PF, Clarke's "MAKING A DIFFERENCE", 10-12-2007

i am examining today Pedro Clarke' thesis. Pedro did his internership with John Lyall in London and he worked for "Architects for Aid". See:

Prova final para Licenciatura em Arquitectura

Pedro Clarke, "MAKING A DIFFERENCE: The LCCU case study", FAUP, 22-10-2007.

Juri: Prof. Rui Afonso (presidente juti), Arq Luis urbano (orientador) e Prof Arq Gonçalo Furtado (arguente).


Preface by Neil

"A Tale of Enabling

I must, right at the start confess a vested interest in the subject of this book and its author. Gonçalo Furtado was a PhD student of mine ... [a]s the years progressed my respect for Gonçalo increased as I observed his tenacity as a architectural researcher, his powerful ambition, his keen fact gathering and his sheer work ethic. This book is a testament to that work ethic. Gonçalo and I have a great love for Cedric Price, the man and his work... So, reader while you are reading Gonçalo’s book think also of Price, the man – a man too clever to ever fully affiliate himself to any university or school of architecture, but a great supporter of the art of architecture and where it lead might us."

Professor Neil Spiller is Professor of Architecture and Digital Theory and Vice Dean at the Bartlett, University College London.
[Neil Spiller, "A Tale of Enabling", in: Gonçalo M. Furtado C. Lopes, Generator and Beyond: Encounters of Cedric Price and John Frazer, pp. preface].



>Gonçalo M. Furtado C. Lopes
>“Generator and Beyond: Encounters of Cedric Price and John Frazer”
>Coimbra: Universidade Vasco da Gama (Semear Palavras), 2007 (forthcoming)

>-0.1. – Preface by Neil Spiller
>1.1 - Introduction: Encounters around Architecture and Systems
1.2. – Cedric Price: The maverick of British Architecture
1.3 - Experiments on impermanence
>2.1. - The Generator: A Responsive and Intelligent Architecture
>2.2. - Requiring Frazer’s Systems Research
>2.3. - Computational Proposals and Programs
> 2.4. - The Frazers’ Research and Techniques
2.5 - Generator Computer Programs, Models and Perspectives
>2.6. - Generator’s Acknowledgement as the First Intelligent Building
>2.7. - Further Research and Occurrences Concerning the Generator
>3.1. - Last Attempts: The Generator revisited
>3.2. - Beyond the Generator Experience

See also:
Gonçalo M. Furtado C. L., "Envisioning an Evolving Environment: The Encounters of Gordon Pask, Cedric Price and John Frazer", Oporto: Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto, (Forthcoming)



Envisioning an Evolving Environment - The Encounters of Gordon Pask, Cedric Price and John Frazer
Gonçalo Miguel Furtado Cardoso Lopes. Supervised by Neil Spiller and Iain Borden
Bartlett School of Architecture - U.C.L. Faculty of the Built Environment

This thesis provides a history of exchanges between architecture and the fields of cybernetics, systems research and computation, throughout the period of the last half century. In particular, it focuses on the encounters of the British professionals - Gordon Pask, Cedric Price and John Frazer - and provides a complete account of two outstanding architectural projects related to systems and computation - Generator and Japan Net. It also highlights the architectural relevance of these encounters and the importance of their contemporary legacy - the genesis of the systemic and computational paradigm in architectural design and the promotion of an evolving environment. The thesis is based mainly on research of Gordon Pask’s personal archive (held by Ms. Amanda Heitler) and Cedric Price Archives (held at the Canadian Centre for Architecture).
The thesis is divided into three parts. The first part relates to early developments involving cybernetics and architecture. It includes Pask’s career and the rise of a second-order-cybernetics, as well as Price’s breakthrough posture and tireless promotion of an impermanent architecture opened to user participation. The second part provides a complete account of Price’s Generator. It focuses on the project’s diverse phases and consultancies, and highlights John and Julia Frazer’s contribution as systems consultants, which led this project to be acknowledged as the first intelligent building. The third part focuses on the rise of the information environment and the later reencounters between and achievements of Pask, Price and Frazer. It includes revisits to the Generator project, a complete account of the Japan Net competition entry, as well as pointing out outstanding ideas on evolving installations and essays of both Frazer and Pask.
It becomes clear that the current architectural agenda, focused on the new techno-cultural order of the information society and an aesthetics of emergence can benefit from these seminal exchanges, encounters and projects.

