Patrik Schumacher: Parametric semiology (October 10, 2012)

Patrik Schumacher begins with a quick survey of some recently completed and upcoming projects by Zaha Hadid Architects, followed by a review of research into form-generation, materials and structure, much of it in collaboration with students. Schumacher shifts his discussion from projects to the ideas behind them. He argues that architecture is a system of communication, specifically engaged with framing communicative interaction. He describes organization as the most basic function of architecture. He considers the phenomenological aspect of architecture in terms of a user’s perceptual comprehension of a space, and frames the semiological aspect of architecture in terms of spaces that communicate to social actors. Schumacher concludes by arguing that advances in crowd and multi-agent modeling techniques provide designers with a powerful new tool for shaping how users interact with environments. During the question and answer session, Schumacher responds to audience members who dispute his integration of the phenomenological and the semiological, who argue that crowd modeling is still too crude to capture behavior, and object that the emphasis on system precludes growth.

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