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Organization or Design

a+t is an architecture magazine whose issues are published in thematic series. It includes projects and articles on collective housing, density, mixed uses, public space, regeneration, reuse and refurbishment. a+t is independent from any institution or professional group and free of advertising. Bilingual (English, Spanish).

A+T Architecture Publishers
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access_time55 min.
organization or design?*

ARCHITECTS ORGANIZEThe third installment of the Symposia on Architecture centers on the issue of organization. Indeed, everything needs to be organized. The question of how we define and qualify organization is an open debate. Scientific disciplines, in contrast, begin from the hypothesis that reality is organized, and that the constitutive relationships of this organization can be studied and ultimately known. Yet, is a universal theory of organization possible, or even productive, in architectural terms? A notable number of architects have undertaken to answer this question throughout history, and many continue to do so today.The declining appeal of digital acrobatics –the architect’s version of post-crisis austerity– along with the continuing presence of digital tools in design practice, has redirected design’s present-day ethos back to the thought of organization. As a result…

access_time51 min.
out of time.*

1. Time as Arrow? J. W. Dunne. Source: An Experiment in Time (1929).2. Time as Track and Trajectory? Laboratory photography for charting flight direction of crow’s wing, Etienne-Jules Marey, Le Mouvement (1894).3. Time as Traces of Movement. Charles F. Darwin. Source: The Power of Movement in Plants (1880).4. Plants as Pathways. Charles F. Darwin Source: The Power of Movement in Plants (1880).5. Time as Energy Processes, Pulses, Flows, Feedbacks. Howard T. Odum Source: Adapted from “Energy, Hierarchy, Money” (2000) and “Scales of Ecological Engineering” (1995).6. Energy as Model of States & Systems. Howard T. Odum. Source: Adapted from “Subcommittee on Energy and Power” (1976).7. Dynamics through Plant Geometries & Plant Assemblages. Source: Howard T. Odum, Atomic Energy Commission (1970).8-9. Movement as Plant Morphology. (Juvenile Black Mangrove Species, 6 months). Source:…

access_time19 min.
edge cases *

In the pre-photographic world of the early nineteenth century, the technology of choice for high-resolution portraiture was not the painting or drawing but the cast-shadow silhouette. Itinerant silhouette portraitists would ply their trade with its economy and a certain scientific objectivity –optics, in its telescopic and microscopic forms was a continuing fascination. Indeed this informational economy was viscerally apparent in the striking likenesses of this craft. In these crisp shadows there was a total distillation of physiognomy, perhaps even character, in this one delicate outline. The silhouette was biography as an edge. The edge has associations not only as an outline but as an outlier. “Edge Case” is a term of art in algorithm engineering: the liminal, perhaps degenerate condition of a general algorithm case whose solution may be particularly…

access_time17 min.
design or organization? *

Among architects there exists a perpetual anxiety to reset the system, to start from scratch. This is a phenomenon which repeats itself on a regular basis and which is certainly a response to the very instability afforded by an informal discipline. This lack of defined borders encourages the system to be constantly rethought, forcing architecture to permanently redefine its sense, its techniques, its epistemology and its categories. This leads to play which, in an optimistic light, could be interpreted as an exercise in definition and historical self-awareness. Being more critical, it could be seen as a deifying pretence of those architects-artists with creative drive which prevents us from seeing innovations and technical breakthroughs as processes which are pushing the boundaries of the discipline. These cases are pompously declared to be…

access_time16 min.
generative organization: algorithms of invention *

INVENTIONI will speak about Organization or Design? from the standpoint of an inventor, by considering the process of invention itself. As the brief asks: What is a design approach that relies on systematic processes and scientific methods as compared to, or contrasted with, one that focuses on issues of subjectivity and creativity? I see invention as a midpoint on the spectrum of creativity –located precisely between the objective and the expressive, between art and science.There are interesting accounts of the subjective experience of making an inventive discovery. Henri Poincaré, the 19 century French mathematician, was an enormously insightful reader into his own creative processes. There are two quotes which are very salient to my own experience as an inventor –“Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this…

access_time55 min.
organisation *

DENIS DIDEROT The faculty of generalizable purposiveness that can be intuited in natural things derives nowhere else than from “une certaine organisation” inherent to ‘sensitive matter’2 . 1770JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE He proposes a theory of plant growth and differentiation mechanics as a product of three morphological impetuses: a flexible form, a cycle and a gradient4 . 1790PREHISTORY OF THE CONCEPTForm in both cases is endowed with a new feature: it becomes at once the memory of events and a progenitor of new ones. These have been referred to as ‘genetic’ ideas . SKLa forma en ambos casos está dotada de una nueva característica: se convierte a la vez en la memoria de los acontecimientos y en la progenitora de otros nuevos. Estas son conocidas como ideas ‘genéticas’ . SK…


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