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PRINT April 2004

ARCHITECTURE’S EXPANDED FIELD

Finding inspiration in jellyfish and geopolitics, architects today are working within radically new frames of reference.

ARCHITECTURE, AFTER SEVERAL DECADES of self-imposed autonomy, has recently entered a greatly expanded field. Against neorationalism, pure language theory, and postmodern citation fever, architecture—like sculpture some decades earlier—has found new formal and programmatic inspiration in a host of disciplines and technologies from landscape design to digital animation. Where former theorists attempted to identify single and essential bases for architecture, now multiplicity and plurality are celebrated, as flows, networks, and maps replace grids, structures, and history. Where arguments once raged between Corbusian and Palladian sources, now Henri Bergson and Gilles Deleuze are studied for their anticipation of nonformal processes. Blobs, swarms, crystals, and webs proliferate as paradigms of built form, while software has replaced traditional means of representation with dynamic effect.

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