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Authorship in algorithmic architecture from Peter Eisenman to Patrik Schumacher

Eleftherios Siamopoulos, 04107077 Supervising Professors: Vassilios Ganiatsas, Kari Jormakka

Athens, October 2012


NTUA - School of Architecture - Architectural Design

Authorship in algorithmic architecture from Peter Eisenman to Patrik Schumacher Eleftherios Siamopoulos, 04107077 Supervising Professors: Vasilios Ganiatsas, Kari Jormakka

Athens, October 2012



Over the past two decadesm computer technology has evolved, resulting in activation of a complex geometrical language that could not be controlled by traditional methods. However, the use of computer remained in a representational stage and the design process remained classical to the end. So the architect remains the creator of the object with the meaning attributed to the word in Romanticism, and the traditional relation between the subject and the object does not change. However Patrik Schumacher and Peter Eisenman,, tried a more integrated approach to the design of architecture with the computer, aiming to change the design paradigm, in a different way each, favoring the use of extensive algorithmic design. After I define the the term ‘algorithmic design’ in relation to architecture and explore carious nonclassical synthesis techinques in music and painting, I analyze the design process followed by Patrik Schumacher and Peter Eisenman. Finally, after analyzing, what contitutes a work of art in architecture and how we judge it, I explore the role of the above mentioned architects in the creation of the final object. But does algorithmic design bring a change in the relation between the subject and the object?




p. 06

1. Introduction 2. Algorithmic Design 3. Patrik Schumacher on Parametricism 4. Peter Eisenman and the Algorithmic Design 5. Authorship in Architecture 6. Authorship in Patrik Schumacher and Peter Eisenman

p. 07 p. 14 p. 29 p. 43 p. 58 p. 67

Image Appendix A Image Appendix B Image Appendix C

p. 74 p. 83 p. 87


p. 91



This research project started on the occasion of a question on Patrik Schumacher’s theory of autopoiesis in architecture, a term first used from the Chilian biologists Humberto Maturana and Fransesco Varelo in 1972 in the field of biology. Patrik Schumacher adapted this idea in the theory of the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann (1972-1998) and he is referring on the dynamic evolution of architecture, whose autonomy as a system is helping it evolve, resulting in Parametricism. The initial question that occurred to me is which is the role of the architect in this process? After a discussion with Professor Kari Jormakka, who was my advisor for the research project, in the Technische Univeristät Wien, where I studied for two semesters with the ERASMUS program, I decided to deal with the role of the architect in algorithmic architecture in general, and the relation of the subject in creating the object. For this reason I chose to analyze the approach of two architects who aim on changing the design paradigm, of Patrik Schumacher who is dealing with Parametricism and of Peter Eisenman who was the first architect that used algorithms in the design process. But first I analyze the difference between digital design as a draft tool and algorithmic design as a design tool. Before I reach the conclusions, I investigate the role of the architect in the design process and whether the resulting object is identified as the work of art in architecture.


1. Introduction

1.1 Between, 23 of June and 30 of August in 1988, there was an exhibition named “Deconstructivist Architecture”, in the Museum of Modern Art(MoMA) in New York. The architects, whose work was presented, were Coop Himmelb(l)au(Apartment Building in Vienna 1983, Hamburg Skyline 1985, Rooftop Remodelling 1986), Peter Eisenman(Biology Center for the University of Frankfurt 1987), Frank Gehry(Familian Residence 1978, Gehry House 1977-1987), Zaha M. Hadid(The Peak 1983), Rem Koolhaas(Boompjes 1980), Daniel Libeskind(City Edge 1987) and Bernard Tschumi(Parc de la Villette 1982). [Image Appendix A] Unlike the “Modern Architecture” exhibition of 1932, which summed up the architecture of the twenties and prophesied an International Style in architecture to take the place of the romantic “styles” of the previous century, the aim of the “Deconstructivist Architecture” exhibition was not to declare a new style. The guest curator of the exhibition Philip Johnson already from the abstract of the exhibition outlined: “It is a confluence of a few important architects’ work of the years since 1980 that shows a similar approach with very similar forms as an outcome. It is a concentration of similar strains from various parts of the world”. The associate curator, Mark Wigley, writes also in the abstract that: “The nightmare of deconstructivist architecture inhabits the unconscious of the architect. The architect merely countermands traditional formal inhibitions in order to release the suppressed alien. Each architect releases different inhibitions in order to subvert form in radically different ways. Each makes thematic a different dilemma of pure form. […] An architecture, finally, in which form distorts itself in order to reveal itself anew.”.1


Κ. Michael Hays, Architecture Theory since 1968, The MIT Press, 1998


Though the architects mentioned above recognize the imperfection of the modern world and they try to reveal, as Philip Johnson says ‘the pleasures of discomfort’. By using diagonals, curves and folds the are intentionally trying to violate the right angles, the simple composition of platonic solids and the rationalism of modernism. The classical principles of harmony, unity and purity are displaced from disharmony, break and mystery. In the almost 25 years since the exhibition, the above mentioned architects have evolved continuing nevertheless on designing forms which are similar to the forms created in post-modernism. The evolution of these forms is closely related to the parallel development of computer science, which made the design and production of free forms easier. It seams that through the digitalization of design, a new way of architectural thinking emerges, which ignores and opposes the classical formal conventions, in favor of a continuous experimentation with new forms. [Image Appendix B] 1.2 However it should not be assumed that free forms were first discovered and used in the end of 20th century. Rafael Moneo, on a purely morphological level, talked about ‘forgotten geometries lost to us because of the difficulties of their representation’.2 For example the forms that Frank Gehry is using in his latest projects such us the Giggenheim Museum in Bilbao, can be identified in expressionistic works of the 1920s. Or even earlier, someone can encounter free forms in the organic and biomorphical shapes of Art Nouveau and more precisely in the helical lines of Hector Guimard on the stations of the subway in Paris. Also in the sculpture-buildings of Gaudi with the complex organic forms, which result from his own method of curve modeling through the copy of the form of a hanged chain. There is a number of architects that used similar expressive means from 1920s onwards. The observatory Einsteinturm(1921) of Er2 as quoted in: Kolarevic Branko, Architecture in the Digital Age – Design and Manufacturing, Taylor & Francis, 2005


ich Mendelsohn in Potsdam in Germany, the church of Ronchamp(1955) and the Philips Pavillion in Expo 1958 in Brussels of Le Corbusier, the TWA Terminal(1962) in New York of Eero Saarinen, the Sidney Opera House(1967) of Jørn Utzon. It is worth remembering that the ‘free view’ and the ‘free plan’ of Le Corbusier, are those who enabled the creation of curves in the works of modernism. Eero Saarinen attributed the reappearance of free forms in the advance of technology, but he also recognizes that they were used for aesthetic reasons. Finally Alvaar Alto, objected to the strict geometry of International Style the spiral lines and curved forms of his plans from the furniture scale to the building scale. The Finnish Pavillion in the World Expo of 1939, one of his best known works, is characterized by its undulating curves within a modest rectangular cell. [Images Appendix C] Most of these works are a milestone in the history of architecture, for different reasons each. However all of them show the intention of breaking with the classical conventions that were used in the contemporary architecture of the time. It is obvious that free forms have not prevailed until the end of the 20th century, mainly due to the restrictions of the available at that time means of visualization and analysis. The traditional instruments of drafting, such as triangles, compasses, scales and protractors, limited largely the designers in the world of straight lines, of parallels and perpendiculars and in constructions that were based on the logic of euclidean geometry for their production. As a result, architects often found that they could not design forms which they could not describe sufficiently and therefore they could not also construct them. Of course through these restrictions it was possible for great projects to be built as the ones mentioned above, exactly the same way that is happening with the poets creating masterpieces through the strict restrictions of the sonnet. Today the computer technology has achieved to lift these restrictions, with the use of 3D geometrical and digital models. For the first time in the end of the 20th century, it was made possible for the architects to be able to design and produce easily free forms. To illustrate this extraordinary change that took place in the digital age it is enough 9

to compare two masterpieces of the 20th century: the Sydney Opera House of Jørn Utzon and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao of Frank Gehry. Both buildings are considered masterpieces for their time, which is confirmed by the fact that became emblems of the cities in which they were built. The Sydney Opera House was the result of an international competition in 1956, with winner the work of Jørn Utzon, that was characterized by curved concrete shells. Schematic diagrams of the architect for the contest, were depicting free-form curves and surfaces, which presented a challenge for the construction engineering firm of Ove Arup. From 1957 to 1961, Jørn Utzon and Ove Arup were trying to find a solution of mathematical description of these curves, experimenting in changing its shape, so that the construction would become feasible. Finally the solution came with a simplification of the originally planned form of shells, by drawing them into triangular sections of the same sphere. This simplification in form, has led to a simultaneous simplification to their design, to their calculation and their construction, with the contemporary design tools that were available. In 1967, 10 years after the original design of the opera, the shells were constructed. At the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, four decades later, Frank Gehry designed an even bolder composition of free forms. This time, however, the exact design calculation and construction of these free forms was not a problem. By using the program ‘Catia’, which was mostly used in the field of aeronautics, he designed a complete model of free forms of the building, which in the end were constructed automated with minimal cost. For Frank Gehry it was not necessary to simplify the free forms that he designed, as it was of Jørn Utzon, and the final result was strikingly similar to the original architect’s sketches. 1.3 With the revolution in technology and digital representation it became possible, in the late 20th century, for many architects to construct the free forms that they were drawing but they could not construct. Nevertheless, the use of computers in architectural design has 10

Sidney Opera House, Jørn Utzon, 1967

Guggenheim Museum, Frank Gehry, 1999


remained at the representation stage, where the computers are used purely as an electronic design tool. In the example of the Guggenheim Museum of Frank Gehry, the program ‘Catia’ was used to describe the digital free-forms that are part of the outer skin of the museum. Similarly most architects are using the computer that were presented in the ‘Deconstructivist Architecture’ exhibition in MoMA. In most cases, the computer is allowing the activation of a geometric language, which could not be controlled because of the complexity of the geometry of the form by using traditional projective methods. This of course means that the use of computers remains in the representational stage in the architectural design, as there is no actual perception of the computing nature governing the digital environment. But instead, the design process remains deeply traditional, remaining essentially similar to the approach of a process based on traditional design methods. What is changing, is simply the awareness of the possible extension of the geometric language of architecture, that is present in the invisible mathematical description of the digital design tools. So in the case that the computer is only used as a design tool, in fact we have a development of the tool of design and nothing more. For this reason, in most cases we do not have change in the relationship between the subject and the object during the architectural design. The architect in both cases remains creator of the object, in the sense that was given to the term in Romanticism. The author is an original genius, who through intuition and emotions is able to produce its own original work, in a process of creation from nothing. This idea can be found in a remark made by the German painter Caspar David Friedrich said that: «The feelings of the artist is his law. «. However two of the architects mentioned before, Zaha M. Hadid and Peter Eisenman, tried a more integrated approach to architectural design with computers. They claim that they do not remain in the use of the computer as a tool for describing and designing complex geometries, but rather they aim to change of the design paradigm, favoring the extensive use of algorithmic design in the design process, each one 12

of them for their own reasons. Therefore I chose these two extreme examples, to investigate the changes that the use of algorithmic design brings to the relationship between the subject and the object in their architecture. But what is algorithmic design?