Visiting architecture, Barcelona 30 11 2007

Visiting architecture.

F.G., R.M., MRDV and Herzog & Meuron.

Jurgen have you something to do with this H&M building?


Friendship and my friend I.
(I first met
the graphic designer
Inigo Jerez
in NY. So long ago.)

Contemporary dance, 20-11-2007

I love Joana Providência's work, and it was great to met her again.

An Evolving Architectural Aesthetics

Gonçalo M. Furtado C. Lopes 1, "Towards an Evolving Architectural Aesthetics: Part A-Today’s Techno-scientific interests, Compelxity and the earlier Enabling of the Emergent" (English trasnlation), in: Arq./a (submitted; to be published in Dec 2007 - Janauary 2008)

In the 1990s, the establishment of a new techno-cultural order - known as the Digital or Post-Post-Modern Society (and which beginnings lay far back in WWII) - occurred. Today we clearly live in it, and it seems necessary to point to an advancement towards evolving architectural aesthetics which acknowledge complexity and the role of time and change.
Much of the recent architecture and its practice has been fully based on and affected by computer and communication technologies, which have enabled the virtual expansion of physical-urban space, the responsiveness of architectural buildings, and the development of new design methodologies that benefit from the multiplicity enabled by parametric-genetic design, Cad-Cams, etc. Progressively, architecture’s technological interests, also led a few architects to advance its interest in new technologies, towards experimentation in such domains as the biotechnological and the nanotechnological, expanding new ways of inhabiting. (For a overview of the formers I suggest, for instance, a look at some texts I produced during the last years, and for the later a focus of the work of Neil Spiller - under which supervision my recent research was conducted in London.2 In addition and out of curiosity, it is interesting and I also would like to highlight, how my idol - Cedric Price - pointed out that his office’s interest, in the pursuit of an anticipatory design, included in 1992 smart materials, fuzzy logic and bio-electronics.3 )
To some extent, architecture’s aforementioned technological interests are linked to its desire for multiplicity and a more evolving environment. It parallels the privileging of a new understanding of architecture by many contemporary professionals. Manuel Gauza, for instance, makes reference to “the new understanding of Architecture, that speaks more about processes than occurrences.” 4 And, in opposition to the ‘neo-rationalist schools’, Gauza’s “…way of understanding architecture is more dynamic in all respects, it’s evolutionary and transformable. That is to say… it potentializes processes that could develop it in new ways… evolutionary ways, combinatorial, or transformable…. Architecture is shifting in direction to a new dynamic logic, that speaks about unstable, unending, undetermined, informal, not formally predetermined, processes.”5
In this connection, it is also noticeable that recent Architecture has clearly fuelled a particular interest in the scientific thoughts of complexity and emergence.


