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Info-Matter and Formal Autonomy: The Expansion of Authorship in Materiality

Abstract

The essay extends previous claims by the author on the problematic relationship between computation and the relative authorship of the designer when using interfaces, common algorithms or even drawing manually through computer aided design software. The current essay extends the previous claims to discuss authorship in relation to information materialization. There is a necessary expansion of the work of the designer-architect in working with information materialization. It seems necessary today not only to develop innovative algorithms, but also to be able to claim higher levels of authorship when incorporating the new emerging digital fabrication paradigm. The argument proposes a series of questions that intend to expose the sedimented structures that become referential between the different types of digital fabrication mechanisms and the interfaces that control them. The essay proposes to displace the common emerging types of mechanisms and the software interfaces that control them, including the protocols and algorithms that translate information between the computer numeric control mechanisms and their interfaces. In parallel the essay discusses innovation relative to materiality and new matter, extending the work of the architect as well. While previously architects chose typical materials to work with understanding their potential and combinatory latent logic to create an original syntax even at the level of details, contemporary architects research new means of understanding and ultimately creating matter. The ultimate proposition questions that the development of new technologies does not necessarily secure design authorship, but it may be the location where conflicts for the development of an expanded cultural project may emerge. Information materialization presents an extension of the place of origination of contemporary architecture.
INFO MATTER
Matias del Campo
Nimish Biloria
upcoming publication 2015
Info-Matter and Formal Autonomy:
The Expansion of Authorship in Materiality
Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa*
Affiliation: The School of Architecture of The Cooper Union
E-mail: pabloeiroa@yahoo.com
Abstract
The essay extends previous claims by the author on the problematic relationship
between computation and the relative authorship of the designer when using
interfaces, common algorithms or even drawing manually through computer aided
design software. The current essay extends the previous claims to discuss authorship
in relation to information materialization. There is a necessary expansion of the work
of the designer-architect in working with information materialization. It seems
necessary today not only to develop innovative algorithms, but also to be able to claim
higher levels of authorship when incorporating the new emerging digital fabrication
paradigm. The argument proposes a series of questions that intend to expose the
sedimented structures that become referential between the different types of digital
fabrication mechanisms and the interfaces that control them. The essay proposes to
displace the common emerging types of mechanisms and the software interfaces that
control them, including the protocols and algorithms that translate information
between the computer numeric control mechanisms and their interfaces.
In parallel the essay discusses innovation relative to materiality and new matter,
extending the work of the architect as well. While previously architects chose typical
materials to work with understanding their potential and combinatory latent logic to
create an original syntax even at the level of details, contemporary architects research
new means of understanding and ultimately creating matter. The ultimate proposition
questions that the development of new technologies does not necessarily secure design
authorship, but it may be the location where conflicts for the development of an
expanded cultural project may emerge. Information materialization presents an
extension of the place of origination of contemporary architecture.
1. Introduction
We are in an era of continuous accelerating paradigm-change. While technology is
marking architecture actualization, our discipline seems not to be able to displace its
cultural baggage in relation to such change. This is the emerging task of digital
architecture: to expand the discipline in relation to a reality in continuous
augmentation. But the kind of disciplinary expansion that is more relevant today is
more interesting than a pure incursion into other disciplines. It demands a different
kind of disciplinary expansion able to claim authorship at new levels of architecture
signification. This implies a redefinition of the boundaries of the discipline after
decades of transdisciplinary expansion.
While we are getting used not to question an increasing relegation of authorship, such
position demands less from the architect who is getting used to assemble reality out of
shared algorithms, and implementing fabrication technologies provided by an
experimental industry. The digital architect must claim authorship to new levels in a
reality in continuous augmentation, challenging the condition of comfort by
consuming what's available in a discipline trapped by the notion of choice. Regarding
choice as a problem, or a relegation of authorship, the architect must be able to stand
ahead of the merely secure position of coming up with solutions to a society, which
continuously proposes choices, such as those given by technological production. The
critical instance is to critique the assumed point of departure or the origination of the
conditions that we are faced with. It is quite more relevant today to be able to question
the processes that establish sets of alternative scenarios of possibilities rather than be
forced to choose. We relegate authorship each time we are asked to choose among
given options or asked to make a decision when we consume, when we work on our
computers through deterministic algorithms, when we use our cell phones or when we
simply connect to any system. We are relegating authorship when we use interfaces,
software or given algorithms. In architecture it became clear the necessity to program
our own codes rather than exhausting the possibilities among a given interface or a
CAD system or software package1. This process starts by first recognizing and then
displacing the generic common structures of algorithms. The discussion that emerged
back between 2004 and 2010 relative to authorship is actualized in terms of
materialization. Since it is clear that if architects do not displace or create the base
codes of algorithms that structure their work, this will be capped by the
predetermination of the set of ideas and structures contained in the programs.
There is a continuous relegation of authorship to programmers and technologists in the
several formal, geometrical, means of visualization and fabrication that set up the
conditions through which we work. The previous warning presented by the
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1 Authorship relative to computation was one of the first problems the author raised in the ACADIA 2010 conference
that he co-chaired. Carpo M. (2011) The Alphabet and the Algorithm refers to similar problems with a different
ideological position.
reproducibility and reversibility of a project indexed by information interfaces and
computer algorithms is now expanded to information materialization. It seems
necessary to question the prescription that these systems present to our discipline so
that we are aware of the sets of issues we are facing.
But rather than framing these questions just as a problem of digital fabrication, it is
rather interesting to think them within the category of info-matter or information
materialization presented by this book. What seems to be the most interesting advance
-to be able to directly print our digital model in scale or directly as an object building-
may be one of the issues to decipher in expanding our discipline. It seems that one of
the issues is the reproducibility of the object-building form in relation to first
information actualization through interfaces and then in terms of digital fabrication or
information materialization. Questioning representation must be a common procedure
in both of these processes. Since there is no information without representation there
are processes of representation in any information-based translation, and this applies
to any machine executing a protocol to fabricate a digital model through an aggregate
or a CNC mechanism. The benefit in the direct translation of a digital form into
matter tends to be naturalized. This apparent benefit avoids the questioning and
displacement of the several translation mechanisms that happen between the digital
model and the fabricated actualization. This conventionalization of the intermediation
of the several processes that occur beholds fabrication from reaching a higher level of
artistic autonomy.
Independently from the questions of reproducibility that come with any digital media,
this naturalization is a miss-opportunity to think critically of information
materialization. Operating critically within the several complex processes that define
digital fabrication implies an expansion over the conventional notions of
materialization stabilized by the discipline. This means avoiding any linear
actualization in digital fabrication without questioning the processes of representation
implicit in the many translations between interfaces, protocols and machinic
execution. This also means questioning the physical and structural properties that
become active in the process of materialization.
Thus it seems imperative the exploration of the current investigation: to question the
relationship between information processing and information materialization.
Software developers set the pace of technology providing material update to
architecture, determining its actualization. Software and interfaces structure the work
through these interfaces, producing interdisciplinary trends that originate in the realm
of the programmer, who hence presets the relations through which architects work.
The consequences of these problems range from the irrelevance of the discipline to the
relegation of authorship in a project, which tends to belong increasingly to the
developer or to the technologist that propose the sets of conditions within which the
project is originated. Technologist establish the ideology of the form, the type of
dynamic representation and interaction the designer works with, as well as aesthetic
factors which end up determining the work.
The most interesting aspect of practicing architecture today focuses on these issues:
how to redefine and expand the autonomy of architecture in relation to the project of
computation. This can be done by architecture proposing innovative algorithmic
structures, by exploring the potential of the definition of new concepts of space and by
defining new means of critical materialization. This may be one of the interesting
means by which architecture may influence other disciplines instead of being
configured merely by interdisciplinary exchange.
Previously discussed cases like the relationship between Peter Eisenman and Form-Z
have become the basis for an experimental practice. Eisenman had a specific problem:
his office needed to develop physical models of curved surfaces defined digitally in
the computer. He presented the problem to Chris Yessios, founder of Form-Z and
together with Greg Lynn they developed an algorithm widely used in digital
manufacturing today: the unfold surface (surface unrol / dev. surf in Rhino).This older
example set up the beginnings of information materialization and certain fabrication
techniques, since not only there was a capacity to materialize precisely a digital model,
but also a new tool or algorithm informed the popularity of a software interface.
2. Materialization as reference
Form is structured by interfaces, and this gives relevance to the formation of what was
defined as a new-structuralism2. The increasing number of interfaces informing a
project, are layers where information is represented, translated, cross and presented.
These interfaces work as intermediary spaces and thus they relate to theories of
representation of Erwin Panofsky3. If interfaces are representational spaces, they are
spaces of differentiation, therefore these spaces activate an agency, a generative
capacity as the content of a project is constituted in a topological reflective cycle
between the logic of the interface and the form that indexes them. The problem is that
if the designer does not recognize the structuring agency of interfaces, she/he ends up
designing a project contained within a range of possible variations implicit a priori in
the set of relationships contained in the software/interface.
