compartmentalization of action and reaction, while also having feedback
as a critical mechanism defining the resulting entity. In the built environment, this may
be translated as consciousness. Awareness in the context of STO includes the intellectual
awareness that; all systems are intimately related, small acts of positive efforts do
accumulate, and the combination of these two may result in progressive, large-scale
events. To deepen this impression, this work expands Pahl-Wostols explanation of
spatio-temporal organization one layer more:
To have a conceptual base, I describe an ecosystem as an interaction
network consisting of an ensemble of compartments that are linked by
interactions. For the time being, I assume the comportments as given,
representing some aggregation of organism........ A compartment is
embedded in a network context where it interferes with its environment
and here it experiences feedback effects related to its own past actions.
Feedback effects are diffuse due to their being propagated along an
intricate network of interactionsintricate to the with respect to the
pathways of interaction and their spatio-temporal dynamics. (PW. P.48)
11 Pahl Wostle, Dynamic Ecosystems; p.48

This investigation finds insight in the highly conceptual research happening in ecology
in that it finds a same level of conceptual development capable of happening for built
environments. Below, highlights taken from the development of STO in ecology are
pressed to the built environment:
Small, conscious-filled acts of design may contribute to large-scale, site
Via both metaphoric and physical design feedback, aesthetic form may
continually inform userselement by element about the intimate interconnection
of all life forces.
The reality of where we as humans come from, (organic matter and spontaneous
collaboration of simple events), and where we return, (decomposition as critical
process to revitalize life), are beautiful, necessary and can be summarized as
From the insight offered by STO, this work is now able to identify the importance of
visually interpreting power and sublimity.
Sirnnei Sobtice
Spatio-temporal organization resulting in power and sublimity in built
Two discoveries occurred during the visual investigation of natural ecosystem properties
with potential influence for design of life-promoting built environments.
The first discovery was that when the ecosystem mechanisms, feedback and distributed
nutrient generation/delivery, are graphically analyzed, a stronger alignment with the
underlying concepts of power and sublimity are revealed. The second was the utilization

of spatio-temporal organization, a term of contemporary Dynamic Ecosystems research,
for accessing power and sublimity for translating propertgies of natural ecosystems and
built environments.
The identity of power translated both intellectually and graphically from the previous
discussion results in aesthetic developments highlighted below:
Richly engaged compositions that communicate density of content.
Utilizing feedback channels to connect simple and complex elements to achieve
compositional priorities (power).
Representing chromatic elements in equal hierarchy, power is represented as
possible and important to all composition elements.
Utilizing a graphic exploration of
using both leaf vascular system di-
agrams and mechanical diagrams,
a concept of power composition-
ally emerges trhough feedback.,

The identity of sublimity translated both intellectually and graphically from the previous
discussion has led to aesthetic discoveries highlighted below:
Compositions have a serious, heavy quality offset by bright chromatic scales.
Edge conditions are identified by warm chromatic tones surrounded by drab
chromatic tones.
The scale of vital life force zones is small compared to the areas of life force

Power and sublimity layer to generate built en-
vironment expressions where isolated energy
centers integrate with a site, filter the site and
adopt sublime expressions of natural proper-

Section Summary:
In this thesis section, two important underlying qualities of natural ecosystems,
power and sublimity, were identified and explored in three visual compositions. This
section has arrived at images which are intended to suggest aesthetic qualities of built
environments that are incorporating the alignment of two mechanisms important to
natural ecosystems; feedback and distributed nutrient generation/delivery. This section
has also proposed that a unique aspect of contemporary ecology research, dynamic
ecosystems, has within its science the concept of spatio-temporal organization, or STO.
This work has identified STO as a primary link between natural ecosystems and the
science of Emergence. Furthermore, STO was utilized as an intellectual element to
inform the graphic compositions attempting to express the natural ecosystems qualities
supporting power and sublimity in life promoting built environments.

Our understanding of the universe will be severely limited until we have
a more definitive view of how much of life and consciousness can be
explained as emergent phenomena. We must know how far we can go
with explanations based on the interactions of a few well-understood
John Holland, Hidden Order

In the previous section a focus was pointed to identifying power and sublimity,
important to the science of ecology, as important concepts for understanding how
natural ecosystems may have principals influential to expressing life promoting
built environments. A primary task to this thesis investigation was discovered while
developing this work; how to utilize spatio-temporal organization for incorporating
these important concepts into the built environment. As a response to this discovery, a
unique response came to light: the language of the systems science, Emergence, may
have influence to the aesthetic characteristics of performance-based built environments
by acting as translator.
It must be noted that the science of Emergence is extremely expansive and has many
elusive definitions and terms. In that the scope of this work is focused primarily on the
built environment and is also limited to a simple, broad overview of applications of
Emergence to the built environment, the reader will find only a brief investigation of
this massive and exciting discipline.
In the following discussion, a foundation for understanding the elusive science
of Emergence will be established. From here a brief review of how Emergence has
historically served a similar role of translator for other disciplines will be discussed. In
this sections conclusion, a graphic and intellectual presentation will illustrate how the
science of Emergence may serve as a communications medium between the science of
Ecology (natural ecosystems) and the industrial science/art, architecture. The result of
this thesis section will be a visual exploration of aesthetic qualities which may result
from utilizing Emergence as a visual translator for expressing architectural form.
Readers Note: It is important to note that in this research, a non-
conventional approach to research application was performed; first
an intellectual research of Emergence was initiated, then an informed
and emotionally charged graphic exploration was engaged. The results
can be summarized by what the author Malcolm Gladwell describes in
his book, The Tipping Point, inter-actional spontaneity where acts of
consciousness occur before actualization of hard realityincluding self
Although this may be argued to be a personal and unique experience that
is difficult to quantify as a repeatable thesis investigation, it is important
for the reader to continue to allow the overall essence of Emergence and
natural ecosystems to take place. 1
1 Gladwell. The Tipping Point

The history of where Emergence Theory began sharply parallels the philosophical and
scientific paradigm shift from earth-centric belief systems to scientific isolation systems
such as Mechanization and Reductionsim of the Scientific Revolution. In the final thesis,
a brief history of Emergence will be given to provide context for this statement.
Emergence can be traced back to a division of creation theories approximately 200
years ago. Evolution theorists and research scientists relied upon two concepts to
understand the ubiquitous event of life; Reductionism or Vitalism. To remind the reader,
Reductionism is described as that process which guides today's research theory where
problems can be reduced to definable scientific causes and subsequent solutions. This
scientific position has been said to have led to the over-simplification of problems and
an ultimate brittleness of disciplines which could be better served by more infusive
systems theory. This work suggests that the building industry is a primary candidate
for such an influence.
Vitalists, on the other hand, maintained that life was a spiritual event generated from
microscopic mysteries that developed in unknown, God-endowed systems. Although
with a religious beginning, Vitalists then became intrigued by suggestions of life
begetting life by its own devices. The argument has not changed much in the realm
of Evolution theorists, but Vitalists soon split into Intelligent Design sponsors and, for
sake of simplicity, Emergence Theorists.
Specifically, Emergence Theory has developed the understanding that many events
in the universe develop through seemingly spontaneous, non-linear interaction of
independent agents. These agents coherently collaborate into events, complexes or
systems that act beyond the capabilities of their individual abilities. Sciences such as
Complex Adaptive Systems, Chaos Theory and, dynamic non-linear systems all share
similar descriptions.2
Contemporary Emergence theorists have refined the investigation of this elusive topic
in the last decade. The basic theorems of Emergence theorists are slippery hypotheses
that eddy around the proof that phenomena of creation are quantifiable processes of
accumulative, non-linear collaborations. These interactions spawn motivation that result
in unexpected entities coherently gathering and serving the function of existence.1 So,
what then is Emergence?
John Holland and Steven Johnson, two of the foremost Emergence researchers, believe

