Gorka Beitia Zarandona

Gorka Beitia Zarandona

Bilbao, ES


A New Holarchic Architecture

Discovering the premises of a new holarchic architecture.
Outline by Gorka Beitia Zarandona.

ego sic argumentor:

1st Concepts
"A Holon (Greek: ὅλον, Holon neuter form of ὅλος, holos "whole") is something that is simultaneously a whole and a part." It is a system that forms a whole in itself as well as being part of a bigger system. The word was first used by the British-Hungarian philosopher Arthur Koestler in his book “The Ghost in the Machine” written in 1967. A holarchy is a hierarchy of holons, there is also a similarity with a panarchic system. Nevertheless, the word hierarchy does not precisely fit in this context. If we pay attention to David Splanger (American spiritualist philosopher): “…in a hierarchy, the participants can be compared and evaluated in terms of position, rank, relative power, seniority and all, but in a holarchy the value of every person comes from his individuality and uniqueness, and his ability to capture and interact with others to make useful the fruit of that singularity”. It would be important to understand how Koestler explains that a Holon is a Janus-faced component (remember Janus, the Roman god of doors, beginnings and endings who had a double face), one face looking down which runs itself as a lower standalone system and another face looking up, serves to a larger Holon.

2nd In terms of Systems Theory
“The interdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of elucidating principles that can be applied to all types of systems at all nesting levels in all fields of research.” The behaviour of the system must be dynamic. It involves a continuous feedback in the process; between holons, communication must be multi-directional. In cybernetics, complex systems affect and then adapt to the external environment, they comprehend functions of control and communication.

3rd Holism. Emergence and Chaos Theory
The component parts alone cannot determine all the properties of any given system. It is the system as a whole that determines how they behave in their unique parts. Aristotle in his book ‘Metaphysics’ summarized it, as “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Confirmation Holism claims that a single scientific theory cannot be tested in isolation; a test of one theory always depends on other theories and hypotheses. By Modus Tollens if the observation is negative, at least one of the previous assumptions could then be wrong. Emergence, in philosophy and systems theory is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relative simple interactions. Chaos Theory studies the behaviour of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. Even if deterministic variations of these initial conditions might imply substantial changes in the future of these systems.

Architecture of holons, an organic and dynamic architecture
My intention with this essay is to support a new kind of architecture. An architecture that is based on a new model of communication, considered as the process of conveying information from one entity to another. Since time immemorial, communication has been the key of all human success or failure. Communication it is not only based in codes but in processes within itself. So then, what kind of communication affects architecture? Obviously we shall comprehend a physical communication as well as a theoretical one, the individual, the collective, the spatial and the virtual. Organizing a space, developing a master plan or modifying a city is essentially the organization of a new system -or the modification of an existing one- into another system. It seems that today we are beginning to understand these processes as far as design and projecting concerns. The multidisciplinarity in every creative process only helps in its execution. But we must go further; we can organize new processes with the ability to evolve.

Statics versus dynamics
Inside architecture of holons there are sub-systems and super-systems. Each process would be both autonomous and at the same time it would maintain a direct communication with its respective sub-systems and super-systems. In architecture the organization a priori is not solely of physical spaces, we now reach evolving architectonic processes, hybrid buildings and emergent urbanism. This new architecture no longer static, it has evolved to become a dynamic process. There is a process of individuation in this. Since the initial conditions of each architectonic entity/system are different, the result is unique, and even if the result was not as diverse Chaos theory comes to warn us. The evolutionary process is not linear in such a system, thus it is really difficult to predict.

Conceptual paradox
Monolithic complexity versus molecular simplicity. Microcosm versus nuance. Every project should evidence the intention to contain a whole microcosm in itself, full of consonant nuances that create a chaotic yet dynamic space, a spatial poetry, and a new holarchic architecture.

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