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WEEK 1 ARCHITECTURE AS A DISCOURSe PRECEDENTS 8 Tallet (8 House)- Bjarke Ingells Group 2006 BMW Welt (BMW WORLD)- Coop HimmelB(l)au 2007

Jonathon BElotti 539430

I am trying to become a good architect. The younger me practiced drawing the houses of his dreams, massive, sprawling and neo-classical; this was good, beautiful architecture. I still admire Palladio's villas, however further experiences of architecture, its discourse and programs like AutoCAD and Rhino have and will continue to I think, hold not the pen, but the computer as a central tenet of a new emerging Architectural philosophy and theory. Architecture as a discourse is a subject matter that is made broader and deeper (or narrower and shallower) by the complexity with which participators in the discourse connect architectural phenomena (both built and theoretical entities) to the wider landscape of general human activities. These may be the sciences, performing arts, or driving cars and writing novels. In Architecture and Visual Culture, Williams identifies the building as a sign. This sign I see as being either as simple or complex as the person interacting with the building can make it1. The Villa Savoye can be simple a house, with all that things connotations of bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms etc. Or it can be seen as a physical reposte to the form and organisation of gothic and classical architecture, emphasising more modern philosophical ideas of the Euclidean spatial landscape and the love of the machine and industry2. These ideas and more are contained within this building, bestowed upon by the discourse of architecture. Layering on this, is the idea that simultaneously the architectural object is drawing ideas from the discourse to form its signs and symbols, and then feeding back this back into it, adding to and reinterpreting the wider dynamic discursivity.

1. Williams, Richard, “Architecture and visual Culture” 2. william J.R. Curtis, Modern Architecture Since 1900, Ch 10, “Le corbusier’s quest for ideal form”, pp 168

image 1: My interpretation of rdiscourse’s role in the creation of architecture


ARCHITECTURAL CREATION Architecture created from information

DISCOURSE: STATE 2 Resulting architecture becomes part of discourse, adding to and interacting with existing information.

Existing discourse of Information


Relatively new to this discourse is the computation and computational design, creating forms, structures and organisations from parameters and algorithms. This type of 'parametric design' has opened up new and exciting possibilities and the products of it represent the changing philosophies & cultures, and the evolving technologies of the humanity. With this has come the introduction of the 'blob' entity into architectural discourse. Existing already in the minds of the public through its representations in film, Greg Lynn describes the absorption of it into architecture and morphology theory and the subsequent efforts to use isomorphic polysurfaces to create, describe and visualise them. The blob is so vastly different from discrete architectural ideas such as the column or wall, it exists simultaneously as a singularity and a multiplicity. It is too complex to utilise without computation, but with computation architecture have already produced buildings that employ blob theory for the benefit of users and in the creation of form3. 3. Lynn, Greg (1998) “Why Tectonics is Square and Topology is Groovy”, in Fold, Bodies and Blobs: Collected Essays ed. by Greg Lynn (Bruxelles: La Lettre volée), pp. 169-182.

image 2: BMW Welt interior showing dynamic twisting cloud form interpretation

BMW Welt in Munich is a 21st Century building that has a few important discursive elements. This building is more than just a functional space for BMW to sell cars. Evidence of this is the German government’s interest in having it completed in time for the 2006 world cup in Munich; this building is sending an important message about architecture to the world.4 I personally see it as like a signpost and exhibitor of the progress and changes of the architecture discourse, directly related to the wider interdiscursivity of life on earth. This buildings form is interesting, and is modelled on the dynamically changing form of a cloud through time (see Above). Algorithmic form construction has been used, creating fractals, scale-invariance, very sophisticated notions of symmetry, self-similarity and complex hierarchy to create a form of great complexity but creative consistency. Though these forms may seem at first polar with Guimard’s Art Nouveau work. The twisting iron flora motifs and BMW Welt cloud representation are both examples of Biophilia. This is the “urge to affiliate with other forms of life”.5 Despite the vast changes in method and difference in time, they both seem to connect to the architectural discourse of man and his relationship with nature. I feel personally that these new forms are very exciting visually, just as the Art Nouveau movements architectural examples would have been to the viewing public. This is very relevant and helpful to the Gateway projects need to make a “significant impact”. Parametric design has the capabilities to produce, new, unfamiliar and powerful arresting forms, as seen in Coop Himmelblau’s BMW Welt Building. 4. “BMW Welt.” Coop Himmelb(l)au. Coop Himmelblau, 14 03 1992. Web. 13 Mar 2013. <> 5. Wilson, Edward O. Biophilia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1984. Print.

The parametric has also developed and made more sophisticated the problem solving area of Architecture. Bjarke Ingells Group are well known for their pragmatic approach to parametric design. 8Tallet a housing development, took information about required programme, sunlight, mobility and context within an urban fabric to shape and subtract from their bulk volume6. The result is an atypical housing block form that has employed algorithms to increase the building efficiency and effectiveness in delivering set outcomes.

Iimage 3: Diagrams produced by BIG demostrating the parametric infputs of programme, lccation and sunlight on building form

The 8Tallet Building and BIG’s work in general provides an impressive and extensive catalogue of examples from which a parametric design for the Gateway project can be justified. The use of computation would be very effective at optimising designs for budget considerations, structure, and complex (though easily fabricated) form .

image 4: 8 Tallet interior grounds

6. “8 House / BIG” 20 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 14 Mar 2013. <http://> 7. (2012) BIG | Bjarke Ingels Group. [online] Available at: http://www. [Accessed: 14 Mar 2013].

REFERENCES Richard Williams, ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture : Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), pp. 102 - 116. Lynn, Greg (1998) “Why Tectonics is Square and Topology is Groovy”, in Fold, Bodies and Blobs: Collected Essays ed. by Greg Lynn (Bruxelles: La Lettre volée), pp. 169-182. William J.R. Curtis, Modern Architecture Since 1900, Ch 10, “Le corbusier’s quest for ideal form”, pp 163-182. Definition of “algorithm” in Wilson, Robert A. and Frank C. Keil eds(1999) in The Mit Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (London: The MIT Press) pp.11-12 Wilson, Edward O. Biophilia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1984. Print. “8 House / BIG” 20 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 14 Mar 2013. <> (2012) BIG | Bjarke Ingels Group. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 14 Mar 2013]. “BMW Welt / Coop Himmelb(l)au” 22 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 14 Mar 2013. <> IMAGES: 1- Personally made in illustrator 2- 3- diagram-by-big_06/ 4- image-by-jens-lindhe_11-2/

Architecture Studio: Air- Journal  

Journal currently containing discussion on Architecture as discourse

Architecture Studio: Air- Journal  

Journal currently containing discussion on Architecture as discourse