We, architects, all know that our age is the age of information, or as I stated in various contexts the one of computation. Indeed, it is not only the information that took command but also computation, i.e. raw computational power and abstract mathematical models. Information and data are great, they even represent gold in the age of big data, but as for gold in history, they obviously hardly represent anything if not put in circulation and constantly transformed. They ask for analyses, for movement and travels; they ask for a “mechanization of abstraction”, i.e. for algorithmic, and they ask for materializations. In that context (information + algorithm) we will discuss the different kind of information we are dealing with in the discipline of architecture, as well as the various available or yet to invent techniques for translating this abstract information into sound material realities.
Philippe Morel is an architect and theorist, cofounder of EZCT Architecture & Design Research (2000) and more recently (2015) of the Large-scale 3D printing corporation XtreeE (where he served as founding CEO). He is currently an Associate Professor at the ENSA Paris-Malaquais where he leads the Digital Knowledge department (http://dk-digital-knowledge.com/ ; cofounded with Pr. Christian Girard), as well as the Head of the scientific and pedagogical committee of the Advanced Master in Computational Design and Making at the Ecole des Ponts ParisTech. He was in the past both an invited Research Cluster and MArch Diploma Unit Master at UCL Bartlett. Prior to the Bartlett he has taught at the Berlage Institute (Seminar and Studio) and at the AA (HTS Seminar and AADRL Studio). His long lasting interest in the elaboration of a Theory of Computational Architecture is well expressed by some of his first published essays (including The Integral Capitalism, 2000-2002; Research On the Biocapitalist Landscape, 2002; Notes on Algorithmic Design, 2003; Notes on Computational Architecture, 2004; A Few Precisions on Architecture and Mathematics, Mathematica Day, Henri Poincare Institute, Paris, January 2004; or Forms of Formal Languages: Introduction to Algorithmics and Bezier Geometry with Mathematica, 2005). Philippe Morel lectured in various places (including MIT Department of Architecture, A Few Remarks on Epistemology and Computational Architecture, Lecture, March 2006; Architectural Association, Information Takes Command, 2007; The Laws of Thought, 2008; Pangaea Proxima, 2008; or recently What is computationalism?, 2012). In February 2007, he curated the exhibition Architecture beyond Forms: The Computational Turn of Architecture at the Maison de l’architecture et de la ville PACA in Marseille. Explicitly departing from Eisenman’s dissertation The Formal Basis of Modern Architecture (1963) the exhibition addressed both historically and theoretically the linguistic and computational turns in architectural design. Philippe Morel book Empiricism & Objectivity: Architectural Investigations with Mathematica (2003-2004), subtitled A Coded Theory for Computational Architecture, exhibited at ScriptedByPurpose (Philadelphia, Sept. 2007), is to be considered the first architectural theory book entirely written in code. EZCT work, present in the FRAC Centre and Centre Pompidou permanent collections, as well as in private collections, has been presented recently in the exhibition Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital at the Museum of Arts and Design in NY.