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architecture

This tag is associated with 51 posts

Encrypted city

Urban metaphors are powerful in the world of computing. The reverse is also true. Computing brings metaphors to bear on how we think of cities — as flows of data, networks, circuits, grids and an Internet of things, as if cities are made up of bits, memories (RAM), sensors, actuators, and with communication systems, inputs, … Continue reading

Postcard from Chernobyl

Chernobyl is a site of melancholy. It’s not just the grief, the loss, the cost and the risk of extinction. Chernobyl and Pripyat’s melancholy is inscribed in the landscape. Forest takes over the agricultural and industrial ground plane. Apartment blocks stood proud on this stratum of Soviet achievement. But the horizon breaks through, symbol of … Continue reading

“Deconstructing” the curriculum

Perhaps the term “deconstruction” is in for a comeback, as the US White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said, “That’s all going to be deconstructed and I think that that’s why this regulatory thing is so important.” (CNN). He was talking about cutting back on government regulation, though he misused the term “deconstruction.” Anti-Trump conservative US commentator Glenn … Continue reading

Network Nature

The blog medium invites disclosures about work in progress. So here’s the how the table of contents is shaping up for my new book: Coyne , Richard. Network Nature: Digital Technology and the Semiotics of Place. London: Bloomsbury.  The draft is due end of March, including 30 illustrations, and it is on track so far. Table of … Continue reading

Biocentrism

Nature, the organic and the biological exhibit growth, decay and disorder, or at least an order that is outside of human mastery. Technology equates to function, control, precision, efficiency and factory production. It’s easy to place modernity at odds with nature, and on the side of technology. But as any student of architecture knows, there was a … Continue reading

The biolingual architect

I retain fond memories of Biology 101 — a lab-based undergraduate science elective in which we lab-coat rookies dissected Formaldehyde-soaked frogs and weighed the collective scalps of lamented snap-frozen drosophila. Not least, we learned the language of nature: zygotes and gametes, monocots and dicots, dominants and recessives, liverworts and mosses. But no bio-vocabularizing prepares you for the zoo of terms … Continue reading

Slime and goo

Nature and health are closely aligned, but not always positively in the case of buildings. Left unchecked, nature delivers invasive plant life with root systems that unseat brickwork, and break through water barriers. Fungus, mould, lichen and other spore-producing organisms (cryptogams) invade architectural cracks, pores and surfaces. Invasive nature invokes a kind of “disgust” according … Continue reading

Lifeless architecture

Architecture has more in common with geology than biology. At least this is one of the conclusions I take from a series of interesting articles from a special issue of Arq (Architecture Research Quarterly) on architecture and biotechnology. More accurately, it’s the skeletons, hardened excreta, dead tissue, and shells that provide the structural support for … Continue reading

What is nature for?

Nature means different things to different people. The meaning depends on the context of discussion and action. According to geographers Phil Macnaghten and John Urry in their book Contested Natures, nature has to be negotiated. So we are entitled to ask what nature is for — as a concept. I’ve identified at least two main discursive uses of the … Continue reading

What does architecture represent?

For the architectural semiotician, buildings and building elements operate as signs, pointing to something other than themselves. So for the semiotician one of the key roles of architecture is to represent. For the semiotically informed, the things of nature are amongst the targets of representation, evident in floral and foliated ornamentation, frescoes of nature scenes, shapes that resemble tree … Continue reading

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