Each student is assigned one of the following reading pairs. Over the remainder of the course, you are responsible for becoming an expert on these texts and bringing the relevant conversations to our collective discussions, your work, and the work of others. You will not only need to read, re-read, and understand each text, but understand the relationships between the two. Where do these readings align, contrast, contradict or support each other? Investigate other texts referenced in each reading and the contexts within which each author was writing.
LL, SE, DK will read:
Randall Davis et al, What Is a Knowledge Representation?
Terry Knight and George Stiny, Classical and Non-Classical Computation
MR, CS, NC will read:
William Empson, 7 Types of Ambiguity (excerpts)
Will Self. Conversations: J.G Ballard
TY, AK, MB will read:
Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky, Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal
Jerrfrey Kipnis, P-TR’S Progress
JM, MC, MS, JW will read:
Malcolm McCulough, 20 Years of Scripted Space
Antoine Picon, Forward to Algorithmic Architecture
PDFs of each reading can be downloaded from this shared folder (RISD google login required)
This is the third and final phase of the course. A site and program will now be introduced. They are not meant to be the subject of inquiry, but devices to further your research. The site and program will provide resistance and motivation, but successfully responding to their forces is only the beginning. You won’t need to visit the site or re-think the program. They are given, fixed, and fictional (although based on facts). The “big question” that initiated our work must continue to be addressed: how does drawing mediate/influence/ fuel/disrupt the relationship between you, computing and architecture? Extend your work from phases one and two and continue to design a design process. Continue to experiment with the relationship between drawing and space. How, with what media, and with what machines you do computation is open. We will consider and discuss the role of automation, indirection, instruments and knowledge under the conceptual umbrella of authorship.
The site is at the border between Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
RI and MA have entered into an agreement to jointly collect tolls from automobiles crossing their shared state line on I-95. The toll collection facility marks the border (which in legal terms is a line, but in spatial terms is a surface). Each state collects tolls from automobiles leaving their state, which allows their offices and staff to operate entirely within their territory. 12 Northbound, 12 Southbound and 4 flexible lanes (for a total of 28 lanes) will make up this facility. The flexible lanes can be swapped to serve Northbound or Southbound traffic as demand requires. Insurance regulations require that RI toll collectors operate on the RI side and the MA collectors operate on the MA side. Each state has appointed a Border Toll Authority Officer, who will occupy, with a small staff, a suite of offices within the border (6000 SF). Additional program includes a café (3000 SF), scenic overlook (1000-10,000 SF), and public rest rooms (750 SF). A passenger/ freight rail line runs along (and crosses through) the border within the site and must be maintained, although the position, length and shape of the track may be modified. Likewise, the location and position of I-95 may be adjusted within the site. However, the portions of I-95 under the rail and street bridges must remain. Former buildings and roads on the site (indicated by dashed lines in the plan above) have been demolished and the site is essentially an open landscape. Besides a 5’ change in elevation at the bank of the river, the site is flat.
Expand upon what you have developed as your thick surface constructs. Remain skeptical of you own assumptions regarding how/where/why those surfaces grow into (or support the growing of) a building. As you work, articulate clearly and specifically in what ways you are drawing from your construct(s) and learning from your prior experiments. As with site and program, the usual requirements for a functional building–enclosure, safe means of egress, service access, parking, etc–are not problems on a checklist to solve but productive forces of resistance.
As you transition from the scaleless world of phase 2, consider the human experience upon approach to, at, and possibly “in” the border. Also consider the controlled perception of the border from afar.
In this phase of the course, drawings, by necessity, serve a function: abstraction for the purpose of communication and operation. Many drawings result from projecting three-dimensional geometry onto a two-dimensional picture plane and deploying graphic conventions. However, these drawings are also treated as autonomous works of architecture. Besides conveying something, drawings can be something that can be read, interpreted, and expanded based on its own implied structure. During this phase of the course, students are responsible for creating multiple cycles of movement between drawing and building.
First, an acknowledgement: a thick surface is impossible. Surfaces are thin. In fact, they are infinitesimally thin. Their presence in architecture is entirely a matter of abstraction and perception–of edge, boundary, smoothness, and continuity of a two-dimensional realm. As we proceed in this assignment let’s endeavor to maintain rigorous though plastic conceptions of surface. How might it be possible to leverage the two-sided nature of surfaces (especially those which are non-planar) to articulate interior volumes? What are the implications of building a surface as opposed to building along a surface? How is the legibility of surface related to scale and material? Might it be possible to define a surface through the a removal, lack of, or disruption of matter?