Within the last decade, along with other architects of our generation, we defined
digital architecture and computation as an autonomous discipline, implying the
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2 Introduction by author to the ACADIA (Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture) 2010 Conference at
The Cooper Union.
3 Panofsky E. (1997 orig. 1924-1927) Perspective as symbolic Form, trans. Christopher S. Wood. Zone Books New
York.
necessity to articulate history/theory within the new questions that arise in the
constitution of a new disciplinary expansion, resulted in two emerging tendencies. On
the one hand architects that worked relationally were more interested in dealing
directly with codes and data; and on the other hand there were those architects more
interested in the potential new aesthetics in relation to media. In both cases, fabrication
was dealt with similar distance, taking for granted the automatic translation between
the digital model and the fabricated object. But within information materialization the
conflict between digital signifiers and fabrication signifiers was not dealt critically.
With digital fabrication, we can now print a building through aggregates. The previous
architecture of details assembling different materials and construction techniques is
replaced by an architecture of digital techniques, crossing the digital model and its
physical actualization. This new technological paradigm breaks with the previous
disciplinary separation between notation and construction. Leon Battista Alberti was
the first to claim authorship in the work of the architect, who through notational-scaled
drawings is the intellectual author of the architecture of the built building. The new
information materialization paradigm we are all getting used to, breaks with the
separation between notation as representation and execution as building. Today the
architect can execute her/his drawings, skipping any notational scale. But in this
process there are many intermediations. There are multiple interfaces that measure and
distort according to other parameters the relation between digitalized informational
model and the printed or robotically ensemble model.
The biggest problem is that fabricated objects, 3d printed objects, models or even
buildings, do not acquire certain autonomy in relation to the set of informational
processes that constituted its reality. In this regard if one refers to a built object as an
information materialization exercise without acknowledging its new emergent
condition, there will be no autonomy between the built object and the indexing of its
digital constitution. There will be a reversible, visually evident process in which the
new state is not recognized. For instance, the lack of orientation, which is an
advantage in the computer screen, becomes problematic once the digital model is
fabricated directly without acknowledging gravity. The fabricated objects are built
with aggregates challenging gravity by additive progressive materialization. There is
also a distance and a problem with structural optimization, since this means of
dissociating form from structure involves thinking the shape of a project
independently from the structuring of its form both in terms of its internal organization
as well as its structure. When architects engineer a space, project or an object by
optimizing its structural components, by reinforcing matter in areas of structural stress
without challenging the designing or the mathematics of the structure of the form,
there is such dissociation between form and structure. The most interesting engineers
challenge known formal notions through the understanding of the expression of
structural forces in material systems. Felix Candela was able to interpret multiple
structural forces through the logic of a material system such as reinforced concrete,
integrating form, structure optimization and space in a powerful synthesis.
In an era of continuous transition, the substitution of new paradigms happens without
the necessary displacement of the cultural structures they impose.
As many claimed, information materialization also breaks with the economic-
repetitive equation, since for machine it is the same an extravagant form to that of a
regular one. The only difference is the tool path that defines the materialization in the
form of a printing or milling and the amount of material used. But the awareness of the
conditions that prescribe a project defined a modern attitude towards the work,
indexing within the project the questioning of the parameters that define it. This self-
referential attitude can be identified with the modern attitude of certain architects since
the Renaissance. The motivation, demotivation and displacement of the parameters
and conditions that become referential in a project has marked a cultural innovation,
which is defined by the recognition and questioning of the cultural signs that prescribe
symbolic form in a project.
The initial digital sign in any project can eventually become a structure in a project, or
a reference. The means by which the project is constituted may become structural or
referential. The technique used to materialize a project eventually becomes referential.
The material used to build the project in its final scale 1: 1 and its ability to express or
constrain forces (side, actions, gravitational, etc.) eventually becomes referential. The
material for the construction of the space can be any aggregate or be manufactured
using robotics implementing a base matter or a composite hybrid matter. If one
works, for instance with wood, the formal variations between its ratio, section, or
slenderness in relation to its structural performance, such as its consistency, hardness
or flexibility, they end up becoming parameters to be recognized and eventually
exceeded by the design. A further objective in the design and optimization of the
physical presence of a project might be to critique the emerging referential parameter,
which may be the result of the forces implicit or explicit in its materialization. Any
material can update forces or define forces, depending on how an architect
understands materiality. There are no good nor bad, expensive nor cheap, rich nor
sterile materials, there is only the ability to understand materiality and its latent
potential.
