Author Archives: Anatolios Stathiou

Welcome back!

170427 - 5 170427 - 1Welcome back everybody! We are now entering Term 3, also known a the Ghost Term, as we only have about a month to finish the year. Term 3 is the time to take decisions, putting uncertainty on the side, becoming detail-orientated and abandoning superficiality.

Over the Easter break, I did online tutorials on making video games, trying to perfect the art of video game making, so by the end of the year I will have a complete and functional game. New character! At last I replaced the default character, with one that I created myself.

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This is not a new project, I am collecting all my previous games and putting them together on this one. It is an endless running game, based on arcade-style games like Temple Run. I decided to go with a simple idea, as it can be enjoyable to play but at the same time be a white canvas through which I can introduce satire, critique and little scenes, like dioramas on the sides. This is my simple alpha game, which randomly spawns a path, and uses Schumacher’s face as obstacles, and doric columns as coins which increase the player’s score.

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The idea of an endless run becomes symbolic and metaphorical of the fast pace and process of life, but also of architectural production.

I am trying to go beyond architecture, and talk about a larger phenomenon that moves beyond BIM. Architecture is not anymore a series of decisions but of choices. Architecture has become a series of parameters. Our software defines our buildings. The building products overpower architectural forms.

In the same way, our life has become a multiple-choice exam. Our personalities are set by a series of sliders; left for optimistic, right for pessimistic, left for frugal, right for spendy. Our life is standardised like our profiles on facebook. We have friends, and non-friends. Our status is married, in a relationship or complicated. Our lives resemble more and more the video game. Collect likes, collect followers, make linkedin connections.

The game starts simple; collect coins, avoid obstacles. As we move further a more complicated structure is revealed. I am arranging all those spaces that I have made since the beginning of the year, on a path.

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Architectural production has widely become a design of two levels. An arrangement of volumetric programmes that need to satisfy economic interests, but also the construction of an image of a project. A collection of references, that are studied only as a surface, an image, become transformed to that model. BIM is manifesting that problem by the levels of detail, that is used. The massing model transforms into one with defined building elements, and then becomes one of textures.

“the new digital workshop … looks less and less like an incubator of new forms of participatory creativity, and more and more like a playground of corporate interests, bureaucratic opaqueness and technocratic megalomania.” ~Mario Carpo

My goal within the game is to show my manifesto of how architectural production could be. The coins that the player collects would become bit by bit replaced by fragments. The player wont be collecting coins that would increase his score, but he would be assembling fragments that carry cultural references. In the end of the game, the score wont matter but the assembly of those fragments, that would be stacked, creating small models.

I havent made the mechanics for that last part of the game as it is more complicated. In simple terms, I imagine it as the combination of temple run and 3d tetris, but instead of blocks I have a list of fragments.

I have an ambitious three-part plan of production till the end of the year:

Part 1: Create the game (approx. 3-4 weeks)

-assemble sequence of spaces

-figure mechanics of fragment assembling

Part 2: Physical model of fragment-stacks (I want to actually have these final products made)  (aprrox. 1 week)

Part 3: Create an arcade box (approx. 1 week)

-how awesome would it be if I had an actual arcade machine for the final presentation?

I did not make this box below, but it could be what I present in the end of the year.

Image result for diy arcade machine

 

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Some Images from Previews Presentation

170323---4These are some images that I was planning on doing after my ts submission.

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Arrival of the Virus

Arrival of the Virus

This is the BIM Headquarters, the agency that organizes all production in Bimland.

This is the BIM Headquarters, the agency that organizes all production in Bimland.

This is inside BIM HQ. It is the Conventions Distribution Centre

This is inside BIM HQ. It is the Conventions Distribution Centre

Inside BIM HQ. This is the control room of production

Inside BIM HQ. This is the control room of production

BIM HQ. The Pit of Creativity

BIM HQ. The Pit of Creativity

 

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Previews Presentation Storyboard – WIP and Stuplages

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At the moment I really believe in my presentation and my thesis, but I lack the collection of imagery. So, I decided to produce some last minute Stuplages (Stupid Collages). I think that stuplages are a successful component to have successful previews. GO! GO! GO!

