07 April 2010

Building Towards a Building

"Like the standing wave in front of a rock in a fast-moving stream," John Holland, a pioneer in non-linear science writes, "a city is a pattern in time." The analogy captures the emergence of organization that my team desires in our building. Rather than a city, we are designing a school of design. The rules, like the rock in the stream, constrain the pink and blue dots to form green groups. And now that the dots are moving around according to the rules, we can start looking for the waves.

After a week of adjusting the rules, we are not making waves. Dwight and So are losing faith in the process. At the beginning of the semester Balmond told us to “Be careful to reevaluate assumptions.” Now I know why. Roland still believes in my algorithm’s potential, but suggests that we add additional rules so that groups of dots form clearer organizational patterns. Initially many locations are equally viable, but just as people make a path through a woods by the repetition of use, we hope to designate rooms and their function by repetition.

Dwight and So are working on the walls and structure. They have reduced a process called a diffused limited aggregation--the process by which coral reefs are formed--down to just an aggregation. Much like dust or snow, in our process, points move around randomly and collect around any object or group. Rather than forming just an enclosure for the whole building, we want this aggregation process to make the walls and floors. The aggregation collects around the group spaces to create walls, and as they develop they limit the movement of the students and faculty. The two systems will interact until eventually they reach a point of stasis.

Will they really reach that point? I don't know, but I know that during his last visit Balmond insisted that we have renderings and drawings resembling a portion of the building for the mid-term review. We have a lot to do before Friday when we will fly to London to present to members of the AGU(Advanced Geometry Unit,) Cecil Balmond’s team of engineers, architects, mathematicians and programmers for our mid-term review .

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