In the case of 3d printing, the material is often a neutral matter that does not define its
agency, to the point that it does not motivates its presence. This may or may not be an
issue. Francesco Borromini in San Carlino in Rome was rather interested in the
expression of the void of the space as a figure rather than the material that made the
space active. In this building, materiality is defined as abstract background mass, so
that the shape of empty space takes presence. A material can update forces, giving its
presence in relation to the geometry, which defines the space. The material can
motivate and demotivate its presence simultaneously, actualizing but at the same time
resisting its presence.
Materiality is generally understood conventionally by which its performance is
assumed. These degrees of materiality, including implicit and explicit forces acting
upon materials, or even the resistance to materiality, may offer different means to
motivate the architecture of a project.
There are several positions in regards to resisting linear information materialization, or
the philosophy of actualization relative to a project that acquires different degrees of
the real in a state of becoming. There is certainly architecture each time a project is
constituted indexing the reality of the medium through which it is presented. In this
sense, each moment an interface (re)presenting a different reality of a project can be
thought as an material actualization. The project should not only index the coding of
the medium but it should also be able to question what becomes referential in each
actualization, so that the project acquires a certain autonomy by recognizing and then
displacing the signifiers of the medium in which it is constituted. This would avoid
any linear reversibility between representation and materialization and would account
for a certain formal autonomy.
3. Materialization as Actualization and Formal Autonomy
To offer other alternative solutions to the question of information actualization, there
are many formulations by architects that resist the idea of reversibility or translation
between interfaces. These architects would argue the reality of the medium is unique
to an independent project and that there can be no transcendental relationship between
different mediums. Moreover, there is a different reality in each materialization. For
this philosophy, the project can only start through its materialization. But, if a project
is engendered directly through a material, there are other issues to consider. Architects
that work this way, usually develop 1:1 scale tests experimenting with the actual
material. But in these cases, the later notation and representation become separations,
such that even if they are meant only to notate directions in the work to be constructed,
they would engender signification that would translate back in the materiality of the
building. This can take the form of a detail or any other expression of constructability
in conventional terms. Thus the medium of representation for the notation of
conventional means to communicate details ends up becoming also a certain sort of
reference to an external signification outside of the project.
The second problem in the architecture that originates through a material, is when the
construction technique, the craft, projects a non-intended symbolic cultural reference
to the project, such as is with brick construction and the different means of mortar
connection in different cultures. Another issue would be any given constructive
system, any standardized construction using prefabricated assembly which clearly
indexes a prescribed set of conditions that quickly become reference targets to avoid,
even if a project may be able to express unknown variations possible but still confined
within these systems. Constructive systems are often top-down generic strategies that
propose a system to architecture.
Any moment a reference presents a structure to a project, it proposes a system of
signification across the project that needs to be displaced and eventually surpassed.
This solution may secure a certain degree of authorship over the work and propose
ultimately a new structuring system or order. If these references are not recognized
and thus displaced, the project merely confirms an external system of signification,
loosing presence and relegating autonomy.
There might be as many means of understanding materialization, construction, or the
logic of a project engendered through its matter, as there are cultures and techniques of
construction. The critique of the multiple means of construction described aims to
arrive to the problematization of constructability in digital fabrication. And what is
relevant and necessary of this description is that any digital means of materialization
of information carries certain structuring problems that can be related to these
questions. Even if the described advantage of fabrication is that it bypasses notational
systems, giving the architect the possibility to implement his/her project directly, the
problem of digital fabrication splits again into two questions.
The first question is the interface that translates the digital vectorial information to the
interface that arranges the protocol to develop a physical construction by aggregation
or by controlling a CNC mechanism. This translation implies again a separation. One
of the first ones to find this translation as an opportunity for design thinking on the
autonomy of fabrication was Greg Lynn, by exploring the particularity of the
movements of a robot in regards to the possibilities of its technology therefore
informing back the project, rather than directly execute a project without questioning
this distance between the virtual model and the means of fabrication.
The second question is the machinery itself. Both in terms of 3d printing and robotic
fabrication, technologists are leading in our field. This is to say that the technologists
that procure new means of digital fabrication are leading culturally the expansion of
our field, since they establish the sets of conditions that will impose the solutions to
our architecture, structuring and framing the possibilities of our work. In this sense,
the question of relegating or non-authorship to the referential system that becomes
structure for the project, this issue can be taken all the way to the technology that
makes the project possible. Therefore, not only interfaces provide a structure to the
means that our projects are represented, transferred or actualized through different
digital mediums, but also constructive systems, digital fabrication techniques, and
more importantly digital fabrication technologies provide the sets of conditions for the
materialization of projects today.
