Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reading Reaction - Eric

Architecture is the Medium which is the Message, which is also a Medium......

Throughout time, technological advancements have paralleled constantly shifting cultural patterns.  As Marshall McLuhan has expressed, technology and society are interconnected: “personal and societal consequences of any medium… result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.”  The dependencies between society, the individual, and technology create new opportunities and inter-disciplinary delegations among professionals that not only speak to new jobs, but the advancement of design/science/art.  McLuhan makes the point that automation replaced many jobs, but on the other hand, it created a new manner of thinking about liner production processes.  More opportunities in design emerged, where design of the process superseded the final production.  In the way McLuhan breaks down the embodiment of the medium, the same breakdown begins to happen with these production processes.  Each layer (or step) is constantly being informed by the previous.  In many ways, this is very similar to digital fabrication processes in contemporary architecture.  Architecture is a medium.  This medium is imbued with various layers of information (or other mediums) such as materiality, mechanical systems, and circulation patterns, just to name a few.  Materiality can be manipulated to have perforations, curves, sleek lines, coloration, etc; each in its own way an opportunity to express information.  Perforation (as a medium) expresses information such as transparency, weight, density, etc.  In many architectural projects the informative qualities of these layers are lost, as perforations serve single purposes (and often, not even that well).  When a window (or perforation) is placed, it should not only frame views of the exterior, but enhance quality of light in the interior and serve as an aperture for heat gain where necessary.  Sometime, during the modernist movement, these apertures were prescribed as rectilinear in nature.  The geometry inherent in modernist architecture, in no way reacts to natural conditions, resulting in a missed opportunity for the expression of a multi-modal information display system.

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