00_02_06

NASTY CLASH


Date:         Sun, 6 Feb 2000 04:49:23 GMT
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From: scott paterson <sgp_7@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject:      flame incoming...
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sgp:
you gotta be kidding. first of all there is no "God" that everyone worships.
sorry. of course 'CAD' can add finials and pendills. but i seriously doubt
these are the constituents that make a house a home. i can't bare to respond
to all your ethnocentricities, but one of the great things about the
internet and "global" culture is that they expose the provincial
short-sighted nature of comments like these.
 

Peter DeCamp wrote:

Is there a correlation between the advent of CAD and the banality of
building decorations, the little embellishments that make a building and its
occupants feel that there is a God?
    With CAD can one add finials and pendills to a house, making it a home?
How about a church entrance with a gothic arch and templates full of
standard arch moldings used classically, along with the ability to specify a
custom molding design in section?

    Can CAD add a dogtooth or basketweave bond to a masonry parapet?  Urns
and Orbs to crown a building (but be careful, placed on a new construction
they can look real affected ~ I have the photos).  Or a design I saw on an
old bank building today:  a mid-relief panel of two urns linked by a swag.
Can you specify a cornice of any section you can dream of, or one simple
square stone inlay in brick, or colored tile surrounding an opening, or even
a mural on a blank wall?

    People tend to be artistic with their hands, but if the people who
design are in love with the use of line-drawing software, will they go
around the constraints to add individual beauty?



 
Date:         Tue, 8 Feb 2000 18:33:17 +0100
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From: Nold Egenter <negenter@WORLDCOM.CH>
Subject:      Re: flame incoming.../Nasty clash!
To: DESIGN-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU
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>sgp:
>you gotta be kidding. first of all there is no "God" that everyone worships.
>sorry. of course 'CAD' can add finials and pendills. but i seriously doubt
>these are the constituents that make a house a home. i can't bare to respond
>to all your ethnocentricities, but one of the great things about the
>internet and "global" culture is that they expose the provincial
>short-sighted nature of comments like these.
>
>
>Peter DeCamp wrote:
>
>Is there a correlation between the advent of CAD and the banality of
>building decorations, the little embellishments that make a building and its
>occupants feel that there is a God?
>    With CAD can one add finials and pendills to a house, making it a home?
>How about a church entrance with a gothic arch and templates full of
>standard arch moldings used classically, along with the ability to specify a
>custom molding design in section?
>
>    Can CAD add a dogtooth or basketweave bond to a masonry parapet?  Urns
>and Orbs to crown a building (but be careful, placed on a new construction
>they can look real affected ~ I have the photos).  Or a design I saw on an
>old bank building today:  a mid-relief panel of two urns linked by a swag.
>Can you specify a cornice of any section you can dream of, or one simple
>square stone inlay in brick, or colored tile surrounding an opening, or even
>a mural on a blank wall?
>
>    People tend to be artistic with their hands, but if the people who
>design are in love with the use of line-drawing software, will they go
>around the constraints to add individual beauty?

_________________

Nasty clash! (see P.S.)

Peter deCamp's raises a remarkable and important question: Does CAD - on
one hand an efficient and positive new tool - at the same time oust the
application of historical forms? Evidently the idea came in view of a
church. And, doubtless Peter deCamp is sensitive for something very
important: the semantic and symbolic codes that are essential and
fundamental for the characterisation of a house of God, mainly because the
origins of religion had close connections to architecture. Codes like the
polar harmony of the entrance gate (heavenly arc above, functional
rectangle below) still play a fundamental role. Or the rope-pattern,
originally a constructive means! But most of what was in this sense a code
for "high ontological values" (polarity, harmony) in premodern times has
become mere "decoration" partly by the analytical (mis-)judegements of the
art historians, partly by the puritanistic machine-minds of modern
architects. Architecture has become ontologically empty, spiritually and
mostly also physically. In short: slum. Of course there are attempts to
find modern codes, e.g. for the sacred, but they remain abstract, like
Ando's play with material and formal simplicity and light. The continuity
with premodern codes has been cut off.

