Towards a computational architecture

ARH art03

Ionuț Anton
”Arhitectura” no. 3

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Architecture has always been very permeable, it has absorbed concept that society was tangling with. Architects are always in a feverish search for anew, and are always trying to reinvent themselves. the consequence for that is the trespassing of the limits that already have been established by tradition in architecture, the constant search for a new principle, a new technology, a new tool to use as a generating element in the design process.
In the last two decades we have witnessed an infusion of digital technology in architecture. These technologies have changed the way that we perceive architecture, using concept from biology, mathematics or philosophy that have interpreted and applied through computation. The contemporary architectural discourse seems to be invaded by evolutive systems, topological geometries and is bound to search for continuity through diversity and non-linearity.
An architecture based on computation means more than labeling this amalgam of terms, it proposes the use of the computer as a tool for analysis and conceptual design. Computation will transform concepts into streams of bits and generating rules, adapting the structure and function to performance parameters, form-finding through self-organizing systems.
The ability of digital technology lies in the power to relate and use a very large amount of information to generate a result as a specific answer to the complexity of today’s world. Now we can abandon the reductionist world view, through which we were limited to understand only simplified models of the phenomena around us.
The complexity of the world around us urges us to have another approach in which we must consider all relations and emerging contextual constraints if we wish to develop an architecture as an exact reflection of our society. Thus we call on control systems that mediate the interaction between architect and the data and information flux that we must bring into the design process. The computational environment proved to excel at this process of transforming data through a logical sequence that generates significant results.
Parametric modelling offers another way of generating architectural form which displays a wide range of possibilities, so the stable is replaced by variable, singularity and multiplicity. Focus is moving towards the equations that describe the relations between objects, and correlations are established, as opposed to a imposition of a rigid form.
The generative digital process opens new perspectives for an architecture that is focused on emergent properties and adaptivity of form. Thus the interest moves from form making to form-finding, i.e. from a top-down approach in which the architect imposes a solution for architecture in a dictatorial manner, in a hierarchical way, from the large to the detail, towards a bottom-up approach, where the logic of individual components and variations are influenced by local parameters that negotiate a global form.