2. Algorithmic Design

2.1 Algorithmic architecture involves the designation of computer software to generate form and space through a rule-based logic inherent in architectural programs, typologies, building code and language itself. Here we should make the distinction between the computation and computerization of architecture. The dominant mode of utilizing computer in our days is that of computerization. That is nothing more than the digitization and then manipulation of what they have already designed through traditional means. On the other hand computation, enables the role of the architect from ‘architecture programming’ to ‘programming architecture’. An algorithm is the procedure to a solution to a problem, which after a finite number of steps, stops, and finally leads either to a solution to the initial problem or not. As a result an algorithm is a group of procedural rules, of instructions; a decision making process.3 An algorithm can be a solution strategy to a problem through a finite number of steps, but this doesn’t mean that we already know the solution neither that there is a solution. The output of an algorithmic procedure is always open. We can know the input and the steps that we will follow, but the result is unknown. The special thing about an algorithm as a solution procedure to a problem is not only its finitude or its universality, but also the importance of an every time applicability. An algorithm is a procedure, which can be used in every possible state, 3

Manfred Wolff-Plotegg, Architektur Algorithmen, Passagen Verlag, 1996

“Unter Algorithmus versteht man ein Verfahren zur Lösung eines Problems, das nach endlich vielen Schritten abbricht und dabei entweder eine Lösung des Problems produziert oder es als unlösbar zurückweist. Ein Algorithmus ist also eine Verfahrensanweisung, eine Handlungsanweisung, eine Entscheidungsprozedur. “


Sierpinsky’s Triangle, same rules different variables

Three houses of Frank Lloyd Wright with the same program and layout


in the procedure of addressing a problem. As a result an algorithm is a universal procedure consisting of rules, which can always be used, is objective, methodical and effective. As I have already mentioned, the basis of algorithmic design is that with the same rules and procedure a designer can create different forms. For example Frank Lloyd Wright created three different buildings by using the same organizational scheme, but using different shapes for creating the final form; once by using rectangles, once by using triangles and once by using circles. Nevertheless the use of algorithms has an aim which paradoxically is, to put the aim itself aside. In what we could call classic architecture, what the final outcome of a design process should be, was defined by our aims, but in algorithmic architecture, the end is allowed to be unknown, as it is going to be generated through the use of algorithms. Although the human forms a set of instructions to be performed of a computer, he cannot have an oversight of the final result, as the there are algorithms which simulate the way natural processes work, algorithms which create randomness, or even algorithms which are able to generate new algorithms. For instance the introduction of an arbitrary process can produce results which are unpredictable but in the same time accidentally meaningful. Unpredictability is, by definition, a disassociation of intention, but unlike chaos, a random rearrangement of elements, in a predefined rule-based system can result a legit result. However, from very early a lot of artists have tried to achieve a disassociation of the intention of the creator from the creation process by using different non-classical techniques. Even so without using the computer they invented a process that displaced the creator himself, giving importance to other pieces of the work of art. 2.2 Alexander Cozens, a British landscape painter (1717, St. Petersburg – 1786, London), who worked during the first years of Romanticism, ried to free his art from the formal notions and the rules formed in classicism, through a new process that he proposed. This new ‘non-classical’ process of creating original compositions in painting, was not based on 16

Blotting of a landscape painting of Alexander Cozens

The landscape painting of Alexander Cozens that was produced from the blotting above


the original genius’s idea of Romanticism, but on the other hand it was ruled by the concept of randomness; a method no more controlled from the human conscience. Alexander Cozens, described his radical process in his pamphlet ‘A New Method of Assisting the Invention in Drawing Original Compositions of Landscape’, published in 1785. One of his pupils give us a description of his peculiar method of teaching: “Cozens dashed out upon several pieces of paper a series of accidental smudges and blots in black, brown and grey, which being floated on, he impressed again upon other paper, and by the exercise of fertile imagination, and a certain degree of of ingenious coaxing, converted into romantic rocks, woods towers, steeples, cottages, rivers, fields, and waterfalls. Blue and grey blots formed the mountains, clouds and skies.”4 An improvement of this technique, was to splash the bottoms of earthenware plates with these blots, and to stamp impressions therefrom on sheets of damped paper. As Alexander Cozens, in his book ‘A New Method of Assisting the Invention in Drawing Original Compositions of Landscape’ suggests: “To sketch is to transfer ideas from the mind to the paper. To blot is to make varied spots... producing accidental forms... from which ideas are presented to mind. To sketch is to delineate ideas; blotting suggests them.”.5 Moreover he defines blotting as “a production of chance with a small degree of design”. The proposed process of Alexander Cozens, can be seen as an algorithmic process through a contemporary view. This process can be interpreted as an algorithm exactly because he displaced the way of producing a painting; from the creation through intuition of the original genius, to the interpretation of a result which came out of an arbitrary procedure. The algorithm in the process that he proposes, is not other than discovering the unknown, by seeing in his random composition of blots something that he would not imagine in another way. Leav4 Otto Stelzer, Die Vorgeschichte der abstrakten Kunst, R. Piper, München, 1964 5 Alexander Cozens, A New Method of Assisting the Invention in Drawing Original Compositions of Landscape, 1785, as quoted in: Manfred Wollf-Plottegg, Architektur Algorithmen, Passagen Verlag,1996


ing outside intentions, turning something through interpretation that seems meaningless into meaningful. This way, he achieves the end of the beginning, since he has no initial intentions and his initial point of creation is just defined by a random composition of smudges and blots. Moreover he achieves the end of the end, as he has no aim in his process; he just has a random composition of smudges and blots, which he later interprets, resulting in a creation of a painting he had not foreseen; a result that is to him unknown from the beginning. However, as Alexander Cozens acknowledges, his ideas are influenced of a passage in Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452-1519, Old Style Calendar) book ‘Treatise on Painting’, published in France in 1632. Leonardo da Vinci recommends that artists should look for inspiration of paintings in marks on old walls or figures in clouds. He continues suggesting a method, of throwing a wet cloth against the wall, from which someone could be inspired for new compositions. In the modern period, Paul Klee (18 December 1879-29 June 1940), followed the advice of Leonardo da Vinci for finding unreasonable ways of inspiration regarding painting compositions, as he writes: “In the restaurant of my uncle(Frick), the fattest man in Switzerland, tables were arranged on which stood polished porcelain dishes, and on their surface was designed a tangle of lines. In this maze of lines, someone could discover grotesque human figures, which he could later draw them with pencil.”.6 Another example of random composition in painting, however this time without interpretation, is the method of Jean (Hans) Arp (1886-1966), a French artist. Claiming that ‘chance is my raw material’ he created compositions of collages and reliefs, by letting pieces of paper unexpectedly fall on a blank canvas. However, he did not use his method for creativity reasons or for breaking away from classic values 6 Paul Klee, Tagesbuch, p.16, as quoted in: Stelzer Otto, Die Vorgeschichte der abstrakten Kunst, R. Piper, München, 1964 “Im Restaurant meines Onkels (Frick), des dicksten Mannes in der Schweiz, standen Tische mit geschliffenen Marmorplatten, auf deren Oberfläche ein Gewirr von Versteinerungsquerschnitten war. Aus diesem Labyrinth von Linien konnte man menschliche Grotesken herausfinden und mit dem Bleistift festhalten.”


and forms, but rather for political reasons. Doing his first experiments with Dada-collages created by chance, during the First World War, he was seeking solace in the randomly occurring forms in nature, he set these works against the rational order that unleashed the war: mechanization, organization, nationalism. However, the idea of random composition was not an idea only used in painting. John Cage (1912 Los Angeles) is an American composer, who began to investigate the ways music was composed through chance procedure, believing that something beautiful could come out. During his studies in UCLA with the composer Arnold Schönberg, he realized that he wanted to make radically different music from the music of the time, and he says: “I certainly had no feeling for harmony, and Schönberg thought that that would make it impossible for me to write music. He said ‘You’ll come to a wall you won’t be able to get through.’ So I said, ‘I’ll beat my head against that wall.’.”. John Cage wanted to make art in ways that broke from the rigid forms of the past, and inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades that presented everyday items in museums as finished works of art, he found music around him without relying on expressing something from within. His first experiments using ‘non-classical’ techniques for composing music involved altering standard instruments, such as putting plates and screws between a piano’s strings before playing it, but he later realized that he needed entirely new instruments. Pieces such as ‘Imaginary Landscape No 4’(1951) used twelve radios played at once and depended entirely on the chance broadcasts at the time of the performance for its actual sound. In his piece ‘Water Music’ (1952), he used shells and water to create another piece that was motivated by the desire to reproduce the operations that form the world of sound we find around us each day. Throughout the sixties he started to focus his attention on the technologies of recording and amplification. One of his better known pieces composed using this technique is ‘Cartridge Music’(1960), during which he amplified the sound small household objects make at a live performance. Taking the notions of chance composition even further, he cut up a tape of recording, randomly putting it back together. 20

2.3 The problem regarding such techniques which were described above, is that they usually contain to much. They tend to contain a vast number of possibilities that have no meaning, plus possibilities which are meaningful but irrelevant or uninteresting. Somebody could state that the techniques described above, mostly ruled by randomness, are not objective neither scientific. The state-action trees, which are created from an arbitrary process containing rules, establish numerous branches that are not worth exploring. To take as much as we can through this process, leaving out the branches not worth exploring, can be done by tightening up the rules of the game. One powerful way of doing this is the grammatical combination of parts. For example in the English language, when we use a noun in a sentence, it is essential to being an English noun that is only instantiated in English sentences in certain kind of combinations with other words, as given by the rules of English grammar. Thus not all string of words count as sentences in English. Only those which follow the rules of the English grammar. Continuing from music, Arnold Schönberg, the Austrian composer who was a teacher of John Cage in UCLA, tried in his way to compose music different from the forms used in classical music, through the definition of rules of production, through an algorithmic process. Arnold Schönberg invented, in 1921, the method of musical composition called ‘Twelve-tone technique’. Twelve-tone technique orders the 12 notes of the chromatic scale, forming a row or a series and providing a unifying basis for a composition’s melody, harmony, structural progressions, and variations. It is a means of ensuring that all 12 notes of the chromatic scale are sounded as often as one another in a piece of music while preventing the emphasis of any through the use of tone rows, an ordering of the 12 pitches. All 12 notes are thus given more or less equal importance, and the music avoids being in a key. Schönberg himself described this system as a “Method of Composing with Twelve Tones Which are Related Only with One Another”. His invention of the method of ‘Twelve-tone technique’ made it possible for the technique of composition called serialism, that uses a series of values to manipulate different musical elements, to emerge. 21

