Cory Fernandez Aggregated Assemblies Critical Essay
Parametric Design Strategies: A Comparison of the Architectural ideas of Lynn, Reiser & Umemento The way humans have shaped the world throughout time has always been dependent on the technologies available during the epoch. When the Romans discovered concrete, architecture adapted. Buildings became larger and space became more plastic. With the rise of the industrial revolution, manufacturing technologies in iron and steel allowed for a revolution in building techniques and once again buildings became larger, taller, and more plastic. In today’s age once again we are experiencing a revolution that will change the shape of the world as we know it, and this is digital media. New computer technologies are allowing for designers to reach new limits with ideas as classic as the Roman triad; function, durability, and beauty. The contemporary architectural movement is testing the limits and learning the possibilities of what new computer technologies can do for architecture. Parametric design is challenging Modern design strategies offering new ways of controlling form in architecture. Spearheading this movement are the architectural firm Reiser & Umemoto as well as well as Greg Lynn with his firm FORM (1992). Both of these firms are testing the waters of parametric based design and offer both similar and opposing methods of implementing this design strategy. In Reiser & Umemoto’s book The Atlas of Novel Tectonics the architectural firm advocate’s bottom up design and parametric methods as a way to achieve a form where the whole is greater than the sum of all its parts. Reiser and Umemoto explain that there organizational principles, “requires a methodology that involves both top-down and bottom-up logics operating in a feedback loop…[this] enables the emergence of new architectural effects out of wholes that are not reducible to their parts.”(50) Reiser and Umemoto suggest this can be achieved by either, “[positing] an unchanging unit deployed along a trajectory or the simple repetition of a variable unit”. (52) Greg Lynn seems to agree with this type of design strategy. In an interview titled Calculus based form: Lynn states that “experimental architects have just jumped from top-down determination of parts to bottom-up determination of wholes. I find this theoretically naïve and it avoids the most interesting thing about parametrics, and that is the ability to fuse the hierarchy of parts and whole to produce a deeply modulated whole as well as infinitesimal variation among parts”.(92)
Both of these architectural firms are closely dealing with ideas of how the sum of parts in a design is greater than the whole. They advocate how hierarchy and piece to piece relationships are essential to parametric design in architecture. Through the use of computers, contemporary architects are able to more closely study and understand parts to parts relationships. With use of parametric software and new fabrication technologies we are experiencing a change in architectural theory and form that will inevitably change the shape of the world we live in.
Parametric Design Strategies: A Comparison of the Architectural ideas of Lynn, Reiser & Umemento