It is less powerful than I have expected though, as there is some problem about the supporting material in my case. But for simple extrusion models, it is extremely useful and strong! One thing I noticed that there are some self-duplicating elements in the printer which means some components of the printer is actually printer out by itself. In conceptual ideas, it is extremely cool.
The created object is a node in a process. We based on the faber’s “why” of making and the faber’s “how” of using natural resources to create an object. Then the “what” of the object can have different ways of benefiting the major public. One is on the social and cultural changes, and another is on environment which in return beneficial to the people. There could be more on how to benefit back to the people, and these elements are continuously feeding back into the faber’s “why” usually.
The problem noted in the passage of “The status of man and the status of his object” is focused on the development of faber’s “how” has affected the people wants and in returned changed the nature of faber’s “why”. Science develops and has changed the focus of faber to “how” and concerns on the process instead of the end object. The efficiency of making variations and constant upgrading in objects causes the people to have a lot of choices and change choices constantly. They consume the object in large scale. The process of faber “how” and ”why” untill the object finally is beneficial to the people is shortened. The creation of branding and product, is when the faber’s “why” is to satisfy the users and sell to them, and faber’s “how” becomes merely the tool to create quickly and cheaply.
The short-term consumption effect, which refers to mass consumption, reduced the durability and lifetime of objects and suppressed the faber’s “why” by faber’s “how”, or even the faber’s “why” is becoming “how” itself. Then, the problem arises as there are many disputes in what is faber’s “why” actually.
People may blame capitalism for turning our architecture as if it is a product that can be consumed, but I would see that as a drawback that we have to accept if we believe in the importance of individuality in capitalism. I would rather see the rise in science and faber’s “how” as a kind of culture, and that this culture has made a mass consumption effect to the society, which people criticized that the social effect is unhealthy and caused problems in durability and waste. The cultural movement is neutral and just the social problem can be good or not good. Faber’s “how” is over taking the faber’s “why” not because “how” is too overtaking, but instead it is faber’s “why” is not following the advancement in “how” and thus “why” is left behind making us feeling that we have to suppress “how”, which is unnecessary and unachievable.
We have the tools, and just we do not know how to make good use of them and why do we use them like that. We are currently in an era which we have good understanding of a set of rules in a game but without clear objectives. Unfortunately, this contradicted to the idea of architecture that we have clear objectives but no guiding set of rules.
The problem put forward to this era should be how do we evolve our thinking of “why” or to dig deeper to the heart that “why” we originally make objects if it is not only about utility. Is it the social problem we wanted to solve, so that is “why”? Is it a culture that we wanted to promote and that’s why? Is it the civilization advancement that we wanted to express to reflect we are different from the past and that’s why? Is it the aesthetics values that we wanted to create as an artistic expression of life and that is why? I would say yes to all of the questions, with acknowledged that they are gradient in terms of importance for different eras. I would say some of them are out-dated reasons for faber’s “why” as in other aspects of the society, there are something already playing a stronger role than architecture in those aspects. I would not deny the values in any of those aspects for architecture. They are essential, but they are becoming less efficient and thus start to lose their roles for architecture.
In terms of new kind of thinking in response to the quickly developed faber’s “how”, is to see potentials in them, but not just merely rejecting them as evils from the hell.
The separation of faber’s “how” and faber’s “why” was a big mistake. I admit that architecture made recently is like a drunken man with a magic wand, and he created a whole new world of potentials without any reasons. We can prohibit the people from using the wand again and use the old method of thinking in faber, or we start to learn how to become magicians and look for new meanings for us and our objects.
“The mathematical phenomenon always develops out of simple arithmetic, so useful in everyday life, out of numbers, those weapons of God; the Gods are there, behind the wall, at play with numbers.” – By Le Corbusier
This quote reminded me that the human wish to become the God, or at least to imitate. Isn’t it the ultimate goal of faber is not to create an utopia, but just to create a world and platform that inhibit lives and objects harmonically and allow rooms for freedom?
