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July 23, 2014

SURFACE: DIGITAL MATERIALITY AND THE NEW RELATION BETWEEN DEPTH AND SURFACE | EAAE/Ctrl_Space Lab/Futura | 2013 | ISBN: 9782930301464

by yannis zavoleas

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(Abstract from the introduction)

The European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE-AEEA) Subnetwork on Architectural Theory, bringing together a wide group of architectural pedagogists working collaboratively on the role and nature of architecture theory in schools of architecture, gathered in Chania in the summer of 2010, in order to focus on the collateral relations between digital/material and depth/surface. In that seminal meeting, the group, invited by Ctrl_Space [1] Lab founders Yannis Zavoleas and Nikolas Patsavos, the Center for Mediterranean Architecture (KAM-CMA) and the Department of Architecture of the Technical University of Crete, were practically asked to capitalise the findings of its previous work sessions in Hasselt, Trondheim, Lisbon and Fribourg [2] by applying methods and concepts developed at those occasions as an interpretative critical tool within the context regarding the emergent digital architecture nature and its effects on education. The whole attempt was seen as an opportunity to revisit a field which, so far, had been often seen as something extraneous and contradictory, if not even hostile to the origins and the traditions of architecture; an attitude the group willed to also problematise and situate it within its relative context.
There has been an important break in the polarity between depth and surface caused in contemporary architecture by the emergence of a new digital materiality and tactility. On a technical level, this is due to techniques of fabrication linking the design and representation process directly with fabrication, whereas in the level of perception and representation, it follows the aftermath of folding in architecture and its claim for a new continuity based on the abolishment of the traditional spatial dipoles (interior/exterior, up/down et.al.). In a broader sense, this shift towards the surface of things as “the deepest side of the world” has to do with a wider socio-cultural change which has been triggered by postmodern irony and by the wish to “revalorize all values”. The dualities operating as the founding myths of architecture have been widely reassessed by being subjected to arguments on their relative value and on the need to work in-between such poles as form and content, façade-space, man-building, building-nature, matter-intelligence, representation-reality, skin-structure, natural-artificial, object-subject etc.. In fact, new hybrid constructions and concepts have taken their place: cyborg, enhanced reality, virtual processor, information whereas the focus has been turned towards not the opposition among the two traditional poles but the possible relations and exchanges of properties between them.
The above issues were addressed by architects and scholars from Finland, Ireland, Spain, Belgium, the USA, Italy, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Turkey and Greece who contributed to the workshop by means of both individual presentations organised in two five sessions, and two keynote lectures by Kostas Terzidis (Harvard GSD) and Vana Tentokali (AUTh), and two round table workshops-discussions. Following the meeting, all participants were asked to prepare their revised and updated written contributions in order to produce the final outcome of the project in the form of the present edited volume. The five sessions are organised thematically in a way covering historical, epistemological, technical, conceptual-perceptual and natural properties of the issue respectively. The two keynote lectures are crossing this multifaceted subject in two different axis by emphasising at either the anthropological-perceptual and the technical-ethical challenges underlying the overall re-organisation of architectural knowledge and practice discussed. In that sense, they provide with a first opportunity to unify the various perspectives proposed throughout the book.

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July 12, 2013

Η ΜΗΧΑΝΗ ΚΑΙ ΤΟ ΔΙΚΤΥΟ ΩΣ ΔΟΜΙΚΑ ΠΡΟΤΥΠΑ ΣΤΗΝ ΑΡΧΙΤΕΚΤΟΝΙΚΗ | ΑΘΗΝΑ: FUTURA | 2013 | ISBN: 9789609489317

by yannis zavoleas

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Title in English: Machine and Network as Structural Models in Architecture.

Abstract in English. Machine and Network are presented as references of technological origin­­, which have been appointed to construct the notion of spatiality. Such references represent two structures having opposite nominative qualities. Machine structure may be described as serial, also with predefined function and finite associations among its parts towards a prescribed outcome, whereas it is mainly assessed according to performance. Since enlightenment, machine has been decisively influential as structural model for the conception and the organization of society. Specifically, machine consists of the main structural reference in architecture and urbanism during modernism, so that the units making up a spatial entity may be defined, including the formed relationships among them. On the other hand, network infers to a non linear assembly of its units, in ways that the formed synapses and the desired outcomes may be more flexible, transformable, even provisional. In the scientific framing of theories developed over the past decades attempting to explain the relationships among historical, social and cultural events, also data and phenomena of heterogeneous origin, network structure has often been mobilized so that such elements are defined in response to their mutual interaction and impact alike.

