On the formalization of architectural composition in Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Dezember 5, 2016

Abstract (t.b.c.!) for The Grammar of Things, 20th conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology, June 14-17, 2017, TU-Darmstadt, Germany
image: sia

image: sia

BIM is the attempt to unify the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings by way of an integrated digital BIM-model representing both formal and semantical properties of the building. One key idea in the implementation of this goal – of which today exist quite a few competing approaches – is the concept of transformational grammars. Under this concept, architecture is modeled as consisting of atomic elements or types which can be composed under explicit transformation rules either in a forward or backward chaining manner, i.e. either generatively or analytically. William J. Mitchell has modeled this approach in the 1990ies under the paradigm of Computer Aided Design (CAD) in the framework of first-order predicate logic (PL1) as the intersection of three domains: a “critical language” for value judgements over architecture, a “design world” for the formal description and modification of architectural designs, and a “construction world” within which architectural designs are being built.1

The idea of a grammar of architecture, in this setup, comes into play as a knowledge-based specification of the range of the PL1-based combinatorial possibilities that are inherent in the initial definitions of elements and transformation rules, both in terms of the design world and the critical language. Even though Mitchell’s work draws profoundly on linguistic concepts of grammar, the predominant aspect in his approach to design is the geometrical model, onto which semantic properties are mapped in a second step. With the development from CAD as a drawing tool towards BIM as a knowledge-based expert system for design, however, the other direction of mapping formal properties onto truth-functional semantics attracts more attention, as for example in the definition of the structure of the data exchange format Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), where geometric forms are mapped onto semantic structures. What this paper aims at is a review of the epistemological role of formal grammar in BIM based on the Mitchell’s computational model of design as the interplay between design world, critical language and construction world.

  1. See William Mitchell, The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition (Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press, 1990). []

Corporate urban furniture, space, and money

November 12, 2016

Artistic research for the project Hacking Urban Furniture at ZK/U, Berlin-Moabit
WALL advertising display on Straße des 17. Juni, Berlin, image: sia

WALL advertising display on Straße des 17. Juni, Berlin, image: sia

The basic idea is a Marx-inspired socio-economic analysis of spatial patterns of corporate urban furniture; albeit in a more empirico-practical or artistic research way. The idea is to try to break down the financial figures of corporate urban furniture to the single instances of the street furniture typology in Berlin. This could be pursued either through a systematic top-down theoretical approach or by something like a ‚financial biography‘ of single urban furniture pieces in a bottom-up fashion. The aim of the research is to think about a way – theoretically and artistically – to attach appropriate ‚price-tags‘ on the masses of corporate street furniture colonizing urban space. I’ll think along the lines of Keller Easterling’s Extrastatecraft1 approach: corporate street furniture as infrastructure in the sense of an agency involved in designing urban space. How does corporate street furniture program urban space, and who is programming?

The proposed method is to research and map the financial revenue of an urban furniture corporation onto their system of urban furniture in order to make visible their way of comodifying public urban space. The furniture is seen as a system of furniture-objects – as opposed to as a single object – in order to find a way to map their financial numbers in a differentiated manner: what are the elements and features of urban furniture systems that a corporation wants to put out in the city because they generate money, and what are the ones that it has to put out there as recompensation for the right to commodifiy parts of the public urban space? Or seen the other way around: How many dog stations do we get in exchange for giving a share of our attention to a mega advertising screen televising it’s message into public space, and do we want dog stations?

For this objective the project has two main tasks to address: (1) a plausible mapping of the corporation’s income and expenses onto their system of urban furniture, preferably type-wise and instance-wise. The main work here is the research into the buisness numbers and the price structure of ads placed via the corporation’s urban furniture system. Where hard numbers cannot be obtained, which is to be suspected given the secretive nature of buisness relations, the project can work with assumptions as it’s focus is on the system, not on the correctness of it’s quantitative evaluation. The second task is to (2) to come up with a model of the impact of urban furniture – seen still from the system’s perspective – on public space. The work here consists in building a metric to measure the spatial impact of ads vis-à-vis the additional functions they add to public space. The idea here is to employ a space syntax-inspired topological analysis of the distribution of the elements of the corporation’s urban furniture system within the city.

