Digital design offers a direct connection to fabrication and experimentation, positioning the architect within an integrated bespoke process of invention. Technology profoundly affects this spatial relationship with context, necessitating its own language- that of the contextual derivative of which it is integrated.
The term ‘technology’ has developed into an ubiquitous catch phrase signifying potentially everything and nothing at once. It manifests the potential to make society more human or inhuman, shift allegiances, surveil, but also connect. Technology is culture and culture is technology that defines and develops spatial relationships.
Technology is also information. Exposing and accessing this information, novel ways for connecting architecture to infrastructure fundamentally changes how design inverts from a top-down to a bottom-up procedure uncovering the implications on spatial interrelationships predicated from a feedback loop of material and emergence, necessitating trans- and extra-disciplinary collaboration, and situating the designer in a more worldly and universal position. As information, technology is not simply a device but is fundamentally changing the human interface- to which architecture must respond.
Historically and theoretically, the grid illustrates an emphasis on the traditional ordering of space in architecture. Colin Rowe’s theories have been an influential basis for modernism, employing 4-and 9-square grids but were deliberately immaterial, lacking depth. Rowe flattened the orthographic projection to justify his rationale.
The commentary on the grid illustrates its role in architectural design (analogous to the multiplicities of dogma), which is emphatically ingrained in design culture for which digital design still argues and defends its continued influence, ignoring the transformational logic which displaces the digital design process from the traditional design process.
Architecture’s relationship with technology/ information has the potential to fundamentally develop the foundations of architectural design and inform complex building design confronting the designer with alternative methodologies and design drivers. While Rowe employed the grid as a device to ‘solve’ classical and modern works of architecture, this desire to ‘solve’ form through a predefined rationale remains to be argued in digital design through algorithms, components, parametrics, and others.
Emmanuel Petit, in his Log journal article Spherical Penetrability: Literal And Phenomenal outlined the spatial analyses of Rowe’s (and Robert Slutzsky’s) Phenomenal Transparency with his criticisms and argument. Petit’s response regards the nuance of digital form and novel formal possibilities. The example he offers is UNStudio's Mobius House. Placing the Mobius as the formal manifestation of a mathematical formula, Rowe and UnStudio both address the influence of mathematics in architecture. Petit’s argument posits Rowe’s investigation as a flat, 2-dimensional study, while the study of the Mobius as a volumetric loses Cartesian definition, and thus, the grid. These arguments present architectural design as formal and autonomous utilizing a preconceived process, form, or rationale for the creation of space.
The ontological relationship of technology and architecture is becoming paramount, necessitating pioneering procedures for exploring the potential of this paradigm. While the Mobius is intriguing formally, the mathematician allocates its value in its function and integration into other formulas or in the inverse.
Technology offers a different perspective on the understanding of systems and connections, necessitating a probing inquisition as opposed to merely surface and form. Similarly, our traditional understanding of the brain is often via x-ray imaging. However, by changing the material through which the brain is examined, the conceptual nature of the brain is re-presented.
Fundamentally missing from these studies is materiality and material constraints, which reveal unexposed relations. The diffusion MRI demonstrates a fundamentally different understanding of the brain with novel form and nuance. Technology as information, materialized, exposes sites of investigation, intersections of transmission and reception, functions, trajectories, and space, promoting resiliency while creating an integrated architecture of connection and opportunity.
Amorphic space addresses:
Position of the Analyst:
An integration into the spatial diagram as an extension of the field of technology, the analyst, constructing the spatial condition as a receptor of information.
Spatiality of Analysis:
The inverted volumetric. Where digitally generated architecture used technology to devlop surface and volume, the spatiality of amorphic space posits architecture as the receptor, evolving to be autonomous and self-maintaining in repair, defense, control, and improvement, key to its emergent process. A feedback loop is intrinsic to the development of the architecture between spatial analysis and material. Projections upon development are transformative as opposed to destructive. Knowledge is processed.
Logic of Transparency:
Iinherent spatiality and form-finding is developed from within- the collaboration and combination of material and technology/ information.
Fundamental Geometric Distinction:
Architecture is a receptor of technology. A feedback loop develops the form, promoting a bottom-up design process.
As a design model, this breaks from traditional architectural dogma to the industrial revolutions currently revolutionizing culture and society in scale, amplitude, and complexity through robotics, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and more. This model, as a bottom-up process, welcomes transdisciplinary exploration and infused creativity- as Mumford notes that a lack of hierarchy is a bastion for creativity citing Walden and Moby Dick as examples of great works not by literary giants but by a “pencil-maker” and a “common sailor”, respectively. Specializations, as he notes, “…can only be justified as temporary expedients”.
The design process thus begins to represent a Manimal, the output of a man, lion, and snake as the result of technology (software). The unique identity of the product, is the seamlessly amalgamated parts in which it is challenging, if not impossible, to find the boundaries between component parts and a new being is created with its own unique traits. It is its own creature. A successful process conceals the boundaries between material, form, and performance, so that the work of architecture spawns its own traits and acquires its own characteristics.