The book Smart Architecture is about new ideas and challenging approaches towards sustainable architecture. It is set up as a ‘think-tank’ focusing on new technologies, systems approach and design knowledge to create an optimistic approach to the relationship between architecture and the environment. The project, initiated and developed by the SLA Foundation, has delivered its outcomes in the form of a light-hearted book on this influential issue and an informal expertise network.

In the field of product design one can observe a powerful trend where economic forces are turning out to be a drive for innovation shaping ‘greener’ designs. The car industry is transforming the ‘green challenge’ of low emissions into a selling point rather then a costly burden. In aviation manufacturing the ‘less is more’ principle has been applied into radical levels.

Only recently the field of architecture has grasped environmental awareness as a basis for innovation and Smart Architecture is a proposal to push this awareness further in a light and graceful approach to design. It regards architecture as interactive – takes buildings and cities as an interface between the users and the surrounding. Smart Architecture is therefore system-based, is evolutionary and sees technology not as an enemy of mankind and nature but as an ally. With this approach in mind, this research started off to gather useable concepts, techniques and examples in field of architecture and design.

The question as to what Smart Architecture really is, has been approached from two parallel sides. An extensive (re)search for examples from relating fields brought a wide range of possible ideas on the table, but simultaneously thinking from a system-based approach generated a profile of what the task of an architect and its designs under this paradigm would be.

“Instead of being merely the producer of a unique three-dimensional product, architects should see themselves as programmers of a process of spatial change. The time factor and the fact that life is enacted in dynamic processes needs incorporating in the architectural design. A process-based architecture of this order brings about a process rather than a finished article, a set of possibilities that puts the product aspect in the hands of its users.” (Piet Vollaard, co-editor)


The project two years research has materialised in the form a book which contains four chapters: Time – on future dynamics, System – on cycles and systems, Efficiency – on efficient building and ProcessPractice – on a new breed of architectural practices.

Through the project Smart Architecture an informal expertise network has developed, and a wide selection of sources and data has been set up. Most significant, it has arrived at sketching an approach towards design and architecture – which has been made public through the resulting book Smart Architecture.

  • [team ] Ed van Hinte, Marc Neelen, Jacques Vink, Piet Vollaard
  • [hardcopy ] paperback: 240 pages, language: English
  • [ISBN-10 ]: 9064504903
  • [publisher ] 010 Publishers / Uitgeverij, Rotterdam
  • [background ] Smart Architecture project is an initiative of the SLA Foundation, the Netherlands, established in 1998. The Smart architecture book has been supported by the Fund for Architecture and the Prince Bernhard Cultural Foundation.
  • [timeline ] februari 2001 – december 2003