Evidently, Peter deCamp is someone who feels such things. It is not a
matter of being religious, but a matter of being aware of the tremendous
richness of world architecture and the changes architecture went through in
the West in the last 100 years. Most important: the homogeneisation of
space borrowed from physics (universe!) and the adaption of architectural
form to the rigid impacts of industrial production (instead of adapting
technology to the human laws of architecture). Design using CAD is just one
further point in this process which has changed our environments. These
contrasts find their particularly strong expression in cases - as Peter
deCamp indicates - where architecture appears in the context of a deep
rooted cultural expression, buildings like churches, temples etc. For
further information see ->
http://home.worldcom.ch/~negenter/0140BaubioEinl.html

Warm regards

Nold Egenter

P.S. Regarding "sgp": Probably he has not seen much of this world and
thinks that his poor perspective must be the condition for everyone else.
Unbelievable brashness! Sad if he gets a diploma in architecture! I would
suggest him to work in a butchershop. There things are neatly clearcut and
this type of 'flaming' might be "in". In regard to the "great things about
the internet": luckily halfbaked cadgers of this type can be countered on
the spot!

_________________________________________________
Our INTERNET-Homepage: http://home.worldcom.ch/~negenter
NEW: 'RESEARCH SERIES ONLINE':
http://home.worldcom.ch/~negenter/005_ResSerOnline.html
_________________________________________________
Nold Egenter
DOFSBT, Chorgasse 19
CH-8001 Zuerich, Switzerland
Tel.: +41-1-2516075
Fx:  +41-21-3231707
________________________
e-mail: negenter@worldcom.ch



 
Date:         Tue, 8 Feb 2000 14:37:35 -0500
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From: John Young <jya@PIPELINE.COM>
Subject:      Re: flame incoming.../Nasty clash!
To: DESIGN-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU
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Well. I for one like Nold's brashness of critique. And his capacious
architectural wisdom.

On a couple of projects involving historic structures when I was just
getting into CAD, I spents months, and one one case a year, CADing
every jit and tottle of the buildings -- in 3D, not using a handy easy-do
tool but constucting each individual unit of the water table, brick corbel,
hinge, stanchion, finial, acanthus leaf, dentil, fire escape, leader cap,
incised inscription, and so on, with tiny 3D surfaces, all smaller than
the units themselves. Huge files which had to be assembled like
a ship under construction to get a final overall. I was obsessed with
bending CAD to the old way of pen and pencil and model stroking
the building until I could feel it blindly in my organmeat.

Even now I look at these drawings and know for sure I would never
have done that if I had commenced learning design with plain vanilla
out of the box CAD. Nor have I been inspired to repeat the madness,
it was exhausting emotionally for I had to learn out of box CAD then
unlearn it to do what I wanted to do, never confident that it was not
a waste of time, a deadend temporary infatuation with a market-driven
dominatrix who had seduced me with the dream of renewed prowess
as promised by the CAD brochures and hoopla.

That was some of the hardest graphic work I have ever done,
trying to get the CAD to obey muscles and eyes and mind in
a space time they had never experienced. Like Pascal I had
to rope myself to the chair to avoid falling over the edge of the
world from impossible aspiration.

Still, I can flash these drawings, in hardcopy at least, and viewers
ask in wonder, "that's CAD?" Yes, I brag of my darling mutants.

Now I cannot view a building without dreading and lusting to
construct it in CAD 3D, the sublime experience of giving birth
to what was never meant to be: the totally superfluous. But then
I remember that is what was said of devil hand drawings and
photographs when they first appeared. And the stigma placed

on their creators by the sclerotic stone carver guilds.

We all know that the reason for ugly buildings is not hand drawing
or CAD, it is the fear and hatred of beautiful buildings by those
who believe beauty is totally superfluous, that crappy imitation
is better, that the customer doesn't know the difference,
that cheaper is best, rather profit rules. As exemplifeed in Times
Square by some of New York's bloatmost architectural names,
though hardly limited to that horrific betrayal.

Recall Hugh Hardy's peddling Buicks? Philippe de Montebello's
radio contempt of pedestrian-minded museum patrons? Such
over-civilized "good taste" is as great a cause of ugliness as
accrual of superfluous wealth.



