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robertogreco : dillerscofidio   10

The buildings of the future will keep rearranging th...
"One of the great laboratories of the future and its side-effects is science fiction. ‘The wall flickered partially out of existence as he stepped through to the corridor,’ wrote Arthur C Clarke in his novel The City and the Stars (1956), ‘and its polarised molecules resisted his passage like a feeble wind blowing against his face.’

Typical of the symbiotic relationship between science fiction and fact, Clarke seems to have got this idea from the physicist Richard Feynman, who in 1945 predicted the possibility of molecular engineering. Feynman argued that any material could one day be constructed from the atom up – and, moreover, that complex miniscule mechanisms (‘nanobots’) would become viable, ‘a billion tiny factories, models of each other, which are manufacturing simultaneously’. It was conceivable not just that concrete, for example, would be strengthened with polymers but that it could come to resemble a living substance, mutating on demand. And then where would that leave architecture?

Time passes differently for buildings. Eero Saarinen differentiated the ‘elephant time’ of architects from the writer’s ‘rabbit’ time. One of the central tensions of architecture is how the brevity of human life, let alone fashion, collides with the longevity of stone and steel. Flux is an unavoidable characteristic of modern urban life. How do we anticipate, guide or simply survive this tendency?

One answer has been to embrace it. ‘The fundamental characteristics of futuristic architecture,’ pronounced the 1960s London-based avant-garde group Archigram, ‘will be expendability and transience. Our house will last less time than we do, every generation must make its own city.’ In Japan, there is a longstanding tradition (wabi-sabi) of facing transience. Inspired by the Ise Grand Shrine, which is dismantled and rebuilt every 20 years (remaining always new and always old), Kisho Kurokawa of the Metabolists proposed architecture ‘growing… as a constantly changing process. Impermanent beauty, immaterial beauty… a new aesthetic based on movement’.

The problem the radicals confronted was a view of what the future city should be because of what it has been. Despite recent flirtations with ‘blobism’ and amoeba-like biomimetic shapes, we remain wedded to the idea of architecture as solid, permanent, averse to evolution. This has remained the case even during the modern era. The big problem with Brutalism was perhaps not so much its controversial aesthetics as its inability to develop; when form follows function, and then function changes, what are we left with? Yet the purpose of buildings often changes; think of the Hagia Sophia in Instanbul.

Buildings are simply structures that are built. They remain so regardless of the material used. What we take for granted as natural was first invented and then developed over millennia. In ancient Çatalhöyük, people entered houses not through the design innovation of the door but through a hole in the roof. In the same spirit of continual refinement, there have been many attempts to move beyond our present way of thinking. A recurring vision of contemporary futurologists is of apartments in which partitions move around to maximise and pluralise limited space. At its flimsiest, this resembles set design, but it might become a much more fluid process.

To go further, we need to ask what architecture is. For the Blur Building, Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio and Charles Renfro shrouded a platform in Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland in a haze of water droplets. It is a building made of mist, using computers to monitor and adapt the structure according to climatic conditions. Sean Lally has proposed an architecture that does not just inefficiently contain energy but rather is made from it. Challenging ideas might simply be those whose time has not yet come. Retrospect often makes prophets of the curious.

Let’s elaborate Arthur C Clarke’s prophecy a little. Nanobots would create a programmable architecture that would change shape, function and style at command, in anticipation or even independently. Imagine an apartment where furniture fluidly morphs from the walls and floor, adapting to the inhabitants, an apartment that physically mutates into a Sukiya-zukuri tea-room or an Ottoman pleasure palace or something as yet unseen, while outside the entire skyline is continually rearranging itself. Architecture might become an art available to all.

The advantages of nanomaterials are already becoming apparent; consider the strength of graphene, the insulation of aerogel. The idea of a self-repairing, pollutant-neutralising, climate-adapting ‘living’ architecture no longer seems the preserve of fiction. Resistance to the idea of buildings that could grow (as in John Johansen’s forms) or liquefy (like William Katavolos’s designs) is almost as much a question of our conservatism as of technical limitations. But as the materials scientist Rachel Armstrong has observed, this vision of the city as a biological or ecological manifestation is not so much a leap into the unknown as a maturation of ancient Vitruvian ideals.

Every advance will have repercussions. The idea of walking through walls that simultaneously scan us for illnesses might sound promising – but what else will they monitor? Who will they answer to? What will it mean for human creativity, let alone employment, when there are buildings that can build themselves?

