CumInCAD is a Cumulative Index about publications in Computer Aided Architectural Design
supported by the sibling associations ACADIA, CAADRIA, eCAADe, SIGraDi, ASCAAD and CAAD futures

PDF papers
id ascaad2010_097
authors Kenzari, Bechir
year 2010
title Generative Design and the Reduction of Presence
source CAAD - Cities - Sustainability [5th International Conference Proceedings of the Arab Society for Computer Aided Architectural Design (ASCAAD 2010 / ISBN 978-1-907349-02-7], Fez (Morocco), 19-21 October 2010, pp. 97-106
summary Digital design/fabrication is slowly emancipating architectural design from its traditional static/representational role and endowing it instead with a new, generative function. In opposition to the classical isomorphism between drawings and buildings, wherein the second stand as translations of the first, the digital design/fabrication scenario does not strictly fall within a semiotic frame as much as within a quasi biological context, reminiscent of the Aristotelian notion of entelechy. For the digital data does not represent the building as much it actively works to become the building itself. Only upon sending a given file to a machine does the building begin to materialize as an empirical reality, And eventually a habitable space as we empirically know it. And until the digital data actualizes itself, the building qua building is no more than one single, potential possibility among many others. This new universe of digital design/fabrication does not only cause buildings to be produced as quick, precise, multiply-generated objects but also reduces their presence as original entities. Like cars and fashion items, built structures will soon be manufactured as routinely-consumed items that would look original only through the subtle mechanisms of flexibility: frequent alteration of prototype design (Style 2010, Style 2015..) and “perpetual profiling” (mine, yours, hers,..). The generic will necessarily take over the circumstantial. But this truth will be veiled since “customized prototypes” will be produced or altered to individual or personal specifications. This implies that certain “myths” have to be generated to speed up consumption, to stimulate excessive use and to lock people into a continuous system which can generate consumption through a vocabulary of interchangeable, layered and repeatable functions. Samples of “next season’s buildings” will be displayed and disseminated to enforce this strategy of stimulating and channeling desire. A degree of manipulation is involved, and the consumer is flattered into believing that his or her own free assessment of and choice between the options on offer will lead him or her to select the product the advertiser is seeking to sell. From the standpoint of the architect as a maker, the rising upsurge of digital design and fabrication could leave us mourning the loss of what has been a personal stomping ground, namely the intensity of the directly lived experiences of design and building. The direct, sensuous contact with drawings, models and materials is now being lost to a (digital) realm whose attributes refer to physical reality only remotely. Unlike (analogue) drawings and buildings, digital manipulations and prototypes do not exercise themselves in a real space, and are not subjected in the most rigorous way to spatial information. They denote in this sense a loss of immediacy and a withering of corporal thought. This flexible production of space and the consequent loss of immediate experience from the part of the designer will be analyzed within a theoretical framework underpinned mainly by the works of Walter Benjamin. Samples of digitally-produced objects will be used to illustrate this argument.
series ASCAAD
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