This presents an expansion of the work of the architect, who today must be familiar
with computer coding to resist conventional algorithms that would engender form
relative to other cultural projects and that impose a referential logic against her/his
own. This may also be extended to binary computer languages, since architecture as a
discipline is finally realizing that we must eventually engender a computer language
that is originated from within the sets of conditions of our discipline and not
engendered from other questions. When we express our projects through a computer
language that is developed within other cultural agendas, the first reaction is to see the
world differently and displace our disciplinary discourse to the sets of cultural
constructions provided by a new interface or computer language. But eventually there
will be an exhaustion of this language in terms of the possibilities of its determination,
until a new expanded language takes over. This technological actualization eventually
will be engendered within our discipline and new architecture languages with different
organizational and logical structures would be possible within the reformulation of our
discipline. This will be the time in which architecture eventually will be able to
influence and provide cultural material to other disciplines at deeper levels.
The expansion of the work of the architect relative to computer languages must be
applied to the issues that information materialization propose, such as techniques of
fabrication at one level, but also the invention of new machines and production
systems that would expand the role of the architect at a higher level of influence.
It is quite clear today that the dominant techniques of fabrication quickly become
reference to any project. In the previously described separation between structural
performance (the expression and actualization of tectonic forces) and the fabricated
object it seems that Amancio Williams's umbrella structures could offer again an
interesting model. The technique of fabrication becomes more clearly referential and
imposed over the logic of the form, displacing the logic of the digital project into a
disregarder objectification, relegating the logic of its materialization to the
standardization of the 3d printing mechanism.
4. Information Materialization as a Project
But there are different solutions to the relationship between information
materialization and an architecture project. Materiality is generally understood in
relation to the conventional constructiveness of a project.But materiality can be
understood differently4.
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4 Lorenzo-Eiroa, P Srecher, A. (eds. 2013) Architecture In Formation, Routledge, London. Chapter 5 "Material
Information" is comprised of various positions in the relationship information-materiality in the architecture of
experimental practitioners. This chapter is framed by an interview to CiroNajle, dean of the School of Architecture at
Universidad Di Tella, and an article by AchimMenges, director of the Institute for Computational Design in Stuttgart.
In this chapter several pilot projects in relation to degrees of materiality set many of the described different positions
on materiality.
Materiality can be understood as a minimal actualization of structural forces, as in the
work of Buckminster Fuller. Fuller's geodesic dome for the Montreal Biosphére, not
only presents a minimal means of construction based on efficiency and structural
optimization in relation to its bracing members, but this construction is rather a built
diagram of the forces that become active in the dome.
One can also argue against the conventional expression of structural forces in relation
to materiality, since the behavior of the acting forces in materials maybe counter-
intuitive. Materiality can be understood by deeply resisting intuitive conventions based
on simple observations, or known assumptions, as shown by the work of Achim
Menges. At a closer observational scale, wood behaves differently than the originally
assumed natural-fiber composite, since the micrifibrils have a major influence on
wood's behavior. Menges implements these means of understanding wood behavior by
developing extremely thin plywood sheets (6.5 mm) through a robotic manufacturing
process integrating computational design.5
In regards to the logic of a material, it is commonly understood by the implicit forces
that inform material behavior. But the relationship between material logic and
behavior can be tensioned, as in the work of Nader Tehrani. Therefore materiality can
be understood critically, resisting the commonly understood forces acting upon a
material in stress, working against the logic of a material. In the Immaterial
Ultramaterial exhibition Mockup at the Harvard's GSD Gallery6, Nader Tehrani used
multiple plywood members against its conventional properties, informing the material
with the logic of garmet plys. The cutting and bending of the plywood pieces made the
material behave differently to its natural figuration, overlaying extrinsic information
related to a cloth ply technique to structure the plywood, providing inertia to the
plywood folds. This project resists a linear relationship between form, structure and
material actualization, presenting these relationships as an expansion of the
conventional limits of the design of a project in relation to materiality.
The form of a project can be informed by computational design simulating material
behavior. The work of Roland Snooks incorporates the logic of materials through
simulation algorithms, intending to extend material intelligence throughout the design.