that the rise of new and complex systems develop from less sophisticated, self-actualizing
Johnson: the movement from low-level rules to high-level sophistication3
Holland: a small number of rules or laws [that] generate systems of surprising
What surrounds both of these statements is the factual place that Emergence Theory
exists in contemporary knowledge. Holland summarizes for both authors in his second
book, Emergence, by eloquently describing the difficulty of knowing exactly how to
codify Emergence;
Despite its ubiquity and importance, emergence is an enigmatic,
recondite topic, more wondered at than analyzed. What understanding
we do have is mostly through a catalog of instances, augmented in some
cases by rules of thumb.5
Notwithstanding the vagueness of this science, research continues to move forward and
elucidate more and more real evidence for relying on this creation topic for answers to
many of humanitys scientific mysteries. Some fields that have had real results include
economics, urban planning, computer technology and ecology. Below is a brief of these
Urban planning utilizes mapped patterns of emergent development to best
understand future development.
Stock trading and commercial finance has looked to unpredictable, emergent
behavior of commodity trading and stockpiling to best estimate trends of
economic swarming.
Computer network solutions and development utilizes neural network
behaviors to establish self-organizing software systems such as those
running Ebay and Amazon websites.
Within the last two decades, some individuals and organizations have attempted to
integrate contemporary Emergence with architecture. Scientists like Janine Benyus, the
inspiring author of Biomimicry, Innovations Inspired by Nature, looks directly at natural
systems for engineering secrets to developing environmentally responsive products. Tom
Wiscome, discussed further in the following section, applies Emergence as a means of
3 Johnson, Connected Lives..., p 18
4 Holland, Chaos to Order...,p3
5 Holland, Chaos to Order..,,p3

inspiring his high performance, futuristic buildings. These, among many others, may be
the first building blocks of the evolutionary process for buildings to react appropriately
to, and work with our dynamic environment. What has not been attempted in depth,
however, is a specific application of Emergence to architecture specifically designed for
life promotion and energy proficiency.
This thesis focuses on developing underlying elements of Emergence to be utilized
for translating natural ecosystems properties building systems. These will focus on the
following topic elements:
Simple elements that spontaneously collaborate to form complex
Organized groups that communicate via continuous feed-back loops of
simple information.
Coherently organizing systems acting for the promotion of systems.
Organized groups that express swarm behaviors to serve unexpected
Emergence is a systems research that has contributed to many scientific fields such
as computer technology, medicine and sociology. The science of Emergence has
applications that range from anthropology to genome research, and with influence in
unexpected fields such as video gaming and economics. Most pertinent to this thesis, the
science of ecology also has many references to Emergence. Homeostatic mechanisms,
mutation, or holistic systems are but three areas in ecology that are defined as Emergent
studies.6 The application of Emergence, however, has only briefly been investigated by
the architecture profession. In the following section, the foundation of how this science
may be innovatively employed to the building science is investigated.
One reason for the Emergences popularity is the language used to describe its working
components. For instance, video gaming utilizes the concept of self organization from
the science of Emergence to describe the phenomenal mechanisms building virtual
gaming communities.7 From referencing self organization by gaming developers,
adjacent Emergence concepts such as swarm are unloosed, and a thread of related
entities and events revealed in Emergence are energized. Swarm, understood through
6 Odum, Ecology and our Endangered Life Support Systems, p.48
7 Convergence in gaming industry:

Emergence indicates the spontaneous collaboration of individual entities to form a
cohesive, functioning whole which mysteriously react in harmony and unison.
In an interview with Christian Jacobs, a lead researcher with the Evolution and Swarm
Design team at the University of Calgary reflects on the important influence swarm as a
concept has for scientific evolution; The collective intelligence of the swarm emerges
in a decentralized way from the actions of individual insects responding to local stimuli
from the environment and, most importantly, from other members of the swarm. There
is no boss in charge. No individual insect grasps the big picture. Yet in the aggregate,
the local actions of each insect based on the local stimuli available to it can accomplish
a collective goal that serves the interests of the whole community8.
Although an extensively complicated subject with vast potential to influence built
environments, the scope of this project isolates the terms, self organization and swarm
as its primary investigation. First, this work will take a quick look at a roster of disciplines
that have successfully utilized Emergence to define their work.
Disciplines utilizing Emergence as precedent for architecture.
The ubiquity of Emergence can be understood when listing the range of fields which it
currently contributes. What is important to note about this summary is the breadth of
diversity between the types of disciplines. For this work, it is also important to highlight
this fact in order to establish that there is, today, an expansive networking language
being shared among many differing professions.
In an effort to give a brief but well-rounded understanding of how this systems science
has had influence, the concepts will be presented with a referenced supporting instance.
Specific to this work, the discipline of architecture concludes this list. This research
aspect will be provided with an expanded discussion to provide a greater understanding
of important work related to this research investigation.
Genome research
o Discipline: Medicine
o Application: Genomics: GTL2; Using the DNA sequences of genomes
found through the Human Genome Project3, The U.S. Department of
Energy Genomics: GTL program [uses] the new genomic data and high-
through-put technologies for studying the proteins encoded by the genome
8 Lacombe; on swarm:

to explore the amazingly divers natural capabilities in microbes.9
o Emergence influence: In the words of James Shapiro, a genome
The molecular insights [molecular behavior interpreted through
Emergence] lead to new concepts of how genomes are organized
and reorganized, opening a range of possibilities for thinking
about evolution. Rather than being restricted to contemplating
a slow process depending on random (i.e. blind) genetic
variation...we are now free to think in realistic molecular ways
about rapid genome restructuring guided by biological feedback
networks.10 11
AUGUST 2005.
Computer Technology
o Discipline: Internet Technology (IT); Networking
o Application: Creation ofdynamic rating system11 software to digitally
network internet users with self organizing feedback. (Slashdot, Ebay,
10 Capra, Hidden Connections..., p.167
11 Johnson, Emergence, p. 167.