However the idea of using rules of production to create music was first proposed by Ludwig Mizler, friend of J.S. Bach ,in his paper in 1739: “The Initial Basses of Figured Bass, propounded mathematically and presented in a very clear way by a newly invented machine”. is the machine of musical composition . The era had already left romanticism aside and Ludwig Mizler invented a machine of musical composition, which mechanically produced ‘objective’ music. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, between other composers such Haydn, C.P.E. Bach and Calegari, invented his own “Musikalisches Würfelspiel”, in the year 1787, which was published from N. Simrock in Bonn, in 1787, after the death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was a system for using dice to randomly generate music. The dice was rolled, and every time a number was attributed to a number on a table, which respectively was corresponding in a two-bar section of music. Adding up the randomly selected sections of music, a musical piece was created. His aim was to show that anyone without an idea about music could compose a walz and other types of music. In 1801, Antonio Calegari presents in Venice the “Gioco pitagorico musicale”, another musical dice game, in which he proposed the use of three dices and he writes: “It is obvious the music, which is considered the language of heart, should have as every other language its phrases, its sentences, its words, its syllables and its letters.”.7 The analogy of the grammatical combination of parts in architecture can be illustrated in Alberti’s handling of columns, piers, entablatures and arches, as analyzed by Rudolf Wittkower, in 1962: “In his religious buildings Alberti consistently avoided the combination of arch and column. When he used columns he did, in fact, give them a straight entablature, while when he introduced arches, he made them rest on pillars with or without half-columns set against them as decoration. Alberti found the models for both forms in Roman architec7 Γιάννης Βενέρης, Μίμησις Πληροφορική. Έννοιες και τεχνολογίες, Εκδόσεις Τζιόλας, 2007


The use and the combination of columns, archs, half-columns and entablatures from Alberti in his religious buildings


ture. But whereas the first motif is Greek, the Romans playing the role of mediators, the second is Roman. The first motif is based on the functional meaning of the column, the second on the cohesion and unity of the wall. To explain this latter point: in the Colosseum the arched pillars may be interpreted as residues of a pierced wall, with the half-columns, which carry the straight entablature, placed against them as ornament. In practice, therefore, Alberti’s conception of the column is essentially Greek, while his conception of the arc is essentially Roman.”8 The grammatical rules of a language of architectural form, like those used in a language, can be specified in a variety of formats. The simplest approach as employed by Pugin, is to display various exemplars of ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ practice. This technique has already been employed from Vitruvius until today. Another, more sophisticated approach, is to state generalized prescriptive rules, as in elementary language textbooks. In Renaissance, architectural theorists were particularly fond of doing this, as the rules of composition Palladio introduced in his “Four Books of Architecture” in 1570. John Mitchell in his book “The Logic of Architecture” in 1990, proposes a sophisticated generative grammar to create villa floor plans in the style of Palladio, since Palladio was one of the first architects to explore plan ideas by sketching numerous variants. The Palladian grammar which is formulated by Mitchell is a parametric shape grammar, as defined by Stiny in 1980, in which shapes consist of points, lines, and labels. The proposed grammar consists of vocabulary and rules of the language and illustrate them through a step by step derivation of the plan of the Villa Malcotenta. The grammar generates plans in a topdown fashion, working from footprint and an organizing grid, down to the details of walls, columns, doors and windows. The stages of the plan generation of a Palladian Villa are the following:

1. grid definition 2. exterior wall definition

8 William J. Mitchell, The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition, MIT Press, 1996


The unixaial villas that Palladio published in his ‘Four Books of Architecture’ as they were produced from John Mitchell’s grammar

Villa Malcontenta as produced from John Mitchell’s grammar


All the combinations that are being produced from John Mitchell’s grammar in a 3x3 grid

Two prototype villa plans as they were produced from John Mitchell’s grammar in a convincing Palladian grammar


3. room layout 4. interior wall realignment 5. principal entrances, porticos and exterior wall inflections 6. exterior ornamentation, columns 7. windows and doors 8. termination

The above proposed Palladian grammar, generates not only all the uniaxial villa plans published in Palladio’s “Four Books of Architecture”, but also many plans of him sketched elsewhere and moreover a rich catalogue of original plans in a convincing Palladian manner. Since we can create grids of increasing size it, this grammar specifies a countable infinite universe of villa designs for exploration. In essence such a grammar of generating Palladian villa plans can be used also in the opposite direction, providing a way to recognize villa plans as Palladian, by succesfully reducing them to the initial step of the generation.9 Such shape grammars have been used from time to time to design architecture. Most notable is Bernard Tschumi’s design for Park of La Villette in Paris, in which he has programmatically employed substitution of architectural elements from a chosen lexicon, within the framework of a gridded ten-meter cube to generate a set of pavilions. The above paradigms, show us how the algorithmic way of thinking can be used to create an objective I dare to say architectural design. The shape tokens, being the vocabulary, and the rules of combining them, being the grammar of such a language. The above mentioned rules and the predefined steps form an algorithmic procedure, which cannot only be seen as a tool of giving a solution to a design problem, but also a design tool that leads towards the production of concepts, ideas and even forms, which in turn effect the way the architects are thinking. The basis of algorithmic design is that with the same rules a designer can create different forms. 9 as quoted in: William J. Mitchell, The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition, MIT Press, 1996


At this point, however, we need to explore the way in which Patrik Schumacher and Peter Eisenman, have used the algorithms in the design process and the reasons that each one of them favors.


3. Patrik Schumacher on Parametricism

3.1 “MAXXI was described as a building for the staging of art, and while provocative on many levels, this project demonstrated a maturity and calmness that belied the complexities of its form and organisation. […] This was a mature piece of architecture, a distillation of years of experimentation, only a fraction of which has been built. It is the quintessence of Zaha’s constant attempt to create a landscape, a series of cavernous spaces drawn with a free, roving line. The resulting piece gives the visitor a sense of exploration.”. With these words the jury of RIBA Stirling Price commented on the winning distinction of MAXXI win as the ‘Building of the Year 2010’. The design of MAXXI started about 12 years ago as a theoretical project; it was understood, by the Zaha Hadid Architects, from the beginning as a radical experiment in design research. Its completion, 10 years after the design competition, proved that the transformation of a radical concept into a project, a project into a building, and a building into a living institution. Even after its completion as a building MAXXI remains a theoretical project in the sense that it is an architectural manifesto projecting the potential of the new architectural style: Parametricism.10 Parametricism is the new architectural style which Patrik Schumacher, collaborate and right-hand of Zaha Hadid Architects, proposed in the 11th Architecture Biennale in Venice, in 2008. During the last fifteen years he has published numerous articles theorizing a new agenda for architecture. In his latest attempts of expressing a new unified theory of architecture of the new style called by himself “Parametricism”, he 10 Patrik Schumacher, “The Meaning of MAXXI – Concepts, Ambitions, Achievements”, MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rizzoli International Publications, New York 2010


Εξωτερική άποψη της εισόδου του ΜΑΧΧΙ

Εξωτερική άποψη του ΜΑΧΧΙ


wrote and published a book in two volumes which is named: “The Autopoiesis of Architecture”. As he claims: “Contemporary avant-garde architecture is addressing the demand for an increased level of articulated complexity by means of retooling its methods on the basis of parametric design systems. The contemporary architectural style that has achieved pervasive hegemony within the contemporary architectural avant-garde can be best understood as a research program based upon the parametric paradigm. We propose to call this style: Parametricism.”11 Parametricism tries to introduce new concepts as well as new values in the course of architecture. This happens in terms of a richer and expanded formal repertoire as well as a new definition and understanding of function, which are organized through scripts and executed by computers. As a result MAXXI is acting as a built manifesto for the values represented in Parametricism, by trying to organize and articulate life, which is its general aim. To accomplish this, Parametricism tries not only to intensify the internal cohesion and differentiation through an ordered complexity of the architectural design, but to also create continuities between the building and the urban context. As Patrik Schumacher claims, cultural buildings in general, but especially contemporary art centers, are the perfect vehicles for stating architectural opinions, thus a new architectural style. This has to do with the openness of contemporary art, which is trying to reflect new social phenomena and ideas. Art was always about invention and experimenting with new, as also Adolf Loos stated, in “Ornament and Crime”. Contemporary art has no specified content and typology and tries always to reinterprets the very concept of art. Art is the zone of incubation of all ideas, including architectural ideas. This is easily understood when somebody thinks of modernism, and the way modern art stated the 11 Patrik Schumacher, Parametricism as Style – Parametricist Manifesto, Presented and discussed at the Dark Side Club, 11th Architecture Biennale, Venice 2008


values of modernism long before they were adapted, if they ever were completely, in architecture. The architectural frame, which in our case is the museum, should be a catalyst and incubator of art and furthermore the ideas which art is expressing. It is all about ‘brainstorming about brainstorming’ 12; achieving something new by designing an exceptional form. In the site in which the MAXXI was built two urban grids meet. The Zaha Hadid Architects were confronted with this challenge, so the design took its initial point of departure, from the geometry of the surrounding urban context. The resultant change in the angle of 51 degrees of the building is mediated by means of curves. The second decisive design concept was the imposition of a strong rigorous formalism; the formalism of parallel lines that bend, branch, bundle or intersect, which were later interpreted as walls, beams, ribs, staircases and lightning stripes.13 As the design moved on, the formalism gained functional significance, by becoming a wall everywhere thought of as a potential exhibition surface and the fundamental space-making element of the design. The walls remain mostly parallel, and the curves coming from the change of the urban grid create exhibition spaces between walls, as well as interior and exterior spaces, but rather enhancing than losing the continuous flow of space. The flow of the walls defines two streams: one major – the galleries and one minor – the staircases and bridges. As a result, every single one of the architectural elements: walls, beams and ribs as well as ramps and staircases is being created by the strict formalism of linear, streaming elements, contributing to the circulatory flow of the visitors and densifying communication and event participation. 12 Patrik Achievements”, New York 2010 13 Patrik Achievements”, New York 2010

