Contemporary structural relations: Reinterpretation of tectonic theory in the digital age

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Arkkitehtuurin, maisema-arkkitehtuurin ja sisustusarkkitehtuurin maisteriohjelma
99 + 10
The broad application of computational design and fabrication since the 1990s digital trend in architecture results in distinctively digital expressions which have transcended the framework of classical tectonic theory represented by Kenneth Frampon. The thesis draws on the common themes mutually debated by Frampton’s classical tectonic and Reiser + Umemoto’s digital tectonic to identify shared essentialities which are persistently practiced from the pre-digital to the digital age as well as distinguishable divergences and possible causes through discussion of case studies and their respective theoretical influences. Starting from a concise overview of the evolution of tectonic syntax from the end of the eighteenth century to the digital age, the study qualitatively summarizes the tectonic expressions into three continuous phases, which demonstrates the expansive variety in relation to present-time production methods and constructional techniques and reveals the underlying tendency of the evlovement from connection of parts toward abstraction of relational organization. The thesis further investigates the fundamental divergences between the two tectonic notions regarding two aspects: the first aspect considers the relationship between tectonic and other determinants of architectural forms in design process; the second aspect looks into the aesthetic judgment of the ontological-representational dichotomy and its synthetic adaptation in the digital age. The findings concluded from the theoretical investigation are applied to analyze two recently completed case studies to further assess the theoretical conjecture in constructed forms. The purpose of the comparative re-reading is firstly to situate the notion of digital tectonic in the profound body of work of tectonic culture, reassuring the persistent renewability of the tectonic theory in all productive modes and technology age; and secondly to examine the potential of digital tectonic as a design methodology stimulating novel structural relations and tectonic syntax of the digital age.
Kotnik, Toni
Reiser + Umemoto, digital tectonic, structural relations, relational organization, tectonic theory, design methodology
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