Code: (14.y.BET)


Title: HCC Beta


/// Authors: JARD

/// Year: 2014

/// Awards: 1st prize for young researchers of Spain in the national competition Arquímedes ’15.

/// Prmtrs: Noise   Horror Vacui    Textual Error   Big data        Coding Diagram Automatic       Assemblage        Translation     Mutant               Nocturnalia        Obsolescence    Liquid  Kairos  Months  0.00 €  No        (i) Legal       Commons         Quotidian                    99 %       Visibilise      Otherness       Suburbia        Awarded Exposed


The HCC Beta Project is a radical process of automation of an architectural element until its structural calculus. The whole edifice comes from a coding routine. Nothing is drawn or corrected. The whole result comes from a designed algorithm.


Besides black art, there is only automation and mechanization.” – Federico Garcia Lorca, Poet in New York




Architectural response is direct and automatic product of an oriented programming from analysis and data development. There are as many projects as directly produced iterations. The response is dynamic. The architectural proposal consists of two main layers: a superstructure which features large spans and spatial compartmentation inside the mentioned superstructure, which is used as well as rigidization.


Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. Ninety per cent of it has been created in the last two years. By 2020, it is estimated to reach 43 trillion gigabytes which is 300 times more than in 2005. Furthermore, seventy per cent of the total is generated by individuals. This data comes from everywhere and has a huge impact in urban environments not only in the ways of living of its citizens but also on its quotidian activities. Somehow, the Big Data wave is shacking the foundations of every field, while architecture and city planning are still working with the same methodology used in the pre-digital era. Paradoxically, while urban environments are the place where information is extracted to feed Big Data analysis in many fields, they are still planned and designed ignoring the wide availability of data. It is time for urban agents to address this dilemma critically: what are the possibilities and limitations of using Big Data? How can it create better cities: more equal, fair, sustainable, democratic and accessible?


Assuming that city design is still the big challenge of the 21st century, this project explores the optimization of massive public databases, their integration, coordination and technical compatibility. At the same time, other new databases are created specifically for urban planning and architectural design. As well, it deals with the use of new digital tools for coding and programming as way of mediation. Automation of urban intervention and architectural design, through iteration routines systems, moves the weight of decision making to the obtaining and selection of data, to the construction of multi-layered databases and to the way of linking each other through programmed algorithms. This information would be able to enrich and to simplify design and management processes of land, uses and building, and as well to make them more ecological, transparent and participative.


Ultimately, coding and programing the city’s dynamic variables is required for later automation and generation of algorithms capable of optimizing the design and management of the actual and future city.


The project is mestizo and thirdculturist reclaiming the convergence of science and humanities, technology and art, communication and acting, thinking and planning for all the spheres influenced by urban development. The project believes that the best urbanism is developed around the notion of the commons and, in this sense, it tries not only to represent the reality but to produce it simultaneously, substituting the final object for the open process; from being the passive agent to the active element to develop a more equal, sustainable, efficient and heterogeneous alternative present. This managing of information cannot only stand as an analytic resource but also as a creative material in the hands of forthcoming urban planners and architects that will be capable of projecting the cities of tomorrow by efficiently administering the big databases of their particular presents.


Massive data visualization and Smart Cities are processes that are being tackled independently, with no interrelation, by different initiatives and disciplines. Although, their own nature is to converge developments, almost spontaneously, there is no real integration among urbanism, government, construction, citizens, planning, communication and Big Data. For instance, many of the Smart Cities initiatives are mostly simplistic implementations on 20th century urban models of technological devices without deeply altering and fostering a change of planning initiatives able to assume the current and future changing conditions. As one example, it seems imminent that urban agents will take advantage of the current 6.4 billion connected devices -75 billion predicted for 2020- to produce more transparent prototypes of citizen participation systems through their prosumer approach to data.


In this context, the importance of programming and coding for designers involves many other more pragmatic questions: it makes possible a more advanced use of software tools, it allows to automate and to execute faster repeating tasks, and to solve problems through algorithmic responses. This computational thinking places architecture and urban planning at the same level than other disciplines that have already incorporated these new technologies to produce knowledge progress; it situates the process of designing urban environments in the 21st century.


Ultimately, developing innovative tools and design processes of information will provide new resources for citizens to make the most of their urban diversity and to manage freely their models for living together. As the Snowden case taught us, nowadays, controlling data metadata- is an invaluable resource for governments around the globe, but the future challenge still is how to produce models in which every citizen can participate and manipulate its vast information potentialities to produce more democratic, fair, just and accessible urban environments. After all, we are all data, as the iconic slogan of the videogame “Watch Dogs” (27th  of May 2014).