In Swarm Matter as well as in other built prototypes, material embedded intelligence
is spread throughout the project algorithmically to locate emergent conditions and
optimize the material performance and behavior of the project.
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5 Menges, A. "Coalescences of Machine and Material Computation", in Lorenzo-Eiroa, P Srecher, A. (eds. 2013)
Architecture In Formation, Routledge, London.
6Toshiko M. (ed. 2002), Immaterial|Ultramaterial, Harvard Design School with George Braziller Publisher, New
York.
Moreover, materials can be designed, as is the proposition of Bioart, in which
materiality is an exploration of reality. Materiality can be understood as a living,
active organism, evolving, as is the human body, as in the work of Philip Besley
through active biologies. The Hylozoic installation aims to create a continuous
biological field between the body of the subject that experience living space and
elements that make them both, generating feelings and empathy.7
Material logic can be explored understanding it as a machinic model, to compute
concrete relationships in the form finding process exploring tendencies in the process
of becoming of a project. The form of Reiser + Umemoto projects sometimes is
calculated by understanding the implicit forces acting upon a material under stress, by
changing and adjusting parameters, such as in some of their wax experimental models
or their Catenary experiments. These formal solutions are computed by using material
as a machinic agent, understanding deviations, forces and organizational qualities that
emerge out of understanding latency in the logic of a material.8
Expanding on these notions, materiality can be understood as a philosophy, at a meta-
level. Materiality can even be understood as a discipline, as a material discipline, as a
regime that defines organizations in the work of Ciro Najle. Within this notion,
materiality can also be understood in relation to determination as an entity, as
substance, resisting, but also actualizing abstractions, and defining tensions between
general and absolute classifications.
Within this context, the following projects are organized critically from landscape
projects to architectural autonomous objects, enfolding the previous expansion of the
discipline concerned with site specificity to redefine the architectural container. While
during the previous decades, architecture was mainly dominated by a search for
integration with the ground surface, contemporary architecture has been rather
enfolding the previous topo-logical strategies to redefine a complex parameterized
topological architecture object. This tendency was first recognized by some of our
projects in the early 2000's when we designed buildings detached from the ground,
developing complex envelopes and surfaces. This process was not only related to a
disciplinary enfolding, but was also due to the expression of parametric digital
strategies, which enabled the transferring of topographical differentiation to an
increasingly complex object.
The post-structuralism of site specificity was thought as a tactical resistance of the
imposition of structural determination, such as modern grids, in which these tactical
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7Hylozoic Series: Sibyl, Biennale of Sydney, 2012. Philip Besley.
8 Reiser, J. and Umemoto N., Atlas of Novel Tectonics, Princeton Architectural Press, New York.
operations privileged formal differentiation against simplistic and generic linear
formal organizations. In this sense, the bottom up field condition of existing
topographies informed the logic of contemporary buildings, enfolding such process
geared by parametric digital mediums. This process can also be related to digital
fabrication, since the 3d printer revolution was possible by developing complex
geometry free from a deterministic imposed structure, informing formal bi-continuous
geometry through aggregates, a process that can be related to a post-structuralist
philosophy. Even if one would have to address the previously discussed machine types
that present a deterministic condition to the fabricated object as well as the algorithms
that prescribe the protocols for fabrication, the post-structuralism of aggregates frees
the previous determination of assembling structural gridded elements separating, for
instance, structure and envelope, as defined by previous economic parameters.
Consequently one can relate the logic of earthwork architecture to the logic of
fabrication aggregates, reinforcing the enfolding of ground-related strategies to re-
define a complex independent free-standing architecture object, since continuous
aggregates can constitute complex volumes and surfaces that can be structurally
optimized(structure and form can also be coordinated) to work as free-standing
independent objects.
Figures 1,2,3. A topographic surface informed parametrically by materiality. Landscape project in Buenos Aires, which
is initiated by displacing material construction techniques by, for instance, parameterizing concrete blocks dispositions,
undulations and colors. This solution relates the street topography to the designed landscaped ground undulations while
accommodating the park's water runoff. The entire earthwork formally relates to the umbrella structure originally
designed by Amancio Williams, which was strategically placed by the design team.
Parque de la Costa, Francisco Cadau, Fernando Gimenez, Manuel Galvez with associated architect Pablo Lorenzo-
Eiroa, Buenos Aires, 1999.
Figures 4,5,6. Dynamic simulation using discrete surface topographies to inform landscape interventions. Dynamic
simulation algorithm of river sedimentation deposition and its progressive accumulation on bifurcating infrastructure
nodes. These infrastructure nodes increasingly bifurcate from the city towards the river reacting to topography levels.