Slashdot.. .an intimate online space for [friends] to discuss their
shared obsessions...: a mix of negative and positive feedback,
structured randomness, neighbor interactions and decentralized
The online auction system of eBay utilizes two distinct feedback
mechanisms layered on top of each other: the price feedback of
the auction bids coupled to the user ratings that evaluate buyers
and sellers. One system tracks the value of stuff; the other tracks
the value of people.13
o Discipline: Industrial science and art.
o Application: Expansion of architecture profession in both an aesthetic
evolution and inter-professional evolution where feedback, self-
organization and the concept of a public, or client demand, swarms to
positive, whole system design.
Tom Wiscombe of EMERGENT, a firm specializing in emergent
architecture, summarizes how Emergence influenced one of his
many projects, Micromultiple House; This house is based on
a mass-produceable system implemented as an interconnected
network of small, flexible bands. The bands are flat steel trusses,
scaled to fit and stack into standard delivery trucks and shipping
containershence processes of construction and distribution are
engineered into the system at the front end.14
Tom Wiscombe, the architect and founder of EMERGENT, located in Los Angeles,
California and the World Wide Web, has been initiating architecture via concepts of
Emergence since the mid-nineties. Specifically, Wiscome has been utilizing feedback
and complex adaptive system for almost a decade. From his website, one gets a taste of
how he utilizes the convergence of many disciplines to arrive at his design; EMERGENT
is dedicated to researching issues of globalism, technology, and materiality through
built form.15 Unique to Wiscombes work is the integration of computer technology to
promote architecture developed through Emergent philosophies. In his words, his work,
concentrates on the propagating logic of landscape, infrastructure, and network instead
12 Johnson,Emergence, p. 153.
13 Johnson, Connected Lives..., p.157.
14 On-line source:
15 On-line source:

of dead-end logic of order, vertical structure, and facade.
Below is a list of terms isolated in this works research of Emergence which have
potential application to life-promoting built environments.
Self adaptive systems
Spontaneous collaboration
Adaptive Information Systems
Dynamic systems
Spontaneous Collaboration
Hidden order
Self organization
self organization

r\ >
X >


Although this thesis is capable of expanding each of these terms into compelling and
exciting interpretation for design professionals, the constraint of time and scope require
that self organization and swarm be analyzed. In the following discussion, a concise
intellectual and graphic foundation for choosing these concepts is established.
It is the intention of this work for the reader to utilize the previously presented intellectual
discussion of Section I and Section II as a virtual environment. The primary graphic
elements previously introduced can be understood as building elements resting on the
fringes of the site waiting alignment and organization.
The process this research has taken to exploring Emergence as translation medium
between natural ecosystems and built environments is as follows:
1 Understand technical definitions of Emergence concepts, (in this
instance; self organization and swarm), by contemporary Emergence
2 Identify instances of concepts effectively generating response in
real-world examples.
3 Seek forms in natural ecosystems which have visual and performance
qualities compatible with Emergence concepts.
4 Isolate visual qualities and refine for re-integration into summary
5 Identify Emergence concept instances in large compositions.
By citing important works of contemporary Emergence scientists, specialized websites
and examples from contemporary society, self organization and swarm concepts will be
presented as nascent elements of a translation medium. The outcome of this investigation
will be to attempt a graphic illustration of how self organization and swarm may have
visual interpretation applications for built environments.

Self Organization:
Technical definition:
o The essence of self-organization is that system structure often appears
without explicit pressure or involvement from outside the system. In
other words, the constraints on form (i.e. organization) of interest to
us are internal to the system, resulting from the interactions among the
components and usually independent of the physical nature of those
components. The organization can evolve in either time or space,
maintain a stable form or show transient phenomena. General resource
flows within self-organized systems are expected (dissipation), although
not critical to the concept itself.16
Real instance:
o A number of examples in both natural and anthropogenic (human)
environments illustrate the phenomena of self organization:
mineral crystallization17
Cell structures
Organic cell structure
o Dissipation; due to movement phenomena in
physical systems, the understanding that energy
in the form of waves and oscillation loses energy
over time due to friction or turbulence.18
o Creation of laser light
o Foundation of self learning computer software.
Visual precedents:
o The structure from leaf vascular systems was identified as an excellent
beginning for exploring how self organization may contribute to life-
16 On-line source: http://www.calresc0.0rg/s0s/s0sfaq.htrn# 1.1
17 Heyline, The Science of Self-organization and adaptability, p.2
18 On-line source:
19 On-line source:

promoting built environments. Below, images utilized as precedents are
Refined precedents:
o Below, the precedent images from leaf vascular systems have been
graphically re-interpreted for application to built environments:
self organization

Compositions incorporating self organization concepts:
o Below, the composition presented interprets convergence between an
intellectual and graphic interpretation of self organization:
Graphic presentation of communica-
tion or transportation lines investigates
ran interpretation of feedback' leading
to energy sources.
Referencing Emergence Translation 1\
swarm is interpreted from a technical,
economic and energy swelling expression
where commerce begets commerce by site
imporvements and energy generation; site
filtering and subsequent equity to system

DNA strcuture
filtering process
As a result of translating self organiza-
tion', a composition of natural forms
suggest a filtering process important
for built environments to re-vitalize de-
funct sites

Summary of self organization:
Self organization translated through Emergence into a design aesthetic resulted in an
appreciation for allowing natural forms to remain closer to their original context. It was
revealed in this work that there is such a density of soulful beauty in natural forms, that
by simply allowing them to re-assemble themselves after investigating their mechanical
influences may not only result in beautiful and intriguing forms, but it may also keep
enough reference to the natural entity. The result of this direct reference may be that
users find a deeper connection and appreciation for the important interconnection they
too have with the structure and its purpose.
Technical definition:
o A collection of agents (autonomous individuals) that use stigmergic
local knowledge to self-organize and co-ordinate their behaviors. This
can occur even if the agents themselves have no intelligence and no
explicit purpose.20
o Computer simulations have reproduced the behavior of swarms by
letting the individuals interact according to a few simple rules such as
keeping a minimum distance from the other, and following the average
direction of the neighbors moves. Out of these local interactions a
global, coherent pattern emerges.21
Real instance:
o Examples of swarm exist in both natural and anthropogenic
Flocking birds
Ant colonies
Fish schools
Genome research23
o Rice genome for understanding cereal crop
20 On-line source: http://www.calresco.0rg/sos/sosfaq.htm#6.6
21 On-line source: http://pespmc 1 (p.4)
22 On-line source:
23 On-line source:

Visual precedents:
o Below, images from the study of swarm in natural systems and
anthropogenic systems have been referenced to understand the graphic
communication of this concept:
The link provided sets a companion video to the concept of swarm as it is applied to the
science of nanotechnology. Evo
Refined precedents:
o Below, the precedent image and movie presented above are refined and
interpreted for translation to built environment applications:

Composition implementing the translation swarm and self organization
In this summary composition, contribut-
ing seed images are attempted to begin
to visually communicate the translation
of ecosystem properties to built form.

Section Summary:
In a same line of discovery as that of self organization, swarm found an aesthetic
translation in the overwhelming visual information of the site surrounding photovoltaic
canopy. By utilizing necessary scale (it has to be very large for performance) and
repetition composition elements required by a photovoltaic canopy, it is proposed that a
swarm of emotion and awe may be impressed on users. In that the intention of this type
of performance-based design is for life-promoting built environments, this is considered
a very good thinggenerating a positive consciousness for integrated environments. It
is this awe from a swarm aesthetic that may ultimately drive economic engines for
implementing large scale, performance-based built environments on a global scale.
This last statement is emphasized as it suggests the thrust of Emergence where small,
focused efforts can result in large, collaborative entities such as a life-promoting global

Section IV: Advanced Tec

Although human subtlety makes a variety of inventions by different
means to the same end, it will never devise an invention more beautiful,
more simple, or more direct than does nature, because in her inventions
nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.
Leonardo DaVinci