  1. Keller Easterling, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (London/New York: Verso, 2014). []

PRISM — Freiheit in der digitalen Gegenwart

August 15, 2014

NSA, US government; prism photograph: Adam Hart-Davis © 1998-04-08 - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/ Source & licence of underlying photograph: "FREE to download and use! (c) Adam Hart-Davis": http://gallery.hd.org/_c/natural-science/prism-and-refraction-of-light-into-rainbow-2-AJHD.jpg.html + http://gallery.hd.org/terms.html

NSA, US government; prism photograph: Adam Hart-Davis © 1998-04-08; licence of underlying photograph: „FREE to download and use! (c) Adam Hart-Davis“: http://gallery.hd.org/_c/natural-science/prism-and-refraction-of-light-into-rainbow-2-AJHD.jpg.html + http://gallery.hd.org/terms.html

Team: Jonas Marx und das Akademieteam Braunschweig I

Edward Snowden hat die Welt, in der wir leben, verändert. Durch seine Enthüllungen über die Aktivitäten der NSA und anderer Geheimdienste ist die grundlegendste Frage des Politischen zurück in das Zentrum der öffentlichen Debatten und Auseinandersetzungen gerückt: Wie wollen wir leben? Der Begriff, der dabei im Kurs im Zentrum steht, ist der Begriff der Freiheit. Wie ist es um die Freiheit bestellt in unserer Gegenwart, in der zunehmend alles (alle Kommunikation, aber auch alle Tätigkeiten insgesamt) digitalisiert und damit algorithmisch analysierbar wird? Kann man das Internet noch als utopischen Ort des freien Wissens und freier Kommunikation verstehen, wenn gleichzeitig durch diese Technik die totale Überwachung in einem Ausmaße Realität zu werden scheint, das sich noch nicht mal George Orwell in 1984 ausdenken konnte?

Für die Deutsche Schüler Akademie in Braunschweig habe ich zusammen mit Jonas Marx einen Kurs geleitet, in dem wir mit den Teilnehmern der Frage nachgegangen sind, wie eine Technologie wie das Internet Einfluss auf die Freiheit hat. Schließen sich Freiheit und Sicherheit im Internet aus – und tun sie das nur bei dieser Technik oder besteht dieser Konflikt bei jeder Technik? Aber auch umgekehrt lässt sich fragen: Ist Freiheit überhaupt beeinträchtigt, wenn der/die Einzelne subjektiv gar nicht bekommt, dass er/sie digital überwacht wird und sich ja sowieso nur ‚ganz normal’ verhält? Um diesen Fragen nachzugehen und sie zu vertiefen, wurden im Kurs zentrale philosophische Texte zum Freiheitsbegriff von Philosophen wie etwa von Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schiller, John S. Mill, Michel Foucault und Hannah Arendt lesen gelesen und gemeinsam die Hintergründe des Überwachungsskandals recherchiert. Die verschiedenen – teilweise konträren – Positionen der Autoren zum Begriff der Freiheit haben wir im Kurs herausgearbeitet und kritisch diskutiert. Auf der Grundlage der dabei gewonnen Erkenntnisse und Begrifflichkeiten wurde dann die aktuelle Geheimdienstaffäre unter ihren verschiedenen Gesichtspunkten näher betrachtet.

Die Teilnehmer des Kurses haben allein oder in Gruppen freie Essays erarbeitet, in denen sie die Behandlung eines aktuellen politischen Themas mit philosophischer Begriffsanalyse verbinden. Die Texte wurden kontinuierlich im Kursplenum diskutiert und gemeinsam entwickelt. Das Hauptanliegen des Kurses neben der inhaltlichen Auseinandersetzung mit dem Snowden-Skandal war die Stärkung einer zentrale Kompetenz der Geisteswissenschaften, nämlich Themen über die Grenzen von disziplinären Debatten hinweg zu setzen und zu etablieren. Die Teilnehmer haben in ihren Essays unterschiedliche Quellen und Material, z.B. soziologische Statistiken, persönliche Erfahrung mit facebook, Presse- und Feuilletonartikel mit philosophischen Argumenten und Reflexionen verbunden.

