This theoretical project explores computational design strategies. Here, architecture is imagined in a form more complex than can be readily understood from one vantage point, requiring an understanding of simultaneity in its experience and expression. The result is an inherently disorienting museum space and temporary lodging for scientists visiting CERN.
Simultaneity is a concept understood both in the science world and in the art world. Since the art definition is lifted from the science, it is important to begin with the theory of relativity. This theory is best explained by Einstein, who aptly understood that a form fixed in position is moving in time with respect to another reference frame. In the converse, events only occur simultaneously from one reference frame. Reference frames, time dilation, and the nature of relativity become apparent at the speeds observed at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (the physical reference point for these theories).
Thus, this architecture will focus on the nature of space as perceived by Einstein and epitomized through the following two statements (in Relativity):
- “Without compelling necessity, one ought not to ascribe reality to a thing like space, which is not capable of being ‘directly experience.’”
- “The concept of space as something existing objectively and independent of things belongs to pre-scientific thought, but not so the idea of the existence of an infinite number of spaces in motion relatively to each other.”
Analytical Cubism arose in nearly the same time and attempted to assign artistic form to the new way of thinking. Paintings as part of this movement deal with the representation of complex spatial conditions as planar elements, resulting in a 2.5 D understanding of the world.
Relationship to Architecture
For all of its complexity, mesh generation (in digital tools used for architecture) creates a system of quads and triangles that ultimately represent the world in the same 2.5 D format that was understood 100 years ago. The benefit of both of these theories is that they have the potential for a level of nihilism unrealistic of the nature of architecture. Through the generation of mesh in a computational environment, a perception of complexity in the midst of planar representation will result. Further, while a mesh-generating program cannot result in infinite architecture, the building can describe the existence of multiple computational organisms simultaneously in the same space, each fixed in time but with the implications of previous and future movement.
The building is generated in Processing using 200 particles arranged in a ring. The particles are given a variable velocity and assigned a trajectory based on attractors (rather than a direct line of motion, this system uses an angular tolerance of trajectories and enforces that tolerance based on a probability factor). The system explores notions of collision detection and bifurcation/topology change. A complex folding behavior is generated through interactions between multiple attractors.
The building itself has an entry through one of the final tendrils, a public museum in the main space with the back-of-house spaces at the start of the mesh-generation algorithm. All private spaces for administration and visiting scientists are found in the tendrils of the building and feature views of Lake Geneva.