In Section I critical agents charging a need for building industry professionals to seek
new design system inspirations was presented. In Section II an existing system, natural
ecosystems, endemic with potential contributions to built environments was discussed,
and in Section III a language to translate this ancient system to the built environment,
Emergence, was proposed. In the following section, a selection of developments is
presented as examples of important human technology responses to the agents is
In the following analysis, a foundation for understanding the line of investigation for
this research will be presented. First, an historic example of architectural exploration
will be presented to prepare the tone of how this work envisions contemporary designers
adopting new and influential technology systems. Second, a roster of elements and
events in technology advances will be presented as a means of representing the
important quantity of potential responses awaiting incorporation into life-promoting
built environments. Important at this junction will be the coordination of two entities,
modularity and distributed energy generation/delivery, with a translation concept
energized by the science of Emergence.
Distributed Energy Generation (DEG) is a virtually exact model of the previously
discussed Distributed Nutrient Generation/Delivery topic of Section I. Here, however,
DEG is presented in regard to regional planning strategies for renewable energy systems
proposed by the Rocky Mountain Institute. In short, like the stability patterns of plant
species growing in dispersed, non-centralized locations, this similar concept has been
strongly proposed by RMI for the way we humans generate and distribute our energy.
Distributed Energy Generation: Translated through Emergence, DEG
becomes a technical and intellectual visual composition mechanism.
Specifically, the eruption of vital nodes and colorful conclusions to
feedback or communication paths begins to provide an overall visual
structure to graphic compositions.

V/ind, hydrogen, fuel cell p werfor a remot community ,jj
Inspiration for translating the ecosystem property of
distributed nutrient generatlon/deilvery to the built
environment links to renewable energy systems that
utilized decentralized energy capture and delivery.
see: for more DEG projects
DEG seed
The concept of modularity in a specific development of structural systems is
investigated. In this example, Aurodyn, a strut and node system developed by Chris
Kling of Boulder, Colorado will be highlighted. Specifically, Chris development is not
only a biomimetic development (see Benyus); it also has specific precedent references
to the ubiquitous numerical relationship of the Golden Mean5.
Modularity: The graphic exploration of a modular building technology
interpreted through the language of Emergence reveals important
aesthetic qualities such as compartmentalized drawing elements, and an
ability to continually re-reference elements for use in other compositional
applications. For example, images representing hydrogen, or the nodal
system of bird bones become ubiquitous visual elements with singular
and multiple applications.

Expanding into a conceptual format, trans-
lating modularity through Emergence al-
lows an extra-dimensional understanding
of the modules found in sacred geometry to
be used for developing life-promoting built
The conclusion of this section will be to present a visual interpretation of these two
terms in drawing compositions to illustrate aesthetic expression integrated into built
The underlying definition of Emergence tells us that individual agents may spontaneously
and in non-linear collaboration come together at low-levels of organization to form
complex entities. Narrowing this generalization, this concept can be easily applied
to how a built environment is also created. Specifically, one can see conglomeration
of elements coming together in how buildings technically collaborate to form whole
communities. Briefly; designers and engineers measure and coordinate climate goals
for a structure, controls are provided, heating and cooling equipment is wired to respond
to user demand, windows and doors contribute in dynamic values, and input from site
coordination plays important roles such as solar gain and wind deferment. The result,
in best case scenarios, is an invisible system that creates comfortable environments.
The thrust of this work is to push this collaboration to the next level of development
where design, technology and user interface move closer to systems that mimic natural
ecosystems. Like the development of the previous section, this work proposes that by
translating natural ecosystem properties through Emergence, new technology events
may result as aesthetic expression for the architecture.

Historic example of design influenced by technology:
A prime example of architecture that reflects technological influence is Newtons
Cenotaph7 by Boullee in the late 1700s. In this purely speculative project, Boullee
pays tribute to one of humanitys greatest proponents of the scientific method, Sir Isaac
Newton. The investigation of gravitational moments which Newton first defined and
his insight into the extended cosmos can be easily interpreted in the projects design:
a super-sized, improbable sphere, penetrated in strategic locations to mimic starlight.
The entire project is mounted on a strict, square base. From a formal interpretation,
however, a strong architectural interpretation of the systems promoted by the Scientific
Revolution can be interpreted.
It can be argued that the use of strict geometric forms; the perfect sphere and the perfect
square base, can be linked to the rigid system promoted by the Scientific Revolution. It
is as if Boullee is interpreting in Newtons monument the transition that science itself
underwent during its redefinition of the 17th Century. In the rigid geometric forms
and their mechanical integration, one can understand the mechanization1 that was
prevalent in the intellectual landscape at this time. These design features can arguably
be classified as an architectural expression of the profound scientific developments of
Newton. However, there is yet one more layer of intensity critical to understanding this
architectural interpretation. It can be said that the soundings of spiritual adoption for
science and technology which Boullee so sublimely expresses in Newtons Cenotaph is
aesthetically expressed by drawing life and death into the design program.
1 On-line source: revolution.

On an intellectual plane, Boullee is utilizing his role as architect to act as social
commentator for a culture on the brink of great change. Charging his design is the
cenotaph archetypea monument that is similar to a funerary temple8, yet without a
body. In this way, Boullee is indicating that in the transitions of the systems which had
been brought about by the Scientific Revolution, so did a spiritual revolution forever
altering the means by which humanity interprets the mysteries of nature. Monuments to
deceased people prior to this time were void of such references to humanitys peek into
its ancient machinery, and subsequently, not until this time did such a sublime design
represent a metaphorical means by which one great man would become one with his
In summary, Boullees Cenotaph for Newton is illustrating the influence that advancing
technologies have for influencing the aesthetic qualities of built environments.
Furthermore, in the translation of the science at hand, the designer, in this case, Boullee
is extending his role as architect to include a suggestion of spiritual transformation.
Technology advances today:
Listed below are a collection of technological advances which this work has identified
as concepts that may have inherent coordination with both natural ecosystems and
built environments. The format for presenting these technologies is to identify the
concept and include a brief description of how these advances have compatibility with
natural ecosystem features. In addition, with each concept, a concept compatible with
Emergence is presented. Of the five technologies listed, the last two, modularity and
distributed energy generation and delivery, are discussed at length and carried through
an visual Emergence translation.
If Renewable energy systems
o Natural ecosystem feature: The function of a biocoenic system includes
a necessary production of nutrients to begin the process of life. This
energy/nutrient production has zero negative emissions, utilizes an
abundant source of energythe sun. and results in an almost universal
appreciation for its beauty. (People like plants.)
o Highlight example:
2 Etlin. Architecture ofDeath. p.101.

