Architectonics in Zurich

Posted by Edward Willatt on Sunday, October 3, 2010 Under: Architectonics


I have just returned from a trip to the ETH in Zurich where I was talking to academics and Masters degree students working in computer-aided architectural design and the theory behind it.  This was a very enjoyable and productive interdisciplinary discussion.  I gave a talk on the history of architectonics in philosophy and how the ‘crisis of foundations’ lead to a re-thinking of architectonics.  Our discussions explored the relations between the disciplines and how these can be articulated today.  From the abstract and over-arching architectonics constructed before the crisis we moved to the more concrete and practical architectonics of today.  In many ways it was Deleuze and Guattari who provided the focus for the session.  The ‘rhizome’ of their A Thousand Plateaus provided the emblem for the relations of disciplines that do not involve foundations or deep roots but rather a horizontal plane without beginnings or endings.



I learnt about the concerns of architects who work with computers.  Just as philosophers seem to have lost their place in an age of information, specialisation and interdisciplinarity, so architects are challenged to find their place in a world of computer-aided practice.  I also learnt about the moral concerns of architects.  Individualism seems to be a poor response to a crisis of foundations when spaces exceed the individual.  We also discussed the ability of disciplines to communicate.  Do we simply throw up walls of disciplinary concepts which prevent dialogue?  In many ways the discussions we were having involved an encounter with problems that all disciplines share.  Different disciplines ‘spark off’ thoughts in one another.  I certainly found that I was thinking new thoughts through my discussions with architects and theorists in this field.  Deleuze and Guattari talk about the encounters with chaos which are common to all disciplines in their What is Philosophy?  Each discipline goes to its limit, to that which it cannot articulate, and this proves to be a productive exercise.  It does not reduce one discipline to another but is more of what Deleuze calls a ‘discordant accord’.  This means that there does not need to be a rationally transparent discourse which over-arches all disciplines.  Instead we have a series of unexpected thoughts which challenge each discipline and express multiple and heterogeneous connections.  Each discipline is understood as a create practice and it is the principles behind this practice which, for Deleuze and Guattari, have the potential to relate the disciplines.

Another thing I learnt about were the views on diagrammatic thinking among those working in computer-aided architectural design and its theory.  I suggested that diagrams might allow disciplines to communicate beyond their conceptual boundaries.  I learnt a lot about the problems of seeking to overcome semantics using diagrammatic structures.  There seems to be no easy way of handing theoretical problems over to computers and expecting them to overcome aporias and boundaries that continue to press upon us.  These discussions proved to be very worthwhile and leave me with lines of thought which I am eager to pursue. 

In : Architectonics 



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Architectonics in Zurich

Posted by Edward Willatt on Sunday, October 3, 2010 Under: Architectonics


I have just returned from a trip to the ETH in Zurich where I was talking to academics and Masters degree students working in computer-aided architectural design and the theory behind it.  This was a very enjoyable and productive interdisciplinary discussion.  I gave a talk on the history of architectonics in philosophy and how the ‘crisis of foundations’ lead to a re-thinking of architectonics.  Our discussions explored the relations between the disciplines and how these can be articulated today.  From the abstract and over-arching architectonics constructed before the crisis we moved to the more concrete and practical architectonics of today.  In many ways it was Deleuze and Guattari who provided the focus for the session.  The ‘rhizome’ of their A Thousand Plateaus provided the emblem for the relations of disciplines that do not involve foundations or deep roots but rather a horizontal plane without beginnings or endings.



I learnt about the concerns of architects who work with computers.  Just as philosophers seem to have lost their place in an age of information, specialisation and interdisciplinarity, so architects are challenged to find their place in a world of computer-aided practice.  I also learnt about the moral concerns of architects.  Individualism seems to be a poor response to a crisis of foundations when spaces exceed the individual.  We also discussed the ability of disciplines to communicate.  Do we simply throw up walls of disciplinary concepts which prevent dialogue?  In many ways the discussions we were having involved an encounter with problems that all disciplines share.  Different disciplines ‘spark off’ thoughts in one another.  I certainly found that I was thinking new thoughts through my discussions with architects and theorists in this field.  Deleuze and Guattari talk about the encounters with chaos which are common to all disciplines in their What is Philosophy?  Each discipline goes to its limit, to that which it cannot articulate, and this proves to be a productive exercise.  It does not reduce one discipline to another but is more of what Deleuze calls a ‘discordant accord’.  This means that there does not need to be a rationally transparent discourse which over-arches all disciplines.  Instead we have a series of unexpected thoughts which challenge each discipline and express multiple and heterogeneous connections.  Each discipline is understood as a create practice and it is the principles behind this practice which, for Deleuze and Guattari, have the potential to relate the disciplines.

Another thing I learnt about were the views on diagrammatic thinking among those working in computer-aided architectural design and its theory.  I suggested that diagrams might allow disciplines to communicate beyond their conceptual boundaries.  I learnt a lot about the problems of seeking to overcome semantics using diagrammatic structures.  There seems to be no easy way of handing theoretical problems over to computers and expecting them to overcome aporias and boundaries that continue to press upon us.  These discussions proved to be very worthwhile and leave me with lines of thought which I am eager to pursue. 

In : Architectonics 



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