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Welcome to Gnarly Architecture!

October 14, 2009

The Gnarly Architecture Blog, created by Brian Lockyear, MArch, PhD CS, is an exploration of the intersection between advanced computational science and architectural art.

We’ve all seen gnarly computation in art since the Mandelbrot Fractals in the 1970s.  Along with the rest of our world, computation has also had an enormous impact on architecture, primarily in drafting and rendered image making. Computer tools are changing the look of our built environment. Just as it is easiest to design with 30, 45, and 60 degree angles when drafting with a tee-square and triangles, more and more modern buildings look like Google SketchUp models, which they likely were.

Apr09-019For example, this recently completed Portland Modernist home designed by PATH Architecture is efficient, sustainable, and lovely inside and (arguably) out. Unfortunately it clashes in form and scale with the existing neighborhood, harming what would otherwise be an excellent home.

If we move beyond the SketchUp boxes, however, we can use computers to create new forms which are far beyond what is being done today. It may even be possible to use computers and computer-controlled fabrication techniques to regain some of the detail and art found in buildings of previous eras.

This blog explores the use of computation to grow and create architectural form and structure. My goal is to find the good in computed design and to see where it can take us, to explore how gnarly computation might generate a medieval Italian hill town…and to discover what a fractal building might look like.

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