We might put any fears we have about nanotechnology down to an age-old terror of the unseen; the all-consuming, self-replicating nano-swarm of ‘grey goo’ is akin to a viral pandemic; the fear of continual surveillance is the fear of a watchful omnipresent god. Yet these fears are, at their root, simply a fear of ourselves; what our rulers and indeed we would do with such power. Perhaps the fears are well-placed; the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal, in which cars were engineered to deceive their investigators, seems like one portent of the emerging Internet of Things. The US and Russian militaries have employed nanotechnology to improve the transmission of energy in explosives, meaning that certain future buildings and their inhabitants definitely won’t remain solid. The problem, as ever, is that, while technology changes, human nature remains the same."
mobility  darrananderson  architecture  design  2015  nanotechnology  reconfiguration  adaptability  graphene  aerogel  arthurcclarke  metabolists  blobism  dillerscofidio 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Why Her Will Dominate UI Design Even More Than Minority Report | Wired Design | Wired.com
"In Her, the future almost looks more like the past."



"Jonze had help in finding the contours of this slight future, including conversations with designers from New York-based studio Sagmeister & Walsh and an early meeting with Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, principals at architecture firm DS+R. As the film’s production designer, Barrett was responsible for making it a reality.

Throughout that process, he drew inspiration from one of his favorite books, a visual compendium of futuristic predictions from various points in history. Basically, the book reminded Barrett what not to do. “It shows a lot of things and it makes you laugh instantly, because you say, ‘those things never came to pass!’” he explains. “But often times, it’s just because they over-thought it. The future is much simpler than you think.”

That’s easy to say in retrospect, looking at images of Rube Goldbergian kitchens and scenes of commute by jet pack. But Jonze and Barrett had the difficult task of extrapolating that simplification forward from today’s technological moment.

Theo’s home gives us one concise example. You could call it a “smart house,” but there’s little outward evidence of it. What makes it intelligent isn’t the whizbang technology but rather simple, understated utility. Lights, for example, turn off and on as Theo moves from room to room. There’s no app for controlling them from the couch; no control panel on the wall. It’s all automatic. Why? “It’s just a smart and efficient way to live in a house,” says Barrett.

Today’s smartphones were another object of Barrett’s scrutiny. “They’re advanced, but in some ways they’re not advanced whatsoever,” he says. “They need too much attention. You don’t really want to be stuck engaging them. You want to be free.” In Barrett’s estimation, the smartphones just around the corner aren’t much better. “Everyone says we’re supposed to have a curved piece of flexible glass. Why do we need that? Let’s make it more substantial. Let’s make it something that feels nice in the hand.”"
her  spikejonze  design  ai  film  technology  ui  future  minorityreport  diller+scofidio  elizabethdiller  lizdiller  dillerscofidio  designfiction  speculativedesign  speculativefiction 
january 2014 by robertogreco
MoMA's demolition of AFAM and architectural obsolescence
"In retrospect, Muschamp's effusive wordsmithing borders on hyperbole. Yet in focussing on the cultural context in which the building was born, it captures much of what is missing from current discussion (which tends to be markedly concentrated on functionality and new square footage). If we practice the rules of obsolescence, the death of this signature piece of architecture was designed in at the beginning.

As much as I would want to praise the American Folk Art Museum for pointing a way forward out of that dark time, the structure is no phoenix. From the beginning it was anachronistic. This is its downfall.

Although completed in the new millennium, it is an artefact from the 1990s, or to crib from Portlandia, an artefact from the 1890s. Muschamp's title suggests as much: Fireside Intimacy for Folk Art Museum. "Our builders have largely dedicated themselves to turning back the clock," he writes of Williams and Tsien's obsessive attention to materiality.

The museum is a little too West Coast for midtown - too much like something from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, before computation took command. Its design values everything the current art and real estate markets reject: hominess, idiosyncrasy, craft. By contrast, Diller Scofidio + Renfro's scheme emphasises visibility and publicness. The same could be said for an Apple store.

A message from MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry posted on the museum’s website touts that the new design will "transform the current lobby and ground-floor areas into an expansive public gathering space." Indeed, the much talked-about Art Bay, the 15,500-square-foot, double-height hall in the scheme, walks a fine line between public space and gallery. Fronted with a retractable glass wall and designed for flexibility, the Art Bay is so perfectly attuned to the performance zeitgeist, that it makes Marina Abramović want to twerk.



