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    "Anexact yet rigorous..."

    David Zeibin
    Jan 23, '05 2:05 PM EST

    Our studio work here has started off rather slow this term, mostly by the choice of the people in my studio group, despite the fact that it means we're probably digging our own graves...

    Anyhow: Past the introductory studio everyone takes in first-term, first-year, we now move on to what are called "vertcial studios." The term comes not from the verticality of built architecture, but describes the vertical integration of students from all different years/levels in one studio group. In other words, the studios are designed to let you learn from those who have come before.

    My studio this term is focused on the City of Richmond, which is geographically south of, and is essentially adjacent to, Vancouver. Recently, the Greater Vancouver Regional District approved plans to construct a rapid transit line connected downtown Vancouver to the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and to Richmond. The Richmond-Airport-Vancouver (RAV) line would cut the Richmond-Vancouver commute down from 1+ hours to a mere 28 minutes, likely activating and energizing the entire corridor between the two centres.

    In addition to (or perhaps as a reult of) this new connectivity, Richmond is expecting to see a 50% increase in both jobs and population. Currently, more people work in Richmond and on the Sea Island that grounds the airport than actually live there. And further, Richmond has just been awarded the 2010 Olympics speed-skating oval.

    The studio is then focused on uncertainties and possibilities in architectural design and is intended to encourage an "anexact yet rigorous" methodology. The phrase was originally meant to describe a new type of geometry invented by Edmund Husserl:

    "[Edmind] Husserl invented a new category of geometry that was neither inexact - nor unmeasurable and unrepeatable - nor exact - or reducible and repeatable - but was instead "anexact yet rigorous," meaning measurable yet irreducible and therefore unrepeatable. Vague types such as the round, dented, elongated, lens shaped, and umbilliform provided the measurable variations from which a reduction to invariant types could be performed." [From a Google-cahed article, half in Danish it appears]

    What this often amounts to is what's commonly termed as, well, blobitecture. But it's not quite that bad. The experimental/theoretical work of the "anexact yet rigorous" is often blobby, but the restraints of building code and practice often rein in their fantasies and make things that are smart – intelligent, if you will.

    I wish I knew a single place to direct you for more information on "design intelligence," but alas, I do not. Michael Speaks compiled a nice series in A+U 2003 (the introduction is in the December 2002 issue).

    And here's my prof's webpage. Click on the link to the old website, since the new one is complete yet...

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