On the aesthetics of variation
“My freedom thus consists in my moving about within the narrow frame that I have assigned myself for each one of my undertakings. I shall go even further: my freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint diminishes strength. The more constraint one imposes, the more one frees one’s self of the claims that shackle the spirit.” Stravinsky, Poetics of Music, 1952.
Keywords: Shape grammars; Formal composition; Design Schemas; Emergent typology; Subtractive architecture;
This fascination with rules, principles, and systems, and the ways they all inform composition and design is neither a new thing nor a private discourse; rules have always played a paramount role in architectural theory and practice. Quite often, explicit and articulate as in sets of instructions in urban codes, and other times hidden and disguised in habits of actions, rules dominate design processes. Simple design preferences or critical choices among alternatives are often based on intricate webs of encoded rules. Paramount in this world making is the notion of rule as a construct that allows multiplicity of interpretations, welcomes ambiguity and facilitates emergence in design understanding.
The studio will be structured around formal techniques and methods to engage variation; all designs produced will be the outcomes of systematic recursive computations and will collectively comprise families of designs that will share similar characteristics.
The functional program of the studio will focus on housing and will explore issues pertaining to unit, type, variation, and aggregation. The formal program of the studio project will focus on low-rise courtyard structures (land-huggers) and their ability to maximize surface exposure and proximity to the ground. The potential for energy gains vis-à-vis these two main design characteristics will be considered as well.
- Mitchell W, 1990. “Languages of Architectural Form” in The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition, MIT Press.
- Mitchell W 1990. “Types and Vocabularies” in The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition, MIT Press.
- Mitchell W 1990. “Function” in The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition, MIT Press.
- Mitchell W 1990. “Functionally Motivated Design” in The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition, MIT Press.
- Knight T and G Stiny, 2001. “Classical and non-classical computation”. ARC: Architectural Research Quarterly (Vol5: 04)
- Stiny G and March L, 1981. “Design Machines” Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 8 245-255