 
Date:         Tue, 8 Feb 2000 21:13:47 GMT
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From: scott paterson <sgp_7@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: flame incoming.../Nasty clash!
To: DESIGN-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU
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>From: Nold Egenter <negenter@WORLDCOM.CH>
[big snip(will respond to that later...]
>P.S. Regarding "sgp": Probably he has not seen much of this world and
>thinks that his poor perspective must be the condition for everyone else.

sgp responds: while i have not seen as much of the world as i would like, my
thoughts are motivated by my time spent in China and Japan. i don't want to
open the east/west floodgate, but Peter's comments about God aroused in me
the distrust of Christianity or any religion that actively blankets the
globe attempting to "save" us from sin or rescue us from the slippery slope
to hell. now there is an machine(missionaries) to reckon with.

btw, i am currently working with a buddhist dharma master in taiwan to
create an exhibit of the world's religions with the overall message of our
commonalities and humanity. so if anything i over reacted, sorry.

>Unbelievable brashness! Sad if he gets a diploma in architecture!
 

sgp: too late for that. i have two.

>I would suggest him to work in a butchershop. There things are neatly
>clearcut and
>this type of 'flaming' might be "in".

sgp: while i am happy at my present office, i do not find mysticism and
aggressive hand-waving gestures the way to save architecture. one of the
reasons i have ventured from a traditional architectural practice to my
present position(www.plumbdesign.com) is my interest in finding a way to
practice architecture that is NOT an exclusive practice based on a single
author. you can see some of my experiments online at
http://home.earthlink.net/~aisgp where i attempt to provide experiences
based on contextual input, either from the environment or the visitor. i
also have an essay discussing the issue of boundary as described in
Heidegger's writings where i criticize the act of thinking essentially as an
exclusionary practice. i will also post an essay i have written critiquing
Ken Frampton's(one of my former professors) Critical Regionalism schtick...

>In regard to the "great things about
>the internet": luckily halfbaked cadgers of this type can be countered on
>the spot!

sgp: on to round 2...



 
Date:         Tue, 8 Feb 2000 22:23:19 GMT
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From: scott paterson <sgp_7@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject:      round 2: "computation without representation"
To: DESIGN-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU
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I recommend everyone to subscribe to this list as well...
[sgp]
------------------------------------------------------------

The statement below was written by Ted Krueger for the Defining
Architecture: Defining Information discussion.

Ptr.

--------------
 

Computation without Representation

Ted Krueger
 

It has been (too) often said that advances in computing technologies have
revolutionized the culture. Desktop, portable and handheld devices and
the networks that interconnect them have altered the way in which we work
and communicate. What is true for the culture would seem to be true of
architecture as well.

There is the old saying that computers help you do what you already do
only more so. If you are organized they can make you extremely organized,
if your life is a mess - just wait till you get a computer.  This is
often true because we use the machine to assist us in our tasks-at -and.
If one examines the screen of a typical desktop machine one sees a
desktop. This is also the case for architectural applications of the
technology where we have gone from the mechanical pencil to an automated
one. These are difference of degree but not of kind. With this in mind,
can we actually speak of a revolution?

But the saying is wrong, of course, in principle. It is wrong when the
use of the machine allows one to do something that was not possible
before. Granted that it is much more difficult to imagine the new, rather
than to augment or amplify the old.

Let me then suggest an alternative interpretation for the impact of
computing devices in architecture.

Architecture is radically unchanged by computation.

Architecture, in fact, has proven to be remarkably resistant to changes
due to information technologies. What we build today is much the same as
that which we have built in the past, but I suggest that it will not
always be so.

There are several hundred million computers in use today. If you were
asked how many computers you own you might answer two or three (unless
you are also counting something inhabiting the back of your closet that
featured "dual floppies" when it was new). Two or four or ten is probably
the wrong answer. More than 25 billion embedded processors have been
produced. Even if a significant fraction of these are no longer
operative, the number and the distribution of embedded controllers far
exceeds those of dedicated information processing machines. Computer
technologies not only allow for the transformations in the way we think
and communicate but have begun to alter the fabric of the environments
that we inhabit and the behaviors that are exhibited by them. Objects and
environments with embedded sensor-effector and processing capabilities
are becoming commonplace. Adaptive, interactive and
autonomous material systems suggest that the relationship between humans
and material culture is undergoing a fundamental shift. This
transformation will be of far more significance than the computerization
of documentation, representation, and presentation
strategies in architecture.

Little of the change that has taken place in architecture over the last
century can be attributed to changes in the technology of representation,
even though, in transitioning from ink-on-linen to VRML, this change has
been both continuous and pervasive. The real
transformation has come about by the implementation of new materials and
processes - the steel and concrete frames, glass, elevators and HVAC -
you know the list, it has been cited many times. In each of these cases
there was a transformation in capability that became a transformation of
the architectural artifact.

