Hyperphysical, Tectonics and Engineering

36 – “Rappel a L’ordre, the Case for the Tectonic” – Kenneth Frampton

In this article, Kenneth Frampton discusses the significance of tectonics within architecture. He indicates the importance of tectonics as he mentions that “architecture must of necessity be embodied in structural and constructional form” (Pg. 519). We can find a lot of building that project a formal appearance beyond constructional form or function form. It disjoints from the reality. Frampton argue that “building is ontological rather representational in character and that built form is a presence rather than something standing for an absence” (Pg. 520). The construction of a building should be considered its materiality.

“Tectonic” as term cannot be divided from the technological and is to identified three distinct conditions: “1) the technological object that arise directly out of meeting an instrumental need, 2) the scenographic object that may be used equally to allude to an absent or hidden element, and 3) the tectonic object that appears in two modes – ontological and representational tectonic” (Pg. 521). The ontological tectonic is shaped by its static role and cultural status, for example, the Doric column. The representational tectonic is present but hidden. 

The role of tectonics present as a bridge that connects the concept idea and the materiality together to approach the intent of design.

1. How did the culture of the heavy-stereotomics and the culture of the light-tectonics affect the architectural history?”
2. How does the digital architecture affect the tectonic?


35 – “The Structure of Vagueness” – Lars Spuybroek

Lars Spuybroek explores the materiality of a special architectural technology from Faeri Otto. This material is lightweight structures called “optimized path systems” that is very complex, but intelligent. Material systems can be used to calculate form, for example, the shape of two-dimensional city patters and Three-dimensional cancellous bone structure and branching column system can be calculated and simulated by this system. This technology is based on information and movement. The movement is like a process as information but is not equal to information. This material has certain flexibility and is mixtures of liquids and solids. This characteristic of vagueness in this material can be reflected in architecture. “In architecture flexibility is usually associated with the engagement of the building with events that are unforeseen with an unpredictable or variable use of space” (Pg. 356). However, there is a fundamental question – what is the relationship between flexibility and movement? How does the body’s flexibility related to architectural flexibility? Spuybroek believed “a direct relationship between the system of motion and the internal mapping of movement in the body” (Pg. 357). The flexibility new structure is non-linear and non-Cartesian. Spuybroek uses the term ‘vagueness’ to describe it. The flexibility of structure is vagueness and is also non-standard for architecture.

1. How does the intelligence material change the building, positive or negative?
2. What is the characteristic of space if the structure is vague?


34 – “New Structure and the Informal” – Cecil Balmond

The article expatiate the new structure’s features and the difference with the traditional one. The new structure is dynamic, integrative and informal structural system. It has jumped out of the Cartesian compulsion and extends the external boundary to a blurry range.

The new structure animates geometry – “It re-awakens an original inspiration of form, enquiring of space itself as to its nature and interpretation” (Pg.83). Traditional order has been broken and rebuilt. It is natural and positive and not as odd, freaky.

The informal relies on overlap to form a series of shifting certainties. The traditional structural elements have been changed from form to function. “A roof that turns to wall and floor, a floor that is skin, where boundary does not mean borders, is also part of it”(Pg.79). The informal is not random, has no distinct rules and fixed patterns. It is a non-linear method with logical paths. There are several distinct examples: library for the Jussieu University of Paris, the Kunsthal in Rotterdam and the Victoria & Albert Museum. All of those examples show algorithm governed and a symphonic geometry promote and proportion space.
The Informal has replaced the fixed rules for the new structure with new science that includes Economic, ecological, mathematical, biological and chemical knowledge. The order of architecture is a travelling transient.
1. Does the new structure imply the era of traditional system as Cartesian coordinate end?
2. Does the informal structure follow the natural form more than historical form?


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