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id ascaad2007_053
authors Islami, S.Y.
year 2007
title Surface-driven architecture: Moving Beyond the Ornament/Structure Opposition
source Em‘body’ing Virtual Architecture: The Third International Conference of the Arab Society for Computer Aided Architectural Design (ASCAAD 2007), 28-30 November 2007, Alexandria, Egypt, pp. 671-682
summary Contemporary architecture has been influenced by a shift of interest from the dialectic Derridean theories of language to those of Deleuze and Guattari who put more emphasis on transitions, experimentation and material presence. New digital design tools as well as new construction materials have opened up more possibilities for architects. E-paper, digital screens, printed concrete, composite polymers and dynamic cladding systems, have allowed designers to relish architecture at the surface level. Moreover, the process of architectural design is shifting from the desktop to the virtual world of the computer. NURBS, Blobs, Metaforms, Isomorphic Surfaces and other complex geometries are now possible using surface-driven computer modelling software. Because of this, the resultant architecture display a much more distinct appreciation and mastery of surface-effects. The following article argues that contemporary architecture is becoming increasingly a process of surfacing, both as a process of revealing and as a process of concealing. Surface, in common parlance, is generally understood as the exterior boundary of things, the outer skin of any object. In this sense, surfaces are actual, material, textural entities that we often encounter first. The surface is also taken to be something that conceals: “it was not what it appeared to be on the surface.” However, it is when things surface that they become evident or apparent; they appear out of a previously concealed existence or latency. Thus, surfacing is a process of becoming explicit, of becoming experientially apparent in a movement from virtuality to actuality. This article argues that the use of emerging computer technologies in architecture, have resulted in a renewed prioritization of surface and surface-effects. It shall be concluded that the surface-driven nature of most contemporary modelling software has resulted in a new approach to architectural design, one that has the potential of subverting the traditional hierarchy between ornament and structure. As a result, this design strategy has allowed for a much more spirited and creative approach to architecture.
series ASCAAD
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