Schumacher, “The Meaning of MAXXI – Concepts, Ambitions, MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rizzoli International Publications, Schumacher, “The Meaning of MAXXI – Concepts, Ambitions, MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rizzoli International Publications,


The urban context in which ΜΑΧΧΙ was built

The formalism of parallel lines


This flow of people inside the museum is achieved by the project’s formal unity and coherence and it is thus understood internally as a field rather than externally as an object.14 The interplay of a multitude of architectural elements mentioned earlier results to a space which cannot be grasped in a single glance. There exist two kind of zones with different functional meaning. Zones of laminar flow, which are spaces used for art exhibition and adequate for concentrated encounter. And zones where the intersection and the layering of lines is correlated with vertical connections that afford level changes. Such spaces of visual and circulatory interchange is the great public foyer and some connections which are offered internal to the domain of the galleries. The fluid sequence of space results to an open-wandering through the building without a beginning or an end-point. MAXXI abandons the traditional room-by room museum layout, in favor of an open, dynamic flow of people wandering throughout the building, through an ordered complexity. By creating surprising shifts of space, draws the visitors further, bringing new aspects in view and offering new choices to continue their path. No other style could have achieved the formal coherence in such different site conditions and scales with so many variants; especially when confronted with a large scale development of this kind. The use of generative formal algorithms, which the Zaha Hadid Architects are using, are able to create this formal consistency in such different scales and such different structures. But this consistency depends upon the adherence to the strictures and impositions discussed above. That implies that the parametricist continuation forged by different architects is possible in myriad different ways, but never random. Patrik Schumacher says: “Large scale projects in Beijing and Cairo prove that Parametricism is able to deliver all the components for a high performance contemporary life process.”15 That is why Parametricism will succeed in changing our perception of the built environment, exactly as modernism did on 14 Patrik Schumacher, “The Meaning of MAXXI – Concepts, Ambitions, Achievements”, MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rizzoli International Publications, New York 2010 15 Patrik Schumacher, “The Parametricist Epoch: Let the Style Wars Begin”, AJ: The Architectural Journal, vol. 231, no. 16, 06 May 2010


The big public foyer and a complex of staircases and bridges

The idea of the open museum


the dawn of 20th century. 3.2 Every new style that is proposed in architecture needs a comprehensive architectural theory. The reasons are for organizing the ideas and the people who are designing using this new style, which is Parametricism for us. It is also important if you are trying to work in an office and lead many architects across a multiplicity of projects, different in terms of program and scale. Finally it is important for oneself, so that one will be able to eliminate all contradictions within one’s own efforts; so that one doesn’t stand in its own way all the time. You can only lead a coherent practice with a coherent theory.16 It is necessary for us to agree that in Parametricism all elements are considered parametrically malleable. Unlike every other former style of practicing architecture, I dare to say from the beginning of architecture until today, including modernism, Parametricism is not working with platonic solids, with rigid, hermetic and geometric figures by just composing them. Unlike modernism which was leaded by the principles of separation and repetition, Parametricism is being led by the principles of differentiation and correlation and that of formal coherence. Nobody will claim the opposite regarding the use of such forms by modernism. Although modernism, compared with classical architecture, was allowed, and did stretch proportions, gave up on symmetry creating a more dynamic equilibrium and leaving for the user a bigger degree of freedom, it remained classical to its internal structure, avoiding the break with the tradition and the classical forms; unlike the change that happened in the rest of the arts during the same period of time. If somebody looks how Patrik Schumacher and his followers are doing architecture he will realize that they are using nothing more than splines, blobs, nurbs, and particles, all organized by scripts. The architecture they create, has a coherent formal vocabulary generated from algorithms, that creates coherent forms, led by the principles of uni16 Patrik Schumacher, Parametricism and the Autopoiesis of Architecture, Lecture in SCI-Arc, Los Angeles, September 2010


formity but yet variety. In the last centuries though, numerous variants of the ‘uniformity and variety’ formula(‘unity and variety’ or ‘order and complexity’) have been put forward, leading ultimately to various efforts of quantifying aesthetic value.17 The mathematician George Birkhoff (1933) made an interesting but yet unconvincing attempt to measure aesthetic values of musical and visual compositions by a formula of the form m=o/c, where m is the aesthetic value, o is an objective measure of order, and c an objective measure of complexity. As Patrick Schumacher claims, avant-garde styles might be interpreted and evaluated in analogy to new scientific paradigms, affording a new conceptual framework and formulating new aims, methods and values. Therefore: “Styles are design research programs”.18 Every research program requires its hard core of design principles and a characteristic way of tackling design problems and tasks. So the style or research program consists of methodological rules; some that say which paths we should avoid (negative heuristics) and others what paths to pursue (positive heuristics). Because a style is not only a matter of forms and formalism, but it also introduces a particular attitude and way of comprehending and handling functions and program, Patrik Schumacher introduces a series of negative and positive heuristics for both form and function. Formal negative heuristics: avoid straight lines, avoid right angles, avoid corners, avoid rigid geometric primitives like squares, triangles and circles, avoid simple repetition of elements, avoid juxtaposition of unrelated elements or systems, and avoid familiar typologies Formal positive heuristics: hybridize, morph, deterritorialize, deform, iterate, use splines, nurbs, generative components, script rather than model, consider all forms to be parametrically malleable, differentiate gradually (at variant rates), inflect and correlate systematically 17 William J. Mitchell, The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition, MIT Press, 1996 18 Patrik Schumacher, “Parametricism – A New Global Style for Architecure and Urban Design”, AD Architectural Design – Digital Cities, vol. 79, no.4, July/August 2009


Functional negative heuristics: avoid thinking in terms of essences, avoid stereotypes and strict typologies, and avoid designating functions to strict and separated and discrete zones Functional positive heuristics: think in terms of gradient fields of activity, about variable social scenarios calibrated by various event parameters, think in terms of actor-artifact networks Somebody could interpret and use the functional and positive heuristics away from one another. But in Parametricism those two make sense together. In order to translate and achieve these functions into form someone needs the formal heuristics. The projects that are coming out of the Zaha Hadid Architects office show the richness and unity of the formal vocabulary used in Parametricism, through the richness of the types of structures of various scales it is addressing. The hallmark of Parametricism is exactly this kind of unity within difference and difference within unity in the various scales of architecture from the tectonic detail, to the building scale, as well as to the urban scale why not to the whole world. In such a style as Parametricism, which claims universal validity, what is most important is formal coherence, which derives from the universality of the algorithms which are used to create such forms. The elegance of the ordered complexity but yet unity which is produced and the sense of seamless fluidity, akin to natural systems, can be reviewed through different projects that came out of the Zaha Hadid Architects office, from the shoes to the Nordpark Cable Railway and finally to the Kartal-Pendik Masterplan. The Zaha Hadid Architects office collaborated with the Brazilian shoe company ‘Melissa’, in order to design a pair of shoes which would achieve the creation of the characteristic sensation of fluidity, which the office produces. The natural starting point for the design was the organic curves of the human body, that inspired the idea for a shoe in flux, which comes into life when somebody wears it, in contrast to a typical shoe 38

Melissa Shoes

The stations of Norpark Cable Railway


that is understood as static in a shop window. In the project Nordpark Cable Railway, in Innsbruck, Austria, where different kinds of cable railway stations were designed, the formal unity and yet difference in the constructions is understood. The different kinds of roofs were successively adapted in the different site conditions creating different final forms; however without losing the formal consistency between each other. The same formal coherence in the urban scale is easily represented in the design of the Kartal-Pendik Masterplan, in Istanbul, Turkey, which Zaha Hadid Architects designed in 2006. Using parametric software in this project they achieved a worth-while collective value: “The unique character and coherent order of the urban field that all players benefit from, if adherence can be enforced.”.19 The design in all the scales of the city produces an elegant, coherently differentiated cityscape. This ordered complexity replaces the monotony of other planned developments and the disorienting visual chaos which was the outcome of until now planned contemporary city expansions. The interarticulation between cross towers and perimeter blocks, as well as the system of parks that are spread into the city achieve the rhythmic flow of the urban fabric, and give a sense of organic cohesion. In addition, the system of the facades used throughout the city, makes the exterior of the blocks look heavier than the interior. This results in a flow of the public space where a block opens up, via the gradient transformation between the outer and the inner articulation. 3.3 If we look at the history of the whole evolution of architecture, we could easily come to the conclusion, that social order requires spatial order and that society doesn’t exist without a structured environment. As Mark Wigley has said, architecture was always a central cultural unity and it will be protected as such, because it provides for stability and 19 Patrik Schumacher, “Parametricism – A New Global Style for Architecure and Urban Design”, AD Architectural Design – Digital Cities, vol. 79, no.4, July/August 2009


Use of a formal algorithm in Kartal-Pemdik Masterplan

Renders that show the formal coherence of the city-scape


order. 20 At this point, Patrick Schumacher claims the same; that spatial organization sustains social organization. Parametricism, which claims universal validity, through the extensive use of scripting in an almost scientific way, is creating endless coherent forms, and thus it organizes and articulates life. Patrick Schumacher, being leaded himself by the needs of the society of the 21st century, he tries to make the new style of Parametricism, the only valid for architecture in the future; the great new style after modernism. According to him, post-modern and deconstructivist architecture have been transitional episodes that ushered in this new, long wave of research and innovation, of Parametricism. Nevertheless, Patrik Schumacher acknowledges that deconstructivist architecture, which started with the formal investigations of Peter Eisenman, made the turn in the way we conceive and do architecture possible. Peter Eisenman being lead by the deconstruction theories of Jacques Derrida used various techniques for designing architecture; through gridding, scaling, tracing, folding and scripting, he designed buildings that were more of experiments. By this way the start was made, by getting away from the traditional drawing and designing techniques, and by these I mean drawing with ruler and compass, making rigid lines and rigid figures, and introducing and working with dynamic systems.

