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Topic for Debate
 
Architecture as an extension of machines
I am doing my thesis on "Architecture as an Extension of Machines". Vitruvius said, "architects should make machines before making buildings." Daniel Libeskind has made a machine "three lessons in architecture". Le corbusier said, "building as a machine". Palladio has said the same thing. Leonardo de Vinci has made a number of machines also my hypothesis is that machines (hand driven and hand made) have three qualities:
+ functional
+ experiential
+ they give the problem and the solution in front of your eye.

For me it is a good practice for architects to make machines for understanding systems. How parts form a system and how a system works to fullfill function. I am trying to incorporating these phenomenon in my architecture. The other aspect of my thesis is deconstruction. I am going to deconstruct the Cubism movement one of the most influential art movements (1907-1914) of the Twentieth century, Cubism was begun by Pablo Picasso ( and Georges Braque in 1907. They were greatly inspired by African sculpture, by painters Paul Cezanne and Georges Seurat, and by the Fauves. They believe in complete denial of classical conception of beauty. Proportions, organic integrity and continuity of life samples and material objects are abandoned.

The third aspect is history as the building type is a Museum of 1971 India-Pak War that resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.
Mansoor Ahmed
Responses
 
Architecture as an extension of machines
The slight problem is, of course, the fact that the job of an architect today is somewhat different than it was in the days of Vitruvius. It is quite clear from is ten books of architecture, that an architect in ancient Rome was also a military engineer, responsible for construction of various siege machines such as battle rams, siege towers, catapults, etc. This was also true in the days of Leonardo Da Vinci, who, although a genius of unparalled proprotions, did not leave much of architecture behind him. As late as 18th century, Balthasar Neuman, the most prominent European architect of time, was also a skilled military eingeneer who liked to experiment a lot a with various machines, weaponary and gadets in his young days. In the past, architects were expected to destroy buildings as much as to create them, so the knowledge how to make or invent various machines was a nessecary part of their craft.

Le Corbusier's statement that 'a house is a machine to live in' is very often misinterperted. What the great master of modernisam had in mind when saying that is that houses should be build with modern technology of the day, and that their design should be the result of scientific, rational and practical thinking, just as the machines are designed in industrial processes. It should also be noted that Corbusier was not in fact an architect by education, but a clockwork engineer, so this might be what lied behind his fascination with machines.

So, if we had this disscusion five hundred years ago or more, than I'd had to say that the study and invention of various machines is a nessecary part of the craf of an architect (or master builder). But today, machines are by far more complex, and the technology of building is imensly more diverse than it was in the past. IMHO it is always good for architects to be interested ad know about construction technologies, but there are qualified engineers (not architects!) these days whose job is to deal exactly with this issue. Architects, on the other hand, can have have fun exploring the vast options of building design, because the diversety of approach in style and design is greater (and often more confusing) than ever before. Also, it should be noted that people are not machnies. While parts of the clock, driven by mere mechanical forces, can fucntion quite well as parts of a well-designed system, people inside building (or, indeed, a city) are driven by a vast number of reasons, and are parts of far more subtle and complex system, which might not function very well even if superbly designed. Parallels betwen a complex living system and a simplified mechanical one are tricky and subtle, to say the least.

Finaly, since we no longer live in an age of machines and industry, but in an age of a cybernetics and informations, I think it is much more important for architects to study how computer programs and networks function, to learn how inteligent and complex systems of informations and thoughts work, interact and evolve, rather than how 'dumb' and 'simplified' mechanic systems function.

best regards,
Luka Trkanjec
Architecture as an extension of machines
thanx luka,
for ur response.
well i think what i was trying to say was misunderstood ...u gave an answer in ur response
"and that their design should be the result of scientific, rational and practical thinking, just as the machines are designed in industrial processes."
from making machine i clearly wrote that i just want to convey the three qualities of machine into my architecture.and again that my design solution should be the result of scientific, rational and practical thinking, just as the machines are designed in industrial processes.
i agree that machines are becoming very complicated nowadays ...and it is very important for an architect to study those complicated machine that is the need of the day
but what i am talking about is the process through which architecture is brought up
best regards
mansoor
Mansoor Ahmed
Architecture as an extension of machines
Dear Masnoor,

'Intuition works through sudden flashes' - Le Corbusier.

