Wednesday, May 18, 2011

AUDI Urban Future - New York Project 2011, MARC FORNES & THEVERYMANY™: 3D prints by Z Corporation

Today’s guest blog comes from Marc Fornes & THEVERYMANY™

“Beyond Likely” is a case study within Manhattan / NYC based on Jurgen Mayer’s Urban Future Award 2010 which was a vision of mobility as an augmented experience of motion resulting in an understanding of the city as constant flow of information. Flows that are physical such as pedestrian and cars or digital information as bits or pixels require as a premise a substrate based on continuity - from an infrastructure scale (network,...) down to every single bits of a habitation scale (surfaces,...)

Although they have the best intentions, visions or holistic understandings from a single architect have too often generated urban failures/drama when translated directly into urban planning or regulations, resulting in many new cities or projects that are witnesses of such holistic visions.

While on another hand we strongly believe in a certain form of organic growth, a more bottom up system where local decision making can hopefully shape a self balanced higher order and urban global coherency. Such processes are based on simulation and monitoring: test, trial, failures, evaluation, re-run... the basic principle of evolution. Yet such a principle needs time - a luxury that too often the design world can't afford.

Design implies the responsibility of a proposal. Therefore within such a short charrette “Beyond Likely” is a proposal for a taxonomy on the theme of continuity – an investigation of the Manhattan urban block and its morphology. These are not a catalogue of choices but a history / trail of a variation on a theme.

The study on the block morphology is investigated as a continuous hull – an empty shell (as opposed to a sum of 3D pixels) resulting from the development of custom computational protocols of precise indetermination: - precise because protocols are sets of geometrical build up, transformation, algorithmic relationships, all hierarchied - indetermination since - although it is the result of very deterministic steps - the entire routine must be run in order to be able to evaluate as inherent resonance (due to the high number of steps).

3D rapid prototyping models are extremely useful physical tests of any iteration – allowing the display of complex topological relationships beyond possible mental representation in potentially the blink of an eye and aid to push further the development of rules.

Central Park West came as a logical placement for such local morphological investigation as a long alignment of 49 city blocks at the limit of the park - some sort of long "lisiere" - an edge as the best spot to observe any microcosms, a linear fringe of singular possibilities.
  • Continuity as organic habitation units - smoothed surfaces at the difference of edges increase the perception of space
  • Continuity through density/cluster
  • Continuity of voids and outside space - public or private
  • Continuity through facade and roof becoming hard to differentiate which one is which
  • Continuity of flows through ramping threshold infrastructure (represented as pixilated lines)
  • Continuity through gradients of colors enabled by Z Corporation 3D printers.
Although the sequence has been created block by block there is a resultant continuity of mismatch. One section does not exactly match the next one yet they follow similar generative principles which results in the sum of local breakage and imperfection of the whole at local moments - rather than global failures – with surprises as urban quality...

Misfit as a new form of urban coherency? For sure a very different & colorful universe still to be developed…