 

 

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Preparing Storyboard for Previews

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I am currently working on a storyboard for the upcoming previews. I am planning on having a series of animation clips to which I will present in parallel my argument.

In the game, we have the banal city of BIMland, and at some point we will see the arrival of the viruses. I imagine them being carried within this funky megastructure, which would open up and release them over the city.170316---previews-storyboardvirus downvirus up

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Virus Renders

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The Virus is growing

170306 - 1I am trying to develop some stills as a conclusion to my TS and a re-introduction to my project.

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Attacking Conventions with Customisation

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Before – Cut structure

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After – Inserted custom component

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TS Progress

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TS Pages – Preparing for the “Virus”

Ebola Virus Particle

Ebola Virus Particle

It is interesting to try and take the ways that viruses work and propagate and turn it into a method for attacking architecture. Since yesterday, I have created some more TS pages, looking at bespoke design features which could be inserted into a building. Next step would be to document the process of how they are constructed.

 

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Video Game Worlds

 

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I am a starting this post with a very interesting photo from the construction of one of the houses in Levittown. It describes the sort of architecture that BIM creates; the architect is no longer the author but the curator of building elements.

After Friday, I decided to draw a plan of my video game world. It comprises of 4 worlds, that some already exist from the previous versions of the game. The worlds are:

1. BIM world and BIM HQ

2.historical world

3. natural landscape world

4. graphene or unobtainium world

The aim of this game is to try to disrupt the BIM world by transporting material and fragments from the other worlds into it.

At the moment, I am drawing a plan of the video game world. In the process, I am trying to think how these worlds connect. Are they geographical locations sitting one next to another, are they floating islands or are they stacked one on top of another?

map-of-video-game-worldAt the same time, I tried to create the core of the BIM world, which is the BIM HQ or factory, the place from where BIM creates the standardization of its world. The player, in the last stage needs to enter the factory and destroy it.

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The Factory of Compromise, where multiple subjective designs become one singular objective design.

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The Flood Room, where multiple designs come in liquid form to become a uniform liquid.

screens roomThe Control Room

170220 - grahene tsI am also working on TS, making pages on Graphene. The research and creations from that material will become part of the graphene world in the game.

 

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Post TS Interim Jury

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The conclusions that I made from the interim jury are the following:

1. Vilify BIM; Try to make the arguement against BIM stronger. Why am I blaming the tool? Doesn’t it depend on the user and how they use it?

2. Find the “yellow brick blocks”; Find examples of buildings entirely made with BIM.

3. Introduce a virus; I have been talking about ways to destroy a process, so it would be a good idea to use that as a process to destroy BIM.

I have been both looking at virus structures and the way they work, but also working on stills of the game.

More to come later…

 

 

 

 

 

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Could graphene “jam” the BIM gear?

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I think the above image can summarise my whole TS proposal. Jamming the tool with material.

A quick summary:

My project is about demonstrating the value of learning to design vs. the value of learning to put a building together and thus asking architects to use tools that enable design rather than constrain creativity. The video game is an interactive medium that can communicate the idea to a wider audience than just architects.

The scope of the TS is to kill BIM. BIM is the ultimate representational tool that makes the production of construction documentation easier, but makes architects spend less time on designing and more time on conforming to the tool’s requirement.

How do I kill BIM ? Understanding how it works, and finding its weaknesses from which I produce the “poison” with which to kill it.

(I am specifically using Revit)

Weakness 1: Elements have to be specific; Revit understands the model as a composition of “families” (as it is called), pre-defined building elements (set by the default software libraries, conventions and products that are distributed by companies).

Poison 1: How to NOT communicate to Revit or The Elementless Form; Introducing a form that can provide the properties of conventional building elements (e.g. wall – enclosure) without being broken in elements.

Weakness 2: Materials have to also be specific; Building elements need to have a specific materials and composition, in order to be used for structural calculations and cost estimation.