I am actually worrying about another revolution of mechanical reproduction that is happening nowadays which is the technology of 3D printing and 3D scanning. One could in fact duplicate a completely the same object from even a fully natural and non-man made thing (Ref: http://www.123dapp.com/catch, which we can just scan anything with just our iphones). Another technology is about the “parametric design”, in which a lot of people has misinterpreted it and superficially categorized it as “blob” looking objects. The fundamental thing of it is the idea to allow users to modify relationships between various features while tracking the history of those changes, thus updating all interrelationships performed after modification.
The reason why I bring forward the two things is that because I think mechanical production has evolved. We can duplicate non-man made things (natural things) and that we can duplicate variations of the original parent of the copies (the parametric design).
I do see the consequence of nowadays mechanical production as taking away the value of art as an act/activity of cultivation too. Yet, it can now be reduced not to an image only, but somehow just the logic of generation, if we regard things of different looks (image) that are actually generated from the same logic are duplicates to each other.
Then, we would ask what is the point of artistic production, if we do not want to fall back to Tafurian position and want to take up the mantle of moving on. I am not as good as Benjamin, but if the reduction to generation logic rather than an image is correct, how do we create new forms of art and new forms of seeing for today?
After asking this question, I started to understand why some people worked on the natural production of things, the biology. It is because if architecture was reduced to the generation logic, we would like to know how the “God” do that and how we can benefit from it. I still have no position on that but I do not think retreating back to Tafurian position is a good idea as I believe technology develops continuously, architecture has to be informed by it. Retreating would detach architecture from the present, which ultimately architecture would become unchanged, static and finally died.
Ornament is regarded as useless decoration, and even a crime to commit according to Adolf Loos. However, if we really define ornament as things that has no functions than to be seen, I would conclude that ornament has never been disappeared, and that all buildings contains ornament. The difference is, at which position it is located in the spectrum between ornament and structure.
There was a fundamental change in the role of ornament in the 18th century – The gothic correction. In gothic, the ribs was investigated to have derive a self-system in the beginning, and then the problem is introduced to create an overall united structure and space. The process is starting from the ornamental side. However, what Eugene suggested is introduce the structure first and then decorate the structure by ornaments, and different elements are separated as discrete objects. Both of them lies in-between ornament and structure, but they are fundamentally different.
Another milestone happened around in the early 19th century, under the special events, The World War I and the industrial revolution of mass production. Buildings are demolished and people deseparately wish to rebuild their society. They are deseparate patients, and Adolf Loos came out as the doctor. He suggested that denying ornament is the cure and that mass productionis the medicine. Thus architecture was further pushed to the right side of the spectrum, with added values of program space and circulation on top of structure alone.
However, when we take a look of the modernism afterwards, we find doubts. Mies proposed “ Less is more,” and used I-beam system as a language. Did anyone asked or challenged the non-structural use of I-beam in some of his buildings? Are those necessarily to be I-beam in such cases? Frank Lloyd Wright instructed the locations of stones one by one when he build the Fallingwater. Did anyone ask why again? Why such a stone has to be precisely placed at that particular location? We cannot tell exactly why and for what exact purpose, unless we admit that ornamental thinking or ornamental objects has never been removed and are just hidden. Ornament exist in every single building, and it is always be with us.
Post-modernism created more values and problems that architects have to be taken care of. Buildings become more performative, responsive and also expressive as well as dynamic. “The technology of universe is directed to the production of beauty,” and I also think that beauty is directed by technology in return. As technology develops, our right side of the spectrum is being challenged. The trend in dematerialization, virtual shops, virtual friends and even virtual neighbourhood are questioning the traditional program space. Computers are creating relationship as well as space. 3D printers are also challenging that there could be no process of assembling, making and fabricating. Our problems on the right side of the spectrum tends to be easily solved by technology with efficiency. We are losing are base ground for architectural ideas. Is it time for us to raise the problem of beauty and aesthetics values that we have long be avoiding to talk about?
Another argument is that the top-down thinking of solving a bunch of different problems on the right side of the spectrum. We have too much wished and fantasies to allow a single architectural form and solution to solve our wants. There has been a lot of doubts on whether the architectural solution generated from the problems has really solved the problems. Why not we start from the left side of the spectrum, which is a bottom-up method, and research on how system of things can benefit us in return. To encounter the thing directly, and to investigate it to see how our problems can be solved by them.
'Thos are old problems in architecture, but we have no new tools for old problems.'