This, in my opinion, is perhaps the best descrpition of process through which architecture is brought up. I agree that scientific, rational and practical thinking is very important and will get you very far in the design process, but without a sudden insight here and there, one will find oneself runing around in circles all the time in the end.

best regards,
Luka Trkanjec
Architecture as an extension of machines
Dear Masnoor Ahmed,

A very interesting thought! But can we not see that as an on-going process of creative engagement. Architecture inspires and draws inspiration from various human activities and achievements in other fields. So machines can be seen as architecture too! Informatics and cybernetics as processes provide a new set of sources for inspiration, just as aesthetics and philosophy have been guiding evolution of architecture. The real problem is when architecture is forced to appear as a machine, that is a mechanical way of creating architecture rather than a creative way. We also have a similar danger lurking in front of us when in the name of informatics architectural image is deconstructed as assemblage of disparate parts for the sake of itself, rather than any deeper meaning or thought. I find this leads to creation of inhuman architecture which adversely affects human sensibility. It may also have negative impact on human mind and health. We need to evolve a deeper understanding of architecture. This quest is an on-going process, indeed!

with best wishes,
Akhtar Chauhan
Architecture as an extension of machines
thanks sir ,and thanx luka for ur responses,

i think there is a little bit confusion
i wrote that i want to convey three qualities of machine in my architecture that is they are
functional
+ experiential
+ they give the problem and the solution in front of your eye.
and when i transfer these qualities .there meaning of these words change architecturally to make architecture as a functional machine.
i.e. functional doesnot mean mechanical function.
experience is experience of architecture not machine
problem and solution ....will be solved in by building envelope but architecturally
as luka has said that is an on going process...so i think archiotecture is also an on going process.....with respect to experience...function it can never be completed
best regards
mansoor
Mansoor Ahmed
Architecture as an extension of machines
Dear Mansoor,

Sorry for mispelling your name. I just saw the spelling and repeated it mechanically. Although a thought did cross my mind as it should have been mansoor. But I played safe, mechanically! From your last mail, it is confirmed that there was a typing error! I am enjoying the debate!

with best wishes,
Akhtar Chauhan
Architecture as an extension of machines
vinces time evolved machines[applied knowledge to produce better and faster means equiped us with machine]industrial revolution brought a major change in perception of all manmade objects,architects and other expressionists were influenced by that concept in last century.now the architecture is getting influenced by information technology,buildings are shelters and shall be better if not treated like machines,as we need to anchore it to mother earth and dwevle in to it and as a group makes town or city and has to incorporate nature in it.so organic growth of nature has be involved in architecture instead of dieing machine.
Dushyant Nathwani
Architecture as an extension of machines
Hi Mansoor and everybody

