Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I've been running a workshop at the EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) on "Scripted Architectures," reviewing techniques for generating architectural form and spatial organization using code logics, and summarizing those techniques in the syllabus for a masters-level studio to be taught this fall. According to the EPFL brief:

This studio explores contemporary digital techniques for architectural form finding. We will use biologically-inspired geometrical models to generate building forms with a certain organic elegance, affective complexity and environmental performance. The studio scripts a skyscraper as a final project.

It's been an intense week with a lot of productive thinking, too much to share here and now. But I plan to write a paper or article on it all and try to publish it soon. But suffice it to say that the dominant themes are:

Code Logics
The inheritance of systems research from bio-sciences and computer science, but not to be confused with natural systems or biological metaphors, instead these are systemic strategies used for organizing form and material in ways that cannot be done by analogue means, and as such they intend to solve problems that require code logics rather than enhancing that which can be resolved without them.

A byproduct of coded logics and parametric flexibility within the systemic approach. This is not a new concept by any means, but is a necessary concept for inclusion, since it forces the designer to design the system over the final product, making each version of the final product perfect examples of the designed system. This also applies to issues typology, especially with regards to Moneo's analysis of Palladian architecture in "Oppositions."

aka "performalism," "elegance," "decadence," "super-nature" or "visual opulence," and can be described as the transcendence of form beyond pure performance and into the realm of affect and aesthetics. It is not to be confused with the term "organic", but rather it is the incorporation of code logics, versioning and a lust for formal excess (affect).

To conclude, the example above (generated during the workshop) attempts to address these 3 themes using a set of codes adapted from my graduate thesis. As an experiment in form and workflow it has no program other than what the viewer assumes. Half balloon, half plaza art-piece, and 10% in celebration of Anish Kapoor, it isn't anything but inspiration for the process. From here, we'll testit as a hypothesis and see what the students generate.


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