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The aesthetics of form in motion has been a central preoccupation for the visual arts of the twentieth century, culminating in the establishment of kinetic art as a distinct area of activity in the 1950's. Architecture has traditionally resisted ‘building kinetics’, but has embraced the body in motion, usually on foot negotiating in (subtle) interaction with static form. However, one aspect in which kinetics would appear to be acceptable is at the building periphery, where intelligent facades track sun angles, or moderate air movement in response to internal temperature sensors. On another track is the proliferation of media facades in various guises that transform facades into urban information interfaces or media art works. This paper suggests that both intelligent and media facades set a different agenda for designers who have traditionally worked towards finding the best static mix of performance and elegance. Arguably, intelligent and media facades raises the question of ontology from a designer perspective - what are the design parameters when the outcome is a kinetic system, rather than the traditional static artifact? In order to approach the issue, this paper examines some precedent from kinetic art of the 1960’s and contemporary generative arts, for the insight they may provide. These sources then inform a preliminary outline of the range of parameters that may be considered by designers.
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