29 March 2010

03.30 Discussion Questions

III_Terminal Velocities
[The Computer in the Design Studio]
Stan Allen

1. Do you believe that the introduction of computers in the design studio has resulted in better architecture and/or more efficient work methods as advertised, or has it created a greater disconnect between the designer and the architecture?

2. Allen talks a lot about the instrumentality of the computer and its function as a tool in the field of architecture. Do you feel that the computer is more of a tool or a hindrance in your design work? (p. 72-73)

3. Allen states that new “techniques of visualization ignore what has traditionally given architectural representation its particular power of conceptualization – its necessary degree of abstraction.” What is it about abstraction that allows an architect to visually communicate more effectively and why are computers often incapable of achieving this? (p. 75)

4. According to Allen, architecture and planning have traditionally been committed to control separation and unitary thinking. How do you think viewing the city as an information landscape can create more transparent, shared, and unified city? (p. 80-83)

5. Allen points out that well known designers like Greg Lynn and Preston Scott Cohen were already interested in “formal complexity and descriptive geometry” before they had access to computers, and as a result their prior research helped guide/inform their digital design techniques. Does this suggest that the training of a young architect should still begin with the development of manual design skills, or should we begin with computer aided design training? (p. 85)

Picon Questions:
1. How do new computer techniques differ from older ones? Can they both be considered virtual reality?
2. When do architects figure out the best possible solution? Can it ever happen?
3. Should textures be used in digital models?
4. What do you think is the future of technology in architecture? How can it improve the field?
5. "The aim of the architect is no longer to propose an alternative, and allegedly better, world but to take the world as it is, to contribute to the further actualization of its potential rather than bring about the advent of remote utopia." (p.307) Do renderings help to create this alternative world?

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