De-Coding Architecture: From Ecoinduction to Computation

Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa


The objective of this essay is to trace what structures certain aspects of contemporary architecture after decades of disciplinary expansion. This essay begins by focusing on the several expansions of architecture that took place since 1970's, initially influenced by an opposition  to determinism by site specificity and that ended up, during the last decade, expanding space to its relation with the environment by incorporating ecology. The essay traces how architecture has been changing its disciplinary logic from defining containment to blurring boundaries between space and the environment. By constituting a more complex thick envelope architecture has been enfolding the previous experience of expansion in relation to site specificity, to redefine rather a parametric differentiated building envelope. But this apparent dissemination of the building's containment through a thicker envelope, produced instead an autonomy of the building façade as an object, indexing also other questions. Due to the progressive autonomy of the building from the ground and the possibilities of complex geometry produced by algorithms, the differentiated surface of the building envelope first indexed an artificial topo-logos, but lately, it has been indexing instead the logic of the algorithms that allowed such formal continuous differentiation. But the essay depicts a contradiction in the search for non-determination, since contemporary architecture is aiming for complex non deterministic-looking differentiated-geometry but relying rather at a structural level on relatively deterministic algorithms. The methodology of inquiry of this essay is based on questioning, through problems of representation, assumed relationships between post-structuralist theories and the expanded capabilities of computer codes to determinate infinitesimal differentiation. The essay concludes that computer algorithms as well as interfaces constitute today the origin of the structures that define contemporary architecture. Moreover, on the other side of this same representational spectrum, the essay also traces how contemporary architecture is structured in terms of its mediatic destination, as it became also structured by how the image of a building is reproduced through different media interfaces.


Ecology; Emergence; Coding; Computation; Representation

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