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Don't let those wide boys GA you down

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Remember that bloke in college who managed to get through five years of studio, plus a year out, and still hadn't the faintest idea about architecture?

And who now runs a 50-architect practice with in-house planning supervisor and a tame QS? Until GA, you were probably safe in believing that you could produce architecture 10 times more interesting than anything this wide boy could dream up. Hold on there. GA?

It stands for genetic algorithm. And, as this month's Blueprint cover hints, the object of your envy could, even now, be churning out mind-blowing threedimensional forms. The new thing is that they would be generated by a computer application based on genetic algorithms.

Even worse, your hitherto friendly structural engineer (who secretly believes all architects to be serial fantasists and culpably ignorant of building costs) is probably planning his move into multidisciplinary practice courtesy of a well-rounded GA-based computer program. He will already be using the form-finding front ends of several tensile fabric design applications, so the idea of computergenerated creativity is something with which he (though perhaps not you) is quite comfortable. Yes, I know a computer scare like this comes up every couple of years but at least one such program exists. Have a look at www. cs.

unr. edu/~sushil/papers/thesis/thesisht ml/node2. html for a thoughtful introduction to the topic and www.

sodduarchitects. com for some terrific images, a few interesting papers and some good links to other sites. The words 'genetic algorithm architecture and design' in Google produces hundreds of relevant links. Incidentally, the name is not deliberately scatological.

It comes from Celestino Soddu, who, it seems, had an early '90s connection with Oxford Poly, and collaborates with Enrica Colabella on this site. People at MIT, Hong Kong Poly and University College London are among those working on the architectural possibilities. Far out.

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