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Arboreal Architecture

Arboreal Architecture


020 8980 5066

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Comments (1)

  • Comment on: Patrik Schumacher on parametricism - 'Let the style wars begin'

    Arboreal Architecture's comment 20 May, 2010 7:45 pm

    If style “denotes the unity of the difference between… architectural epochs” it is not parametrics but rather the current exploration of organic form made possible by Rhino, Maya and other software that is the unifying factor. The extent to which that form is derived from input parameters or has a meaningful performance on any output parameters is somewhat more in doubt. The “vanguard: educational institutes across the globe” are oddly limited to London and Los Angeles but (having lived in both cities and attended all the schools in some way) my experience has been that sculptural organicism currently prevails at the expense of deeper critique of the input or output parameters. We are not yet operating in either a style or a “paradigm” deserving of the name parametricism.

    Most of the work coming out of those schools, whilst often exquisitely beautiful, is lacking in rigorous questioning of what parameters the architecture could engage with and what kind of performance the building could offer them in return. Our obsession with complex 3D modelling tools is still driving the forms we make rather than allowing us to really create architecture that is as responsive to its conditions (programmatic, environmental etc.) as it seems. We can make a roof that appears to be as responsive as a tree canopy but in fact is only static sculpture, not embedded within a complex ecology.

    In our practice we endeavour to use form and material to engage with parameters such as light, heat, structure and program to generate genuine spatial and ecological performance as a result, even if that result is not as “blobby” or “swoopy” as we might have thought. As Michael Badu noted in his comment, the sustainable energy crisis is the stronger catalyst for change in architecture but we don’t believe it will be achieved by pitting the style of BedZED against the style of Zaha and indeed style may not be a useful term for the argument at all. Values, techniques and performance are better terms to advance the argument. The new kinds of values that drive sustainability must be brought to bear in the design process and should no longer be seen as only cramping the style of the formalist architecture. These values, applied to parametric techniques, aimed at performance rather than mere sculpture can create the kind of architecture that we are excited about and that we hope might retrospectively be observed as a unifying difference in architecture.