There was an interesting side discussion about the level of control over things like lighting that you might want in an “intelligent environment” at Seth’s proposal.
That was already off topic, and I didn’t want to derail the conversation even further, but it reminded me of the chapter in the original design patterns book* where Chris points out that it’s good to have windows on three sides of a room to avoid harsh contrasts between light and dark. That’s one way to do it, but it’s hard (and expensive) to design a building to meet that constraint, if you want to have natural light in every room; it wouldn’t be hard to have embedded sensors and adjustable lighting fix the problem, though.
What other architectural design patterns can be worked around with a bit of cheap technology? I see a lot of modernist architecture that takes advantage of advances in materials science to create interesting looking structures that would have been impossible centuries ago, and I see some of what I think of as Jane Jacobs style patterns, where classical ideas are used to create comfortable spaces that people actually want to use, but I don’t see much use of cutting edge technology to create really livable space. Why is that, and what can we do about it?
*Christopher Alexendar’s A Pattern Language, not the GoF Design Patterns book :-)