Can tectonics grasp smoothness?


Wes Jones. February 2014. Excerpt from Log 30, Winter 2014.

So far, the tectonic’s greatest assistance to the smooth has been to offer a clearly articulated, well understood formal program upon which the smooth might drape its contrasting coils. The tectonic’s rectilinear grids and tame boxes, with their benignly certain ground planes and humble deference to gravity, have acted as a foil for all manner of elaborately anexact urban spectacles. Going forward, though, the tectonic might more usefully offer itself as the patient example of a system to emulate–the product of a long, dull, yet ultimately fruitful evolution–and of the eventual rigor its judgment expects and promotes. After all, the tectonic experience is the default, historically and epistemologically. It sets the test, and if the smooth cannot help but begin its understanding of smoothness as a struggle against the claims of the tectonic, it could do worse in the end than settling those claims with an understanding as nuanced and sophisticated.

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