Geographically and Critically Informed Architecture versus Kaleidoscopic Parametricism

By Andrzej Piotrowski.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 4, 2014 $US5.00

Designers of territorial projects or urban interventions have been inspired by new geographical research, especially by the possibility of mapping and critically engaging with the most fluid aspects of postmodern reality. Yet other designers, especially those using parametric techniques, are primarily interested in aesthetic effects, dismissing the site-specific aspects of cultural, social, economic, or political issues. This paper argues that such a shift from critical to non-critical attitudes in architecture is motivated by a subconscious desire to provide mental comfort to people unsettled by the dynamically changing world. It claims that contemporary parametric forms, much like earlier kaleidoscopic compositions in Victorian England, substitute self-referential effects for an awareness of the actual complexity of the world in which we live. Thus it is necessary to distinguish between design practices that promote mental denial and those that critically inform conceptual processes.

Keywords: Architecture, Urbanism, Geography, Parametric Design

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 4, Issue 2, June 2014, pp.39-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 4, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1004.941KB)).

Andrzej Piotrowski

Professor, School of Architecture, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Andrzej Piotrowski is a professor in the school of architecture at the University of Minnesota, USA. He was educated in Poland and practiced architecture in Poland and the United States. He teaches architectural design and theory of representation. His scholarship focuses on epistemology of design with emphasis on theoretical, historical, and educational aspects of representation in architecture. Piotrowski’s findings have been presented in many architectural and cross-disciplinary conferences as well published in various monographs and journals. He is the co-editor of The Discipline of Architecture and the author of Architecture of Thought.