The New Real City


Google is already such a wonderful companion to The City. We are now able to amble about town unprepared and google stuff on our mobile devices whenever we need to know something about where we'd like to go. In this sense, the best place to have access to the net is in The City: the density of information makes available the density of people. And back again. The drawing program Sketchup has added another layer to this density: the Google Earth plug-in, enabling designers the option of exporting their model into Google Earth, so they can view their project in context. As Information Lab mentions, the possibilities extend far beyond Arch Design 200 studios putting their models into site context for the first time: more immediate inhabitations of the real/information City, like locative gaming, will be affected.

This kind of thing is what excites us about technology, and its affect on architectural practice, because the realm of architectural experience is opened up to other fields. Gaming as a way to experience architecture, for instance. It makes studio professors like Evan Douglas, who was at Columbia U when I was (and who I like), pursuing pure computer-only forms, seem really backwards and flat in its future-sounding rhetoric:

"As we enter through this new phase of morphogenetic and technological expansion we unleash a range of material and programmatic opportunity capable of altering the very destiny of architecture."

How did he come to this conclusion? What facts support this claim? What, exactly, is the programmatic and material opportunity? It just looks like wavy walls and floors to me (check out the's just a wall-hung artwork there). It is very apparent to me how the SketchUp Google Earth Plugin can possibly affect our practice, and how we use and experience the resulting architecture. The morphogenic stuff, not so much (the images are beyond cool, however). But we're open to it: Tropolism means we are ready to be convinced!


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