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Forms that add distance

Blogging dogged eared thoughts – some loose, coincidental noticings that deserve recording…

I’m looking forward to seeing some of Hadid’s work further iterated in the future by the algorithms delivering Google Earth’s Universal Texture. It’ll feel like an event horizon in which Parametricism Will Eat Itself. Better yet, if the pirate copy in China gets completed, photographed and rendered by the machines of loving grace first then the copy of the copy might well be such a sublime example of Shumacher’s autopoiesis that we’ll be able to declare Architecture a done deal and move on.

Mind you, there’ll always be guys like Piers Gough to prevent us getting too lost in the new aesthetic by deploying a critique firmly rooted in the old aesthetic:

“The practice seems fond of these etiolated forms that add to distance rather than subtract from it.”

That’s good, isn’t it? Add to distance rather than subtract from it. I’ve been thinking about it all week and whilst doing so I stumbled across this in Ruskin’s Modern Painter’s on the subject of depth of field:

“Turner introduced a new era in landscape art, by showing that the foreground might be sunk for the distance, and that it was possible to express immediate proximity to the spectator, without giving anything like completeness to the forms of the near objects. This is not done by slurred or soft lines, observe, (always the sign of vice in art,) but by a decisive imperfection, a firm, but partial assertion of form, which the eye feels indeed to be close home to it, and yet cannot rest upon, or cling to, nor entirely understand, and from which it is driven away of necessity, to those parts of distance on which it is intended to repose.”

Decisive imperfection and a partial assertion of form is what Piers was looking for I think.

It’s fitting that the copy of Modern Painter’s I found that in was bought from a second hand bookshop in Derbyshire last year during an event called Laptop & Looms in which I had the pleasure of meeting the folks from Makie Lab and spending the afternoon building a Makerbot. You’ve probably heard of them, they’re one of the few firms actually doing something interesting with 3D printing and rapid overnight production. Except perhaps for the guys rapid prototyping the copy of Hadid’s building in China.

Look what happens when you take the Makie Lab about page and switch the word toys for buildings:

“… a system of creating objects using game technologies – 3D Studio Max, Unity, 3D objects – and transmogrifying them into 3D-printable buildings complete with internal working joints. Which means we can model buildings then manufacture buildings, overnight.”

Perhaps Schumacher should have gone for transmogrifycism instead.

Posted by on January 17, 2013.

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Categories: architecture, ideas, notes, theory

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My name is Rob Annable. I’m an architect, a father, a husband, a rock climber, a blogger and wannabe geek. Although not necessarily in that order. I’m a director at Axis Design Architects. We’re architects and urban designers in Birmingham, UK. We mostly make housing  and we are leaders in the field of online methods […]more →

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