May be the topic can be 'Accessing Architecture through machines'. Not diverging from main discussion, can elucidate it later.
I happened to see a program 'Engineering feats' in discovery channel. In that they had made a big sized model, which was given shocks similar to earthquake and proved to resist it. Similarly millennium tower planning stage in Tokyo was shown very simply through a small model. How wind will affect it and then variation of shapes to combat wind was done effectively via a working model which was like a machine in your terms.
As your first point it was 'functional', also somewhat experiential. They gave problem and solution in front of eyes. First the size was of cylinder than slowly the cone shape was solution for such a high-rise with good reasoning, conceivable by eyes. All calculations of final machine (real building) may be very complex and may also involve complex process but start is always simple ideas. And this simplicity is what should be FOURTH point. 'Flexibly' can be fifth point, due to which you know the reality of solutions instantly and can offer variations immediately.
All this points is well satisfied through a model. The basic advantage of your thesis is that, the machine can recruit support for ideas. Right.
We make final glamorous models for presentation. Right. But, more better is to assist your drawing with flexible experiential models in which all the five points fit. Even the 3d drawings are only eye pleasing. Tell me which representation can carry the architect's reasoning during the first conceptual moments? Prandhya Madam (Akhtar Sir's wife) used to teach us how to look at a model in first year. To see the model from eye level and you can 'experience' the whole model! But when the model is flexible you can remove certain parts, experiment and experience architecture right from concept level. Flexibly is the key. I saw from eye level, the model I made and showed to my family members and even they understood. So good that layman understands and you are accessing their viewpoints too! Also suppose you are planning a big project in actuality we view real building in parts. So flexibility and eye level combined gives better apprehension of model in parts.
CAUTION: Accessing or let's say extension of machine more akin concept to model (as process of design) is only one thing. But architecture is collaborative art. So technology, cad, computer drawings, client, everything in accoutrements of daily life, bits and pieces, all together forms architecture. So may be your thesis can be "Architecture as 'ONE' of the extension of machines." Sounds better. By this way we may get fresher, creative and innovative results. Isn't it?
Architecture thus demands both information and intuition (as Luka Trkanjec mentioned), both mind and heart, and also an ability to cross between right and left brains. Due to different perceptions involved, we face different dilemmas, views and this is challenging and so is teamwork needed. And this is more creative when informal than formal though final details may be formal. So your idea of machine with three points can be enhanced further by 6th point of 'informality'. That's what Trilochan sir, my thesis guide in our discussions demanded- informality as a way, not final models, but set of models, reports, your daily handbook etc.
So taking yet another clue from ur thesis on machines.. and from Sir, open environment is really a key for learning. I thus conjecture, by your topic you are trying an immaculate definition, which is never in case of architecture. It is extension of everything or like Akhtar Sir said architecture draws inspiration from various human activities etc. Like Prandhya Madam said of eye-level, I can tell that in actuality this is infact a 'humane' approach right from basics.
One more thing I feel strongly is that dear Mansoor, just focus on first aspect and may be leave aside 2nd and third aspects which you want to deal. Remember you are doing thesis not PhD. Do justice to what you are doing by staying focused. Simplicity is key. Don't entangle the rest two aspects.
So, key is simplicity, focused approach and get your basics right. O.k. a summary of 7 basic points, including your three points, which can pivot the process:
+ functional
+ experiential
+ they give the problem and the solution in front of your eye.
+ simplicity
+ flexibility
+ informality.
+ humane approach.

Best wishes and love,

Hey Mansoor may be Sir is right cos it's Mansoor in reality too and not Masnoor!
Hey one more thing, the sketch you made is pretty cool. Can you give me that friend?
Manish Desai
Architecture as an extension of machines
well .....i think i am at the right place....
thanks for ur response...manesh infact it gave me some new ideas...as well...
and thankss professor saab,and luka
well manesh i can send you the images if i can have ur e-mail or any other contact.i took it from some website i donnot have the addrress...but it is about "sinnese engineers"

well i think it is a never ending result if u keep on looking at the properties of machine i took the basic as told by leonardo.

yea we have to study the modern mechanism and machines but the new movements came with respect to old movements.the contemporary architecture of today is the result of the architecture of the caveman....yes we are living in the advance age ....but we cannot start our architecture from 3rd floor ....for understanding we have to look at the foundations...we should look at the positive things of our ancestor...and try to incorporate them in our THE ADVANCE ARCHITECTURE.

architecture as on of the extension of machines.....
let put is this way...
what is the main purpose of architecture?
it should function...it has to be something more then just functional machine but the basic purpose is it should function.
how u make it to function....
u have to make a system....for make it function...
how should i make a system...u will analyze a system.....and u will learn how to make a system....start from very basic system....move towards complexity..for understanding how a system works....if u start from complexity the result will be even more complex....architecture s a continuous process ...a machine is the best example of basic functional body....if it works it is a machine if it donnot wotk it is a piece of unused raw scrap....what makes it good machine the three qualities as i have mentioned
for me it really donnot bother from where architecture is coming from...for me architect should have the basic vision of how system works to solve complex problems in an architectural envelope....from where he learnt...that is one owns choice but the choice have to be right...but how can make right choice....u have to learn from history..the greatest of all the teachers....
the process in architecture is more important then the end product...if u are on right way u will reach on right destination.
as i wrote the second aspect is the "DECONSTRUCTION" once u had understand the basics of system.u can deconstruct them....because deconstruction has to be.. of something..u can feel presence if u know what is absent.
best regards
mansoor
(thanks professor saab for making me aware of the wrong spellings)
Mansoor Ahmed
Architecture as an extension of machines
i am not treating my architecture as machines.or they are not the machines...i am just picking the system for solving solution for my architecture
from machines and i hope when it is converted into architecturall text it will be no more a machine but solve the problem at the level of its users.
best regards
mansoor
Mansoor Ahmed
Architecture as an extension of machines
Dear Mansoor (am I spelling it right? Mansoor? I think it was written Masnoor earlier, so I'm not sure which one is correct now :-[ )

