I’ll start from the beginning, as its been a long time since I talked about the work and project I’m working on.

The Masters I’m in is called the Design Research Lab and is going into its 12 year.  The focus of the program shifts every three years.  I am in the last year of the Parametric Urbanism agenda. So what does this all mean?

Well, here is the prospectus from the program.  But to try and sum it up in my own words:

Parametric Urbanism attempts to use new computer based design methods to incorporate complex informational parameters (such as traffic flows, solar orientation, etc.) into the design process of urban and architectural proposals.  The idea is that by incorporating these into the design the site will work better and be more responsive to its environment.  But it goes farther than this, attempting to bring in aspects of chaos theory and emergence to the design of architecture.  This might seem a bit far fetched but these theories have already found a place not only in obvious fields such as biology and mathematics, but also economics and ship design.  Urban planners are have also begun to use these techniques to study traffic flows and  settlement distribution.  Here, we are attempting to use these techniques to actually design cities and buildings rather than just study them.

The key element of parametric design is the relationship between different elements and how they effect each other. These “parameters” create part to part relationships where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  These form complex interrelated systems which can incorporate difference and variety.  Here the idea is that in moving beyond the purity of Modernism, contemporary architecture should follow more complex rules which allow for multiple solutions and variation as opposed to perfect single solutions.  These ideas come out of the post-structuralist school of Philosophy and is mainly followed through the writings of Deleuze and DeLanda.

These ideas begin to put into persepective the blob like work of Zaha Hadid and Coop Himmelblau, both of whom I had dismissed befoer coming here, and give it a more interesting reading.  Though I am not totally sold on these approaches, they are quite interesting and I am glad to be here learning them.


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