Given the recently-produced 24” x 21” drawings, descriptions, and in-class discussions, each student will design corresponding thick surfaces. These thick surfaces, in built form, will hereafter be referred to as “constructs.” Explore different levels of reading material, form and space from the drawing. At the end of this phase you will have developed three rigourous, evolved constructs that correspond to one of each of these levels:
We will not bias or pre-judge any level to be more valuable, meaningful or valid than any other. This is an experiment. Each construct will be made of systematic components, capable of aggregation, like a system of scaffolding. Additionally, each construct must meet all of the following basic criteria, also known as “architectural” problems:
You are now responsible for writing a description of what is to become the content for another student’s drawing. “Content” is interpreted as what one can see in the drawing, but not the structure of the drawing. This should be no more than a paragraph in length and no shorter than one sentence. Don’t address what you write to the student. Instead, simply articulate what you imagine seeing the drawing, in present tense, as though it already exists. In class today, begin by interpreting this other student’s drawing thoroughly. Your job is to profoundly challenge the other student’s current mode of thinking and to push their drawing to convey something foreign to its nature. You won’t be doing this other student any favors if you make the description easy, or if the description you write resembles content you already see in their drawing. Having a new motive force will make this other student’s drawing better. It’s perfectly acceptable to let your personal interests, biases, or preferences come through in your description. You’re now implicated as a partial author of this other drawing. Be as specific or as ambiguous as you feel is appropriate, but remember, leaving too much room for interpretation could mean too much “wiggle room” for the other student. This is due by the start of class on Monday 3.03
On Monday 3.03 you will receive a written description created by another student. Adjust your drawing so that the description applies to the content of your drawing. Allow this description, which will likely feel foreign at first, to provide your process and intentions with productive resistance. Do not, under any circumstances, start over. Instead, evolve the methodology you have already established.
we will discuss this in class and go through this as a group
first, to show hidden files in Mac OS, open the terminal and paste the following line of code
First, there are two libraries that Chiplotle (the library that allows us control the plotter) requires, (dependancies) which will need to be installed before anything else: Pyserial and Numpy. You will also need the driver for the physical USB-serial adapter.
installing these first three are straightforward installer apps:
The Chiplotle library is slightly more involved, and we’ll do this as a group in class:
This is the Chiplotle documentation site: http://music.columbia.edu/cmc/chiplotle/manual/
On Tuesday, with Carl:sign up via google calendar
On Wednesday, with John:sign up via google calendar
Make a 21”x24” drawing with the 24” side oriented vertically. This drawing may elicit representational qualities but will not be overtly keyed to any representational system. It will not be to scale and not correspond to any subject. However, nothing about this drawing will be arbitrary. Even chance, ambiguity and gesture will be controlled and refined though various modes of computation. Both the visual language of the drawing and the structure of the drawing process are left open by this assignment, but will be resolved and tuned to exacted degrees by students. Questions that will arise include: What is the definition of line? What kind of geometry is(are) line(s) governed by or made up of? What is the behavior of line? What are the rules, actions, logics? What form does input to the drawing system take? How much does this input determine outcome of the drawing?
Questions of depth are paramount. They will suggest the future projection of drawing into built form without the need for arbitrary transformations or translations. With each iteration of this project, evaluate and analyze the drawing in terms of its capacity to articulate and/or suggest space in a third dimension. The manner in which drawing material and drawing machines affect drawn content will be considered as well. Laser cutters and pen plotters are available, but other improvisational machines or hybridizations between human and machine are welcome.
You will first amass a collection of drawings made by artists, designers and architects to be reconstructed algorithmically. Then, to begin work on your drawing, apply the programming tactics introduced in class and reference/sample the collection of precedents. The “foreign input” component of this project will be introduced later…
Using these specific versions and installers is important. Even if you have Python installed already (or think you might), please run these installers.
on a mac
sample (for testing and playing) sample_simple.py (ZIP)
Welcome students. Here are PDF copies of documents handed out in person today:
These are the links to the websites mentioned in the syllabus:
These are the links to the resources mentioned in the phase 1 assignment brief: