Let’s dance

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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