I do not know how much you are familiar with Corbusier's works or philosophies, but you and him seem to have more-less the same approach towards the architecture and desing problems. I'd suggest you read some of his books (or books about him), because I think Corbusier said more-less everything that needs to be said about the machine-architecture connection which you so well describe (it is also good to learn something of his mistakes, so one does not repeat them in future).

best regards,
Luka Trkanjec
Architecture as an extension of machines
Dear Mansoor
Some minor errors are happening somehow. I actually saw the sketch of Luka Trkanjec and mistakenly wrote to you.
Again error of your name was done by yourself and now my name is mistakenly written manesh by you.
I had read in a book, "Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language."
Anyways, my mail id is dreamermanish@hotmail.com, and if you want to share any images than send them only at manishriz@rediffmail.com and visionarymanish@yahoo.com.

Also it is right no matter from where you learn, but you have to take your responsibily and built basic functional architecture. But if you think how this space you are designing will be more akin to users, more sustainable and more humane than you are enhancing it for a much better cause. More life enhancing spaces is what all desire. Also, it's true to best learn from failures and as Luka said not why not learn from failures of others too. Rest of will may be discuss later.

regards
Manish Desai
Architecture as an extension of machines
Dear Prashant,

Since you already mention virtual architecture, I must addmit that it is something I look forward to. I do not think virtual architecture will turn out to be bad or inhuman, quite on contrary, I belive this is a 'brave new world' worth exploring; new rules, new prospects, new creations, unlike anything we've seen or even could have imagined before, one's creativity limited only by his own imagination. I do not think it will turn out anything like Orwell's or Matrix-based paranoid predictions of the future (unless we ourselves want that to happen, of course, and I cannot see why anyone would want that!). Virtual architecture will allow for creation of entire new worlds, not just buildings, but entire cyber-universes for people to dwell, act and explore. Of course, like in any architecture, there are bound to be good and bad projects, excelent design as well as disastrous ones. But we should not be affraid of something just because it is new and unknown to us. Our destiny is in our own hands, after all.

Besides, virtual architecture already exist in rather simple forms; qualified designers are already sought by computer gaming industries to design virtual spaces for computer games. Could be that pretty soon you'll have architects designing levels for Warcraft and Quake. Why not?

best regards,
Luka Trkanjec
Architecture as an extension of machines
well luka ...it is MANSOOR i wrote it wrong initially but i have corrected it ...
and sorry manish for spelling ur name wrong...
"Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language"
..well that is very much true
virtuall cyber architecture.....well i think we are going towards somewhere else.....
i read a lot about le-corbusier but i think i am not doing that...again "machine -architecture"is not the word for my architecture
well as at the steps of transforming the qualities of machine into architecture....keeping in view that the result would not be a mechanical inhumane architecture....i am thinking on devicing a process....so the perfect machine ...will become a perfect architecture(from perfect architecture i mean an architecture that is true t oall architecturall,and human values and that is not inhumane and mechanical archiecture)
prashant u wrote that..."the virtual might be a threat to our values, our set standards in all respects, and it will be the architects who will design it!" ....for me architects have a responsibility...and they will have to design keeping in view that they should be responsible for the thing they are producing...the feeling of that responsibility is enough for not producing architecture that is a threat to our values, our set standards in all respects....so i think we donnot have to fear for the future architecture as long as we are confident and realizing the responsibilty on our shoulders ....as an architect
prashant u then wrote
"but it doesnot ensure the aesthetics of realities of life where society and values constitute an integral part."
well out of three qualities i am deriving from machines is "the experience"so ur question(That it doesnot ensure the aesthetics of realities of life where society and values constitute an integral part) is one of the aspect of "THE ARCHITECTURALL EXPERIENCE OF THE BUILDING"
i agree with luka that virtual architecture will turn out to be bad or inhuman, quite on contrary...because for me this is ur own choice...that whether u detroy or not....but if u feel the responsibilty ...there u go...but that responsibilty has to be thought at every individuall level...and shold be proved at collective level.
manish i will send u some pics soon.msn messenger is a very good way to stay in contact.
best regards
mansoor
Mansoor Ahmed
Architecture as an extension of machines
To start a thesis initially at very primary level, I believe that you should not clobber too much around on discussions, but go on your INherenT instincts. Because OTHERWISE, we start holding too much on others views. just after being clear, discussion forum for thesis can be accessed. Morever initial queries can even be taken where we study with friends and professers because they know us better, and online we cannot discuss much freely in an instant fashion, and due to that time gap online, many doubts creep inside the mind and then it breaks the initial momentum and a fresher outlook too.
From start if we have our own instincts working in our act than we will feel "it's my thesis." You will owe it then, and be enthusistic.
Thanks for correcting name. one more thing regarding name, name always start with capital letter, Mansoor.
Ya, added you on msn online list..
Tell me what you feel on a question: how to be a better student?