Steven Conger Architects of Aspen, Colorado, proposed a solar/
hydrogen renewable energy system for a private residential
development near Woody Creek, Colorado in 2001. Unique to
Congers design is a progressive mimicking of a natural canopy
spanning a harsh, sun-baked canyon. In this non-intrusive
renewable energy proposal, energy from suspended photo-
voltaics power electrolyzers that split water from Woody Creek.3
The hydrogen obtained from this process was proposed to provide
electricity to 14 buildings using hydrogen conversion devices
distributed throughout the site. (P.E.M.s, or proton exchange
membrane devices.)11
Steven Conger's solar sculpture' was de-
veloped in 2001 for a proposed residential
solar/hydrgen energy system. His design
employs a bio-mimetic philosophy to address
challenges of holistically integrating built en-
vironments with natural ecosystems.
fig. X Ctgm
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fij). & toe&manget* f&mefei* ***&) of
peopcma PVp&t.
ft? A
2) Computer networking technology:
o Natural ecosystem feature: Continuous feedback and response systems
are an ancient mechanism of ecosystems.12 Simply put, networking in
natural features can be seen in root or vascular systems of plants or
neural pathways of ecosystem consumers. (See pyramid)
3 T.Moore/S.Conger April 28, 2003 proposal

o Highlight example:
From an advertisement for a remotely located, overseas
drafting business; Detailed Design Drafting Services illustrates
how a traditionally operated company can restructure as an e-
commerce operation and significantly expand markets. It shows
how an Internet focused company can thrive in a remote location,
rapidly develop global export markets, and deliver world-class
quality of service that traditionally exists only in large urban
centers. The company demonstrates how technical innovation,
shrewd management, and a commitment to developing a skilled
workforce in-house can open new opportunities for service-
based e-commerce businesses [oversears].4
According to a recent study by David S. Cohn, a technical
authority on CAD software after reviewing the Autodesk product,
ADT, [this software] enabled these [construction documents] to
be rapidly created...distributed with ease, and the [imbedded]
callouts within the.. .files were automatically linked to elevations,
sections, and details to which they are referred. A person viewing
the...files could therefore quickly locate referenced views by
simply clicking on the callouts.5
4 On-line source: 16e.html
5 Cohn, ADT summary report, p.9.

3) Inter-disciplinarv collaboration for life-promoting built environments:
o The United States Green Building Councils, LEED Rating system is
a primary example of non-conventional organization of technology
experts coming together, (primarily by the previous highlight),
to create healthy, environmentally beneficial built environments.
One of the primary influences of LEED is the promotion of design
charettes (French term for real-time design discussions) that
integrates entire building and design teams.
o Highlight example:
New business models have resulted from LEEDs drive for
inter-disciplinary collaboration. A prime example is ENSAR
Group of Boulder, Colorado. From their website, it is clear
how integration of multiple team members has developed;
Green Building Workshops- through a series of dynamic
and informative sessions, participants learn about key design
topics, including site, water, energy, materials and resources,
and indoor environmental quality. Participants gain
familiarity with the process of becoming LEED accredited
as well as selecting and accomplishing a LEED rating for a
building. ENSAR Group offers a variety of workshops and
intensive trainings, including a comprehensive introduction
to green building strategies and the LEED rating system.6
6 On-line source:

As stated in the introduction of this section, the following concepts of advancing
technologies acting in a primary role as agents of change will be expanded. Unlike the
previous examples, the following examples will include graphic results of interpreting
these concepts through Emergence.
4) Modularity
o Natural ecosystem feature:
Modularity in ecosystems can be found at both the microscopic
and macroscopic level. For instance, at the microscopic level,
compartmentalization of structures such as bones or plant walls
can be seen as modular development to achieve structural
integrity. Important for modularity in these examples is the
principal of redundancyif one module fails, multiple modules
nearby continue support the system.
Precedent images of modularity in natural systems:
o Highlight example:
Aurodyn, founded by Chris Kling in Boulder, Colorado, is a
contemporary development of a redundant, strut and node space
frame systems. Klings work has many similarities with the
work of Buckminster Fuller14, yet has added emphasis on the
source of his geometry. Aurodyn utilizes ubiquitous numeric and
geometric relationships of the Golden Mean. At the Aurodyn

website, Kling emphasizes his source of inspiration; First
discovered in the 1960s by Steven Baer, Golden Geometry is a
three dimensional relationship of points where the spacing and
angles between the points are based on a mathematical constant
known as the Golden Ratio. Points are arranged along 3 primary
sets of symmetrical axes: 2-fold, 3-fold and 5-fold. Because of
is foundation on the Golden Ratio, lengths in Golden Geometry
possess an important and unique mathematical property: they
are both additive and multiplicative. This unique attribute is
utilized to great engineering advantage by the Aurodyn space
frame systems.7
o Emergence translation:
Understanding modularity through Emergence utilizes the
dynamic ecosystem concept of spatio-temporal organization as
a translation medium. In summary, this concept introduces the
aspect of time, space and energy as foundation principals. For
sake of simplicity, this work relies on the definition where spatio-
temporal organization utilizes modes of modularity to explain
that time, space and energy are interrelated and are necessary
for the process of creation to happen at all levels.8 In this
instance, spatio-temporal organization is witnessed at the micro-
level where the strut and node complex is a building element
in establishing greater complexity. In addition, as with nature
in general, layers of complex ecosystems develop over time
in layers with extensive underlay of redundancy. To illustrate
7 On-line source:
8 Pahl-Wostl. Dynamic Ecosystesms.... p.48.

this, developmental images of this research investigation are
presented below:

Summary of translating modularity:
Modularity was assisted by its Emergence translation by the field of
dynamic ecosystems, and the concept of spatio-temporal organization.
Through Emergence, modularity has flexibility from a microscopic
structural system to conceptual levels where chronological time and
experience become a design element for life-promoting complex
systems. In the design model this is aesthetically expressed in both the
strut and node systems having redundancy to organic expression where
wending curvilinear lines wending define edge conditions.
5) Distributed Energy Generation/Deliverv (DEG)
Taking advantage of the previous discussion of modularity, DEG is essentially
modularity at the macroscopic level. Moreover, the Emergence translation
medium of spatio-temporal organization is also utilized to expand aesthetic
o Natural ecosystem feature:
In the biocoenic format of natural ecosystems, energy is drawn
into a system by abiotic (plants) components by photosynthesis.
Bluntly stated, energy absorption for ecosystems happens in
wide-spread, distributed networks. The scale of abiotic systems
is dependent on water supply, yet in arid and semi-arid regions,
this simple statement holds true. One of the most important
elements of this type of growth pattern is that, again, redundancy
and scale maintain an important flexibility for any ecosystem.
In other words, should growth be precariously centralized, and
decimation removes this primary island, a major feature of the
ecosystem is goneaffecting dependent biocoenic components.

o Highlight example:
For more than three decades, Amory Lovins of the Rocky
Mountain Institute in Snowmass, Colorado has been promoting a
need for large scale planning strategies that implement distributed
energy systems.9 His position on this has been reinforced over the
years by regional blackouts and widespread energy distribution
issues stemming from centralized power supply. For instance,
in a recent RMI publication, (Spring 2006), Lovins presses the
importance of decentralization when he writes, On 14 August
2003, darkness spread from Ohio eastward at the speed of light
as 61 billion watts of electrical capacity went away in nine
seconds. This, he reminds the reader, has happened as early as
1965 and is caused by, the over-centralized [electricity] grid.10 11
Knowing the issue, Lovins suggests an advanced technology
solution which has surprising resemblances to the distributed
network of energy absorbing natural ecosystems.
RMI technology solution:
Not just more reliable [energy facilities], but more and
smaller ones.
The patterns by which the system is distributed,
o ...many relatively small, dispersed elements,
each having a low cost of failure.
substitutable elements interconnected at a central
hub [and] many short, robust a trees
many leaves, and each leafs many veins, which
prevent the random nibblings of insects from
disrupting the flow of vital nutrients.
Aop*120&J 0*9? Tow* OirtOW) trtx* ftte U.3
Unto AfoctMirytM 1< Augwst

9 Lovins, Brittle Power: Energy Strategy for National Security, p.2-3.
10 Lovins, Surprise and Resilience.., RMI Solutions, Cover Page, Vol. xxiii #1/Spring 2006
11 Lovins, Surprise and Resilience, pg 2.

o Emergence translation:
To understand DEG in a visual interpretation, Emergence informs
the process by providing large-scale compositions representing
modular elements connected through web-like and curvilinear
feedback links. At the conclusion of these distribution lines,
highly chromatic nodal conclusion occurs. That there is a strong
identification with spatio-temporal organization, many lines
run parallel in the linking grids to indicate the organic layering
process necessary for versatility and fitness in energy distribution
systems. Below, the images supporting this aesthetic qualities
are presented:
Like natural ecosystem vegetation distributed en-
ergy generation and delivery, an Emergence trans-
lation provides a visual identification of enriched
nodal conclusions adjacent to feedback' paths.

