Related
Announcement
April 30, 2013

Archaeology of the Digital

Canadian Centre for Architecture

Left to right: Frank O. Gehry, Lewis Residence, Lyndhurst, Ohio: Study model of the entry hall (detail). Peter Eisenman, Biozentrum, Biology Center for the J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Schematic representation of a DNA sequence (detail). Chuck Hoberman, Expanding aluminum sphere, partially deployed (detail). Shoei Yoh, Galaxy Toyama, Gymnasium, Imizu, Toyama, Japan: Experiment of photoelasticity for the roof (detail).*

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) presents Archaelogy of the Digital, an exhibition that delves into the genesis and establishment of digital tools for design conceptualization, visualization and production at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. The first in a series of activities at the CCA concerned with the study, preservation, and presentation of the digital in architecture, the exhibition opens on 7 May and will be on view in the CCA’s main galleries until 13 October. An afternoon of discussion between the exhibition curator and the featured architects will follow on 8 May.

Curated by architect Greg Lynn, the exhibition along with the related publication are conceived as object-based investigations of four pivotal projects that established distinct directions in architecture’s use of digital tools: the Lewis Residence by Frank Gehry (1985–1995), Peter Eisenman‘s Frankfurt Biozentrum (1987), Shoei Yoh‘s roof structures for Odawara Gymnasium (1991) and Galaxy Toyama Gymnasium (1992), and Chuck Hoberman‘s Expanding Sphere (1992).

The Lewis Residence by Frank O. Gehry (1985–1995) was prescient in exploring the power of computer rationalization in describing and fabricating sculptural tectonic elements. On the other hand, Peter Eisenman’s Frankfurt Biozentrum (1987) tested the computer’s ability to generate its own formal language. A vanguard attempt to digitally script the design process, the Biozentrum’s geometries emerge from abstract representations of DNA structures, manipulated through processes intended to simulate genome replication. The scaffold-like lines of Shoei Yoh’s unbuilt Odawara Gymnasium (1991) wood truss ceiling and constructured Galaxy Toyama Hall (1992) were verified for integrity by computer analysis, using intensive coding and virtual testing to advance a language of minimalist structural expressionism. Chuck Hoberman’s Expanding Sphere (1992) is a finely tuned folding polyhedron that smoothly expands and contracts, opening the way to later explorations in responsive and adaptive architecture. Conceived as a precise and factual narration, Archaelogy of the Digital highlights the dialogue between computer sciences, architecture and engineering, which is at the core of these early experiments.

As CCA Director and Chief Cutrator Mirko Zardini commented, “Archaeology of the Digital also suggests a great sense of loss marked by the fact that most of the digital material produced for these projects is gone. The imminent danger of losing even more records compelled us to take a first step towards collecting, documenting, and making them accessible.” The project represents the first step in the CCA’s strategic objective of creating a collection of digital architecture.

About the curator
Greg Lynn is widely recognized as an innovator in redefining the medium of design with digital technology as well as pioneering the fabrication of complex functional and ergonomic forms using Computer Numerically Controlled machinery. He is Ordentlicher University Professor at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and a Studio Professor at UCLA’s school of Architecture and Urban Design, where he is currently spearheading the development of an experimental research robotics lab. Since the turn of the century he has been the Davenport Visiting Professor at Yale University.

Exhibition publication
Co-published by the CCA and Sternberg Press, a 400-page publication accompanying the exhibition is released in English and French editions. In addition to extensive documentation on the projects, the volume includes an introductory essay by Greg Lynn and eleven interviews with the featured architects, collaborators in their studios, and external consultants including aerospace engineers and software programmers. The publication appears both in print and as an e-book.

About the CCA
The CCA is an international research centre and museum founded on the conviction that architecture is a public concern. Based on its extensive Collection, exhibitions, programs, and research opportunities, the CCA is a leading voice in advancing knowledge, promoting public understanding, and widening thought and debate on architecture, its history, theory, practice, and role in society today.
*Images above: Left to right: Frank O. Gehry, Lewis Residence, Lyndhurst, Ohio: Study model of the entry hall (detail), 1989–1995. Image provided by Gehry Partners, LLP. Peter Eisenman, Eisenman/Robertson Architects, Biozentrum, Biology Center for the J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Schematic representation of a DNA sequence (detail), 1987. Peter Eisenman fonds, Canadian Centre for Architecture. Chuck Hoberman, Hoberman Associates, Expanding aluminum sphere, partially deployed (detail), 1991. © Walter Wick. Shoei Yoh, Shoei Yoh + Architects, Galaxy Toyama, Gymnasium, Imizu, Toyama, Japan: Experiment of photoelasticity for the roof (detail), 1990–1992. © Shoei Yoh + Architects.


 

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