At this point, it should be emphasized that the still ongoing shift in post-modern architecture, to embrace issues of complexity and emergence, was impulsed by the impassiveness and nihilism in which post-modernism itself falls, after decades of engagement with the issues of language and meaning (from the structural appeal of the 1960s to the 1980s’ post-structural trend of Deconstruction) in trying to challenge a stricter Modernist credo largely marked by predetermined aims, linear thought, and static principles-canons. However, it must also be seen as something parallel to the progressive establishment of a new techno-cultural order - the Digital Society - (a post-post-modern moment, in which we find ourselves currently). Digital Society has evolved since the post-war period, and, in many respects (of both conceptual and technological order), has a direct connection with the earlier areas of cybernetics, systems research and computation. In regards to this, I could briefly summarise what I state in my PhD inviting those interested in more depth to take a look at the full work: “Around the mid-1990s, the architectural agenda finally began to refocus itself on the new techno-cultural order of the Information Society and on an aesthetics of complexity and emergence. (...) However, the envisioning of an more evolving character and the current architectural emphasis on a spatiality of emergence open to the diversity brought on by time, has long since matured. This process took place within the seminal exchanges between cybernetics, systems research and computation, which had crucially occurred during [the encounters of three personalities]”5. Those were cybernetician Gordon Pask, architect Cedric Price and architect John Frazer; and of particular significance was the occurrence of two Price’s projects - the Generator project (dated 1976-1980 and later revisited) developed under the Frazers’ consultancy, and the Japan Net Competion Entry (from 1986) developed with Pask. “It is no coincidence that both of these projects pertaining to Cedric Price, from which derived a [philosophical] postmodern questioning concerning architecture’s role in society and the architect’s status. [As it is known,] Price’s production also accepted up-to-date technology and was instrumental in high-tech developments and the like. However, it was never in favour of the mere uniformization and commercialisation that such an approach now permits. On the contrary it was intended simply to enable change to flow. Among Price’s radical productions, the [previously mentioned] Generator and Japan Net projects represented a unique contribution to the contemporary debate about a responsive, informational and evolving design as well as potentially influencing more recent developments in technological and conceptual orientated architecture. It was Price’s acknowledgement of the new ideas and technologies that enabled Frazer and Pask to push forward their research into precise architectural projects. Together - Pask, Price, and Frazer - [...] advanced design towards an evolving environment. They prepared the roots for the current dynamics, and have continued, until today, to offer seminal ground to which one should return to face urgent speculation, on a technical and conceptual level on the subject of future developments at a time when architecture is facing a post-industrial, global, uncertain, and ever-changing world. Instead of trying to reinforce predeterminations in the form of static solutions, architecture could acknowledge the permanent cultural oscillations of society, find ways to help deal with the consequent feedback; and advance towards the conception of design systems creatively open to interaction, adaptation and evolution, as the cultural productions of our civilization - from past knowledge to future technology - allows.”6