Poison 2: Finding the “Unobtainium”, the material that can look like the abstract forms of CAD software modelling. If there was a material that could approximate the digital material found in modelling software, then construction conventions would not be necessary.

Probable Consistency of Poison: Graphene (photo below) Graphene is so strong, that a sheet of it as thin as a clingfilm could support an elephant!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2045825/Graphene-strong-sheet-clingfilm-support-elephant.html

 

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Possibilities to explore in TS:

How could structures be changed? How can graphene deal with other properties beyond structure, such as enclosure, light permeability, et al.?

How could graphene change the construction process? Is graphene cast, 3d printed or assembled in pre-fab elements?

Comparing the bias of the material vs. the bias of the tool?

Could graphene “jam” the BIM gear?

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Research (or is it?)

I started this weekend doing some research on BIM, the problems and the impact on architecture.

The most important things I found are the following:

1. Expansion of Participation

2. Elimination of Abstraction

3. Absence of Intuitive Processes

3. Limits to Novel Construction Methods

4. Bias of Geometrical Forms

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I also discovered this “tool”/platform, which I think is a lot worse than BIM software and I shall declare it my enemy. It is called Wikitecture, and it has created a lot of controversy online. (Check article below).6_aj-fake

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More spaces to come

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I started modelling new spaces for the game. The way I am thinking of creating the levels and spaces is a slow change from a rational world to an experimental. I don’t know in what way that experimentation would happen. At the moment I am trying to insert absurd spaces in the section. For some reason I find fascinating ridiculously extravagant interior. I want to start also adding colour in the spaces, so the world becomes more and more colourful.

 

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Latest Game Update and Reflections

This is the last video that I showed in the jury.

I think the jury revealed the problems that my project has at the moment. It is too general that I am trying to cover a large area of ideas unsuccessfully. In the presentation, although I tried to avoid my old history lecture, the video game’s tools still do that.

My project is not about the democratisation of design or the involvement of non-architects in the process. I am interested in understanding the software that architects use to produce and propose alternatives.

The phallic towers that appear with the chaos button are an allegory of those alternatives and that experimentation.

So i think i need to turn my ts towards experimental methods of production and move away from the historical analysis. In the same way my design project should move away from the criticism of contemporary architecture.

I really enjoy creating the game, but its purpose is not clear yet. Another next step for the game is to define the rules of the world within.

 

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Game Updated

Apologies for the late update…this took me about 2 hours to figure out why my OBS (open broadcast software). This is work in progress.

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White Shadow and Yellow Hat

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These are the two basic characters of the game. The player controls the character on the left, called White Shadow, who explores the land of BIMland, a place created by building regulations, construction industry conventions and software libraries. The character on the left is called Yellow Hat, who tries to kill White Shadow. White Shadow can use a variety of tools which he picks up along his journey:

the chisel – a tool he picks up at the quarry with which he can break through thin walls

the parallel motion ruler – a tool that sets platforms in parallel motion

the pantograph – a tool that creates copies in a larger scale

the neufert manual – a tool with which one can change the dimensions of building elements, like the height of a door in order to block larger enemies, or the angle of a ramp

Yellow Hat, on the other hand, has only one tool, the Blueprint Bazooka! It’s a projctile gun that shoots blueprints.

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The whole game is seen as a sectional perspective, inspired by the referenced games below.

References:

These are three games which are really like. What i like is their atmospheric qualities and the use of what is called a 2.5d platform.

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Calvino Noir

Limbo-2

Limbo

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Inside

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Working on TS

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Mechanical Gestures – WIP

170112 - 1 170112 - 3I am currently working on TS spreads. I am exploring the idea of the effects of the change in the production of geometry on architectural design. I am looking at software and how they construct geometries. I am also looking at how the change from doing manual work on stone, to a cnc working on stone, reduces the possibilities of movement, as the conventional cnc machines are limited to 3 axis.

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Conversions or Translations (and Jaron Lanier)

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In my TS, I would like to explore how the bias of tools is developed, through the translations/conversions that take place through them.