Another problem is if we start from beauty, what is beauty? Beauty is sympathy for things, first proposed by Theodor Lipps. It is a philosiphy on how people look at things, empathy for it, become it, and see how the things actually operates and grow in a harmony way. It is our instinct to do this. And this also applys to how we look at dead objects.
'We finally gain back the power of architects and that we have to find our way back to beauty.'
'A modern man who tattoos himself is either a criminal or a degenerate.' Adolf Loos is the first architect who proposed to abandon the use of decorative ornaments in 1908. He believes that ornament is erotic in nature, out-dated in expressinng the culture nowadays, and most importantly, it is a waste of money, materials and human resources. Traditional ornament are functionless, and craftmanship-oriented.
Not long after, WWI begins and buildings are demolished in a dramatic way. WWI and mass production of the industrial revolution have both facilicated the born of functionalism, as the people at that time concerns more on the functions of a building and ignored the aesthetics values, and even regarded functions as aesthetics in nature. Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Alvar Aalto, Mies van der Rohe and Gerrit Rietveld came up to sing high for the functionalist. International style steps in afterwards, and buildings are starting to be the same, at least from its outfit.
In the 1980s, complex geometry architecture started to appear. Greg Lynn, Steven Holl, Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid steer their architecture away from simple geometry and pure functionalism. They make use of mathematics and technology advancement to create architecture. Programming and scripting are used to strengthen the link between reason for architecture and the product of architecture. Although some of them may look like a drunken man with a magic wand, at least they contributed to the ideas of individualism, customization and differentiation for which the people nowadays concerns more about.
Gaudi was unlucky that he borned too early; and Adolf Loos was so lucky that he borned at the right time. The WWI has poured concrete to Loos' theory. What if there was no WWI and what if Gaudi's idea for architecture did not die in the hands of low-technology? History is always contradictory. Gaudi is tattooed, and if Loos is still alive, Zaha Hadid is tattooed too. In the eyes of Loos, the demon of ornament has waken up after his sealing off 100 years ago. The ornamental orchitecture seems to be reviving, at least, in a different form and idea of an ornament.
Is ornamental architecture dead? Maybe it is reviving, in another kind of logical way. If the traditional ornament is regarded as functionless and craftmanship-oriented; the contemporary ornament is regarded as responsive to nature and digitally fabricated. By the use of digital fabrication nowadays, the waste of money, time and human resources will no longer be a problem. It is also easy to give precise controlling instruction to the machines but not to the sculpters. We have arrived to a time which Loos worries for ornament are just too desperate.
Architectural history development is non-linear, but branched. Sometimes, different ideas or styles come in parallel and some of them was degenerated and left their tails in the history. However, even they go in parallel, they have similar origins and those origins are inspirations of the past styles or ideas. They go in parallel afterwards because of the differences in stimulations and responses. If we regard the transition from decorative architecture to functional architecture a disconnection, it is better to say that the decorative architecture just did not survived in that particular context of the time, and functionalism survived and developed because it suited the thinking of people of the time.
What is developable surface? What are hyperbolic geometries? How can L-system, knot theory and even game theory be applied to architecture?
If you are attracted to these kinds of problems, I think this book is very much useful to you. In fact, in this world, there are people working on these architectural mathematics. I just realize that they even concluded these into a book already.
Have a look:
Book: The New Mathematics of Architecture
Author: Jane Burry + Mark Burry
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
I was reading two passages recently. Both of the passage research on the idea to create a freeform shape. One concentrated on how to make and the other concentrated on why we make.
It is quite interesting that some people may feel strange about the topics and find that irrelevant to a student in architecture. It maybe readings for an engineering student instead. The last generation of architects of Hong Kong are trained under the great influence of the modernism, which people are more interested in how people and architecture interact and more interested in social problem issue. They put less stress on the making of form. They believe that it is the job of the engineer or of the contractor. They used social concerns as a solution for their architectural form, and putting structural issue a minority part. They regard the form as a tool to "solve", "relief" or "express" a problem in the city. I would regard that as an artistic approach, which no one would very much concern on how effectively these social problems are tackled by architecture. After all, if such problems does not really tackled, the "social problems" are just excuses for form generation. Of course, some projects solved problem as they claimed, but some did not. This lead people to think about another way of thinking.
