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id caadria2014_207
authors Beorkrem, Christopher and Charles Davis II
year 2014
title A Primitive Parametric
source Rethinking Comprehensive Design: Speculative Counterculture, Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia (CAADRIA 2014) / Kyoto 14-16 May 2014, pp. 893–902
summary This paper describes the products of an exhibition organized by the authors that speculatively reconstructed the ‘long history’ of Architectural Biology to recover the cultural potential of biological metaphors in contemporary architecture. The extended historical timeline of the show spanned from the second half of the nineteenth century to the present. However, in contrast to previous shows that have isolated modern architects’ interests in the formalist principles of biology, this show examined the formal and cultural prerogatives of modern architects in tandem with one another. This historical framework encouraged the speculative analysis of the social and political relevance of contemporary claims, which inherently challenges the ahistorical bias of the postcritical debates that emerged in the new millennium. Widening our gaze to examine the ‘long history’ of biological metaphors in architecture enabled us to recuperate the cultural significance that biological references have accrued within the discipline of architecture. This disciplinary history promises to repair the historical amnesia that has beset contemporary architects who limit their analysis of biology to formalist principles of design. A key component of the exhibit was the conceptual pairing of the ‘primitive’ (cultural) concerns of nineteenth-century figures with the ‘parametric’ (formal) concerns of postwar and contemporary architects. Using Gottfried Semper as a representative figure for the former position, we reinterpreted the inherent cultural meaning of postwar and contemporary architectural works, including those completed by Frei Otto, Achim Menges, Lars Spuybroek, SHoP, and Evan Douglis. The material potential of this approach was expressed in the making of analytical maps, digital models, and conceptual drawings that explored the latent ‘primitive’ themes of contemporary ‘parametric’ designs.
series CAADRIA
email cbeorkrem@uncc.edu
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