Architecture and code are inseparable these days–just about every new building involves software in some way. Now a design project is taking the influence of code on architecture to generate building plans designed by software, and the results are oddly human.

The recipe for these buildings looks a lot like any other: There are walls. Structures. Staircases. But the human who normally combines those elements into a cohesive space is nowhere to be found–instead, a piece of code written by Miguel Nóbrega, a recent UCLA design grad, generates a random combination of these parts and forms them into a building or structure.


They look like they were made by some form of sentient creature–just not one familiar with the physics of Earth or gravity or any understanding of human ergonomics.

The project is called Superficie, and it generates dozens of drawings at Nóbrega’s behest (many of which you can buy as posters on his website). Though he wrote the code using the visual developer software Processing, he still had to find a way to take the finished “buildings” from the software and onto paper. Fittingly, he left it in the mechanical hands of a CNC mill wielding a series of markers–even the drawings were done by machines.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen code generate spaces, but it’s not really the methods that are unique here–it’s the spaces themselves. They actually look like human-drawn architectural studies from some of the radical architects of the 1960s and 70s like Archigram, which imagined sentient buildings that used artificial intelligence to adapt to their surroundings. In a weird way, Nóbrega is making that prophesy from the 1970s come true.

You can check out the whole series over at the Superficie site.

[Miguel Nóbrega h/t Creative Applications]

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