‘Extreme Detail’ Workshop at Aarhus School of Architecture

Two weeks ago, just in time for Halloween, masters students from Studio M:A:D, where I teach, and Studio Digital Transformation participated in a one week workshop to design and fabricate a lantern.

Students were divided into three teams, and were introduced to generative logics with Grasshopper, iterative form finding with Kangaroo, and making with our 5-axis CNC mill.   It was an ambitious, but successful project to introduce a culture of digital making at the school.   The lanterns are currently exhibited in the school’s canteen.



The Monstrous Urban Subject

This series of posts collects disparate writings related to my thesis work at ETH.  The thesis questions and uncovers the role of technology in what I term a ‘Performative Urbanism’.  Some of the writing is more academic in nature, but I hope this doesn’t put anyone off.  This post examines the role of the individual subjectivity in  the city, drawing on my prior research/reading in the area of monstrosity. 

“In bed next to the girl he loves, he forgets that he does not know why he is himself instead of the body he touches. Without knowing it, he suffers from the obscurity of intelligence that keeps him from screaming that he himself is the girl who forgets his presence while shuddering in his arms.”
Bataille, George _ “The Solar Anus”

I want to argue that a new conception of the city should include a radical ecology, as well as a radical conception of urban subjectivity, inter-subjectivity that takes into account not only reified individuals, but rather the interactions and the assemblages that describe the processes at work in the city. A monstrous urbanism encompassing multiple subjectivities and multiplicities. Continue reading The Monstrous Urban Subject

New Ways to Use a Pencil

In a recent conversation with a colleague, we broached the subject of the future potentials for digital fabrication.  Certainly a topic de rigueur, but both of us were of the opinion that as a venue for architectural innovation, it is, if not dead, then we might begin to sound its death knell.

What we observed is that, over the last decade or so, the use (abuse) of digital fabrication technologies in architecture, or more specifically, architectural education has ossified into a seemingly closed set of formal and material expressions that betray the promise of both the tools that exist, and the radical experimentation with digital technologies that preceded it.  It’s made worse by online tutorials that, while necessary, often encourage laziness in students.  We are all too familiar with the grid of laser-cut flat materials representing a complex surface, or contoured models.  Worse, while I was at ETH, I saw perhaps the best equipped digital fabrication facility in a school deployed to churn out the endlessly repeated elements of that school’s renewed fascination with Rossi and that branch of post-modernism.  I might be controversial, but a somewhat analogous practice is Marc Fornes/The Very Many, where we see the same practice of repetition over a geometric element.  In Fornes’ work, certainly a rigorous practice too be sure, we see highly expressive pieces, but in each case, it amounts to the repetition of a singular geometry.  Visual complexity is achieved with a single algorithm, as a substitute for programmatic complexity.

Continue reading New Ways to Use a Pencil