THE COMPLEX GEOMETRY AT UNStudio: A CONVERSATION WITH BEN VAN BERKEL’S STUDIO
by Gonçalo Furtado e Diogo Aguiar(in: Arq.a, une 2009)
"[Gonçalo Furtado and Diogo Aguiar] - UN stands for United Networks. Your architecture, flowing through a multidisciplinary synergy, is characterized by the development of projects from organizational concepts (spatial diagrams) and also by systematised investigation of models, both suggesting a strong pragmatic posture. In addition, all this had happened in a system of collaborative work and in a three-dimensional modelling network, since the very beginning of the conception. Would you share with us what is behind your experimentation and how is that coupled with the organisation (spatial and hierarchic) within your office? We would also like you to comment on your strong interest on the CAD-CAM production technologies and more recently on the parametric design and how all this influences your creative process.
[Ben van Berkel] – We are always interested in collaborating with professionals from many different fields. This can range from fashion designers, to artists, to a brilliant engineer or an expert in management and marketing. But it’s true that this united network is inherently hierarchical, in the sense that it is related to processes of design and processes of collaborating and collecting information. For instance when you work with a parametric model there are many different parties involved who individually contribute and direct their particular knowledge and expertise to the design process. In order to make this process workable and efficient all this information needs to be filtered and indeed structured into a form of hierarchy. Through these processes we have also learnt that it is not only the DAD-CAM aspect or the programmatic aspect that creates this hierarchy, it is also models for design, or what we call ‘Design Models’. These models provide prototypical filters which edit the parametric information in order to channel it in a particular direction.
But as we have often said, the technique we work with is social before it becomes technological. We have always believed in technological collaborations where we not only provide each other with hard information, but where we also discuss the various elements of the design. This means that both the hard and the soft sides of the collaboration influence the creative process."