The Tumblr #FolkMoMA, initiated and curated by Ana María León and Quilian Riano, dragged the fate of AFAM - a pre-internet building - into the age of social media. The hashtag set the stage for a robust dialogue on the subject and a much-needed commons for debate, but failed to save architecture from capital forces.

In weighing in to protest or eulogise the passing of the American Folk Art Museum, perhaps what we mourn is not the building per se, but a lingering sentimental belief that architecture is an exception to the rules of obsolescence. This building strived to represent so many intimacies, but ultimately its finely crafted meaning was deemed disposable.

Fingers may point at the ethics of Diller Scofidio + Renfo's decision to take on the project or wag fingers at MoMA's expansionist vision, but the lesson here cuts deeper into our psyche. Architecture, as written in long form, exceeds our own life spans and operates in a time frame of historical continuity. Architecture writ short reminds us of our own mortality, coloured by mercurial taste."
plannedobsolescence  obsolescence  2014  moma  afam  diller+scofidio  ephemerality  mortality  design  architecture  anamaríaleón  quilianriano  mimizeiger  taste  timing  disposability  visibility  publicness  craft  hominess  idiosyncrasy  herbertmuschamp  dillerscofidio  ephemeral 
january 2014 by robertogreco
The Interventionist's Toolkit: Places: Design Observer
"Driven by local and community issues and intended as polemics that question conventional practice, these projects reflect an ad hoc way of working; they are motivated more by grassroots activism than by the kind of home-ec craft projects (think pickling, Ikea-hacking and knitting) sponsored by mainstream shelter media, usually under the Do-It-Yourself rubric. (Although they do slot nicely into the imperative-heavy pages of Good and Make magazines.) They are often produced by emerging architects, artists and urbanists working outside professional boundaries but nonetheless engaging questions of the built environment and architecture culture. And the works reference edge-condition practitioners of earlier generations who also faced shifts within the profession and recessionary outlooks: Gordon Matta Clark, Archigram, Ant Farm, the early Diller + Scofidio, among others."
politics  urban  social  urbanism  activism  interventioniststoolkit  designobserver  favelachic  diy  economics  crisis  greatrecession  recession  serendipitor  amphibiousarchitecture  architecture  design  urbanfarming  farming  make  making  mirkozardini  anarchism  anarchitects  anarchitecture  space  place  diyurbanism  culture  archigram  matta-clark  antfarm  dillerscofidio  agitpropproject  the2837university  ios  diller+scofidio  agriculture  gordonmatta-clark 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Public Sky / Diller Scofidio + Renfro | Plataforma Arquitectura
"Hemos dado amplia cobertura a SCL2110, evento que se está desarrollando en Chile y que ha sido capaz de aglutinar propuestas de grandes nombres de la arquitectura internacional como Vito Acconci, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Bernard Tschumi o LOTEK entre otros.

Hemos visto algunas de sus propuestas para nuestras ciudades, y ahora, cerca del cierre de este evento les presentamos la propuesta para Santiago que realizó Diller Scofidio + Renfro."
chile  dillerscofidio  design  architecture  santiago  2010  scl2110  publicsky  diller+scofidio 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Liz Diller: Architecture is a special effects machine | Video on TED.com
"In this engrossing EG talk, architect Liz Diller shares her firm DS+R's more unusual work, including the Blur Building, whose walls are made of fog, and the revamped Alice Tully Hall, which is wrapped in glowing wooden skin."
design  architecture  dillerscofidio  lizdiller  elizabethdiller  diller+scofidio 
october 2008 by robertogreco
David Byrne Journal: 10.11.2007 Sexual Selection & Creativity
"Shared a talk at the new Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston about art and sexual selection with the evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, author of the book The Mating Mind."
evolution  psychology  geofflreymiller  davidbyrne  art  movements  trends  identity  elitism  play  creativity  dillerscofidio  architecture  design  schools  experience  social  boston  diller+scofidio 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Couples in Architecture - New York Times
"Ms. Diller and Mr. Scofidio are representative of a broad trend of husband-and-wife collaboration that is changing the traditional definition of architecture partnerships."
architecture  collaboration  dillerscofidio  williamstsien  design  work  diller+scofidio 
april 2007 by robertogreco

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