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Algorithmic Design
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2763
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:28 pm    Post subject: Algorithmic Design Reply with quote

https://www.architectmagazine.com/technology/can-algorithms-design-buildings_o?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Article&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ABU_070219&
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Paul Ringstrom



Joined: 17 Sep 2005
Posts: 4210
Location: Mason City, IA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom,
Thanks for posting this article. Very interesting.

I heard several years ago that someone had come up with software
that could design Prairie Style buildings.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9505

PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The significant adjective in the definition of algorithm is "unambiguous," which is to say that, like all things computer-driven, everything that comes out is already within. The quality that individual architects contribute to design is the ambiguous. I doubt there is a computer on Earth that is wired like Frank Lloyd Wright's brain.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 18131
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One positive attribute of such a program is that it can present many different solutions to a given architectural or planning problem, potentially speeding up the process of making decisions on the part of the designer.

No one is suggesting that a machine can duplicate the artist's decision-making skills and talents---as I read it.

S
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9505

PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is confusion in the article, which suggests that design considerations can become automatic. I am no Luddite, but I sometimes think the computer is not used with care. It is just another tool. It hastens the process, but does not necessarily improve it in the long run.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 18131
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...making it much like any other tool. Substitute Wright's word, "machine," for "computer," and your sentence reads equally well---doesn't it ?

S
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Matt2



Joined: 30 Dec 2018
Posts: 161

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure about an algorithm, but I've always thought there was an if-then process to Wright's design. It started with a big decision...maybe the module he chose...and that led to subsequent decisions. For example, that module decision eventually leads to the shape and placement of overhead lights. This could also be seen as part of an organic "total design" philosophy.
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2763
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've become a Luddite,
or at least a good candidate for one.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The architect must simultaneously solve for multiple problems---client brief and site condition, for a start---while applying his own aesthetic preferences,
including an appropriate material palette, to a chosen structural scheme. These five elements will of course affect each other in varying degrees.

Ever was it thus ?

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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3815
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the early 1990’s, a book and a MAC based software disk was marketed that with some dimensional and story height inputs would generate a floor plan and elevation based on the proportions of Andrea Palladio. I bought the package and played with it, finding the results were varied making some ridiculous outcomes and some good ones. I came away finding the software a good tool for learning about the “mathematics” of Palladio’s methodology, but also the limitations of an algorithm.

The software in the article may be more of the same...it will be up to the human using the software to vet the results generated by an unthinking procedural machine. It should be noted that an architect hones his or her skill as a designer by the ACT of designing...simple selection from a menu of results will not provide the same mental exercise. Other than a “time saver” to attempt to increase profits at the expense of the architect’s individual thought and care for his or her clients, I see this as a downward spiral in the already increasingly formulaic built environment.
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Roderick Grant



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DNR, ditto.
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
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Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In addition to the above, one of the frustrations I face
as a sole practitioner with many interests, is my inability
to retain software operational skills over certain time
spans of non use.
On the other hand I've never been capable of forgetting
how to use the more intimate and less expensive pencil.

Zooming in on the drawings from the Hollyhock archives
makes me wish, in part, that I was 18 years old and that it was
sometime before 1933.

I grow old, I grow old
but I refuse to wear my
"trousers rolled."
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1485

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ditto, ditto... One questionable contribution of technology to architecture has been an innate alteration of the profession itself. The "amount" of architecture today is mind boggling. Yet many "practicing" today most likely in the past would not have had any particular interest, and more pointedly, would not have "made the grade" without CAD, BIM, Sketchup, etc, etc... opening up the field to many more as a "positive" is barely relevant. There are intrinsic talents exhibited by good design that once contributed to success or failure. A sensibility has emerged that just about anything and everything is possible, and even acceptable, with technology and by just about anyone. The result has made a safe sameness of design ubiquitous and too often without the spark of human creativity, which a computer can't provide if lacking in the user.

I unsubscribed to ArchDaily, tiring of seeing this overload "daily". Of course, good and even great things are being done, but that would still be the case with only T-square's and triangles. This is not a screed against technology or it's value to progress. Only a consequence, in my opinion, of what I see and experience. No doubt this not a commonly shared view...
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
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Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, there is a spiritual and/or psychological component to all this.
The "overload" phenomena is real.
I have NEVER considered myself conservative, but I have simply not been able to keep up, "spiritually," with the flow rate of time in architecture today.
I consider in part this is because architecture is always so closely connected to the reign of contemporary power.
And that contemporaneous power has completely lost it's way.
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UpOnGoblinHill



Joined: 08 Jun 2019
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a young person who deeply loves architecture (and has been picturing his own house 'round a hill in the same way our beloved Frank had,) I can guarantee that the 'overload' phenomena is real for many others too JimM. Especially, I think, for young architects and architectural critics, who see a glut of content thanks to technology, but a lack of evocative design using it.

The 'Sameness' JimM talks about is very real for me especially. I think in the end that modular algorithmic design has a place in architecture, but like all new technologies, I hope a suitable application is found that does not devalue the human element.

I love that technology has made architectural design more accessible. I'd be stranded without it, but I'll still take my own line on paper over the CAD drawings I need any day.
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