Designing a building, without drawing it first

A new exhibit at the Yale School of Architecture features kissing robots, material from a music video, and other designs focused on the idea of a malleable blob.

“Intricacy,” the first exhibit at the School of Architecture for the 2003-2004 season, was curated by Greg Lynn, a pioneer in “paperless” architectural design and a visiting professor for the fall term. Rather than using a two-dimensional draft to create a three-dimensional computer model, Lynn begins with computer imaging and manipulates the image to get his desired design. The exhibit includes drawings, models, paintings and other works designed without the use of traditional paper drafting, relying solely on the use of computer imaging software.

“These works outline a compositional, organizational, visual and material sensibility that is facilitated by — but not simply reducible to — digital design, visualization and manufacturing tools,” Lynn said. “Intricacy aspires to disassociate a number of common formal and structural techniques from their traditional disciplinary contexts.”

“Intricacy” features work by more than a dozen world-renowned artists and architects and includes a robot from the 1999 Bjork music video “All is Full of Love.” Instead of more static traditional paper designs, digital designs focus on the idea of the malleable blob. This amorphous blob is then molded into the desired shape to create a virtual model.

“The installation of ‘Intricacy’ at the School of Architecture Gallery is fitting and timely. Curator Greg Lynn’s interdisciplinary spirit parallels the original program of our gallery space that was designed by Paul Rudolph to showcase both art and architecture,” said Dean Sakamoto, director of exhibitions for the School of Architecture. “While Lynn’s exhibition displays an array of formal and conceptual possibilities posed by digital design and fabrication technologies, the problem it addresses of creating and making things is timeless.”

Robert Stern ARC ’65, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, said the exhibit demonstrates an important co-mingling of the worlds of art and architecture.

“The exhibit reflects a very important new direction in art and architecture. It’s a coming together of the relationship and the interdependence between artists and architects,” Stern said. “The use of digital media is not for its own sake, but to create other media, mainly in three dimensions.”

In addition to holding the position of William B. and Charlotte Shepard Davenport Visiting Professor, Lynn is also University Professor at the Universitat fur Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, Austria. Recently, he was a member of United Architects, one of the groups selected to investigate design ideas for the World Trade Center site.

“Greg Lynn is a gifted teacher and architect,” said Stern. “He is one of the leading young architects using digital media.”

“Intricacy” was originally displayed at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania before coming to the School of Architecture. The exhibition will be on display through Nov. 7 in the gallery of the Art and Architecture Building.

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