The “architecture machine” was Nicholas Negroponte’s term for an artificial intelligence that “assisted, augmented and eventually replicated” architectural design processes. In the last chapter of Soft Architecture Machines (1975), he postulates the distant future of such machines which “won’t help us design; instead, we will live in them.” A key component in their evolution from tools to environments would be the coalescing of computational processes with the material substrate of building systems. This is imagined through two strategies: that of “softs”, in which building materials are mutable to reshaping, retaining memory of past forms that can be recalled for present conditions, and “cyclics” that deal with the ability of materials to continually assemble and disassemble, similar to the way they do in nature. The work in this catalogue picks up where Soft Architecture Machines leaves off, and proposes a series of architecture machines that reflexively address material and information agency in the forming of space.

Reflexive Architecture Machines symmetrically address material and computational processes privileging neither one over the other. They re-imagine ways of shaping conventional materials such as rubber, concrete, plastic and wood, using computational strategies to develop more complex relations between parts and wholes. This approach fundamentally challenges the static nature of these industrialized materials and sensitizes them to the ephemeral and dynamic qualities of the environments in which they are fabricated and
eventually deployed. It rethinks the forms and more importantly the tools that will bring them about. Whether on the level of individual components or larger assemblies the materials’ inherent properties are exploited to capitalize on their dynamic and adaptive possibilities. They are both soft and cyclic with
the added characteristic of reflexive that allows them to be more responsive to spatial and temporal contingencies of their environment.