The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Breaking Free! in Conscious Cities Anthology No.2

12 June 2017

Claire McAndrew on post-truth architecture and why we need to reach out beyond the filter bubble edge.

Breaking free!

2016 was the year post-truth bounced into the mainstream. For many, it marked a stark realisation of how echo chambers created and perpetuated by algorithms personalising data flows are leaving us ‘trapped in a filter bubble’.

Architecture has not escaped the wrath — in the Dec16/Jan17 issue of The Architectural Review, Stephen Parnell commented on how architectural criticism is ‘on the verge of becoming post-truth’, whilst Christine Murray took things into the realm of the post-human, weaving the algorithmic shortcomings of artificial intelligence into words of caution for the architectural industry.

The invisibility of algorithms, not least the design choices hidden within them, makes breaking free difficult. When thinking about high technology in the built environment, this essay reflects on how we might enable truth to prevail over engagement and complex understandings to develop.

Breaking Free! features in Conscious Cities Anthology No.2: Bridging Neuroscience, Architecture, and Technology edited by Anne Fritz and Itai Palti (2017).