Duel + Duet: Patrik Schumacher & Tom Wiscombe (April 13, 2016)

Patrik Schumacher discusses current developments of generative design, illustrating points with recent Zaha Hadid Architects projects including the Galaxy Soho in Beijing, the Central Bank of Iraq, and the Petroleum Studies and Research Center. He stresses how parametric design not only produces highly efficient buildings in terms of structure, materials and functionality, but also generates vital but coherent urban spaces. Tom Wiscombe argues, in contrast, that the task of architecture is to create something so alien that it cannot be consumed, illustrating his points with recent projects including the Guggenheim Helsinki, the Griffith Park House, Diamond City in Adelaide, the Kinmen Passenger Service Center, and the Main Museum of Los Angeles Art. He argues for a flat ontology, against hierarchical or sequential organization, and proposes deeper engagement with the architectural detail. In conversation, Schumacher challenges Wiscombe to defend his work as something more than personal creations, and Wiscombe challenges Schumacher’s promotion of a single formal vocabulary. The two speakers respond to audience comments regarding collage, deriving general rules from specific designs, expressing or not expressing structure, formalism and parametric engagement with the social.

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