Trans-form: The Problem with Architectural Form in Contemporary Culture

By Douglas Jackson.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper focuses on the problem of architectural form within contemporary digital age culture. Current efforts within the architectural discipline to relate to cultural changes initiated by digital technologies have focused largely on the potential afforded by such technologies to facilitate the generation and evaluation architectural form through multiple iterations. However, these new iterative design processes still result in the development of a singular, perfect formal embodiment that best satisfies the design criteria in question. Meanwhile, the relevance of such a singular formal embodiment is now being challenged by the cultural and technological changes that have resulted from the ascendance of the digital paradigm. Specifically, cultural interests have shifted away from the notion of a singular formal embodiment and toward the ability to reconstitute the same digitized information content into multiple different forms or embodiments. Such interests are widely demonstrated in the increased individual participation in the customization and creation of information content as well as environmental experience made possible by new technologies and social networks.

Consequently, this paper will examine the possibility for an alternative, trans-formable architecture that responds more directly to contemporary culture’s growing interests in formal multiplicity, customization, and individual authorship. It will illustrate this alternative approach to architectural form with a selection of work produced by the author.

Keywords: Architecture, Digital Architecture, Form, Contemporary Culture, Content Creation

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.133-144. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.000MB).

Douglas Jackson

Assistant Professor, Architecture Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, USA

Doug Jackson is an architect and an Assistant Professor of Architecture at California Polytechnic State University. His current academic and professional work focuses on the production and theorization of architecture that transforms through user-interaction. He previously served as a design principal along with Wes Jones in the award-winning and internationally-acclaimed office of Jones, Partners: Architecture (J,P:A), whose innovative work was widely exhibited and was featured in numerous national and international publications, including the monographs “Instrumental Form” and “El Segundo,” published by Princeton Architectural Press in 1998 and 2007 respectively. In addition, Doug has maintained an independent design practice whose work continues to be published and exhibited both nationally and internationally. He received his BArch from Virginia Tech (1993) and his MArch from Princeton University (2000).


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