Nicholas Negroponte—Terms and Conditions

Nick Axel You founded the Architecture Machine Group (AMG) with Leon Grossier in 1967 at MIT to investigate and speculate upon the emerging relationship between computation and architecture. It started with the urgency of creating flexible, reconfigurable, personalized architectural systems, and designed the interface with which to interact with and redesign it. You took housing as the site to experiment with new systems and interfaces for participation, and perhaps even vice versa. This was over fifty years ago, but how do you see these questions of participation, of flexibility with regards to the built environment today?

Nicholas Negroponte I did not continue working with those specific concepts very much thereafter. Flexibility and participatory architecture had become something that many people were pursuing at the time. I was influenced by Yona Friedman, who had a particular way of going from a graph to a floor plan. We saw his ideas of flexible space as a great way to experiment with and develop what we were trying to do: make computers easier to use. Participatory architecture occupied our attention for a couple of years, but ultimately did not capture our long-term attention. Ease of use did.

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