Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Rappel à l’Ordre: The Case for the Tectonic - Kenneth Frampton Tectonics? A Case Study for Digital Free-Form Architecture - Wan-Ping Gao

By Robert Musial

Rappel à l’Ordre: The Case for the Tectonic by Kenneth Frampton was first published in 1990 while the Tectonics? A Case Study for Digital Free-Form Architecture by Wan-Ping Gao was published in 2004. Both of these articles are fairly new documents compare to other literature.  Frampton focuses on the origins and meanings of tectonics and mostly architecture from 19th century. Wan-Ping Gao also focuses on the meaning of tectonics but, he explains architectural tectonics in the information age (present) and future. To continue, Frascari states, “Architecture is an art because it is interested not only in the original need for shelter but also putting together, spaces and material, in a meaningful manner” (Frampton, K. (2002). This shows that even in the past architects were thinking of how materials and spaces go together but without the aid of a computer the chances of making an error were high. On the other hand Wan-Ping Gao states that, “The traditional architecture, with its stagnant interpretation of structural joints and material, can never explain the surface characteristic and dynamic state of digitally spatial form. In a multi-dimensional digital environment, the physics of space, proportion, material quality, etc., do not depend on elements of the real world, such as those involving the use of material, construction, or structural standards” (Gao, W. P. 2004 p. 3-4). With the help of computers the architect’s is able to push the design to the next level. They are able to test different type of scenarios which allows them to push the envelope.  To conclude, this also allows for them to perfect the construction because they are able to use how material will be put together on the computer and be able to detail on how to construct them.
Frampton stresses the importance of a joint and break of it because it has the meaning of connection and gives attend all form of articulation (Frampton, K. 2002). This again stresses the importance of detail of every aspect of a building. With having the joints in irregular places it gives away from the architecture. In contrasts Wan-Ping Gao states, “Tectonics expresses the unique qualities of material and elements of architecture b means of a meaningfully designed structure. In the digital environment, free form the limits imposed on architecture in the real, a fixed object like joints become freer and more flexible.” (Gao, W. P. 2004 p. 6) This again emphasizes with computer designer are able explore different options which allows them to be more flexible with design and make a unique building. This also stresses how computer help the architect to have their project become more detail orientated.
When speaking about going the next step Frampton describe how new forms of tectonic buildings where expressed. For example, “We have the ethereal dematerialized aspiration of Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace, that which Le Corbusier once describe as the victory of light over gravity” stated Frampton (Frampton, K. 2002). This show that the past architects were able to go to the next level without the use of computer.  To also restate this show the progression of architecture and the never ending limits.  To continue, Wan-Ping Gao introduces an another statement to discussion, “Digital architecture emphasizes responsiveness to the appearance of spatial form and we could through the special features of digital free-form, conduct our studies” (Gao, W. P. 2004 p. 9). This adds another dimension to architecture and how designer are able to computers for architecture. With responsiveness result designer are more awarded about actual driving factors that could change the design of the building. Lastly, we can see how digital tectonics and traditional tectonics have already altered each and how computer are aiding us to the future (Gao, W. P. 2004 p. 14)

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