The resulting algorithm conforms three distinct modes of establishing a complex shifting structure. The agency of this
shifting dynamic organization is activated once the growth of artificial landscapes is induced by promoting natural side
effects in emergent non-determined areas, which are latent to these environments.
Digital Interfaces: Structuring Fluid Territories after Hurricane Sandy, Professor Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa, students
Katherine Bajo and Gregory Shikhman (Manhattan and East River), students Derrick Benson, William Hood and
Jeremy Jacinth (Jamaica Bay and JFK Airport).
Figures 7,8. These are physical 3d printed models views in plan of analog simulations. These simulation consist on a
series models combining previous exercises on Fig. 4,5,6 in such way that the scale of the aggregate enters in tension
and reacts actively to the analog simulations performed with ink, water and other aggregates added after. In Fig 7 a
sand aggregate mixed in water deposits fluidly reacting to the proposed infrastructure. In Fig. 8 colored ink runs
following water streams simulating rivers. Ink sediments and deposits while is absorbed by the aggregate of the
digitally fabricated model. The ink reacts dynamically to the discrete infinitesimal formal differentiation proposed by
the scale of the granulometry of the 3d printed model. By these means, the information materialization technique, the
scale of the aggregates, the floating sediments in a fluid and the structure of the design perform and react to the
physical simulation, motivating relationships between the physical presence of the fabricated object and the simulation.
Digital Interfaces: Structuring Fluid Territories after Hurricane Sandy, Professor Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa, students
Katherine Bajo and Gregory Shikhman (Manhattan and East River), students Derrick Benson, William Hood and
Jeremy Jacinth (Jamaica Bay and JFK Airport).
Figure 10. From surface to volume, or a critical surface-volume. These unfolded surface models are part of a
topological wall surface that folds within itself. Splits bifurcate and displace progressively the original planar
condition of the surface. By proposing different thicknesses and spaces in between, the result wall critiques its bi-
dimensional plane condition. The thickness of the cardboard used for this project propose a material structure to the
applied operations. The material thickness proposes parameters for acting and latent forces, informing conditions that
become active when cutting the surface. The cutting of the surface is taken to a limit exploring changing axes. The
accumulated tactical organizations build up through multiple explorations progressively into larger strategies. The cuts
in the surface -as localized material tactics- were organized in multiple emerging types of bifurcating formal
organizations. The last series conform a different wall type, since the shifting emerging order of the tactical splits built
up into larger strategies, accumulating from variations of degrees of bifurcations to structural typological changes. By
these means the implicit emergent parameters that arise from the exploration of the logic of the material are recognized
and then displaced topologically, in coordination with the form of the project.
Storefront for Art and Architecture: critical analysis of Vito Acconci and Steven Holl façade's topological spatial
relationships between inside and outside. e-architects | eiroa architects; Designer: Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa; Design Team:
Max Golden, Luo Xuan, Eunil Cho, Che Perez, 2011.
Figure 11, 12. A surface that progressively becomes a space. A view on axis of a conventional linear wall-frame
defining and exceeding its spatial parameters and becoming a surface-space. Initially dividing the space in two at either
side, the surface progressively splits and creates on the opposite end an interstitial pochéd volume-space. The result
surface-volume motivates the implicit structure of the construction technique and the capacity of its materiality as an
integral part of the syntaxis of the transformation of the structure of the wall-frame. The initial wall frame works as a
conventional linear structure, but then progressively expands its members superficially while it simultaneously
delaminates as it splits in two, creating a surface-volume. Therefore the structure of the material system used for wall
framing is displaced and then engenders the form of the project.
Lab 003 directed by Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa; Design III Professor: Roberto Lombardi with assistant professor Mariana
Cavalli and students María Lucía Ayerbe Rant, Rolando Cantero, María Julia Chiesa, Gastón Hermida, Sofía
Dominguez Remete, Agustín Llobera, Sofía Lowe, Tomás Meneghetti, Valeria Ospital, Sofía Perazzolo and Santiago
Peña. Lab 003 was organized at the Universidad Di Tella, coordinated by Dean Ciro Najle, the Director of the School
of Architecture, Sergio Foster and the Director of the CEAC, Julian Varas.
Figures 13, 14. A line as a parametric construction departing from the logic of its materialization constituting
progressively a surface and an interstitial space. This line-space resists information materialization, since it
materializes information from the motivation of the parameters that constitute the logic of the project. This line-space
transforms from vertical to horizontal creating cross relationships between the two adjacent spaces and creating
emergent interstitial spaces.