20 Philip Johnson, Mark Wigley, Deconstructivist Architecture, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1988


4. Peter Eisenman and algorithmic design

4.1 Peter Eisenman, even in his early designs in the beginning of decostructivist architecture, tries to distance himself from the design process, often by using an arbitrary process with the help of algorithms and different ‘non-classical’ techniques in the design process. By interpreting the ideas of Jacques Derrida regarding Deconstruction, he tried to generate a kind of non-representational figuration in the object. This suggests the idea of architecture as ‘writing’ as opposed to architecture as image. What is being ‘written’ is not the object itself, but the act of creating this object. Architecture is no longer seen as merely aesthetic or functional elements, but rather as another grammatical counter, proposing an alternate reading of the idea of the object.21 In this case a ‘not classical’ architecture begins actively to involve an idea of a reader conscious of his own identity rather as a user or an observer. The reader proposed here is distanced from any external value system, particularly an architectural-historical system. As a result such a reader brings no a priori competence to the act of reading other than his own identity as a reader, thing useful for the ‘non-classical’ architecture which does not aspire to be understood through such preconceptions. The above idea, is expressing the idea about the death of the author. It comes originally from the philosopher Roland Barthes, who expressed it in its essay “The death of the author”. The essay summarizes itself in the last paragraph: “Thus is revealed the total existence of writing: a text is made of multiple writings, drawn from many cultures and entering into mutual relations of dialogue, parody, contestation, but there is one place where 21 Peter Eisenman, “Architecture and the Problem of the Rhetorical Figure”, Architecture and Urbanism no. 202, July 1987


this multiplicity is focused and that place is the reader, not, as was hitherto said, the author. The reader is the space on which all the quotations that make up a writing are inscribed without any of them being lost; a text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination.”.22 Barthes himself claims that the language is a system by itself and the only thing that the author does is using this exact system for writing a text, which contains the subject. He claims that the author should stop being important. What should be important on the other hand, is the reader and the way he interprets the same text. Different readers will give texts different meanings, as the original intention and the objective interpretation of the writer will be no more of importance. Barthes himself says that “To give an author to a text is to impose that text a stop clause.”. The author should stop playing this god-like role, as what is really important to us is the reader himself. “[...]the death of the reader must be ransomed from the death of the author.”.23 The author should stop to play this god-like role, as what is important to us is the reader. Nevertheless, Peter Eisenman is not only trying to achieve the end of the author the way Barthes is expressing. He tries to give the end of the author, another dimension already from his first deconstructivist designs. He explores himself different, ‘non-classical’ processes of design. He distances himself from the architectural design, as much as he can, and by using algorithmic design the ‘reader’ has the final reason against the building rather than the god-like architect. The analogy to writing can be here done, referring to Oulipo. The workshop for potential literature, “Ouvroir de littérature potentielle”, which the writers Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais founded in 1960. It was a loose gathering of mainly French speaking writers and mathematicians which explored ways of seeking new structures and patterns of creating texts. They used a variety of constrained writing techniques which were used as means of triggering ideas and inspiration. Most famous of those is the technique called lipogram, which is writing 22 23

Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author”, Aspen, no. 5-6, 1967 Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author”, Aspen, no. 5-6, 1967


‘Cent Mille Milliards de Poémes’ of Raymond Queneau


a text using words which do not contain a specific letter. A famous work written using the above technique is La Disparition, by Georges Perec in 1969, entirely without using the letter ‘e’. Other famous techniques are: ‘S+7’in which you replace every noun in a text with the seventh noun after it in the dictionary, ‘Palindromes’ in which sonnets and other poems are constructed using palindromic techniques. Finally, another well known work of the groups is Queneau’s “Cent Mille Milliards de Poémes” which is inspired by children’s picture booksin which each page is cut into horizontal strips that can be turned independently, allowing different pictures to be combined in many ways (usually people: heads, torsos, waists, legs, etc.). Queneau applies the same technique into poetry. The book consists of 10 sonnets, each on a page. Each page was split into 14 strips, one for each line, allowing one to be combined with each on left from the other 9. This creates 10^14 poems which somebody needs approximately 200 million years to read all possible combinations. 4.2 The most famous ‘non-classical’ design technique Peter Eisenman developed, inspired by the ideas of Roland Barthes about the end of the author and interpreting the theory of Deconstruction of Jaques Derrida in architecture, is a method called scaling, which he used for the first time in 1985 in Romeo and Juliet project, in Verona. In Peter Eisenman’s critical essay “Moving Arrows, Eros, and other Errors: An Architecture of Absence”, commemorating his winning submission for the Third International Venice Architecture Biennale of 1985, outlined his theoretical design direction: “For five centuries the human body’s proportions have been a datum for architecture. But due to developments and changes in modern technology, philosophy, and psychoanalysis, the grand abstraction of man as the measure of all things, as an originary presence, can no longer be sustained, even as it persists in the architecture of today. In order to effect a response in architecture to these cultural changes, this project employs another discourse, founded in the process called scaling. The process of scaling entails the use of three destabilizing con46

The scaling process used in the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ project


cepts: discontinuity, which confronts the metaphysics of presence; recursivity, which confronts origin; and self-similarity,which confronts representation and the aesthetic object. Strictly speaking, discontinuity, recursivity,and self-similarity are mutually dependent aspects of scaling. They confront presence, origin, and the aesthetic object in three aspects of the architectural discourse: site, program,and representation.”24 Peter Eisenman, with the Romeo and Juliet project did not want to create any work, but instead a text, that would reveal its structure from within. He wanted with the process of scaling to confront presence, origin and the aesthetic object in three aspects of the architectural discourse; the site, the program, and representation. He treated the site, not only as physical presence, but also as a palimpsest and a quarry, containing traces of memory as well as of immanence, resulting this way in a non-static site. The program of this project, was not a usual program, as it presented the dominant themes of Romeo and Juliet in architectural form in at the site of the two castles in the city of Verona. In the story of Romeo and Juliet there are three structural relationships, which were taken as the basis of the architectural program. The first of these structural relationships is this of division – the separation of lovers which was symbolized through the balcony at Julia’s house. The second is this of union – the marriage of the lovers which is symbolized through the church and the third is their dialectical relationship – the togetherness and apartness of the lovers which is symbolized through Julia’s tomb. The above described structural relationships can also be found to exist at physical level in the plan of the city of Verona. Cardo and decumanus, the two middle-age city walls divide the city, whereas the old Roman grid unites it. Finally, the Adige creates the dialectical condition of union and division between the two halves of the city. Peter Eisenman then, draw a fictive plan of the city of Verona, which depicted the middle-age city walls(division), the old Roman grid(union), the Adige river(dialectical relationship), as well as the supposedly existing in Verona house of Juliet(division), the church in which 24 Peter Eisenman, Moving Arrows, Eros, and other Errors: An Architecture of Absence, Architectural Association, London, 1986


The result of the scaling proccess used in the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ project

The physical model of the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ project


the couple was married(union) and Juliet’s tomb(dialectical relationship). Those elements were drawn as axonometric designs in three different scales. The superpositions of scales were done so that the ‘fictional’ elements would fall on top of the ‘real’ elements. In the overlaps and coincidences of the design arise elements which have to do with the condition of memory, of presence and of immanence. The elements which had to do with the past or the condition of memory were drawn gray, the elements which had to do with the conditions of present were drawn blue, and the elements which had to do with the future or the condition of immanence were drawn white. The scaling process used by Peter Eisenman in Verona, has no privileged point of relation with the design; it has no origin, thus is freeing architecture from the concept of the human scale. Moreover, in the scaling process, the overlapping of architectural and no architectural elements, controlled by randomness, we might talk of a design which have changed the traditional relation between the object and the subject, creating a self-referential object; an architecture without author. As we have already mentioned, the scaling process used by Peter Eisenman in several projects, is an interpretation of Jacques Derrida’s theory of Deconstruction in architecture. Jacques Derrida wants to reverse the widespread conviction that a sign literally represents something, because a sign could always refer to yet more signs ad infinitum. Thus there is no ultimate referent or foundation.25 As in this text, nothing guarantees that another person will endow the words I use, with the particular meaning that I attribute to them. For example, when reading the word ‘water’, we might think of water drops, a lake, the chemical symbol H2O, and so on. We don’t necessarily think of a predefined image of water; there is no such thing as a universal referent or foundation of water. And then, each of the different signifiers in which the word water could refer, according to our perception, could trigger another signifier, with no ending. So we conclude that a sign can represent more than one thing, yet it cannot represent anything. The same way thinks 25 Jonathan Culler, On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1982


Peter Eisenman of the use of sign in architecture. He wants to free the object which he designs from sign, origin and direction, because it could for someone represent more than one thing, thus it could not represent anything. He makes architecture without origin and without author. Peter Eisenman, however, is better known for a series of 10 experimental houses that he designed, most of them not built. In his writings following the design of the houses he claims that he attempted the freeing of the house from its cultural attributed meanings. Each one of the houses were designed through a process, which he would say, resulted to the a self-referential final object, without taking into account the formal conventions of the modern movement. However, those designs had a different point of initiation, which was Noam Chomsky’s syntax theory of generative grammatical transformations. Noam Chomsky claimed that there is a universal frame of grammar rules, that makes everybody understand if a combination of words in a sentence is logical or not. In every generative grammar there is a deep structure and a surface structure that both form sentences. The process, that builds a surface structure from a deep structure is called transformation. Peter Eisenman was inspired from the concept of the grammatical transformations, and he created a system of simple geometrical transformations which together with an initial formal vocabulary, created complex designs of houses.26 26 His most famous design, from this series of experimental houses, is “House VI” that he designed in a flat site in Cornwall, Connecticut. The design of the house started with a typical grid, which then he manipulated in a way so that, when it was completed, it could exist not only as an object, but also in a way of cinematographic embodiment its own transformation process. To start, Eisenman created a form from the intersection of four planes, subsequently manipulating the structures again and again, until coherent spaces began to emerge. As a result structural elements, were revealed so that the transformation process was evident, but not always understood. This means that even if a simple post and beam system was used for the design and the construction of the house, not all of these played a structural role. There are columns not supporting anything, one column in the kitchen hovers over the kitchen table without even touching the ground. In other spaces, beams meet but do not intersect, creating a cluster of supports. There is even an upside down staircase, the element which portrays the axis of the house, painted red to draw the attention. Robert Gutman, Sociologist Professor in the University of Princeton, wrote on the house saying: “[...]


