New JoM-EMIT paper: Darwinian Processes and Memes in Architecture by Salingaros and Mikiten

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Date: Thu Dec 06 2001 - 12:19:22 GMT

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    Subject: New JoM-EMIT paper: Darwinian Processes and Memes in Architecture by  Salingaros and Mikiten
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                Darwinian Processes and Memes in Architecture:
                         A Memetic Theory of Modernism

                       by Nikos Salingaros and Terry Mikiten

        1 - Introduction
        2 - The modernist style
        3 - Design as a Darwinian process
        4 - Memes and architecture
        5 - Explaining the unlikely success of Modernism
        6 - Competition among early twentieth-century architectural styles
        7 - Encapsulation of images in the mind
        8 - The two faces of encapsulation
        9 - A complexity threshold
        10 - How architecture perpetuates modernist memes
        11 - Modernism has become an institution
        12 - Conclusion


        The process of design in architecture parallels analogous
        generative processes in biology and the natural sciences. This
        paper examines how the ideas of Darwinian selection might apply
        to architecture. Design selects from among randomly-generated
        options in the mind of the architect. Multiple stages of selection
        generate a design that reflects the set of selection criteria used.
        The goal of most traditional architecture is to adapt a design to
        human physical and psychological needs. At the same time,
        however, a particular style of architecture represents a group of
        visual memes that are copied for as long as that style remains in
        favor. Darwinian selection also explains why non-adaptive
        minimalist forms of the modernist style have been so successful at
        proliferating. The reason is because they act like simple biological
        entities such as viruses, which replicate much faster than do more
        complex life forms. Simple visual memes thus parasitize the
        ordered complexity of the built environment.

        Keywords: adaptivity, architecture, Darwinian process, design,
        images, memes, minimalism, modernism, parasitic, selection,
        styles, viruses.

    Available at:

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