The evolution engine: Organicism, ecology, cybernetics and Cedric Price's Potteries Thinkbelt
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This thesis serves as the written defense of work completed by Adam Levin at the University at Buffalo 2007 – 2012. This work seeks the roots of contemporary organically influenced architectural digital design in early 20th century British organicism, ecology and cybernetics, as they were embodied in Cedric Price's Potteries Thinkbelt. In doing so, it attempts to provide a lineage for these design practices, while also providing a corrective for what has largely become an aesthetic endeavor divorced from the more socially conscientious intentions of early digital design proponents. It asks, not what "cyborganic" design might look like, but rather, how it will behave, and in turn affect the behaviors of its inhabitants. It finds promise in the emergence of new technological paradigms, like nanotechnology, but argues that in order for these technologies to be used efficaciously, there needs to be a reorientation of design culture, and seeks the foundation for such reorientation in the roots of organic/cybernetic design practices developed in the mid- to late twentieth century.