The architecture, the science and Charles Jencks | Miquel Lacasta Codorniu

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The architecture, the science and Charles Jencks

The paradigm of the complexity applied in the architecture and his expression in the conceptual binomial geometry and complexity arises during the decade of the 60, contrary to Charles Jencks’s position that places it at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the XXIst.

The tour of this binomial starts in a historical moment of big convulsions of the authors’ hand that lucidly understand the changed step with which from this moment the company is going to evolve and to develop a practical work, but especially theoretically, that restores a new way of thinking and constructing the architecture.

Jencks nevertheless rests fundamentally to support his ideas in the sciences of the complexity and the traditionally mimetic character with the nature that the architecture has developed and that now is of application to the set of theories limited to this name. Undoubtedly the success of certain architectures that take given some concepts of the sciences of the complexity is well-known. Also there is well-known the paper of the software and the socialization of the computer of tablecloth for the acceleration of certain ideas and concepts related to the sciences of the complexity and applied to the projects of architecture from the decade of the 90 up to today.

All this does not determine the fact that really the idea of complexity and his geometric crystallization is a way of thinking own of the 60s and not of the decade of the 90. In any case the irruption of the sciences of the complexity might balance the scale in favour of Jencks and in opposition to the position that defends itself here.

But what sound the sciences of the complexity, but a set of interdependent disclosed theories, formulated and applied by different scientists in the different years?

Certainly the sciences of the complexity treat in any case of the interactions between diverse scientific theories that the mathematics come from the fruitful union of the physics, the chemistry, the sociology, etc., but the relevant information is that these theories curiously were formulated in the decade of the 60 and part of the decade of the 70.

These theories arise in parallel to the facts happened in this epoch, where the logic of the simplicity stopped being functional and required tools that they should allow to think in a not linear way and realize of the paradoxes in the way of experiencing the reality which the company was facing in the convulsed years 60.

Both in the architecture and in the science, these years supposed not only one I restate general of many operative beginning, but a nourishing substratum for the creative thought of the first order. It is not necessary to say that also in the art, in the thought and in some other disciplines, they were years of authentic effervescence that they ended up by provoking a climate of constant excitation neuronal.

It is not of surprising therefore, that the reformulation of the theory of the chaos was promising to be in 1963, that the theory of the self-organization and the cybernetics in 1961, which the thermodynamic one of the non-balance should formulate in 1965, which the hypothesis Gaia it was doing in 1972, that the theory of the catalytic hypercycles was in 1967 and later in 1979, that the theory of the autopoiesis out in 1973, which the theory of the fractales and the autosimilarity was re-formulating in 1977, which the theory of the catastrophes it was doing in 1967 and the blurry logic was formulated in 1965. A temporary package of little more than one decade that exemplifies a certification evolution in the science in a few years.

It is undoubted that the socialization of the computer of tablecloth and the advances in software CAD it allowed at the end of the 80 and beginning of the 90 to crystallize in concrete buildings the whole series of complex solutions in architecture, but it is equally undoubted that the construction of the paradigm of the complexity crystallized very much before that what Jencks us wants to make believe1 and that the contemporary architecture and the most advanced current investigations drink directly from the alternative sources of this prodigious decade where to the world the return was given to him as to a sock.

I would like to tint because of it, that geometry and complexity or complex geometries or any other form of the language that on this idea appears in this blog, has undoubtedly the frame of reference of the contemporaneousness. The ideas that are arising here, place in the architecture from the today, or what might be called practices projectuals contemporary, and it is from the today that the origin of the conception tries to look for geometry and complexity as everything in one, as Siamese undissociable brothers, and not as the architecture called parametric, so in vogue even it does little, that at best has done a use, and actually an abuse, of pseudonaturalistic beginning to justify certain formal inconstancies. I refer concretely to clarify positions, which the exuberance of certain architectures still today in practice, they answer more to a fascination for the tool, and also it is necessary to say it, to a mode, that to a deep reflection of the fundamental link that has the architecture with the behavior of the nature.

The field of the reflections outlined here, it is undoubtedly the architecture related to the science, more specifically than Felix Guattari one recounts for hard sciences in a titled article The three ecologías: the thermodynamic one, the topología, the theory of the information, the theory of the systems, the linguistics, etc.2

Also, certain ideas and concepts that are parading hereabouts, have a point of anchorage in what Charles Jencks calls in his texts as the sciences of the complexity in The new paradigm in Architecture. The Language of Post-Modernism3 and in the text, The Architecture of the Jumping Universe: A Polemic: How Complexity Science is Changing Architecture and Culture.4

In fact both Jencks’s texts delimit only a part of the field of this blog. Some of the texts published here relate architecture and sciences of the complexity ruling a temporary reference that is demonstrated like vague in Jencks, and therefore they induce to a new temporary frame of reference. In other words, the relation between architecture and sciences of the complexity does not arise as reflection I am late-postmodernism, but it dawns as an effervescent amalgam in the 60s and entered the 70 of last century.

Undoubtedly Charles Jencks has been one of the most influential critics of the second half of the 20th century in architecture, specially from beginning of the 70 up to entered well the 90, but here his texts work as a species of inverse script, that is to say, his writings I use them to retrace on his steps and to re-place in the time some ideas that they try to demonstrate that the new paradigm in architecture based on the development of complex geometries arises as body of knowledge in the decade of the 60, concretely between 1960 and 1973.

It is more, the idea complex geometry is only the door access to an idea of major area. Actually the authentic overlap between complexity and geometry is the verification of the evidence of which any architecture and for extension any city has still much that to learn of the models of behavior of the natural world.

I believe firmly that it is in essence urban ecology and that this it is the way at that the ideas and the concepts were aiming born in the 60s and that we should follow investigating today.

Miquel Lacasta Codorniu. Doctor architect

Barcelona, abril 2013


1 Es interesante el apartado en el que Grillo crítica la postura oportunista de Jencks en la tesis doctoral GRILLO, Carlos D., La Arquitectura y la Naturaleza Compleja: Arquitectura, Ciencia y Mimesis a finales del Siglo XX, UPC Departament de Composició Arquitectònica, tesis doctoral dirigida por Dra. Marta Llorente, Barcelona 2005

2 Guattari, Felix, The Three Ecologies, Revista New Formations, núm 8, Verano, 1989, Londres, p. 131 (originalmente Les Tríos Écologies editado en francés por Gelilée 1989).

3 Jencks, Charles, The new paradigm in Architecture. The Language of Post-Modernism, Yale University Press, New Haven y Londres, 2002.

4 Jencks, Charles, The Architecture of the Jumping Universe: A Polemic: How Complexity Science is Changing Architecture and Culture, John Wiley and Sons, West Sussex, 1995.

Es cofundador en ARCHIKUBIK y también en @kubik – espacio multidisciplinario. Obtuvo un Ph.D. con honores (cum laude) en ESARQ Universitat Internacional de Catalunya UIC y también fue galardonado con el premio especial Ph.D (UIC 2012), M.arch en ESARQ Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, y se graduó como arquitecto en ETSAB Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya . Miquel es profesor asociado en ESARQ desde 1996. Anteriormente, fue profesor en Elisava y Escola LAI, y también en programas de postgrado en ETSAB y La Salle. Fue arquitecto en la oficina de Manuel Brullet desde 1989 desde 1995.


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