Tag Archives: Concepts

An Ethics of Complexity for Architecture

How does one make decisions and judgments within the practice of architecture?  There are no answers to this question, only problems.  How one formulates the problem, that is constructs the problem of architecture, effects the nature of the possible solutions, the performance of the designed and constructed buildings.  Problems are as much a construction of architectural practice as the actual built building is.  As Kojin Karatani describes in his book Architecture as Metaphor, there is a tendency in western philosophy to architecturalize itself.  He goes on to say that this “will to architecture” is not limited to philosophy but is latent in much of western thought, from science to the humanities.1 The will to architecture is the act of to constructing thought.  It is an act of making.  For any conception of architecture must include an idea of making or construction. Continue reading An Ethics of Complexity for Architecture

Fields and Intensities

System fields, intense fields and virtual fields are three interlocked concepts of the field. In his essay From Object to Field, Stan Allen primarily discusses the concept of a system field. I am using this term to describe a large group of objects that relate to each other in a systematic way and might produce emergent behaviors. An example of such a field is an ant colony as discussed by Steven Johnson in his book Emergence. In fact, a field is really just a set of relationships between objects. It can be hierarchal, unlike what Steve Allen implies, but does tend to be more of an intertwined mesh of objects, homogeneous or heterogeneous. Still a set of relationships between objects is hardly a clear way to describe a field. To be a field those relationships must be specified in a more exact manner. In fact, those relationships can not be a static “pattern” but are behavioral. The key to understanding a field is that each object inputs its behaviors, or its capacities and potentials to affect and be affected, into relation with other capacities and potentials. In a systems field the capacities are extensive properties of the objects. Examples of extensive properties are length, mass and energy. Continue reading Fields and Intensities