Saturday, July 10, 2004

Building 20

MITs Building 20

City of Sound has a nice article about Building 20 and the new Stata building which replaced it. There is also an older article about Building 20, with some nice quotes.

Reading both articles, I am reminded of lisp. (Which is also the way i found them, searching on daypop for lisp.) You could extend it in any way you like, as you weren't restricted by the initial placement of the floor/walls. And it spurred creativity. Which leads me to think that to be creative, don't adapt to the enviroment, but adapt the enviroment to your needs. Do what you want to do. Try to explore the space around you. I know that thinking out of the box is hard, and i do not know how you can get out of the box. But once done, it is absolutely thrilling for me.

You can program the way you always did, and think Eclipse is the way to go. Or take a look at Lisp Machines (unlikely) or Squeak, and notice that you can not only write programs with a language but also modify the system in which the programs “live”. That is a powerful concept which almost no language has.

These systems empower the user, he can change the enviroment and tailor it to his needs. This should result in a productivity boost, because the system can be changed in such a way that it assists you, not the user in general. It can also result in a deeper understand of the system, because the code is at your fingertips. If there is something which doesn't work as expected, or you don't understand it, you can look at the source code and, if necessary, change it. The language specification/documentation isn't a impenetrable barrier. There is no second-guessing, because you can look under the hood and see how it is acutally implemented.

Returning to Building 20, in my opinion one important propery of it was its uglyness. If you changed something, you did not ruin its visual asthetics. I wonder how that part design affects the use of the new buildings.

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