Open House: 2:00 - 4:00pm
PI: Professor David Culler
Professor Randy Katz
The 20th Century architect Le Corbusier stated “A House Is a Machine for Living In.” This mechanistic view downplayed aesthetics in favor of functionality and comfort. A hundred years later, we still do not think of buildings as machines. Traditional building services, physically embedded within the building’s structures, are expensive to extend or repurpose. Such changes usually require that walls be torn down, new pipes and conduits be run, and electricians and plumbers be hired.
Our approach is based on the premise that a building is a machine, and one whose function can be extended through programming. We seek to understand how building functionality can be extended without costly “forklift upgrades,” to quantitatively assess new functionality and its impact on building performance, and ultimately, to improve building efficiency.
Borrowing inspiration from the evolving mobile device ecosystem, we believe there is a revolutionary opportunity based on Software-Defined Buildings (SDB). These extend their function through programmability, implementing new controls, quantitative evaluations, and modeling to understand and improve building efficiencies. Buildings that communicate and cooperate could better share facilities, yielding further efficiencies. To accelerate innovation, a third-party developer ecosystem should be facilitated.