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Digital Tectonics

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Book by Neil Leach, David Turnbull and Chris Williams

Critical essay by Trinidad Gomez.

‘For how can the digital be tectonic? And how -for that matter- can the tectonics be digital?’ Neil Leach

In this book, Neil Leach explains the behaviour between digital and tectonics, and how nowadays we can see this popular topic as a new paradigm for thinking architectural culture.

This concept is developed since the first contributions in the field of computation changed architecture, how “Emergent” behaviour participated in the evolution of the digital and engineers system, and how the architecture has evolved, because of the participation of other disciplines, such as economics, programming, engineering, etc.

Steven Johnson developed the concept “Emergence”, explaining it as a system made of relatively simple elements, organized spontaneously and without explicit laws,  giving rise to intelligent behaviour. Computer programming is just a set of rules, where every of this set has only one possible interpretation and all these rules together can make a big result, but just if they work as a system, where in this book assumes that the design by algorithms works like this.

The interesting part is, that this system doesn’t need any kind of intelligence to make it a possible result, but of course they have the power of calculation. So in this part, it begins to have issues with this fact, because it appears that computers do everything, but at the end, designers are in charge to control all that they are designing.

Nowadays, the architectural process is linked with engineering more than ever, because of the facility of the control of the design and the ease to develop the complex shapes.

Everything has a method of design with a mathematical explanation, since Le Corbusier’s module has an algorithm process until now Zaha Hadid’s projects has a very complex programming code for obtain the unique shapes and surfaces.

In conclusion, a new paradigm of architecture related with digital tectonics has developed more complex digital platforms that helps to understand more closely all the details that are related to architecture whereby this results in the fact convert algorithmic language of part of architectural process nowadays. Engineer and architect’s relationship is now more than ever linked to the development of more complex structures and surfaces, converting architecture not just as space but a very complete detail process.

‘Architecture was born not of the algorithmic potential of computers programs, but the tectonics capacities of actual materials’ Chris Williams.

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Deleuze and the genesis of the form by Manuel de Landa.

This author talks about the beginnings of the form with a particular scientific and artistic vision at the same time. The lecture is base of that Deleuze believes that the form is not spontaneous and the process is the most important on the existent of the form.
In this text he start talking about his disagreement with the philosophers of the western which the theories of the form are like the example of the religious Creationism, where they said that everything begin with a god’s mind, and is then imposed by a command on an obedient and docile matter.
Deleuze gives an example with bubbles, he said that this thing has an endogenous topological form where a topological point starting with the behavior of the molecules from the energy creating a perfect sphere. In the other hand with the same factor it could occur a perfect cube with the same process and evolution.
Other topic that he mentioned was the real and the virtual where if we talk about humans the DNA is the virtual, because it has a lot of potentialities for creating something, and the real in this case are the human as the final result.
Also is very important the way that the author presents the thermodynamic by the example of the two containers with different temperatures of air. He is mention that the physics and thermodynamics cannot help with philosophy of matters because that branch of physics became obsessed with the final equilibrium forms.
Homogenous and heterogeneous are very important concepts in Deleuze work. The ecosystem are compose of many different homogenous spaces like animals and plants where all of them are connected with a specific function that make a perfect system.

Personal research

Is interesting how Deleuze try to explain that with the same process we can have different approaches. It would be very interesting if we try to understand the “virtual” line and factors that the architectures tend to follow, and in the end and start to analyze the “real” of the final form of every topologic on architecture.
If we talk about modernism, how are the virtual for get the result of the project like a modern house, and then compare with contemporary house and make a visualization between the different real or results that we can have just because of the different factors that we have thanks time.

By: Trinidad Gomez.

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