Built. Land. Water. Air. Computer.

To begin, I will state an obvious fact: buildings are built out of matter. An assorted evolution of materialized construction can be traced from ready-made caves, to hides, to tampered and dried mud, to wooden segments and woven leaves, to striated marble and reinforced (whether gravel or petroleum by-products) concrete, to brick and mortar, to galvanized steel, to glass (window to curtain-wall). As such, forms are delegated by their material components whether of equal or odd measure, whether by hand or CNC mill.

Although both are undulating, ocean and land are dialectically and diametrically opposed. With oceans come tides; come massive and subtle circulations of water and drifts. Although the soil, magma, and mantle beneath us do not rest in a state of inertia, the analogy of water to earth is much less analogous than water to air. Here, within water and air, I see analogous movements in constant flux, in mobility, in force and in undulating formations and unfoldings. So, although I understand the concept and reality of land as an experience of movement, I prefer the predominant stability of its surface—I always get motion sickness at deep sea, in small boats.


(clouds: while visiting my grandmother in Illinois 2007)


Returning to material components, it is true, architecture is morphing due to the computerized potentialities of space and form, although, technology has yet to develop adequate materials for these endeavors. As new materials are developed, the integration of sustainable or “green” products must be emphasized in this process. The issue here is that contractors are the true developers of a scheme, not the architects. Architects design and conceptualize, however, unless they run a design-build firm, they rarely implement the final product and so we are at a veritable stasis in optimal and conscientious development of space. Maybe the meat house or plants grafted in a living structure will save our planet?



As a final thought, young architects are conceptually pushing the boundaries and concepts of form, function, mobility and complexity through new computer rendering technologies. One such movement is through “algorithmic processing” or scripting codes. To find out about a few architects employing such techniques please follow the following links:

Roland Snooks of Kokkugia

Ezio Blassetti

Dave Pigram of Supermanoeuvre




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