In these conversions, we have a reduction and limitation that happens on the material through the tool. I will explore those conversions on three spaces of production – the wall, the paper and the screen. At the wall, decisions are taken at the building, in 3d space. At the paper, decisions are taken on 2d plane to produce 3d space through geometric projections. At the screen, there is a combination of both, as one might be using digital tool equivelants to physical tools, but in the case of parametric design, it becomes a meta-design where instead of designing the object, one designs the process.

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In addition, over the holidays i read the book You are not a gadget by Jaron Lanier, which was suggested by Nathan (thank you, Nathan!), and I found it very interesting and I could relate a lot of things from my project to it.

It has been extensively written and discussed about the implications of social media on the bias and encouragement in forming social bubbles around us. Lanier compares the approach of Facebook in how users present themselves, through a multiple choice of our family status, etc. compared to the Myspace approach of customising the profile page. Is it a question of customisation then?

How about our creative tools? I think this is the part I want to explore and question. But is it just about presenting an arguement and a thesis? Where is my design?

In terms of creative software, Lanier talks about the effect of legacy systems in software. Specifically in music he talks about how the common method of writing music, through MIDI files, that record the time interval and tone of a sound (which is ok for representing – recording the capacity of a key based instrument, like a piano), cannot record the real melodical colour of older and other instruments.

In conclusion, it becomes a problem of customisation and of conventions.

 

 

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BIMland Preview

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Level Design

 

 

 

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I decided to get serious with the design of the game. The aim of the game is to bring the Trojan Horse into BIMland, the mundane environment in which the architect works and lives. The Trojan horse starts empty, but as the player passes from level to level, he collects tools/new abilities.

1st LEVEL: the Chisel – Subtraction

The player has to subtract material from one side of the island in order to add it to the other side. The player can move freely between the sides but the trojan horse needs a flat path in order to move.

2nd LEVEL: the Veil Perspective-Puzzle

The player again moves materials, but the way he does this is from a specific point of view (marked as point of view above) that he can move objects on a 2d surface. The movement on the 2d, moves objects on the 3d, creating paths for the trojan horse to pass through this level.

3rd LEVEL: Dissection – Section – Fragments

I have thought of this level yet, but I imagine that the new ability of the architect is to be able to relate items between an interior and an exterior by making cuts. The result could be fragments that he can carry with him, or even extract it from previous levels, which might be helpful at a later stage.

I understand that creating puzzle games is not an easy task, so I ll try to focus on the first one which seems the easiest. In games, you are supposed to learn more and more from level to level. I imagine the same thing happens with when you design them….well, we’ll see!

Some very interesting games for inspiration:

In the first one, the player solves problems by moving objects. Depending on the surface that you are placing them, they become larger or smaller in scale.

In this one, the player controls the character in 2D, but by moving the camera in 3D, he creates new relationships in space. And of course, we will always have Monument Valley!

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TS pages update

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Laying out the Toolbox

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I am trying to develop ideas around my tools. Thse are pages that could both part of the TS and the White Book. I am not try collecting tools in general that architects have used, but I am trying to identify tools that have affected our perception of space.

And of course, I am watching tonight Michael Douglas in “The Game”!

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Gamification of Life

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A game is described by a set of rules that create a world parallel to reality. (Maybe reality is not the right word. I might be using the wrong term)

After research on gaming and its relation to reality, I came across the term gamification which refers to the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. Game design has influenced our world is a sense that we see this kind of logic, expanding to fields like education or in social media. In terms of social media, twitter has a become a game by itself. Trying to get another follower, the same way you collect another coin in Super Mario, it’s the idea of action-reward system.

img_2920At the same time, I have been completing my world, which at the moment is planned to be a loop. Through this world, the player explores the connection between eras, architecture “end products” and the tools that created them. What I find important here is the dual existence of the tools and media that we think with, in a sense the language that enable us to create with but at the same time imprison us to think through it (e.g. rhino enables me to create complex forms, but at the same time I imagine forms only through lofting).

