Thinking about where we find ourselves today, I see a myriad of forces and challenges.
Turing's Cathedral: the origins of the digital universe, the most recent book by science historian George Dyson, traces the effects of computers on humanity, starting with the development of the first computer, 'Maniac', at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies. The computational power of machines, embodied today in the internet, and in the influence of Google, is creating massive changes, faster than humanity can track.
In response to changes in population, species extinctions, Globalism, global warming, and other concerns, the rising interests in architecture include several different 'ism's': variations on themes that encompass sustainable values applied to urban design. The newly emergent movements include Ecological Urbanism, Green Urbanism and Urban Agriculture.
In the wake of these fields of interest, architecture as the study of singular buildings has been eclipsed by the fields of urban design and landscape design.
My terminology for the changes in the study of architecture is a move toward 'Porosity'. Porosity meaning a move toward the design of buildings that mesh with landscape, and where the edge between building and landscape becomes obscured.
hanrahan Meyers architect's DWiP building at Battery Park City is Porous, and embodies ideas represented in Green Urbanism, Ecological Urbanism, and Urban Agriculture. The building features a half-acre occupiable Green Roof linked to Teardrop Park and other Battery Park City parks through a series of ramps, stairs and walkways. The building is sustainable, and on track to receive a Platinum LEED rating. DWiP's Porosity extends to the glass wall facing the Ballfields. The glass wall is an 'Intelligent Wall' with an interactive interface between visitors' cell phones and the frit patterns on the facade, and will be launched in September 2012, with its own cell-phone App.