Lab 003 directed by Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa; Design II Professor Josep Ferrando with assistant professor Gisela
Domènech and students Santiago, Federico, Teresa, Beatriz, Roberto, Santiago, Clara, Magdalena, Agustín, Beatriz,
Martin, Florencia and Gaby. Lab 003 was organized at the Universidad Di Tella, coordinated by Dean Ciro Najle, the
Director of the School of Architecture, Sergio Foster and the Director of the CEAC, Julian Varas.
Figures 15,16, 17. From point to line to surface to a topology. A point in space defines a line, then enfolds into a
surface to create a volume constituted through a single mathematical script. This point to volume sequence follows
Filippo Brunelleschi's geometric progression that considers a column a point in space, and where the line of a column
becomes integrated with his vaulted ceilings. But this sequence proposes a parametric progression of each of these
transitions following Antoni Gaudi's catenary studies using mathematics. The information materialization process uses
a conventional 3 axis CNC milling machine. The latent forces implicit in the material are not acknowleded since the
materialization process is only indexed in the object by cordinating the different drill bits to score the material
progressively. The material becomes inert proposing a background condition, motivating the performance of the space
it is framing. But the problem of this way of working is that the final product does not acquire enough autonomy from
the systems that indexed it.
Parametric Gaudi: Biodigital Architecture Master Program, Summer 2014 Visiting Professor Pablo Lorenzo Eiroa with
Students Ernesto Arias, Alejandro Cruz Mendoza, Ronaldo Fiuza, Bruno Jaramillo, David Romero Martel, Dario
Sanchez, Sarah Winkler and Harold Woods. Assistant Pablo Baquero. UIC Biodigital Master Program Director Alberto
Estevez.
In terms of material information and parametric or digital fabrication, the projects here
presented (fig 1-17) are experiments that develop, among other things, specific
relationships between form finding processes informed by a material logic. Rather
than proposing a means to consider the present of digital fabrication by expressing its
current limitations, this essay intends to build up a critical historical means of
reflecting on information materialization from several propositions. By this means the
critical issue is how to critique the processes of representation that constituted a
project relative to matter embodiment, reaching such a level of autonomy in the
fabricated object in which its actualization could be able to influence back the formal
processes and digital representation strategies that indexed the project.
There are common structures across these multiple information levels that must be
critiqued in order to secure a certain degree of authorship. The structures through
which information is processed, represented and organized through interfaces can be
related to the structures that organize information for digital fabrication. Different
types of structures can also be recognized in machines for digital fabrication. And
different parameters emerge as structures when we understand what we can do with
materials. Each interface as well as each fabrication process proposes a certain
deterministic structure to the architecture project. Each interface and fabrication
process structures information which becomes typified in an organizational typology.
Materials present also parameters to a project, since the way we activate forces in a
material or the way we use a material imply the creation of a certain typification.
These are the reasons why it is imminent to secure authorship in architecture at these
multiple levels by identifying the structures that become active in the interfaces we
work with, the algorithms we develop, the structure that typifies a fabrication process,
the structures that emerge out of the limitations of the machines we use for fabrication
and/or the organizational structures that emerge when we work with materials. In
order to secure authorship in a project at the multiple expanding levels of our
discipline, we must displace these implicit, emergent and latent structures in the
constitution of a project. So that then we can coordinate these multiple levels
informing the project into a single form that may acquire a certain autonomy
independent from the systems that indexed it.
The presented work in progress intend to take upon the issues exposed, probably
without completely addressing the complexity of these multiple positions.
Chapter
The following research discusses the application of Evo-Devo strategies through the generation of parametric rules inside parametric software (singularly parametric, with a changing structure). Based on emergence models and complex systems that create simple rules, the aim is to produce patterns of increasing complexity. These rules, because they are abstract data, can be applied to any type of geometry or topology. In a second step, the colour space (colourimetry) is applied to convey information that can then be used to express a given geometry, characteristic and/or materiality. The use (and its subsequent decoding and conversion) of colours alongside the grammar patterns through mask selection when applied meshes will form the main topic of conversation in this article. The adoption of digital modelling characteristics can stimulate better workflows. Results prove that this process greatly improves processing time, while at the same time is accessible and flexible to any design fields or modeling strategies. From these results new debates can arise regarding how individuals are analysed and about data relation between phenotype and genotype (colour-mesh).
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.