4.3 The above designs shows us the importance which Peter Eisenman gave into creating architecture through different ‘non-classical’ processes. In his essay “The End of the Classical, The End of the End, The End of the Beginning”, one year before the Romeo and Juliet project, he had already outlined the theoretical direction of his work, claiming that architecture from the 15th century until the present has been under the influence of three ‘fictions’. These ‘fictions’ are representation, reason and history. According to him each of the three fictions had an underlying purpose: representation was to embody the idea of meaning; reason was to codify the idea of truth; history was to recover the idea of timeless from the idea of change. These three ‘fictions’ have persisted through the different architectural styles that emerged since the 15th century; from classicism, neoclassicism, romanticism, to modernism and postmodernism. Because of the persistence of these ‘fictions’ in architectural thought, we can refer to this continuous mode of thought as the classical.27 By the ‘fiction’ of representation, he addresses the problem of the simulation of meaning in architecture. Before Renaissance the meaning of a building was in itself, truth and meaning were self- evident. Renaissance buildings on the other hand received their value by representing an already valued architecture. Modern architecture claimed to liberate itself from the Renaissance fiction of representation, thus it was no longer necessary for architecture to represent another architecture but important was to embody it own function. Form should follow function, so a building should express its function, and moreover the rationality in the design process. Modern architecture though it tried to become more objective, more social; a programmatic art, stayed only most of these columns have no role in supporting the building planes, but are there, like the planes and the slits in the walls and ceilings that represent planes, to mark the geometry and rhythm of Eisenman’s notational system.” 27 Peter Eisenman, «The End of the Classical, The End of the End, The End of the Beginning», Perspecta, Vol.21, 1984, p. 154


in reproducing abstraction, atonality, atemporality which though being stylistic manifestations of modernism, did not represent its essential nature. By the ‘fiction’ of reason, he addresses the problem of the simulation of truth in architecture. Before Renaissance the idea of the origin of architecture was self-evident, as its meaning and importance belonged to an a priori universe of values. In the Renaissance, origins were sought in natural or divine order, as it was widely believed that an ideal beginning would lead to an ideal end. Enlightment brought a change in the way of thinking, and from that time on, architecture was thought as a rational process of designing, rather than of divine order. The idea of the rationality reinforced from the development of technology, became the moral and aesthetic manifestation of modern architecture. By the ‘fiction’ of history, he addresses the problem of the simulation of the timeless. Until the mid-fifteenth century, when the idea of temporal origin emerged, and with it the idea of eternal or universal values, there was no concept of the forward movement of time. The modern movement polemically rejected the history and its values that preceded it, and presumed itself to be a form of intervention which followed the spirit of the age, appealing to values other than those embodied the eternal or the universal. But one more time this resulted only to yet another set of aesthetic preferences, supporting asymmetry over symmetry, dynamism over stability, absence of hierarchy over hierarchy. In brief, the modern movement made a shift possible, away from the dominant attitudes of humanism which were pervasive in Western societies from the fifteenth century. The modernist sensibility had to do with a changed mental attitude regarding the artifacts of the physical world, not only manifested aesthetically, but also socially, philosophically and technologically. Modern art for example fundamentally changed the relationship between the man and the object, away from an object whose primary purpose was to speak about man, to one which was concerned about its own object-hood. The final object should be autonomous, having no identity or significance; it should speak by itself. 53

This was more accomplished in modern art, that it was ever in modern architecture. In fact, this shift away from the values of humanism took place in different times in the 20th century in disciplines such as painting, literature, music and film. The non-objective abstract paintings of Malevich and Mondrian, the non-narrative atemporal writing of Joyce and Apollinaire, the atonal and polytonical compositions of SchĂśnberg and Webern, as well as the non-narrative films of Richter and Eggeling.28 The shift made in the above disciplines was suggesting a displacement of the man away from the center of the world. He was no longer viewed as an originating agent of the objects. The objects were seen like ideas independent of man. Although modern architecture, as we have already said, attempted similar dislocation, there was no fundamental shift in the relationship between the subject and the object. Although the object looked different, its relation to the subject stayed essentially the same. Although the buildings sometimes were conceptualized, by axonometric or isometric projection rather than perspective, no consistent deflection of the subject was carried out. Somebody could also support that architecture did never achieve a break with the tradition, but on the other hand, it continued the Renaissance tradition, unlike the big changes that happened in art throughout the 20th century, remaining classical to its essence. In the deconstructivist architecture of Peter Eisenman, there is a constant try to free itself from place and go against the laws of gravity. The abolition of gravity means as much as the abolition of place. The abolition of place means as much as the abolition of presence. He tries to create an architecture away from the traditional physical experience of room. Peter Eisenman is aiming to an non-classical architecture which would achieve the end of the classical, the end of the end, the end of the beginning. An architecture without origin, without end and without author. By the end of the classical he means the end of the traditional view and values of the world that were established in Renaissance and 28

Peter Eisenman, ÂŤPost-FunctionalismÂť, Oppositions 6, Fall 1976


continued through Enlightenment. Whether the appeal was to a divine or natural order, as in during the Renaissance, or to a rational technique and typological function, as in the post-Enlightment period, it amounted to the same thing. To the idea that architecture’s value derived from a source outside itself; no matter if those values where function and type or divine and natural ones. He suggests that a non-classical architecture should be made possible which would pose an end to the dominance of classical values in order to reveal other values. By the end of the beginning he means the end of the origin. The idea of architecture as something “added to” rather than something with its own being leads to a perception as a practical device. But once this “self-evident” characteristic of architecture is dismissed and architecture is seen as having no a priori origins – whether functional, divine, or natural – alternative origins can be proposed. Not-classical origins, unlike classical ones, can be strictly arbitrary, simply starting points, without value. They can be artificial and relative, as opposed to natural, divine and universal. But if the beginning is arbitrary, there can be no direction toward closure or end, because the motivation for change of state(that is, the inherent instability of the beginning) can never lead to a state of no change(that is, an end). Thus, a process freed from universal values of both historic origin and direction, can lead to ends different of what we understood as end in its traditional meaning. By the end of the end he means the freedom from an aim or a specific end. With the end of the end what was formerly the process of composition or transformation ceases to be a causal strategy, a process of addition or subtraction from an origin. Instead, he invents a non-dialectical, non-directional, non-goal oriented process. The invented start of this process; the invented origin differs from the classicist idea of origin by being arbitrary, reinvented for each circumstance. The process instead of being a goal-oriented strategy is now more of an open-ended tactic. The difference between strategy and tactic in our case, is that strategy is directed to a goal, to an initial intention. In our case architectural form is invented rather than intentionally designed. To invent an architecture is to allow architecture to be a cause; in order to be a cause, 55

it must arise from something outside a directed strategy of architectural composition. 4.4 Peter Eisenman tried to achieve in the early ‘80s what the modern failed to do. After the paradigm shift that took place in the years that following the Second World War, from the mechanical one to the electronic one, a ‘non-classical’ architecture was made possible, through the use of algorithms. The idea of the paradigm shift can be easily understood by comparing the impact of such primary modes of reproduction as the photograph and the fax on the role of human subject. The photograph illustrates the mechanical paradigm and the fax the electronic one. In photographic reproduction the subject still maintains in control of the outcome and the object itself. The human can develop the photograph deciding upon the contrast, the texture, the clarity, even the colors. Thus the human subject remains an interpreter and decider of the outcome of the process. On the other hand in the scanning-principle of the fax, the human subject remains out of the process of reproduction, being unable to interpret, as it takes place without control or adjustment.29 Under the influence of such electronic media and machines, not only the distances(relationship between close and far) and scales(relationship between small and big) changed, but also the relationship of human and space. The principles with which we design architecture where put under question. Architecture, until then was defined as the art of building, and was close related to the physical experience of space. Although the changes that the electronic era brought to the concepts of reality, architecture was hardly influenced by it. In traditional architecture, everything has its own place: an apartment, a room, a desk. A citizen without a house, has no place; having no place is not allowed. The Town hall should be in the main square, the dinner room next to the kitchen, in the office we should be working. Moreover every detail has its own place. The place is defined each time in a particular way accord29 Peter Eisenman, “Visions’ Unfolding: Architecture in the Age of Electronic Media”, Intelligente Ambiente, Ars Electronica, Linz, 1994


ing to the observer. The reason why, is that architecture has traditionally been a bastion of what we consider to be the real. Peter Eisenman claims that the electronic shift should have had a big impact on the way we understand architecture because it defines reality in terms of media and simulation, it values appearance over existence. This way the foundations of the immaterial space experience were put. Even that space and body were forming a unity for centuries, the immaterial space experience had an effect on the beginning of the disappearance of space and room. He focuses in the dislocation that this paradigm shift should have brought saying that architecture can no longer stay tied in the static conditions of space and time and that in one electronic world there is no place with its traditional meaning.30 He suggested that, through the use of ‘non-classical’ design techniques and the use of algorithms, a displacement of the man away from the center of the world can be made possible. He suggested a ‘nonclassical’ architecture which would achieve the end of the classical, the end of the end, the end of the beginning. An architecture without origin, without end and without author, radically negating the idea of the original genius, the traditional role of the creator in architecture but also the way of defining the work of art in architecture.

30 Peter Eisenman, “Visions’ Unfolding: Architecture in the Age of Electronic Media”, Intelligente Ambiente, Ars Electronica, Linz, 1994


5. Authorship in Architecture

5.1 In his “Poetics of Music”, in 1942, Igor Stravinsky pointed out the isolated natural sound such as the murmur of the breeze in the trees the rippling of a brook, the song of a bird are not music but merely promises of music. Continuing his argument he claimed that the tonal elements become music only by the virtue of their being organized. To generalize this idea we can claim that a creator gives form to his materials. The above idea can be traced back directly to the Platonic doctrine of ideas, which suggest that physical objects imperfectly imitate perfect, abstract ideas. Aristotle, in the “Metaphysics”, developed a modification of the above doctrine, according to which a form first exists in the mind of the artist, and then it is given by the artist to matter. Alberti echoed the above idea, in his “Ten Books of Architecture”, when he carefully distinguished between the ‘design’ and the ‘structure’ of a building: “Nor has this design anything that makes its nature inseparable from matter; for we see that the same design is in a multitude of buildings, which have all the same form, and are exactly alike as to the situation of their parts and the disposition of their lines and angles; and we can in our thought and imagination contrive perfect forms of buildings entirely separate of matter, by settling and regulating in a certain order, the disposition and conjunction of the lines and angles. Which being granted, we shall call the design a firm and graceful pre-ordering of the lines and angles, conceived in the mind, and contrived by an ingenious artist.” 31 31 Alberti, Ten Books of Architecture, as quoted in: William J. Mitchell, The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition, MIT Press, 1996


It is important to recognize that when we describe the forms of buildings we refer to extant constructions of physical materials in physical space, but when we describe designs we make claims about something else – constructions of the imagination.32 Therefore we will refer from now on, to the design as the construction of imagination and to the building as construction of the real world. 5.2 Architecture, is the art which we could call the bastion of what we consider to be real, as what matters to most is the final result of the design, the physical object, which is of course the building itself. Architecture, from its beginning was about overcoming the physical forces; overcoming gravity, overcoming extreme weather conditions. However, as we have seen there are architects that give the same importance to the construction of imagination as well as to the construction of the real world, the design as well as in the building itself. At this time it is important to make an analogy of architecture with music, so that we can identify the difference between the design and the building. In music we have the composition and its performance. The composition is read, whereas its performance is heard. The composition is written in the notational language of music, which is the score, that has a universal power and meaning. Although a score is a notational language, and it should contain rules which should be unambiguous, it is not always that way. Most musical compositions consist of the notes, which are objective rules, but also contain verbal notation, which are subjective rules. This kind of verbal notation is there to define the tempo, the dynamics but also the expression of the performance. The master of an orchestra is there to interpret these unspecified rules and to synchronize the orchestra, so that they perform the musical composition.