Summary of translating distributed energy generation/deliverv:
Distributed Energy Generation/Delivery is large scale site development strategy
which proposes a more efficient and safe generation and delivery of energy for human
consumption. The concept of power aesthetically translated through Emergence has
resulted in multiple celebrated design nodes connected by multiple, or layered,
redundant parallel line diagrams. It was revealed that both literally and metaphorically,
design of large scale projects must consider a near-to-equal share of burden/demand
and supply/popularity in a compositionally rich DEG composition.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Ana is Nin

This works conclusion and final design project is a result of translating concepts of
natural ecosystems through a language utilized in the science of Emergence. At the
onset of this exploration, it was stated that the process of discovering aesthetic qualities
from this translation would be a non-linear, self referencing virtual environment. To the
knowledge of this author, the convergence of ecology with the science of Emergence for
integration to life promoting built environments has never been attempted. To re-cap,
the hypothesis of this research investigation is; By re-evaluating the systems that
lay behind built environments, re-adopted systems informed by natural ecosystems
may provide critical inspiration that inform the aesthetic characteristics of built
The process for investigating this hypothesis began with introducing the concept of
agents in Section I, Agents of Change. Here, entities from both Emergence and natural
ecosystems inspire action and integration. It was shown that among the many agents
potentially inspiring response and action from building industry professionals, three
critical agents for change were highlighted: climate change, resource depletion,
and population duress. In response to these agents, a selection of primitive graphics
was presented to illustrate an intellectual and passionate visual interpretation of natural
ecosystem responses. The concepts mapped include: feedback, distributed nutrient
generation/deliver, self organization, swarm, modularity, and distributed energy
generation/distribution. Of special importance, three critical images discovered in the
working of this investigation were also introduced; power, convergence, and sublimity.
These three terms are held in priority because it is these which find the greatest presence
in the final design project.

Section I applied:
In this section, agents were identified to empower the thesis question. Primary concepts
of this thesis discoveries included power, sublimity, and convergence which were
a result of the alignment of natural ecosystems with Emergence. These terms were
found through intensive visual investigation to have significant aesthetic expression
for architecture communicating properties of natural ecosystems. Agents, a concept of
both ecology and Emergence, was analyzed in both disciplines to understand that this
concept identifies the important, sometimes autonomous elements in systems that have
energybe it intellectual, physical or emotionalto generate change and a complex
entity to do so. Specifically, when agents collaborate, such as ants in an ant colony,
or the response of a sensitive ecosystem component, such as the red-toed tree frog, a
complex construction resultsthe ant hillor a complex social intervention such as
stewardship empowered to protect fragile rainforests.
The agents recognized as important impulse for this thesis work are large-scale, socio-

cultural conditions and events that have either positive or negative connotations that
can be in contrast to climate change, natural resource depletion, and population duress.
Positive agents which have potential to stimulate the intellectual thrust of this thesis
were noted; computer networking technology, market demand for high performance
environments, and inter-disciplinary communication mechanisms.
In response to these agents, a menu of seed images was introduced as a graphic first
response. It was proposed in Sections II through IV, these seed images converge by
employing the language of Emergence to visually vitalize a collaboration of independent
elements into complex graphic compositions.
The process of how natural ecosystem properties may be interpreted through the science
of Emergence is outlined below:
Introduce two concepts of natural ecosystems with potential intellectual
and graphic influence for built environments: feedback and distributed
nutrient generation/delivery (DNG).
Introduce the science of Emergence, its historic influence to scientific
disciplines, its applications to architecture and two important concepts
with intellectual and graphic potential for translating ecosystem
properties: self organization and swarm.
self organization swarm

Introduce agents of change from advancing technologies which
may contribute to the translation of natural ecosystem properties
through Emergence: modularity and distributed energy' generation/
A description of the graphic process for understanding how natural ecosystem properties
may be interpreted through the science of Emergence is outlined below:
Establish virtual architecture by which to experience inter-connection
and effusive concept of converging aesthetic investigation of nature,
Emergence and technology:
Introduce primitive elements illustrating primary concepts: See Seed
Image graphics menu.
Layer visual and intellectual information to primitive graphics within
research Sections II, III, and IV.
Converge resulting graphic layers from Sections I through IV at Section
V, Thesis Conclusion.


Thesis Conclusion applied:
The final design model presented in the conclusion of this work is best described as a
literal interpretation of an intellectual, passion-filled convergence of sublime awe for
natures wisdom and beauty. Like the passions of venerated architects such as Aalto,
Hundertwasser, and Koolhaus, the resulting design is a personal, political and spiritual
response to a profession that must take a leadership role in defining life-promoting built
environments. To summarize, the design project guidelines are listed below:
Adopt a defunct, contaminated site in a highly dense metropolitan area.
Install a site-wide natural ecosystem feature such as switch-grass and
wetlands to stabilize site.
o Choose vegetation capable of being converted to a harvestable
fuel source for vehicle or building useswitch grass17.
Divert city water to site to naturally or mechanically filter rainwater
runoff before entering South Platte River.
Install canopy of amorphous photovoltaic membrane at circumference
of site; mimicking natural canopy and eco-tone features of natural
Provide paths and service roads on site that are elevated above site.
Locate energy distribution nodes at logical, compassionately balanced
locations at perimeter of site.
Technically split filtered water into hydrogen and oxygen from switch-
grass wetlands with electrolyzers powered by photo-voltaic canopy.
Store hydrogen at perimeter node locations for use in hybrid gas-
hydrogen or hydrogen powered vehicles.
Ship oxygen to California and New York where clean air is precious.18
Provide crematorium sites within re-vitalized site for sacred return of
organic forms, (plants, animals, and humans).
Release ashes of precious kin into switch-grass wetlands; continuing to
vitalize the health and ability of wetlands system to purify contaminated
city rainwater run-off and provide clean water for solar/hydrogen
At first impression, it may appear to the reader that the last two design parameters
are an obtuse application of architecture and research. However, the three concepts
indicated as important to this conclusion: power, convergence, and sublimity7 provide
their greatest revelations to this thesis conclusion. As has been stated in the proposal,
using language from Emergence, the nine compositions from Sections I through IV,
will be referenced to indicate the poignancy of arriving at this final design conclusion.