Gonçalo M. Furtado C. Lopes 1, "Towards an Evolving Architectural Aesthetics: Part A-Today’s Techno-scientific interests, Compelxity and the earlier Enabling of the Emergent" (English trasnlation), in: Arq./a (submitted; to be published in Dec 2007 - Janauary 2008)

1 Gonçalo M. Furtado C. Lopes (gmfcl@hotmail.com) is graduated in Architecture (Oporto University, Portugal), Master in Architecture (Universidad Politecnica da Catalunha, Spain), and PhD in Theory and History of Architecture (University College of London, England).
2 This article is based in an extract from the text produced while frequenting the PhD Program of UCL. The PhD dissertation focuses on the encounters of the British professionals - Gordon Pask, Cedric Price and John Frazer - and provides a complete account of two outstanding architectural projects related to systems and computation - Generator and Japan Net. The research and PhD was supported by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (Programa de Bolsas de Doutoramento - Cofinanciamento do Programa Operacional da Ciência e Inovação 2010 e do fundo social Europeu).
3 See my books: “Notes on the space of digital technique” (Oporto: Mimesis, 2002), “Marcos Cruz: Unpredictable bodies (Oporto: Mimesis, 2004), “Off fourm: Postglobal city and marginal design discourses” (Bogota: Pei, 2004), “Interferencias: Conformação, implementação e futuro da cultura digital” (Oporto, 2005), “The construction of the critical project” (Bogota: Pei, 2005), “Architecture: machine and body” (Oporto: FaupEditorial, 2006) .
4 “Constant updating of information and data held by the office becomes an internal design exercise in its own right. This process helps towards maintaining the efficacy of the office’s prime approach to architecture which is one of continuous Anticipatory Design. Architecture is too slow in its realisation to be a ‘problem solver. Thus C.P. office sees its particular product (buildings) as the readily recognisable parts of its continuous design process…. Current particular interests are… smart materials, Fuzzy logic (the quantification of vagueness), Bio-electronics….”
Cedric Price, “Architecture and Technology” [Summary of speech given in Delft, 1992], in: Hans-Ulrich Obrist and alts (eds.), Re:CP , Basel: Birkhauser Verlag AG, 2003, p.136.
5 See: Gonçalo M. Furtado C. Lopes, “Envisioning an Evolving Environment: The Encounters of Gordon Pask, Cedric Price and John Frazer” (PhD Dissertation; Supervised by Neil Spiller and Iain Borden), Bartlett-University College of London, 2007.
6 Ibid.
- I would also like to express my gratitude to several people: to Terence Riley for the interview we titled “Mediatization and Vanguard” (published in [W] Art, N.1, Oporto: Mimesis, 2003, pp.97-103); to Christian Larsen for his help during my visit to MoMA’s archives; to the Portuguese Ordem dos Arquitectos for their invitation to made a presentation about MoMA’s (2002) The Changing of the Avant-garde exhibition and the Metabolists at the Serralves Museum in 2003; to Howard Schubert and Anne Marie Sigouin for their help during my visits to C.C.A. archives in 2005; to Vitor Silva for his commentary on my paper “Notes on Systemic and Cybernetic Thought in Architectural Representation, and the Enquiring into Notions of Authorship and Disciplinary Authority in Price…” submitted to PSIAX in 2004; and to Jonathan Hill for his commentaries on my presentation at Bartlett “Enabling Architecture and Technological Responsivity in Cedric Price … post-WW II architectural discourses” (2005). I am grateful to Oporto University’s FAUP for their support for the realisation of the documents “Towards a Responsive Architecture: Cedric Price’s Generator and Systems Research” (FAUP, Submitted March 2006) and “Envisioning an Evolving Environment: The Encounters of Gordon Pask, Cedric Price and John Frazer” (FAUP, Submitted February 2007), and to Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia whose scholarship fund made this research possible (Cofinanciamento do Programa Operacional da Ciência e Inovação 2010 e do fundo social Europeu).