Moreover, in works of art, such as classical music, theater, opera,

32 William J. Mitchell, The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition, MIT Press, 1996


cinema, which they depend on a collective of people the definition of the author of the work is more problematic. The musical composition depends mostly on one person, whereas the musical performance depends on more. We can say that the author of a composition is usually one person, whereas the author of the performance is no person, but a group of persons. Finally, this group of people can change from performance to performance, so we have a change of author every time the performance is performed. The composition can be performed unlimited times in different places and each time will be therefore not considered to be a more authentic or original instance of work. Imagine for instance, the performance of the Opera Tristan and Isolde of Otto Wagner, in 1865 in Munich and in 2003 in Los Angeles. Nobody could claim that those performances were the same nor that they are of the same artistic value, even though they were performances of the same composition. As a result of the above thoughts, we can understand that when we talk about the composition and the performance of a musical piece, we talk about two different pieces of art. In music the notation is not only a practical aid to production and a guide to the final performance, but it also gives the composer an authoritative identification. The composer remains the author of this musical piece and he is the one to whom the artistic value of the composition is attributed to. On the other hand, since a composition can be performed unlimited times from an unlimited number of groups of persons, each performance constitutes a different work of art. In this case, every time a composition is performed the artistic value is contributed to the orchestra that performed the composition. In architecture the place of the composition takes the design(construction of imagination) and the place of the performance takes the building(construction of reality). In architecture, we have the architect who is the author of the design, and a group of people which now the author of the physical object. The main difference between musical performance and architectural performance is that, the architectural performance is only performed once, resulting the building. There are also exceptions, as it happens with the case of Barcelona Pavilion, 60

designed from Mies van der Rohe, which was first built in 1929, in the International Expo, in Barcelona, Spain. As the work was the German Pavilion for the Expo, and therefore a temporary exhibit, it was demolished in 1930. A group of Spanish architects, reconstructed the building from 1983 to 1985 in its original location, under the original plans and black and white photographs, because of its architectural value. Yet we can perhaps talk about to different buildings, two different works of art, with different architectural value, as they were constructed from different groups of people in different times. Following the above thoughts we can claim that when we refer to architecture we refer to two different works of art, that have two different authors. On the one hand there is the work of art of the design which is attributed to the architect and on the other hand there is the work of art of the building which is attributed to a group of people; an orchestra of different specialists which build it. As there can be a successful and a less successful performance of a musical composition, there can be a successful and a less successful performance of a design. One could argue that the work of art as the architecture is identical to the building, and any critic of architecture should be based on the building itself. Firstly, many buildings have visible features which are ignored systematically by historians and critics of architecture. Secondly, buildings have changed to their original design at times, so to keep the building in operation, but still the original design is generally used for their criticism. For example the Finlandia Hall, designed by Alvaar Aalto, in Helsinki, Finlandia, complies to both of the above conditions. Specific details, such as electricity cables running inside the building, are systematically ignored by the critics, though they are visible and are permanent elements. Experts, however, focus instead, on the composition of enclosed space, on construction and colors. While the coating of the facade with marble plates attracts attention, because of the accidentally wavy form that they have taken due to the extreme weather conditions, is overlooked by critics, and it is neither regarded as a key feature of 61

Barcelona Pavilion, Mies van der Rohe, 1929

Finlandia Hall, Alvar Aalto, Ελσίνκι, 1967


work of Alvar Aalto. On the other hand many critics have suggested, due to the operation of the building, replacing the marble plates. But no one would dare to express a proposal to change to change a building or a section of it, when this constitutes a work of art.33 As a result we can assume that design and construction cannot be considered as the same work of art, even though both are recognized as the Finlandia Hall. The architectural design is part of architecture, and the architect is criticized by it. For this reason the design itself can constitute itself a work of art, thus the design process and the design intention is important. But can we judge architecture only on the basis of the design intention or not? 5.3 Goethe’s three questions for ‘constructive criticism’, obviously for literary works, are: What did the author set out to do? Was his plan reasonable and sensible? Did he succeed in carrying it out?34 I argue that we could make the above questions to criticize architecture, whether we talk about the design or the building. The design, however, always results after a design process is followed. For the time being we do not care whether the process followed can be called classical or non-classical. However it is essential to argue, why a building can be judged depending on its design process and not by judging the building itself. Kendall Walton in his essay ‘Categories of Art’, argues that facts about the origins of works of art, that even though there are sometimes left aside, play an essential role in criticism. Most of the times aesthetic judgments of the physical object rest on the origins in an absolutely fundamental way, even though there is a view saying that works of art should be judged simply by what can be perceived in them. Thus we cannot judge a work relying only on its aesthetic values.35 33 Jormakka Kari, Geschichte der Architekturtheorie, Selene, 2003 34 as quoted in: W. K. Wimsatt Jr. and M. C. Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy”, The Sewanee Review, Vol. 54, No.3, July – September, 1946, p. 472 35 Kendall L. Walton, “Categories of Art”, The Philosophical Review, Vol 79, No.3, July 1970, p..337


He argues that the aesthetic properties of a work of art, depend on the non-aesthetic properties of it. For example, a painting can have a sense of mystery and tension, which comes from the dark colors and the configuration of shapes in it. He continues his argument that the nonaesthetic properties of a work of art, are divided in ‘standard’ features, ‘variable’ features and ‘contra-standard’ features, which they decide to which category of art the work of art belongs (painting or sculpture, deconstructivist architecture or modern architecture, etc.). A feature of a work of art is standard, when this feature is essential for the work to be qualified in a category. When a work lacks this feature, the work disqualifies from that category. A feature of a work of art is variable, when this feature has nothing to do with a work’s belonging to this category. Finally, a feature of a work is contra-standard, when this feature tends to disqualify a work from that category. In the example of a painting, the flatness and the motionlessness of it are standard features, the colors and shapes of it are variable features. In the case that the painting contained a three dimensional object or had moving parts, these would be contra-standard features, regarding the category of paintings, in which we have placed the work initially. However judging a work of art in regard to a category, requires us to perceive this work of art as it belongs to a certain category, for a person in a particular occasion. It is most usual to perceive Picasso’s Guernica as a painting. Regarding this category, flatness and motionless are standard properties of it. The variable properties of it, are that it has black, grey and white colors, that it has cubistic forms, and so on. Now imagine a category of objects named ‘Guernica’, which are exactly like Picasso’s Guernica, but done in various bas-relief dimensions. The standard property of flatness of the Guernica in the category of painting, now turns to variable property in the previous invented category of Guernica’s. There would be versions of Guernica with rolling surfaces, and others jagged and sharp, still others would contain flat surfaces popping out of its surface in different angles and so on. This difference in perception would make us see Picasso’s Guernica as cold, lifeless, or even dull and boring, but in no case would it strike us as brutal, vital or 64

dynamic, that happens when we perceive this work of art in the category of paintings. We can now understand that in order to criticize a work of art, we have first to perceive it in the category that it really belongs. For example, the twelve-tone compositions of Arnold Schönberg might seem to us as formless or incoherent – something that also happened with his contemporaries, even among other composers – in the first contact with them, but as soon as we perceive it in the category of serial music we might retract our previous judgments. No doubt is the twelve-tone compositions much better heard, when we perceive them in the category of twelve-tone music, than in any other way people might like to hear them. In order to perceive a work of art in the correct category, we have to take into account the frame in which the work was produced, the origins of it. The artist of the work plays therefore a big role, in the decision of the category in which we will perceive this very work of art. In the words of Kendall Walton: “[...] An artist tries to produce works which are well worth experiencing when perceived in the intended way and, unless we have reason to think he is totally incompetent, there is some presumption that he succeeded at least to some extent. [...]”.36 If we are confronted by a work about whose origins we know absolutely nothing – imagining an object fell to earth from space – we would simply not be in position to judge it aesthetically, we would not even be in the position to say if it is a work of art or not. In the case that we suppose that this object is a work of art, we could of course perceive it in a category we already have experienced, but there might as well exist a category that we have never thought of. As the artist’s intention regarding a work of art is part of its origins, the artist’s intention are important to perceive the work of art in the correct category and as a result to judge it correctly aesthetically. By saying intention, we do not only mean the intention of the artist regarding the creation of the physical object, but also the intention of the artist regarding the design or even the design 36 Kendall L. Walton, “Categories of Art”, The Philosophical Review, Vol 79, No.3 (July 1970), p.359


process. As a result of the above if we do not know the origins and the frame within the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp, the chance compositions of John Cage, or even the Dada-collages of Jean Arp, were made, we might as well not perceive them as a work of art at all. The essential nature of all the above works of art, is the process from which the physical objects were created rather than the interpretation of the objects as works of art. Marcel Duchamp’s urinal, is no work of art in the traditional way. It is not judged from his materiality as an object or from its form, but rather from the process that it came to be art. When a work of art is understood as the design intention and not as the physical object itself, the credit can be given to the artist for the artistic result, when this is genuine and done intentionally. We can now understand how the artist’s intention has to do with the correct perception of the work, not only of the correct category that we perceive it in, but also of the perception of it as a work of art. Finally, when it comes to criticizing of a work of art, the process of creation of which is other than the traditional, we cannot judge it based on our traditional understanding of authorship.


