Parametric architecture and informational design. Beyond mere formalism | Miguel Villegas

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Paramesa. Prototipo de mesa personalizable para producción mediante plegado de una única chapa cortada con CNC. CC-by-nc-sa villegasbueno arquitectura
Paramesa. Customizable table prototype for production by folding a single sheet cut with CNC. CC-by-nc-sa villegasbueno arquitectura

The parametricism, or rather, the guru of parametricism, with its ill-fated manifesto has done a lot of damage to those who, like us, work with digital tools trying to stay on this side of formal banality.

Parametricism may be a style. The parametric architecture does not.

How to explain the differences? Well I do not know very well. Perhaps simply trying to show the potential of parametric design, or informational design as we prefer to call it, precisely to distance ourselves from parametricism.

Recovering the talk we gave at SmartLab Granada last year, in which in a mere twenty minutes we synthesized enough of its implications, we will try to expose the logical and argumental bases of what informational design is for us, and we are going to do it for opposition to non-informational processes.

With conventional design methods (all those that are not informational):

· The design process is usually implicit.

· All design process involves a series of decision making.

· Decisions are made, many times, unconsciously.

· In conventional design processes, these decisions are generally linked sequentially and linearly.

· Each decision making involves the choice of one of the possibilities and the abandonment of another/s.

· When the decision making is unconscious, you do not get to perceive all the possibilities that remain in the way.

· A change in a decision involves going back in the line of decisions and retesting all other decisions that follow.

· The result of the whole process is a single object.

With the informational dynamics (eye that the digital tools are totally contingent):

· The design process should be the most explicit.

· Decisions do not have to appear in series. The explicitness of the process allows decisions that appear in late stages to be placed in the initial part of the sequence.

· When having to convert them into information, all decisions are made consciously.

· The chain of decisions is in Network. They become interdependent, like an indeterminate system of equations.

· There is no choice or abandonment, but a determination of the system variables that produce a specific state of it.

· The perception of the system is complete and constant.

· A change in the system does not necessarily mean having to rethink all the decisions of the system.

· The result of the whole process is a design space (according to mathematical definition of space) in which all the possible design solutions would be contained, capable of fulfilling the conditions determined for the system.

· El resultado de todo el proceso es un espacio de diseño (seg. definición matemática de espacio) en el que estarían contenidas todas las soluciones de diseño posibles, susceptibles de cumplir las condiciones determinadas para el sistema.

Miguel Villegas, architect
Editor in arquitextónica
Sevilla, april 2014

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