The presence of some number of embedded devices within an architectural
fabric is in itself an insufficient catalyst for change. To date, most of
the uses of embedded devices in architecture have been seen as
improvements to existing controls and interfaces. There are already many
examples of networked thermostats and as previously noted the effect has
been insignificant. They are only further examples of doing more quickly
or precisely what has been done before. The transformation of the
architectural fabric rests the development of higher-order behaviors that
follow from the use of the embedded devices in conjunction with active
material systems.

During the past two decades there has been a shift in the way in which
materials are developed and deployed. In the past, materials have been
valued primarily for their stable structural characteristics. These
properties determine the suitability of the material for particular uses.
For example, stone typically resists compressive forces well but fails
under moderate tensile loads. The range of conditions under which these
properties are obtainable determine the envelope of utility for the
material, and so, the stone may be suitable for load-bearing walls but
makes a poor rope. The science of materials concerned itself with the
specification of properties and the disciplines of design with the
specification of materials for particular uses based on those properties.
As more is learned about the relationship between molecular organization
and material properties, and as materials are fabricated with increasing
control at the molecular scales, the relationship between analysis,
design and material manufacturing become more intricately intertwined.
Materials can be synthesized for particular uses rather than selected
based on their specifications.

More recently, materials have become valuable for not only for their
stable characteristics but for their behaviors, that is, material science
is less interested in characterizing the properties of materials than in
understanding the relationship between properties and conditions,
especially relationships that are non-linear and discontinuous. It is at
these points of qualitative difference that reactive materials can be
found. Sensing and actuation become reciprocal activities that develop
out of the relationship between conditions and properties. There is no
need to a priori establish the dependent variable rather the conditional
relationship exists and the choice between measurement and activation of
the transition in properties can be multiplexed into a feedback loop.

The objective of research into intelligent material systems and
structures is commonly and explicitly biomimetic. The biomimetic approach
seeks to duplicate the functioning and behavioral capacities of
biological materials and living systems in synthetic artifacts.
Biological material systems have many properties that  may be desireable
in synthetic systems. These include autolysis, redundancy, self-
reproduction, self-repair, learning, interactivity, and self-diagnosis.
As materials begin to have a capacity for behaviors, interactivity with
environmental and programmmatic variability becomes possible. The
behavior of the system becomes complex. The use of embedded computational
devices becomes important not only in enabling but in mediating and
coordinating between these behaviors.

The adaptation of biologically-inspired functional capabilities cannot be
acheived without also inheriting other aspects of biological systems.
Most important of these in the present context is the autonomy of the
system. Increasingly complex behaviors on the part of an agent or
artifact can not be met with brute force programming. The requirement
that all possible states of interaction be anticipated and provided for
sets a practical limit on what can be achieved. These limitations are
simply a matter of mathematics. Repeatedly, as the combinatorial
limitations become manifested, the designer is required to develop some
means by which the agent can independently evaluate its context and take
action. A measure of autonomy must be granted to the machine in order to
be able to deal effectively with the complexity of its interactions with
the environment.

Autonomy is a fundamental change in the nature of the artifact that in
turn requires a re-evaluation of roles that objects play in both the
cultural and cognitive processes. It is this aspect of embedded
intelligence that most profoundly alters our relationship to the products
of our material culture and requires an accommodation within the
interfaces that we design in an effort to craft an interaction with them.
Architecture, here the term is broadly construed to include all aspects
of the structuring of the environments that we inhabit, can no longer be
considered the art of configuring the stable and inert surround in which
we undertake our existence. It is not the design of the sets on which the
human actors play out their roles. Neither should it concern itself
solely with the physical provision for human needs and desires. The task
becomes much richer. As autonomous entities, the products of design take
on a role that is symbiotic with that of the humans. Architecture must be
concerned, not only with formal characteristics that occupy it today, but
with structuring the behavioral parameters of the environment, with
opening, widening and shaping the gap between artifacts and users. The
status of artifacts and our relationship to them begins to shift from the
physical into the social realm.