6. Authorship in Patrik Schumacher and Peter Eisenman

6.1 The algorithmic architecture of both Patrik Schumacher and Peter Eisenman cannot be considered as traditional architecture. As we have already seen, architecture consists of two different works of art, which are the construction of imagination and the construction of the real world. In other words, the design and the building. It really depends on the intentions of the architect, whether we conceive their architecture as ‘classic’ architecture or as ‘non-classic’ architecture; whether more important is the design or the building. Because the work of art is the work of its artist, and in analogy the work of architecture is the work of its architect, we have every time to consult the architect’s intentions in order to understand what consists the work of art. This is the case because sometimes there are works of architecture, that because of their different approach, cannot be perceived as such. In architecture, there was a first break with what we consider the traditional perception of architecture as an art, from the first scaling projects of Peter Eisenman. For example, in the Verona project which we have already examined, the physical object is not of the same importance as the design process, thus some cannot consider it as architecture, when we conceive it in the category of traditional architecture. 6.2 In our case, now that we have seen and understood the design processes used by Peter Eisenman and Patrik Schumacher, but we have also seen the generative grammar process of John Mitchell. After we judge the already mentioned design processes, we have to examine the relation between the subject and the object in the above cases. We can assume that most architects in the world create the physical object in a similar manner, whether they use design programs 67

and digital models aiming to create and produce complex geometries or traditional drafting techniques. The building is created by a ‘classical’ or otherwise traditional process, where the intention, intuition and feelings of the architect, play a central role. Therefore the creativity of original genius is essential for the design of the physical object – a leading concept of romance. Peter Eisenman’s scaling process, which was first used in Verona, has a lot in common with Alexander Cozen’s process of creating original landscape compositions. Peter Eisenman’s scaling process consists of an algorithm, which through a random figure creates an overlapping of architectural and no architectural elements, which contain no privileged point of relation to the design. However, this process is not really precise, neither objective since it is random, that gives way to the interpretation of the result. It is the same process, which Alexander Cozens followed for the creation of his romantic landscape paintings. The place of the random blots on the canvas, takes the algorithm which produces a random result of overlays on the screen of a computer. The results of both, Alexander Cozens and Peter Eisenman, are free for the interpretation of the artist, who then forms the physical object. Peter Eisenman suggests the displacement of the man away from the center of the world, trying to achieve an architecture without origin, without end and without author, radically negating the idea of the original genius, so he constantly tries to distance himself of the design. However, this idea of the interpretation of a random result, not controlled from the human conscience, remains an idea of Romanticism, though of the radical kind. We can claim, finally, that Peter Eisenman’s process is a combination of algorithmic design with a simultaneous interpretation, when it comes to the creation of the physical object. Patrik Schumacher claims that in Parametricism every design process consists a design research program. Though there is an attempt to programming architecture – taking into account the surrounding urban context, as well as the movement throughout the building – through the extensive use of scripting, the process does not remain objective to the end. An important role in the final creation of the physical object plays 68

a strong rigorous formalism, as Patrik Schumacher himself admits. The Zaha Hadid Architects tend to control the algorithmic process to get the formal result that they like, which always results to a physical object that has formal consistency similar to previous ones. Thus algorithms remain morphological helplines for the creation of the physical object. An algorithmic process, objective from the beginning of the process to its end, is what John Mitchell created with his sophisticated generative grammar to create villa floor plans in the style of Palladio. His process, following closely on the rules he created, creates totally objective palladian manner floor plans, which also have a formal consistency, and can all be called creations of the same architect. The process he followed, does not give to him the freedom, neither for interpretation, nor for personal taste. Patrik Schumacher on the other hand, though wanting Parametricism to be objective similar to scientific research, he results in becoming more of the kind of the original genius artist, as he uses his personal taste in the design process. We can claim, finally, that Patrik Schumacher’s process is a combination of an algorithmic design with Romanticism’s idea of original genius. 6.3 As we have already analyzed, in the design process that most architects in the world use, central role in the romantic process of creating the physical object play the intuition and intention of a god-like architect, regardless of whether they use the computer as a design tool of complex geometries or not. The final form obtained is entirely based on the expression of the emotions and the creativity of the architect. This results in no change in the traditional relationship between the subject and the object in architecture, as the architect-original genius constantly decides on the final object and does not take himself off from the design process. Peter Eisenman, was the first who tried to come into a break with the traditional relationship between the subject and the object, displacing human from the center of the design. Trying to create an architecture without origin, without end and without author, radically negating 69

Orthopedie, Nicholas Andry


the idea of original genius. As we have already seen, by trying to remove the components of the planning process, he is interested in the metaphysics of architecture. Even trying to dislocate himself from the design process, while dislocating at the same time his intuition and intention, changes for the first time perhaps the traditional relationship between the subject and the object. However, the change does not occur in the extent that he claims, as he interprets the random result generated by the computer, so as to result the final object. The final object is not of the same importance for him as the design process, as the meaning for him lies in the structure from which the final object results. Perhaps for this reason it is important for him to give meaning in all his works, having such an elaborated and complex theory, and it is not fair to judge his projects without consulting his design intentions. Unlike Peter Eisenman, Patrik Schumacher in his effort of programming architecture and to make it as objective as possible, a scientific research as he himself says, he defines the components of the design process, aiming on the real part of architecture. As a result he intensively gets involved in the design process as he determines the parameters, as opposed to Peter Eisenman, who uses arbitrary procedures from which random results occur. Moreover Patrik Schumacher uses, as he claims, a strong rigorous formalism in all the projects that come out of the Zaha Hadid Architects office. The physical objects that result, they always have formal coherence recognizable in all scales, from the construction detail to the urban scale, and by this the emotions and the creativity of the architect remain important parameters in the design process. Therefore, algorithms in his case consist morphological helplines for the design of objects; a form that is decided beforehand by the aesthetic preferences of the architect. Patrik Schumacher remains an architect-original genius, who while trying to program an objective designing process, this remains subjective to the end. The relationship between the subject and the object, remains traditional despite the extensive use of algorithms, as what it is important for himself is the final result. Thus his relationship with the object actually remains romantic.

Finally it is important to note that, while both architects are try71

ing to change the design paradigm using algorithms in the design process, achieve a different relationship between the subject and the object. Yet nobody achieves the full utilization of algorithms in the design process and thus the subject always takes part, in a different way every time, in the creation of the object.




Image Appendix A

Apartment Building in Vienna, Coop Himmelb(l)au, 1983


Hamburg Skyline, Coop Himmelb(l)au, 1985


Rooftop Remodeling, Coop Himmelb(l)au, 1986, Βιέννη

Σκίτσο ιδέας του Rooftop Remodeling, Coop Himmelb(l)au, 1986, Vienna


Biology Center for the University of Frankfurt, Peter Eisenman, 1987


Familian Residence, Frank Gehry, 1978, Santa Monica

Gehry House, Frank Gehry, 1977-1987, Santa Monica


The Peak, Zaha Hadid, 1983, Hong Kong

Ζωγραφικός πίνακας του The Peak, Zaha Hadid, 1983, Hong Kong


Boompjes, Rem Koolhaas, 1980, Rotterdam

Μακέτα του Boompjes, Rem Koolhaas, 1980, Rotterdam


City Edge, Daniel Libeskind, 1987, Berlin


Layering του Parc de la Villette, Bernard Tschumi, 1982, Paris

Parc de la Villette, Bernard Tschumi, 1982, Paris


Image Appendix B

Busan Cinema Plaza, Coop Himmelb(l)au, 2005, South Korea


City of Culture, Peter Eisenman, 2000, Santiago de Compostela

Guggenheim Museum, Frank Gehry, 1999, Bilbao


MAXXI Museum, Zaha Hadid, 1998, Rome

Casa del Musica, Rem Koolhaas, 2005, Porto


Royal Ontario Museum, Daniel Libeskind, 2007, Canada

New Acropolis Museum, Bernard Tschumi, 2001


Image Appendix C

Einsteinturm, Erich Mendelsohn, 1921, Potsdam, Germany


Εκκλησία της Ronchamp, Le Corbusier, 1955,France

Philips Pavilion, Le Corbusier, 1958, Brussels


TWA Terminal, Eero Saarinen, 1962, New York

Sydney Opera Hall, Jørn Utzon, 1967, Australia


Finnish Pavilion, Alvar Aalto, 1939, New York



Books Culler Jonathan, On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1982 Eisenman Peter, Aura und Exzess: zur Überwindung der Metaphysik der Architektur, Passagen Architektur, Passagen Verlag, 1995 Goodman Nelson, Languages of Art: an approach to a theory of symbols, The Bobbs-Merrill Company Inc., 1968 Hays Κ. Michael, Architecture Theory since 1968, The MIT Press, 1998 Jormakka Kari, Geschichte der Architekturtheorie, Selene, 2003 Mitchell J. William, The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition, MIT Press, 1996 Kolarevic Branco, Architecture in the Digital Age – Design and Manufacturing, Taylor & Francis, 2005 Prix D. Wolf – Coop Himmelb(l)au, Get off of my Cloud. Texts:1976-2005, Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2006 Stelzer Otto, Die Vorgeschichte der abstrakten Künst, R. Piper, München, 1964 Terzidis Kostas, Algorithmic Architecture, Elsevier Architectural Press, 2006 Wolff-Plottegg Manfred, Architektur Algorithmen, Passagen Verlag, 1996 Βενέρης Γιάννης, Μίμησις Πληροφορική: Έννοιες και Τεχνολογίες, Εκδόσεις Τζιόλα, Θεσσαλονίκη, 2007 Articles/Essays Barthes Roland, “The Death of the Author”, Aspen, no. 5-6, 1967 Eisenman Peter, “Architecture and the Problem of the Rhetorical Figure”, Architecture and Urbanism no. 202, July 1987 Eisenman Peter, Moving Arrows, Eros, and other Errors: An Architecture of Absence, Architectural Association, London, 1986 Eisenman Peter, “Post-Functionalism”, Oppositions 6, Fall 1976 Eisenman Peter, “The End of the Classical, The End of the End, The End 91

of the Beginning”, Perspecta, Vol.21, 1984 Eisenman Peter, “Visions’ Unfolding: Architecture in the Age of Electronic Media”, Intelligente Ambiente, Ars Electronica, Linz, 1994 Johnson Philip, Wigley Mark, Deconstructivist Architecture, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1988 Mitchell J. William, “A Tale of Two Cities: Architecture and the Digital Revolution”, Science Magazine, vol. 285, 6 Αυγούστου 1999 Rowe Collin, “The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa”, Architectural Review, 1947 Schumacher Patrik, “Parametricism – A New Global Style for Architecure and Urban Design”, AD Architectural Design – Digital Cities, vol. 79, no.4, July/August 2009 Schumacher Patrik, Parametricism as Style – Parametricist Manifesto, Presented and discussed at the Dark Side Club, 11th Architecture Biennale, Venice 2008 Schumacher Patrik, “The Meaning of MAXXI – Concepts, Ambitions, Achievements”, MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rizzoli International Publications, New York 2010 Schumacher Patrik, “The Parametricist Epoch: Let the Style Wars Begin”, AJ: The Architectural Journal, vol. 231, no. 16, 06 May 2010 Walton L. Kendall, “Categories of Art”, The Philosophical Review, Vol 79, No.3, July 1970 Wimsatt W. K .Jr. and Beardsley M. C., “The Intentional Fallacy”, The Sewanee Review, Vol. 54, No.3, July – September, 1946 Lectures Foucault Michel, What is an author?, Societe Francaise de philosophie, 22 February 1969 Schumacher Patrik, Parametricism and the Autopoiesis of Architecture, Lecture in SCI-Arc, Los Angeles, September 2010


Authorship in algorithmic architecture: from Peter Eisenman to Patrik Schumacher  
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