regards

chal wud like to share a quote: "..You know children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers"..and sadly we too are no longer children.
Have you seen my childhood--Michael Jackson.

love,
Manish
Manish Desai
Architecture as an extension of machines
Dear friends,

The discussion is turning into a stimulating experience. We need to remember that machines are designed by human beings. Machines are results of creative and constructive activities; intelligent or not so intelligent and wise and not so wise thoughts and actions of humans. So there are good machines and not so good machines. But when we take machines as sources of inspiration and mechanical way as a process of shaping architecture, one needs to be critical and cautious.

It is true that we have successfully created a whole new world of virtual reality with world wide networks. Yet, there is a human thought behind this wonderful reality of virtual reality. That thought is of supreme value.

While we appreciate the wonderful possibilities of creative uses of virtual reality, one needs to reflect on the philosophical issues involved. It is tragic that we forget to think and reflect on the issues. We behave in a programmed manner in an increasing consumerist world where everything is reduced to a commodity in a world wide market.

As a result we have created a way of life which is unsustainable and has adversely affected the climate, environment and human habitations. Our well being and survival are threatened. But like frogs being heated up.. we are unaware of the consequences.

One may read the book " The Boiled Frog Syndrome: Your Health and the Built Environment" by Thomas Saunders for further references.

We need to question
the way we live in architecture,
the way we think architecture,
the way we build architecture,
and seek right answers to our questions.

with best wishes,
Akhtar Chauhan
Architecture as an extension of machines
great discussion ,in our times machines and robots can serve mankind ,real architecture is vibrating space for activity to go throgh by humans ,so better that space is machine friendly and able to allow organic growth of users,life is continious regeneration like we discard and regrow skin and all other body cells many times the same way architecture needs reaccomodating growth to mature ,machine lacks that as usually they serve one purpose and act . which i termed death or stagnant stage .well let us enjoy a skech from vinciies diary,regards.
Dushyant Nathwani
Architecture as an extension of machines
well thanks for ur responses,
well i think i have mentioned "hand made hand driven machines somewhere...

"mechanical architecture"..well as i already wrote that when i convert the three qualities i,e,
function
experience
visual experience of problem and solution

into arcitectural text the outcome will be very much architectural....
another quality that is good in machine is that they work on the principle that "how parts form to become system and how system work to fullfill function...."look at the mechanism of ur wrist watch how complicated they are but they work coz the system is well defined...no risk is taken at even the cost of smallest part.and how successfully every part is working at individuall level to fullfill the function.that is a mechanical thought.
but for a moment think about this architecturally ..u donnot feel being an architect ur duty is to make ur architecture functioning(accorrding to the need of its user)for fullfilling that purpose one have to develop a system ....where no risk is been taken at the cost of smaller members...
functional in terms of machine is differrent
functional in terms of architecture is differrent
for me the vision of architect is beyond the scope of sort of project he is doing...whether he design a building or a machine.
the important thing is that he should have a vision of "how parts form to make system and how system work to fullfill function"...i.e indeed should be the quality in architect....if he have got this basic quality ...he can understand all that phenomenon...he can design anything ....from a machine to airports.
best regards
mansoor
Mansoor Ahmed
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