It is all to easy to understand this process as a loss of control.
Architecture as a disclipline, and design in general, is propositional in
nature. In designating the future condition of some aspect of our
environment, design slips to easily into an attempt to control that
future. But the future is neither easy to forsee nor to control. Examples
of the failure of design to achieve its objectives are not difficult to
come by and are frequently modivators for understanding better how to
achieve control - how to more tightly couple the results to actions. The
task of design, however, is not control but facilitation - not a
restriction but an amplification of the space of possibilities. In order
to achieve this, it is critical that the objectives of design moves
beyond control. The autonomy of objects requires it.
 
 

Peter Anders

 



From ???@??? Tue Feb 08 18:31:33 2000
To: "Basic and applied design (Art and Architecture)"               <DESIGN-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU>
From: negenter@worldcom.ch (Nold Egenter)
Subject: Re: flame incoming.../Nasty clash!
Cc:
Bcc:
X-Attachments:
Message-Id: <v01530500b4c4ba670c8f@[212.74.155.222]>

>sgp:
>you gotta be kidding. first of all there is no "God" that everyone worships.
>sorry. of course 'CAD' can add finials and pendills. but i seriously doubt
>these are the constituents that make a house a home. i can't bare to respond
>to all your ethnocentricities, but one of the great things about the
>internet and "global" culture is that they expose the provincial
>short-sighted nature of comments like these.
>
>
>Peter DeCamp wrote:
>
>Is there a correlation between the advent of CAD and the banality of
>building decorations, the little embellishments that make a building and its
>occupants feel that there is a God?
>    With CAD can one add finials and pendills to a house, making it a home?
>How about a church entrance with a gothic arch and templates full of
>standard arch moldings used classically, along with the ability to specify a
>custom molding design in section?
>
>    Can CAD add a dogtooth or basketweave bond to a masonry parapet?  Urns
>and Orbs to crown a building (but be careful, placed on a new construction
>they can look real affected ~ I have the photos).  Or a design I saw on an
>old bank building today:  a mid-relief panel of two urns linked by a swag.
>Can you specify a cornice of any section you can dream of, or one simple
>square stone inlay in brick, or colored tile surrounding an opening, or even
>a mural on a blank wall?
>
>    People tend to be artistic with their hands, but if the people who
>design are in love with the use of line-drawing software, will they go
>around the constraints to add individual beauty?
 
_________________

Nasty clash! (see P.S.)

Peter deCamp's raises a remarkable and important question: Does CAD - on one hand an efficient and positive new tool - at the same time oust the application of historical forms? Evidently the idea came in view of a church. And, doubtless Peter deCamp is sensitive for something very important: the semantic and symbolic codes that are essential and fundamental for the characterisation of a house of God, mainly because the origins of religion had close connections to architecture. Codes like the polar harmony of the entrance gate (heavenly arc above, functional rectangle below) still play a fundamental role. Or the rope-pattern, originally a constructive means! But most of what was in this sense a code for "high ontological values" (polarity, harmony) in premodern times has become mere "decoration" partly by the analytical (mis-)judegements of the art historians, partly by the puritanistic machine-minds of modern architects. Architecture has become ontologically empty, spiritually and mostly also physically. In short: slum. Of course there are attempts to find modern codes, e.g. for the sacred, but they remain abstract, like  Ando's play with material and formal simplicity and light. The continuity with premodern codes has been cut off.
 
Evidently, Peter deCamp is someone who feels such things. It is not a matter of being religious, but a matter of being aware of the tremendous richness of world architecture and the changes architecture went through in the West in the last 100 years. Most important: the homogeneisation of space borrowed from physics (universe!) and the adaption of architectural form to the rigid impacts of industrial production (instead of adapting technology to the human laws of architecture). Design using CAD is just one further point in this process which has changed our environments. These contrasts find their particularly strong expression in cases - as Peter deCamp indicates - where architecture appears in the context of a deep rooted cultural expression, buildings like churches, temples etc. For further information see -> http://home.worldcom.ch/~negenter/0140BaubioEinl.html
 
Warm regards

Nold Egenter

P.S. Regarding "sgp": Probably he has not seen much of this world and thinks that his poor perspective must be the condition for everyone else. Unbelievable brashness! Sad if he gets a diploma in architecture! I would suggest him to work in a butchershop. There things are neatly clearcut and this type of 'flaming' might be "in". In regard to the "great things about the internet": luckily halfbaked cadgers of this type can be countered on the spot!