15 April 2013

Week 13 Discussion

Stan Allen - Chapter 3: Terminal Velocities: The Computer in the Design Studio

p. 72 – “But in the rhetorical fictions of the computer, speed brings something else: a future not only more fully integrated with technology, but a promise to recover precisely that which had been destroyed by modernity in the first place. Claims are made for the recuperation of community, self, political space, precision craft, and local identity.” Do you believe a recuperation through speed integrated into technology is possible? Where do you see possible shortfalls in this ability?

p. 72 – “The field of freedom shrinks with speed. And freedom needs a field. When there is no more field, our lives will be like a terminal…” Do you agree with this statement? Are there fields of study which might be more affected by this advancement than others?

p. 72-73 – Is it possible for technology to reach a terminal velocity? Recalling the cat analogy, what floor are we currently working at?

p. 73 – Allen describes physical forms that have now been integrated into binary form (text/books, music/vinyl, pictures/film). This has “led a number of theorists and historians to begin to think of architecture as just another medium.”
What makes architecture equivalent/different to these forms? Given the realm in which we experience the three examples with prescribed senses (sight, listening), is architecture too complex a medium to truly define in a binary fashion?

p. 76 – “Abstraction is no longer a categorical imperative, but one choice among many.”
In the context of the paragraph and our prior discussion of abstraction as a class, do you agree with this statement?

p. 82-83 – In a description of architecture as a field driven by control vs. the uncontrolled, a discussion is made in favor of working to link technology with the uncontrollable variables of city-life to fuse with architecture’s role over time. In other words, a fully controlled development lacks an ability to resolve uncontrolled nuances/variables of the place. In comparing the sprawling, organic growth of a city to a formally organized city (i.e. Paris), does this integration of technology seem favorable? What variables could be simulated?

p. 85 – “Architects who control the means of digital fabrication, for example, can bypass the builder and talk directly to the machine.” What are the pros and cons to this process of design?

p. 89 – Monsters, Inc. vs. Waking Life: What are the benefits or shortfalls of having realistic renderings such as in Pixar’s work relative to the unrealistic texture given to a realistically shot scene as in Waking Life? Does a refined fantasy image limit the ability to further develop the idea beyond the given information?

p. 90 – Neuromancer vs. Pattern recognition: “Gibson’s earlier novels were speculative projections of an imagined future in which technology has radically eroded conventional social order… There is a sense that the imagined future has indeed arrived, but in a form quite different than expected… more subtle, more all-pervasive…” Is it more conceivable to study technology as a futuristic possibility or as a present tool? By perceiving it in the present, is it limiting our abilities to design? If we look too futuristically, are we ignoring more prevalent and realistic problems? How do we work to fuse both concepts?

p. 92 – “A truly emergent architecture could be understood as a lightly fixed scaffold that allows change around a minimal number of secure points, anticipating the participation of multiple agents, in the field.” Does this process of thinking seem capable of acting universally in all projects?

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