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© Anna Valentiny

Tools of Imagination II

 

MArch Studio : Analogue Digital Production


Michael Hansmeyer

In just the short span of our lives, kilobytes have turned to megabytes, megabytes to gigabytes, gigabytes to terabytes. For the past five decades, ever-increasing growth in processing power was the new normal. Each leap changed the way we communicate, and the way we live. Yet now, after five decades, this exponential growth no longer holds: Moore’s law is dead. For many applications, speed is no longer increasing. Memory growth has slowed. Where does this disruption leave us? It leaves us in the unique position to ask not only how we can do something with technology – how to use the latest iteration of some application – but also gives us space to understand the more fundamental mechanisms at play. It allows us to adjourn the how and to contemplate the what, and ultimately the why. As Cedric Price presciently stated in 1966, “Technology is the answer… but, what was the question?”

This studio explores the relevance and the potential of digital technology in architecture. It goes beyond CAD applications in which the mouse emulates the movements of a pen, and beyond applications that incorporate a series of initially interesting – but ultimately constraining – parametric mechanisms.

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Tools of Imagination II

 

MArch Studio : Analogue Digital Production


Michael Hansmeyer

Instead, we will take the luxurious approach of developing our own digital tools – a new series of design instruments. We will develop tools for searching and exploration, rather than simply control and execution. These new tools should be simultaneously open and systematic, striking a balance between causality and chaos. They require a design language without the need for words and labels, as they are intended to create the previously unseen. These tools must ultimately redefine the process of design: the designer will work in an iterative feedback loop with the machine, moderating processes, and incorporating feedback, surprises and proposals. Knowledge and experience are acquired through searching, which demands heuristics that work in the absence of categorization. As of now, we have countless tools to increase our efficiency and precision. We already have more processing power than we can reasonably use. Why not rethink the man-machine relationship so that the computer is a productive partner in the design process? Why not also create tools that serve as our muses, inspire us and help us to be creative? Tools to draw the undrawable, and to imagine the unimaginable. Tools to produce knowledge, tools for learning architecture. An architecture that embraces and celebrates the unforeseen.   > Link Booklet w16