I believe the people nowadays are looking for smart geometry, which the form of the architecture is more directly related to structural and environmental issue. The problems of structure and environment are tackled effectively, smartly, directly and beautifully. They are responsive to the surrounding like an animal, structurally natural and easy to make (which one of the reading is trying to convey) , so why not we do it? I believe this thinking is still not at a mature stage yet, as there are still a lot of problems we have not solved, and we are still quite remaining on the topics like how we make and what we can make. I do not mean that we are on the wrong way, and I will regard smart geometry approach to architecture as a response to the overly stressed social approach in the past. I will regard the stress in structure in why we make as an essential element but also a superficial element. I believe, at the end of the days, we are not just making some architecture that is structural and cheap to build. One day, the social approach should somehow weave with the smart geometry approach, and we are now just on the way of exploring what smart geometry can do for us. We could come to a day that we have explored enough and look backwards. That will be the day why we have go that far.
I now start working on a project about ornamental revival in the way of parametric design.
During the machine age or the so called industrial revolution, people started to rethink the idea of ornament. They conclude with the statement "Form follows function, Ornament is Crime." Then, in the next several years, architects like Mies, Corbusier and Alvar Aalto make successful works during the time. As history develops, the architects nowadays are bored of the mainly function generated building and they are now interested in complex geometries, like Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas.
When we rethink the development of history, it seems that there could be a connection between complex geometry and ornament. The days of Mies and Corbusier seem to be side-tracking in history. They rejected ornament in the past due to its relying on craftsmanship and its functionless nature. However, the parametric ornament defined here can overcome these two drawbacks. They can be respectively solved by responsive nature and digital fabrication by nowadays technology.
The columns made by Michael Hansmeyer is a very good example. He used scripting to create the ornamental effects, and he fabricated the arbitrary-looking columns in very precise sectioning lasercut method. Although the columns do not have responsive nature to the environment and the people around them, he is pushing the limit of computational design. He is also doing a lot of studies on computational architecture at this website : http://www.michael-hansmeyer.com/
I have been reading a book, Scripting Cultures. It is an architectural reading being put inside the civil engineering category in HKU book store. It does not talk about how to script, but it concerns more on why you script.
I just read till the third chapter, and I found the book inspiring and made me feel that there are some people working in the way like me. I am not alone.
The book discussed a point which I want to bring it up. It said that CAD was quite a failure in the time it has been introduced to the architects. It was taught in a way as a "drafting" tools rather than a "design" tool. That is why computering did not make a very evolutionary change to architecture. And now we are facing another round of revolution. This time we should not make the same mistake. Mark Burry thinks that if we need to introduce programming to architectural students, we need to find scripting designers to teach but not the so called "computer people" who studied computation science.
Many of my colleagues in HK regards scripting or grasshopper as a productivity tool, or regard it as a "technical skill", or even "not a theoretical skill". But I am afraid as you step out of your design comfort zone, and explore what it is, you will regard that point of view as superficial. Scripting do have a lot of potentials in terms of design. It is the footprints of what you think during your design process. You can experiment, and do your design precisely. It can be used to simulating and studying any phenomena in a logical way. As Mark Burry has categorized, the three big stream of applications are : scripting for productivity, experimenting by scripting a path to the answer, and lastly to script for a voyage of discovery.
There are quite a number of critics of scripting architecture or the always misused term, "parametric design". I believe most of the critics were brought by people scripting for the sake of scripting, and some people just copy scripts from the others and making a lot of repetitive 'design'. The well-known voronoi is the best example. There are very few designers who invent innovative scripts nowadays. And that's why bring scripting so much bad reputation from the traditional architectural students who do not even dare to step outside of their comfort zones.
To me, I think, what I have learnt from U Hall, never give a conclusion of one thing is good or bad too quickly before you have engaged with it. This will just put you in a situation that you will never evolve and grow.
I am still a very novice scripter. I just merely handle the grasshopper. I now started the more fundamental scripting. Practice makes perfect, Add oil.
Just sent out my second try for Evolo Skyscraper Competition. Good Luck. (I was lazy, it is just the reformatting of my Yr4 1st semester project)