Der Link für die offizielle Dokumentation des Kurses wird nachgereicht!

Architecture in Peirce’s Continuum

September 5, 2013

Continuity is one of the central conceptions in Peirce’s philosophy, even though―or precisely because―of “all conceptions Continuity is by far the most difficult for Philosophy to handle“1, as he stated in 1898 in his 8th Cambridge Lecture entitled The Logic of Continuity. […]

  1. Peirce, Charles Sanders. Reasoning and the Logic of Things: The Cambridge Conferences Lectures of 1898. Herausgegeben von Kenneth Laine Ketner. Cambridge  Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992, 242 []

Architecture and the Invisible Hand

April 24, 2013

One of the main principles of capitalism (i.e. classical liberal economics) is to divide strictly between the production of goods and their consumption. After this principal dogma the ideal supply and demand situation of the free market can only be set up by clearing the relation between the consumer and the producer from all political, social, aesthetical, ethical etc. components. Only in a setting like this the invisible hand is capable of doing its job of distributing the wealth not only between singular, egoistic market participants, but also between common goods-oriented nations. […]

arch+ Out of Balance: GRID

April 24, 2013

GRID interface

GRID interface

Auch ich hab beim Wettbewerb von arch+ mitgemacht, zusammen mit Patrick und Jens von syntop. Gewonnen haben wir nicht^^, aber das soll mich nicht hindern, hier nochmal den Essay zu veröffentlichen, den wir für den Wettbewerb geschrieben haben.

Für unseren Beitrag haben wir versucht, die Rolle des Informationsdesign heute — im zweiten digitalen Zeitalter — zu bestimmen, also das, wonach der Wettbewerb fragt, theoretisch und historisch einzuordnen.

Der Essay ist hier in der arch+ veröffentlicht: http://www.archplus.net/home/archiv/artikel/46,4110,1,0.html […]

Architecture machinae

September 1, 2011

Essay on the ‚object‘ of architectural theory

The notion of ‘architecture machines’ has been around at least since the formation of the Architecture Machine Group [AMG] at the MIT. In the early days of digital design and fabrication, this group led by Nicholas Negroponte experimented with the construction of architecture machines as “all-purpose cybernetic design assistant[s]”[1. Mario Carpo, The Alphabet and the Algorithm, 1. Aufl., Writing Architecture (Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2011), 35.]. The sort of machines AMG had in mind were instruments to facilitate the design of architecture; in the course of development these machines were integrated also with the production of architecture by way of a digital chain. These design-production instruments are not what this essay sets out to address. It is not about machines used to produce architecture, but about the machines architecture itself consists of; it is not about technology but about society which relies on the cultivation of highly diverging machines.

[…]

Wrecking Pendulum: The Digital Habitat and Urban Editing as Emerging Practice

Juli 29, 2010

Installation for The Anxious Prop Case 2: Have Balls [Eccentric]

Different layers of Alexanderplatz, Berlin

The destruction and replacement logic of urban planning that is obvious at Alexanderplatz and elsewhere is not unusual in urban planning. It is the result of different and deeply entangled historical developments; very often these developments are approached via a criticism of capitalistic positivism which subordinates ever more aspects of life under economically quantifiable patterns.

[…]

Urban Props

Juli 29, 2010

First model for the wrecking pendulum, Kuc's and my contribution for The Anxious Prop Case 2: [Eccentric] Have Balls

First model for the wrecking pendulum, Kuc’s and my contribution for The Anxious Prop Case 2: [Eccentric] Have Balls

Urban props have the remarkable ability to simultaneously critique and destine the production of new urban design. They orient urban practice on all scales, from the smallest urban furniture to the over-regional master plan. They do so by being essentially open and indeterminate and, at the same time, providing a stable common framework. […]