Ever since I read Steven Johnson’s book Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software, I’ve always watched for patterns in the world. Because even in our villages, Johnson explains, patterns naturally emerge.
There is a modern movement in architecture and design that is using computer-based algorithms to stimulate patterns.
Known as Parametric or Associative Design, the technique permits the architect or designer to constantly rework his or her idea for a new building or development.
Parametric design generates a certain geometry from a family of parameters that automate the redesign of an object or a group of objects. The technique emphasizes fluidity in form instead of a static state.
With parametric design, a unit of houses or apartment buildings can be manipulated according to the algorithms set at the outset of the design. The units can be resized to accommodate different family structures with all the public spaces remaining equal in size for each person living there.
While it makes use of computers and programming, parametric design is an incredibly naturalistic process. In fact, it removes the over-analytical human being from the design process and reflects the basic architecture of natural patterns.
The Dutch designer Robert van Embricqs, who uses parametric and associative design techniques, even stated that architecture can be created based on loose dream experiences. His hope is that parametric techniques will return architecture from the “frontier of monetary profit to the sanctuary of libidinal energy.”
Through computer-aided parametric design, there is opportunity to naturalize architecture.
Parametric design seems to be some kind of ancient and brand new technique. While modern technology is used in the design process, there is something very primordial about it, as if the things parametric design arranged were already there or waiting to grow.
Serious Wonder Editorial Director Gray Scott has created an album of parametric design examples. Have a look, and watch the video below to see how parametric design constantly reshapes a Chinese housing unit.
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Photo Credit: Behance
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