PAPER (Post)War, Art and Systems Research and the Evolving Environment

Gonçalo Furtado, "Algumas notas sobre uma 'segunda ordem' de relacionamento entre arte e tecnologia e seu reflexo na Arquitectura", in: AR-Cadernos da Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, N.6, Julho 2006, pp.50-57.

"Arquitectura, Arte e Ciência são domínios que possuem uma história repleta de coexistências, afastamentos e reencontros. O espaço entre Arte e Ciência esteve por vezes devoluto no passado; mas a ocorrência de determinados cruzamentos ao longo das últimas décadas, recorda a existência de uma dinâmica criativa em ambas as áreas. [...]Recorde-se que desenvolvimentos anteriores como Computer Art, Art Net, Telematic Art, etc. remete para a incursão da Arte no domínio de todo um novo ambiente tecno-informacional [...]. A origem do “Infromational environment” habitado pela nossa sociedade digital remete obviamente para a W.W. II – momento civilizacionalmente dramático, mas início de uma nova era progressivamente suportada por TIC, e de uma arte ansiosa por alcançar uma interactividade tecno-criativa. De facto a actual SI, remete para os desenvolvimentos em informática e telecomunicações impulsionados pelo esforço da guerra e sua sequela no contexto da guerra-fria. [...] Um dos aspectos centrais da S.I. está relacionado com a figura da entidade 'computador', hoje omnipresente, e que possui a sua própria história [...]. Se inicialmente a Indústria do computador na guerra e imediato pós-guerra estava focada no cálculo, ainda os anos 40-50s se começou a desenvolver ferramentas para ajudar os cientistas a lidar com a exponencial informação; nos anos 60-70 materializou-se o desenvolvimento do interface [...]; Posteriormente, difundiu-se o acesso ao fenómeno das redes de computadores; onde se usufruiria da interactividade comunicacional do hipermédia da década de 90.[...]De facto, o outro aspecto central da S.I. está relacionado com a referida Internet; a qual também remete para o contexto da guerra – nomeadamente para o lançamento do projecto ARPA em 1958 pelo presidente americano Eisenhower com vista a desenvolver uma rede “distribuída” que evitasse a vulnerabilidade do convencional sistema centralizado de comunicações a um ataque russo (os quais, recorde-se, tinham acabado de lançar o satélite sputnik em 1957). [...]Nos anos 90s, a ideia de Ciberespaço ficou perfeitamente sedimentada [...] Uma análise da transição urbano-arquitectónica para a nova condição tecno-cultural, expressa nos fenómenos das Cidades digitais e 'hybrid archietctures' motorizada pelas TIC e biotecnologias, foi por nós abordada no contexto de livros anteriores. Na sequência de vectores embrionados nestes, fomo-nos concentrando em imaginar como será a performance deste novo meta-espaço – constituído pelo físico e digital. Uma das hipóteses que gostaríamos de avançar e debater é constituir-se/conceber-se como um único sistema oscilante entre físico-telemático, incluindo-nos em permanente imanência, e em que a Arquitectura aparece conceptualizada como complexidade sistémica e sob o foco das ciências da emergência.
Esse entendimento-debate pode usufruir de toda uma narrativa composta por interessantes fragmentos de encontros e cruzamentos criativos entre Arte e Ciência. Existe toda uma história composta por produções como as exemplificadas vindas de cientistas (como o referido dispositivo cibernético 'Colloquium of mobiles' de Gordon Pask ou a exploração robótica de Edward Ihnatowicz) ou vindas de artistas (como os impulsos a Arte interactiva e a ampliação da consciência por Roy Ascott), que constituíram experiências pioneiras no domínio de uma Arte tecno-criativamente interactiva. A apropriação de tecnologia e pensamentos vindas do mundo científico no domínio da Arte, parecem frequentemente ter visado perseguir uma condição de interactividade criativa – à semelhança do prometido-ambicionado por múltiplas modalidades que privilegiaram a mobilidade, participação e efemeridade (como por exemplo a performance, o happening ou as instalações das décadas após a guerra).
Para além disto, casos como os descritos, pela sua escala ou natureza, oferecem-se como bases interessantes para pensar, por exemplo, a Arquitectura. Em muitos aspectos, anunciavam aplicações possíveis que as áreas da cibernética, robótica e ciências computacionais poderiam ter, por exemplo, ao nível da Arquitectura.
Privilegiavam entendimentos conceptuais em que qualquer identidade (por exemplo um ambiente lumínico-sonoro, o comportamento de um robot, uma obra de arte ou instituição) vinha entendido como algo criativamente dinâmico, e aberto à transformação-evolução.Note-se que o potencial presente em noções de uma 'first order cybernetics' - com sistema e retroalimentação, foi ainda ampliado pelo desenvolvimento das múltiplas ciências-teorias da complexidade, (que vão do caos, as catástrofes, etc.); e em particular pelos aportes de uma 'Second order cybernetycs' em prole da inclusão do observador no sistema (dos 'Observing Systems' de Von Foerster à 'Teoria da Conversação' de Gordon Pask)
Quase parece que essas experiências anteviam o potencial de um ambiente futuro, que, para lá de mera responsividade mecanicista, estivesse dotado de capacidade de se envolver criativamente com o habitante e dinamicamente evoluir.
De facto, se constatamos que se o paradigma Digital permaneceu corrente ate aos 90s; vem requerendo-se hoje um esforço para desenvolver discursos que o enriqueçam operativamente. [...] As últimas décadas têm registado interessantes cruzamentos entre os domínios da Arte e Ciência reconhecendo a existência de uma dinâmica criativa em ambas.Nesse espaço de encontro, onde a Arquitectura sempre se encontrou, ocorrem feed-backs que podem dinâmicamente apoiar o nosso próprio debate Arquitectónico. Reconheceremos nesse debate, entre outras, a hipótese de uma reconfiguração do próprio conceito de Arquitectura?"
See: Gonçalo Furtado, "Algumas notas sobre uma 'segunda ordem' de relacionamento entre arte e tecnologia e seu reflexo na Arquitectura", in: AR-Cadernos da Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, N.6, Julho 2006, pp.50-57.

Cybernetics and design, 27-11-2007

I want to sleep.

After another lecture on Cybernetics and Architecture.
ESD-Barcelona-November 2007

* WWII and postwar / Systems research etc
** Cedric Price's F.P., Generator, O.C.H., J.N. etc
*** Posmodernism and contemporary trends