The present study examines the possibility that machine and network, because of their differences, consist of two supplementary structures, virtually setting up a compound model. First, the properties of machine and network are identified as accomplishments of technological origin representing different historical eras, also in view of their interpretive significance for the explanation of the notion of spatiality. Accordingly, the prospect of a machine/network structural model is approached, applicable in the design of architectural space. A comparative assessment of exemplary cases of modernism, from interwar to late modern era leads to the observation that for the spatial adaptation of either machine or network, the formed set of properties better refers to their mutual contribution. Consequently, machine/network model is suitable to describe retrospectively, with an emphasis on contemporary terminology, the directions architecture is taking.

Περίληψη στα Ελληνικά. Η μηχανή και το δίκτυο συνιστούν δύο αντίθετες δομές οργάνωσης, οι οποίες έχουν χρησιμοποιηθεί σε διαφορετικές περιπτώσεις για την απόδοση, σημασιών αναφορικά με την έννοια της χωρικότητας. Ακριβώς, όμως, εξ αιτίας των διαφορών τους, η μηχανή και το δίκτυο μπορούν να αποτελέσουν δύο συμπληρωματικές δομές, ενταγμένες σε ένα σύνθετο πρότυπο. Ένα τέτοιο ενδεχόμενο διερευνάται στην παρούσα έρευνα. Αρχικά εντοπίζονται και αξιολογούνται οι διαφορές και οι αναλογίες μεταξύ μηχανής και δικτύου ως τεχνολογικά επιτεύγματα και ακόλουθα ως προς την προσαρμογή τους στην απόδοση της έννοιας της χωρικότητας. Ανάλογα διερευνώνται οι δυνατότητες συγκρότησης ενός σύνθετου προτύπου για το χώρο που να συνδυάζει τις δύο δομές, με εφαρμογή στον αρχιτεκτονικό σχεδιασμό. Μέσα από σχεδιαστικές προσπάθειες του μοντερνισμού κατά τις περιόδους του μεσοπολέμου και του ύστερου μοντερνισμού πάνω άλλοτε στη μία δομή άλλοτε στην άλλη, αναδεικνύονται τα ιδιαίτερα χαρακτηριστικά και των δύο δομών· ταυτόχρονα, όμως, διαπιστώνεται ότι οι δομές αυτές μεταφράζονται με τρόπους, έτσι ώστε περισσότερο να ικανοποιείται μια πιθανή μεταξύ τους σχέση. Η παρατήρηση αυτή ισχυροποιείται με την εξέταση επιλεγμένων παραδειγμάτων της σύγχρονης αρχιτεκτονικής έρευνας. (Από την παρουσίαση στο οπισθόφυλλο του βιβλίου)

“Πως θα έπρεπε λοιπόν να αρχίζει σήμερα η εκπαίδευση του αρχιτέκτονα; Σε ένα παλιό σχεδιαστήριο με τα σχεδιαστικά εργαλεία αιώνων ή σε ένα φορητό υπολογιστή με ασύρματη επαφή στο διαδίκτυο; Έχουν διαμορφωθεί οι συνθήκες για να αρχίσει η εκπαίδευση αυτή σε φορητό υπολογιστή με ασύρματη επαφή στο διαδίκτυο, χωρίς σχεδιαστήριο, χωρίς μολύβι; Με το ερώτημα αυτό βρέθηκε αντιμέτωπος ο συγγραφέας του βιβλίου που κρατάτε στα χέρια σας όταν κλήθηκε να διδάξει σε πρωτοετείς σπουδαστές αρχιτεκτονικής και είναι πιθανό να “δόθηκε” στην έρευνα που οδήγησε στη συγγραφή του προσπαθώντας να απαντήσει σε ορισμένες πτυχές του. Κινήθηκε στο ενδιάμεσο της μοντέρνας εποχής, που αντιμετώπισε τη μηχανή ως πρότυπο, και μιας μεταγενέστερης εποχής, που έδωσε την πρωτοκαθεδρία στο δίκτυο. Οι εμβαθύνσεις του έχουν περιγράψει τη μεταβολή αυτή αλλά και την προβολή της στο σύγχρονο σχεδιασμό του χώρου, στην εποχή της πληροφορίας. Με αυτό τον τρόπο έχει θέσει θεωρητικά θεμέλια για την κατανόηση και την ερμηνεία των πιο σημαντικών αλλαγών στο χώρο της αρχιτεκτονικής των τελευταίων χρόνων.” (Παναγιώτης Τουρνικιώτης)

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