PRINT September 2012


Page from Nicolas Schöffer’s La Ville cybernétique, (Tchou, 1969). Design for Centre de Loisirs Sexuels (Center of Sexual Recreation).

A generation ago, it was “The Machine” that let architects down—tomorrow or the day after it will be “The Computer,” or Cybernetics or Topology.

—Reyner Banham, “Stocktaking 1960”

TODAY, ARCHITECTURE has apparently been revolutionized by the shift toward computation in every area of professional practice—from conception to fabrication—which has authorized structural systems previously only imagined, developed formal systems that abandon traditional geometry in favor of topology and its parametric generators, and enabled an unprecedented rigor and efficiency in the analysis of all aspects of global sustainability. In this changed world, the continued deployment of innovative technologies would seem to offer architecture’s best hope for addressing a host of increasingly urgent ecological problems, from global warming to out-of-control urban growth. But the uneven

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