intelligent building

The first thing an intelligent building will learn is your credit card number.
In the opening pages of Ubik, written in 1969 Phillip Dick brilliantly describes a battle between a down and out protagonist and his apartment building, called a conapt. Early one hungover morning, Joe Chip hears the knock of unexpected guests at the door. After verifying that they are not rent robots or creditors, he tries to clean up before letting them in.

"Picking up the vidphone, he dialed 214, the extension for the maintenance circuit of the building. "Listen", he said when the homeostatic entity answered, "I'm now in a position to divert some of my funds in the direction of settling my bill vis-ā-vis your clean-up robots. I'd like them up here right now to go over my apt. I'll pay the full and entire bill when they're finished."
"Sir, you'll pay your full and entire bill before they start."
By now he had his billfold in hand; from it he dumped his supply of Magic Credit Keys--most of which, by now, had been voided. Probably in perpetuity, his relationship with money and the payment of pressing debts being such as it was. "I'll charge my overdue bill against my Triangular Magic Key," he informed his nebulous antagonist. "That will transfer the obligation out of your jurisdiction; on your books it'll show as total restitution."
"Plus fines, plus penalties."
"I'll charge those against my Heart-Shaped--"
"Mr. Chip, the Ferris & Brockman Retail Credit Auditing and Analysis Agency has published a special flyer on you. Our Recept-slot received it yesterday and it remains fresh in our minds. Since July, you've dropped from a triple G status creditwise to quadruple G. Our department -- in fact this entire conapt building -- is now programed against an extension of services and/or credit to such pathetic anomalies as yourself, sir. Regarding you, everything must hereafter be handled on a basic-cash subfloor. In fact, you'll probably be on a basic-cash subfloor for the rest of your life. In fact--"
He hung up. And abandoned the hope of enticing and/or threatening the clean-up robots into entering his muddled apt. Instead, he padded into the bedroom to dress; he could do that without assistance.
After he dressed ... he strode to the apt. door, turned the knob, and pulled on the release bolt.
The door refused to open. It said, "Five cents, please."
He searched his pockets. No more coins; nothing. "I'll pay you tomorrow," he told the door. Again he tried the knob. Again it remained locked tight. "What I pay you," he informed it, "is in the nature of a gratuity; I don't have to pay you."
"I think otherwise," the door said. "Look in the purchase contract you signed when you bought this conapt."
In his desk drawer he found the contract; since signing it he had found it necessary to refer to the document many times. Sure enough; payment to his door for opening and shutting constituted a mandatory fee. Not a tip.
"You'll discover I'm right," the door said. It sounded smug.
From the drawer beside the sink Joe Chip got a stainless steel knife; with it he began systematically to unscrew the bolt assembly of his apt's money-gulping door.
"I'll sue you," the door said as the first screw fell out.
Joe Chip said, "I've never been sued by a door, but I guess I can live through it."

(cf passages in Zuboff about kicking in the door to the computer room) 

The process of mediatisation starts with the electronic technologies of energy supply and security systems, of air-conditioning and building climatology, of internal transportation systems, of cameras, sensors, and computers employed in all kinds of control systems. Esp. in Highrise buildings, airports, hospitals, museums, theaters, hi-tech plants. (illustrations from Die Hard movie?) Example of Norman Foster Lloyd's of London building: The skin is a crude example of a dynamic control system, incorporating an energy-management system which begins to build a network of awareness of the physical fabric of the building. The intelligent building should know how it feels. It needs to be able to inspect itself and pass messages back and forth. 

The first (?) intelligent building project was the "Generator" project by Cedric Price and Walter Segal for the Gilman Paper Corporation, with John and Julia Frazer consuting. (see John Frazer, An Evolutionary Architecture, AA Association, 1995, pp. 40-41) The project consisted of a series of relocatable structures on a permanent grid of building pads on a site in Florida. By imbedding a single-chip microprocessor in each component of the building, the building itself would function as a vast array processor, whose configuration was directly related to the configuration it was modelling. The building would not only be reconfigured by its users, for newly defined needs, but would also be able to learn from alterations it made its own organization and coach itself to make better suggestions. If the users did not change it enought, it would become "bored" and figure out new configurations itself. 

A NASA study has proposed lunar factories that could be automatic, multi-product, and self-reproducing (Freitas and Gilbreath, Advanced Automation for Space Missions, NASA/ASEE Conference, Santa Clara, CA, 1980.)

Richard Laing, in Artificial Life explores the same fantasy as DeLanda (and Moravec?) of rogue factories with "rebellious progenative self-aggrandizing traits" that outbreed the more docile domesticated factories. He even pursues the idea of factory historians discussing whether they arose by chance or design. (cf war, and Blind Watchmaker.)