Thesis Investigation: Gates Rubber Plant
The site of the now defunct and chemically contaminated East Campus of the Gates
Rubber Plant, located in downtown Denver, is an ideal location to explore built
environments revitalized by inspiration from natural ecosystems.23 Two primary
reasons for the adoption of this site are its location in a dense urban environment and its
adjacency to the South Platte River a major natural resource for Denver.
Originally purchased and opened for operation in 1914, the Gates Rubber plant began
the production of tire retreads, garden hoses, and eventually the petroleum based belts
driving many of the machines powering the Industrial Revolution. By the 1950s,
according to an article in The Westword newspaper, Gates had gone international;
expanding its production, its site development, and its economic influence.1 With
increased production, however, also came the contaminant by-products.
1 Roberts. Regards..,

According to a 1998 EPA study of the Gates site, air and subsurface water release
of harmful toxins ranked second highest in Denver, and sixth overall in Colorado.2
Taking this nasty inheritance into account, the efforts for city leaders and surrounding
community members, the hopes for re-vitalizing the site has been a vision long before
this thesis project.
Primary Concepts; power, convergence and sublimity applied.
These reasons for change at Gates; contamination and a primary loss in economic
contribution to its community are introduced here to present an illustration how agents
or demands from environments may generate a response utilizing the vision of this thesis
work. Responses proposed at this site are: 1.) deployment of biological remediation;
a hybridization of technology and natural forces and, 2.) Economic revitalization of an
urban location utilizing elements of natural ecosystems such as wetlands and abiotic
systems; switch grass, sedges, etc. In an effort to maintain simplicity, a summary of the
responses mechanisms are presented below:
Site Recovery: Contaminated brownfield sites are a common element
of many metropolitan areas. Site remediation is possible through
re-introduction of biological agents able to clean and re-stabilize
contaminated sites.24
Economic Vitality: Environmental Services is an upcoming element
of many planning strategies. This entails the restoration or protection
of natural zones for magnetically drawing people and commerce into
once defunct sites.25
US EPAs Toxic Release inventory, 1998

As with the science of ecology and Emergence, an inventory of the individual elements
contributing to the primary agents listed above is presented. As this work is focused on
the visual interpretation of the aesthetic expression of translating science into potential
form expression, three diagrams graphically presenting the important elements at
vital boundaries
ancient features:
solar energy
Figure 51: Graphic inventory of site qualities important to thesis aesthetic development.
The agents and subsequent response at Gates establishes the groundwork for
representing the convergence of concepts graphically revealed; power, convergence
and sublimity. Again, the intention of this alignment is to implement a design response
that intellectually and artfully mimics similar responses within natural ecosystems.
READER S NOTE: For simplicity, the representation of the translation
of natural ecosystem principals to built environments through Emergence
will only present examples from each section; S.II: Ecosystem Concepts,
S.III: Emergence Concepts, and S. VI: Technology Agents.
Section IV applied: Technology Concepts O Emergence Translation = Power in Built
Emergence Design Translation:
Through the Emergence translation of modularity, the overall design resulted in an

aesthetic directed at communicating power in all its meaning, be it electrical, political,
or spiritual. This work attempts to graphically propose that power may be accessible
to ecosystem members who align themselves with long-term cooperation with natural
forces, rather than attempting to dominate them in the short-term. Moreover, a resulting
expression can be said to have resulted in organic compositions resulting from continual
layers of impulse/response enticed through modular physical structure.
o Modularity: Through Emergence, modularity was found to
extend to a conceptual level where compartmentalization of time
and experience become design elements.. In the design model
this is aesthetically expressed in the hybrid (or meta-organic)
architecture has technical science (photovoltaic systems) integrate
with highly curvilinear, seemingly spontaneous compositions
(wetlands development). To see power in this mechanism, one is
to understand that the alignment and convergence of contributing
modules results in dense nodes of energy and power. In the final
design this is both electrical power, financial power and spiritual
power. Critical in this work was the conceptual link between the
physical modules of a structural system, such as Aurodyn, and a
greater perspective of special alignments of natural geometries,
a perception of natural order is impressed in the compositions.
o Distributed Energy Generation/Delivery (DEG) is large
scale site development strategy being proposed by the Rocky
Mountain Institute in Snowmass, Colorado. The concept of
power aesthetically translated through Emergence has resulted
in multiple celebrated design nodes. It was revealed that both
literally and metaphorically, design of large scale projects must
consider a near-to-equal share of burden/demand and supply/
popularity. In the final design project, DEG is represented
at three primary distribution locations on site. In the drawing
compositions, the important factor of these important nodal
conclusions is highlighted by intense chromatic scales, (yellow,
orange and red), that represent an accumulation of life-force
be it commerce, life/death, or energy. Moreover, the mechanism
of spatio-temporal organization (STO) extends to this visual
communication where the working features of the solar canopy
design; vascular mimicking electrical system arrives at
processor nodes in the canopy structures.


Section III applied: Emergence Concepts O Emergence Translation = Convergence in
Built Environments
Emergence Design Translation:
Self organization translated through Emergence into a design
aesthetic resulted in an appreciation for allowing natural forms to
remain close to their original context. It was revealed in this work
that there is such a density of soulful beauty in natural forms, that
simply allowing them to re-assemble themselves after investigating
their mechanical influences may not only result in beautiful and
intriguing forms, but it may also keep enough reference to the natural
entity that users may find a deeper connection and appreciation for
the important interconnection they too have with the structure and
its purpose.
In a same line of discovery as that of self organization, swarm found
an aesthetic translation in the overwhelming visual information of
the site surrounding photo-voltaic canopy. By utilizing a necessary
scale and repetition composition element required by the canopy, it is
proposed that a swarm of emotion and awe may be impressed on the
user. In that the intention of this type of performance-based design is
for life-promoting built environments, this is considered a very good
thing. It is this awe from a swarm aesthetic would ultimately drive
the economic engines for implementing full-blown performance-
based built environments.
Self organization and swarm, both elements of Emergence can be
summarized in an overall design event of convergence. Although
an elusive term to not only intellectually discuss, this term is highly
elusive for representing in an aesthetic quality. However, through
the merging qualities of self organizing and swarm presented above,
the overall design conclusion can be identified as an overall design
quality of convergence at the site.
o Self organization was presented in Section III as a primary
concept of Emergence. It can be said that self organization is one
of the most elusive yet compelling elements of contemporary
Emergence research. The expression of self organization as a
design element of the final project can be directed to the close

connection that the design has taken to representing natural
forms. For example, the image of a maple leaf was technically
and conceptually referred to when understanding the concept of
a photo-voltaic canopy. Without forcing the integration of the
design intention to create something totally unique, the leaf was
allowed to be dismantled and then re-assembled in a manner
that worked for structural integration on the site. Nevertheless,
the resulting aesthetic qualities of the canopy not only have a
semblance of visual connection to the leaf structure, but it also
performs like one.


o Swarm is also a direct concept taken from Emergence. The concept
of swarm is the unpredictable yet successful collaboration and
coordination of entities for achieving an act or event. Fish do it.
Birds do it. Bees do it. The thrust of understanding swarm may
be aesthetically expressed in the final design model resulted in a
repetition of redundant entities that result in a cohesive unit, yet
become blurry when conceived as a whole. Again, looking at the
canopy structure surrounding the perimeter of the Gates site, the
aerial views of the 3D model illustrates the dislocation of visual
logic as the view lines approach ground level.
In this section, the third critical discovery of this analysis was that self organization and
swarm contribute to a larger visual force; convergence. It can be summarized that this
work is a convergence of ancient wisdom of nature, technology, passion and critical
response. That convergence has a strong presence in the science of Emergence, the
correlation is intellectually obvious, and the final design project expresses aesthetic
qualities as well. Below, a graphic highlight of convergence is indicated:
Energy converging to nodal locations.
Users converging for fuel and for reverence to the processes of life and death.

