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    Far From Equilibrium

    Nkiru Apr 3 '08 8

    So Sandford Kwinter, an associate professor at Rice, released his new book last night– Far From Equilibrium. Sanford spoke to us about the ideas behind the book. He said it contained the answer to a question he had always wished someone would ask him.

    (Someone) Sanford, what do you think has been the one defining concept of the 20th century?
    (Sanford) Chreods!

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    The explanation is complex and I’m still not quite sure I get it but Chreods are the ultimate determinants of form!(?) And the exploration of its science has been the single most significant influence over the field of architecture in the ‘post blob’ era.

    So basically, Sanford reckons that by looking at the work of early mathematical biologists and physicist like Conrad Waddington, D'Arcy Thompson and Rupert Sheldrake, whose work revolves around the concept of the chreod and the epigenetic landscape (waaaa?), you can trace the emergence of recent concepts in architecture and the proliferation of tools like algorithms, string theory, parametric design and scripting to generate form.
    So here is a recent studio project of mine and Viktor Ramos from Christopher Hight's studio. Yes, I also plead guilty.

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    • 8 Comments

    • Nam HendersonNam Henderson
      Apr 3, 08 10:43 pm

      Interesting.
      I like the forms generated for the last two land/water(s)capes.

      swisscardlite
      Apr 4, 08 2:24 am

      christopher hight was just here to give a lecture at our school and he showed us your project!

      TED
      Apr 4, 08 7:56 am

      the book is a bit dissappointing as it is a collection of past work only one or two new essays.

      Sir Arthur Braagadocio
      Apr 5, 08 1:16 pm

      chreods, i remember...

      not per--corell
      Apr 9, 08 7:09 am

      kwinter's writing pisses me off. with him around there is NO NEED for any satire of academic architectural writing.

      he is his own satire.

      except it's not funny.

      jbenjamin
      Apr 12, 08 4:14 pm

      Dr. Sanford Kwinter's lecture was actually an explicit assault on the failure of a post-90s generation of architects to embrace the scientific (heuristic) rigor that characterized the early work of their predecessors (Lynn, Roy, Umemoto, Reiser) all of whom pursued a critical re-evaluation of morphogenesis which, at its best, elevated architectural formalism to a type of ontological inquiry (the title of Kwinter's lecture being, "What is Life?"). So long as the current generation's response to Kwinter's provocation remains, "waaa?", the "profession" of architecture is doomed to remain exactly that: a vocational service subordinated to the socio-political economy that legitimates it and, in this, governed by the ever-superficial yet ever-hegemonic authority of The Fashionable. This suggests a new meaning for the above author's statement, "I also plead guilty."

      Sir Arthur Braagadocio
      Apr 12, 08 4:16 pm

      nice jbenjamin...i would like to know who the post-90's generation is though.

      not per--corell
      Apr 12, 08 6:16 pm

      good grief, benjamin. i don't see a failure to embrace scientific rigor as much as i see a willingness to call 'bullshit'.

      'a vocational service subordinated to the socio-political economy' is another way of saying that we're interested in making things that people are willing to pay to get made and which provide both a function and (hopefully) an intellectual connection.

      (disclaimer: i'm of the 90s generation. not post-90s.)

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