Generative Design

The future of CAD

Book Review : The architecture of emergence

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Rare are the books that I read twice. This is one of them. Weinstock attempts the impossible. He brings to the table extensively researched and carefully compiled material whihc is of fundamental importance to our understanding of order. He attempts, to convince us that the nature of order is fundamentally different to what we have known. He shakes the very foundation of current architectural thinking. The book is an ambitious and monumental undertaking as it proposes a unified theory of order connecting geology, biology and human development through the frame-work of emergence.

Rare are also books in architecture without glossy pictures that make up for vague and unsubstantiated theories. For those who seek logic in-built and natural  form this a recommended read.  It firmly establishes beyond reasonable doubt,  the true nature of order in nature. The world around us has been built based on this. Unfortunately, architects are totally disconnected with this current understanding order.

The book covers very wide grounds explaining how particles of sand form geographies and determine the plants that grow on it – the animals that depend on it, and how it continuously modified the environment and how an over evolved species (us) managed to mess things up pretty badly. It models our role like that of bacteria . Our development is traced through changes in evolutionary and environmental factors, contrary to our own version of history. The preface reads :

” It has been the tradition in the Western education of architects to think of architecture as a professional domain with a history predicated on a succession of emperors monuments, kings and cathedrals.

In this tradition the works of man are separate from nature”

This is a  distinguishing feature of  Western architecture.  Weinstock attempts to bridge this vast cultural and intellectual gap with a scholarly compilation of research that contributes to our new understanding of order. Media savvy architects, pressured to provide unintelligible explanations rational for their creative work (as it is the only way to rationalize their work) and architectural theorists muddled in history may choose to ignore the great message behind this book, but those interested in generative design will not. Because,  the marvelous design strategies of nature will not be lost on them. To me the most important lesson here is that the nature of order in nature is procedural not parametric.

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Written by Sivam Krish

October 31, 2010 at 12:42 am

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