Distributed, networked, electronically tagged, interactive devices are increasingly incorporated into the physically built environment, progressively blurring the boundary between physical and virtual space. This changing relationship between the physical and virtual domains implies not only a change in the operation and use of physically built space but also in its physical configuration, and therefore, its design. Architecture incorporating aspects of intelligence employs information and knowledge contained within the network connecting electronic devices. Thus, the relevant question is not whether intelligent, sentient environments may be built, but how these environments may become instruments for distributed problem solving and how (artificial) intelligence may be embedded into architecture in order to serve everyday life.
In this context, digitally-driven architecture is defined as an architecture that is not only designed and fabricated by digital means but which, actually, incorporates digital sensing-actuating mechanisms that enable buildings to interact with their environment and users in real-time. This paper discusses digitally-driven design and architecture that incorporates on some level bottom-up mechanisms enabling the emergence of global effects from local interactions. While digitally-driven architectural design may imply the emergence of spatial and programmatic formations from contextual (environmental, programmatic, etc.) interactions, digitally-driven architecture employs real-time interaction in the actuation of architectural embodiments, which become dynamic, acting and re-acting in response to environmental and user-specific needs.