Swarm translated through Emergence
results in an aesthetic translation that
converges critical life events to intimate
adjacencies. Here, hydrogen fueling sta-
tions are adjacent to crematoriums.
hydrogen fueling station
Section II applied: Ecosystem Concepts O Emergence Translation = Sublimity in Built
Emergence Design Translation:
o Summary: The aesthetic quality of sublimity is established in the
final design project by representing mundane program elements
adjacent to highly charged, emotional program elements.
Specifically, sublimity is found in the dark and light qualities of
revealing that feedback for nutrient generation and distribution
comes from sources that include the human life forces such as

consciousness, complex organic compounds, and DNA transfer.
Simply put; life begets life. As a primary summary to this section,
it can be said that a resulting design quality illustrating sublimity
in the final design project is the placement of a renewable
energy fueling stations adjacent to crematoriums. It was shown
that to arrive at sublimity, however, a necessary mechanism of
Emergence, spatio-temporal organization, was utilized.
o Feedback when translated through Emergence finds many
layers of important aesthetic results. In summary, feedback
is represented as an access element for moving energy that is
generated (solar/hydrogen), or enriched minerals (ashes). It is
important to break-out that Emergence informs at three layers:
Feedback promotes input from non-conventional sources
of design inspiration.
Feedback can be spontaneous and unpredictable.
Feedback is a critical means by which life-promoting
entities become more complex.
o Distributed nutrient generation/distribution when translated
through Emergence is represented as nodal conclusions on the
site. In that, in the science of Emergence, rich and unpredictably
quantities of large and small information are held, this drives
an aesthetic design of the nodal conclusions to have very dense
design intent, or very light intent. In the final project, the nodal
conclusions are expressed in this very wide opportunity; at one
level, a node is a simple re-fiieling station for common, everyday
use. At an adjacent node, the site program is a very dense and
highly charged location for cremation of organic forms. Here
too, Emergence informs three important layers:
With distributed energy nodes, greater opportunity for
success of positive growth is created through redundant
feedback processes.
It is highlighted that the human is a composition of simple
compounds held together by electrified molecular forces.
That same energy is still powerful in its mineral state as
well as its human form.
In a DNG translation, both simple and complex program
elements may share adjacent locations in that they are
significantly feeding and informing the importance of


Thesis Summary: Emergence: Design translation for the 21 SICenturv.
In this investigation of natural ecosystem. Emergence and life-promoting built
environments, I have had the opportunity to answer questions which I was prepared by
education and life to pose. I now have a better understanding of why the United States is
in an uninitiated foreign war; our brittle, nature dominating ecosystem is running out of
resources and has ignored critical feedback among other critical ecosystem information.
I now also have a better understanding of how and why my local open space is being
drilled for natural gas; the fuel to power our ecosystem has gone into critical decline
and it needs moreat whatever cost. Some questions still remain, but by having taken
on the expedition to understand if a difficult science such as Emergence might provide
some translation of natural ecosystems for built environments, a new perspective has
arisen. Within this new perspective, three critical comer stones have been set; power,
convergence and sublimity.
By revealing that the concept of power is a natural ecosystem element that is not separate
from the human focus of political, economic, physical and spiritual significance, a new
design perspective has been revealed. With this knowledge, approaches to design will
be the integration of all of these important elements ranked in equal priority. That the
concept of power is connected to every length of both human and natural environments,
it must find a nascent seed in all design approaches. This work found that installing
and implementing an integration of renewable energy systems, such as hydrogen-solar,
may have design opportunities that create visual connections by users with a deeper
impression of how the grand ecosystem works.
In this work it was revealed that highly expressive design, for instance, that cooperates
with natural form, may provide the energy to cause swarming economic elements from
users. What this work suggests is a continued thrust in this proposed design language
with hopes of one day realizing built forms that generate power, for instance,in all
its manifestationsand by the new laws being proposed by the science of Emergence,
drive a swarm of economic and emotional activity that desires more built environments
cooperating with the laws of nature resulting in aesthetic and functional architecture.
Last, the discovery that power and sublimity may be a primary aesthetic qualities
resulting from the translation of natural ecosystems through the science of Emergence is
a compelling discovery. Proposing a design precedent where factors of life and death are
placed adjacent to renewable energy systems that are converging with natural ecosystem
principals exciting design challenges and insight. Moreover, coming to this conclusion
leaves many open opportunities to continue this honest and exciting integration of
natural ecosystem principals, technology, and Emergence to achieve a direction for

built environment designers to understand potential new directions of architecture in
the 21st Century. With this beginning, a design response to agents demanding our
attention in this dynamic world may have been initiated.
Further Studies:
A primary discovery of this visual research investigation has been the potential within
the results of this works discoveries. The concepts analyzed here; power, convergence,
and sublimity are difficult to identify intellectually, let alone visually. To investigate
these terms through the exciting science of Emergence has shed brief moments of lucid
illumination that empowers this developing architect with a unique set of tools for
becoming a component of how we humans may respond with built environments
that may promote life for our ecosystem membership. Specifically, the insight to this
empowerment can be identified in two specific applications; visual translation processes
of natural ecosystem properties, and aesthetic honesty.
In this work, I very personal and unprecedented attempt to visually interpret elements of
natural ecosystems was initiated. The drive for this effort was bom from a place within
a consciousness that is inspired by both the positive and negative events the human
element integrates with their natural environment. Moving beyond pure emotion and
inviting scientific and technological tools to assist in translating the emotional charge
to appropriately respond to the passion for correcting and enhancing human integration,
new insight for translating ecosystem properties was discovered. To summarize, these
tools can be listed as; looking at the microscopic structure of natural elements, adopting
and employing the function of natural properties at the expression of those features, and
allowing spontaneous collaboration of both science and passion to develop compositions
that honor the results. Further efforts to expand this research will utilize this process to
interpret renewable energy mechanical systems that may translate into highly expressive
aesthetic built environments. The goals for this work will be to develop architecture
that is beautiful because it venerates nature, and also performs processes endemic to
promoting life.
Expanding on the discovery of aesthetic honesty is a result of this work that is unexpected
and thrilling. Through the extensive dismantling and analysis of natural ecosystem
properties through the eloquent language of Emergence, an element of courage was
added to this researchers passion for developing life promoting built environments.
Expanding on an emphasis seen in biomimicry and the push by architects such as
William McDounough, the inspiration to bravely interpret the essence of natural
ecosystem elements is a prescient moment for this work. To present a leaf, for example,

as a leaf manifest with technology and celebrated design emphasis has a potential for
this author that expands well beyond popular efforts of most contemporary design
styles. Most important in this discovery ofhonest design initiation, however, has been
the realization that to comprehensively interpret nature, one must recognize that the
elements of life and death are an inherent, potentially beautiful quality. To attempt a
translation of nature without recognizing this important, sublime quality would not be
truly responsive from this ecosystem component ofhow.

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