Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH


Väljaandmist toetab
Eesti Kultuurkapital


Beyond the comfort zone

Siim Tuksam


Among architects one often encounters the attitude that algorithmic architecture is a new phenomenon that professionals are forced to face. Furthermore, it is seen as a danger to the architectural profession and digital culture is seen as something that devalues the profession.

In the architectural education edition of MAJA, architect Jüri Soolep wrote: “The architect is turning into one of many consultants. For 30 years spatial planning has been gradually slipping into the hands of geographers, urban planners and landscape architects. The interior is taken over by interior architects, designers and fashion designers. The architect as the main author of the spatial solution is gradually dissolving.”[1] According to Soolep, in this context, architects should turn their attention to virtual realities as well. As one of the authors of “Interspace”[2], an interactive installation, bringing together the digital and physical public space, I do support such an approach. Architects must work with communal space in a new complicated context, inhabited by neoliberal individuals, both virtual and physical. Having extensively worked with this issue, the physical side of this super-networked continuum cannot be dismissed.

Identifying the symptoms

It is becoming increasingly evident that students of architecture are unable to relate to the traditional discourse. Their projects lack developed ideas and contemporary context. Many of this year’s master's graduates in Estonia have acquired perfect technical skills when it comes to drawing and producing visuals. Even the quality of the models is increasing, although the materials and forms are rather plane. So at first glance one could agree that those projects really are worth a Master’s degree in architecture. However, on closer inspection, their lack of knowledge of precedents and overall history of architecture becomes quite clear. There is certainly an enthusiasm for statistics, technical parameters, cost evaluations, development plans, polling interest groups, and yet the result of all of this is barely beyond a collection of diagrams, or in the worst case it completely contradicts the research. Twenty-five years ago architecture was taught through masterpieces. The works of Corbusier, Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Hoffman, Loos, Lutyens, Ledoux, Palladio, Bernini, Borromini and others were analysed for volume, mass, structure, fenestration, landscape, vertical circulation or facade. Then, for some reason, universities began teaching architecture through the analysis of data. [3]

Despite its benevolent, albeit probably misinformed, goal of trying to express the technological context of the 20th century, architecture has taken on a language that communicates through secondary components like paths, lifts, staircases, escalators, chimneys, ducts and garbage chutes. “Nothing could be further from the language of Classical architecture, where such features were invariably concealed behind the façade and where the main body of the building was free to express itself – a suppression of empirical fact that enabled architecture to

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