I found it in a book to be referred to as the Trojan Horse of Communication. Jacques Lacan names this language/tool as the Symbolic Order. Lacan says that although the symbolic order is a gift of communication for humanity, it is also dangerous as a meaning is dependent on the symbolic system. I do not want to talk about language and symbols, but as a language is a tool and has this fault, the design tools are also faulty.

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Building Paperscapes

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Creating Gamespace

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TS Proposal and Jury references

My TS proposal should focus on how we transform the infrastructure of a video game into the space for producing architecture. I want the game not to be just an illustrative tool through which i explain my thesis, but it is the thesis itself.

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Things to introduce to the game:

1. The game’s infrastructure

2. The glitch

3. Cheating

References from the jury:

Westworld

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I found it interesting how viewers of Westworld are asking online on reddit if glitches that happen in the series are actually a problem on their receivers (tvs or computers).

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Stanley Parable

It has multiple possible endings in the game, while you start as the character-narrator, you end up in conflict against him.

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The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ulysses by Leopold Bloom

The game that Felix was talking about on Friday that you have to photogaph ghosts:

Fatal Frame I & II

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Game development – Pre-alpha version

 

 

Some scrnshot updates from the game:

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Creating the World

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The Google Monolith and Kisho-hero

Creating the Google Monolith!!!

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How can we embed architecture within popular culture and portray it the way we want avoiding stereotypes?

Kisho Kurokawa brought architecture to a wider audience through his own tv show.

For sure, we can name him our Kisho-hero!!!

If anyone knows of other examples of architects trying to educate the masses, please share!

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Storyboarding the Game

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Archidreamland

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I’ve been working on unity this past couple of days, creating the world of the architect as it is imagined of google images.

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Coming soon…!

 

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Super Mason

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Thinking further on how to develop the architect into the hero’s journey, I am imagining a series of worlds that are formed like coins, on which the duality of the everyday and the special world is visualised. Alternatively, it could also be a mobius strip where the hero repeats his journey again and again.

I am also trying to escape the super-mario style, and try to develop my own.

The three modes that drive every world is:

1. The environment / the space of production

2. The tools / the method of production

3. The product / drawing, 3d prototype or building

Each world has a different apparatus that drives them:

Materiality, Light, Time, Law, Gravity, Architectural Ground, etc…

All of these modes have changed the nature of the architectural professionFor example, the mason becomes a super-mason or architect (>architekton, αρχιτέκτων, archi-mason)

In the end, the hero does not save or change the world but develops an understanding of it.

 

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Mario continued and WIP

 

 

 

 

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I tried developping the story from last time.

The idea is that the 2d hero, Mario is asked by Mies to save architecture from po-mo.

However, Mario realizes that he needs to save himself from the 2d world that he is trapped into. So he tries to move from section to plan in order to change levels. He constructs the plan by using a cross  section.

To be continued….

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A Hero’s Journey

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To be continued…

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The Architect as a Hero

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Authorship and Collaborative Production

After Friday’s tutorials I started looking more at the collaborative mode of architectural production and its relationship to craftsmanship.

The idea of the collaborative started on Mario Carpo’s idea of the digital object. The contemporary architecture project is a digital object, never complete, always in the process of creating. I believe that this model of production is going to change architecture and displace the architect from his authorial position, reducing him to a collective of craftsmen.

That shift is heavily influenced by technology, and has been questioned before by previous generations based on other technologies. Specifically, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy produced a series of paintings over the phone, questioning the idea of authorship in art.

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In the same way, can you use digital tools in producing architecture? It would be interesting to use Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to produce architecture. The following image is Aaron Koblin’s work, when he asked Mechanical Turk workers to draw a sheep, a reference that Nathan showed us on Friday.

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Following from Moholy-Nagy, I am interested to look into the Isokon Building (which someone from the unit presented last week), the iconic modernist building that experimented with a modern way of living. Famous residents have been Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Agatha Christie and of course Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. I might also visited next weekend because apparently it’s only open from March to the end of October, only in the weekends.

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Vessels of Salvation – UPDATED

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