If the seventies were the days of the discotheque, the eighties the era of the videotheque (courtesy of Dollar), then the nineties are the age of the Infotheque. What is it? A competition to design one offered a slippery brief: `a showcase for intelligent buildings that demonstrates the present benefits and future potential of communications, information technology and intelligent systems.’ Winners were David Wylie, with a plan to turn Kew Pumping Station into a `virtually unreal’ museum, from which stereo images of the working steam engines would be `pumped’ into schools; and Architectural Association student David Portmann, whose building next to London’s Kings Cross Station would feature interior elements laid out like a neural network, displaying hardware downstairs and software upstairs (see picture). Yes, but can you dance there? The contest was launched by Architecture Today and sponsored by Hewlett-Packard.
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