Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Complex Buildings and Cellular Automata – A Cellular Automaton Model for the Centquatre-Paris

Version 1 : Received: 1 June 2018 / Approved: 4 June 2018 / Online: 4 June 2018 (07:48:34 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

D’Autilia, R.; Hetman, J. Complex Buildings and Cellular Automata—A Cellular Automaton Model for the Centquatre-Paris. Urban Sci. 2018, 2, 50. D’Autilia, R.; Hetman, J. Complex Buildings and Cellular Automata—A Cellular Automaton Model for the Centquatre-Paris. Urban Sci. 2018, 2, 50.

Journal reference: Urban Sci. 2018, 2, 50
DOI: 10.3390/urbansci2020050


We explores the relational, dynamic elements of Complex Buildings, a type of architecture designed to incubate uses, located in urban areas with high housing density. The uses of Complex Buildings concern different elements, including the network of agents using or managing them, the environment, and the activities and functions that take place occasionally, temporarily or permanently. Data was gathered through ethnographic research lasting 6 months and a chronotopian approach was used to describe time and space. We analyzed and discussed the interaction of the elements of Complex Buildings through a cellular automaton model, a computational method that simulates the growth of complex systems. It was used here to generate patterns that suggest configurations of uses that can optimize management and therefore increase economic and social capital. The cellular automaton model was also used to develop an abstraction of the Centquatre, a public cultural center in Paris. This center is a good example of a Complex Building, being based on a public-private partnership and having an architectural configuration designed to host a wide range of art, social and productive activities. The building includes a large central space used as an urban public area open to different types of people. The importance of this case study lies in its capacity to produce economic value by combining different uses, and also by welcoming different people to the public space. Regarding the building as a living organism, the cellular automaton model reveals the determinant nature of the concepts of configuration, compatibility of uses and economic value generated by the presence of people. We argue that this approach makes it possible to show that the space-time design and public space dimensions are determinant factors in Complex Buildings.

Subject Areas

architecture; complex buildings; cellular automaton; uses incubators; public space

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