Towards a new Materiality?


In the architectural domain, the coexistence of reflections of a diagrammatic nature with a renewed interest in some of the most concrete aspects of materials is typical of this situation. At an urban level, the GPS is also representative of this immediate contact between abstraction and concreteness. Using a GPS, we are both plugged into a global, abstract geodesic grid, and confronted with our immediate surroundings. Just as the computer is beginning to affect the design of buildings, the digital environment will eventually modify urban design, if only because old problems like the legibility of the urban sequences are now redefined by tools like the GPS.

But how are the intuitions of the architect or the urban designer conveyed to the public that is supposed to inhabit his projects? In other words, can the new materiality aimed at by computer- aided designers concern a larger public who is probably unaware of the reflections developed people like Greg Lynn, Jesse Reiser and others? With its blobs and other strange geometrical forms, their architectural production seems often far away from the common definition of architecture. At the level of the city, the same gap seems to separate the world of computerized urban simulations from the ordinary perceptions of the people.

Architecture and the Virtual
Towards a new Materiality?
Antoine Picon


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