# Mario Carpo: "The Second Digital Turn" | Talks at Google

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Thank. You all for coming, thank. You for the invitation thank, you for organizing this, can you hear me yes. Thank. You in advance for your patience, going. To be very boring. I'm. Very jet-lagged. I'm. A fool asleep while I speak. If. It happens, just bring me a cup of coffee you in compensation, in the audience you may fall asleep anytime. So. I. Guess. I have to tell you something on. New. Direction. In computer-aided, design, how. Advanced. Computation. Electronic. Computation, has, changed. Is. Changing. Architectural. Design or architecture in, general which is the subject of my. Last book which is on some chairs, now, I understand. That most. Of you are not. Architectural. Students, nor, architects, nor designers, but, right who. Is an architect here raise it sound when. You're. A minority. So. That's good so. I. Will. Just make. A short more. General. Introduction. To bring. In my topic. What. Do let me bring in my pictures, which, are somewhere. Yes. I. See. It. What. Do architects. Do. That's a very general, query, you know since you are. Asked, any. Architect. They will tell you we, build, we. Do buildings. Big. Buildings, well, when, we manage when. We are successful. Most. Of the time we do not manage and that's the idea we make. Buildings. Well. That's. The idea but. It is not actually. Literally. Technically. Right, because. We, architects. We do not lay. Bricks. We. Do not cut. Stone. We, do not care, food we do not pour concrete we, do not dig foundations with, not any of these technical. Physical. Material, stuff yes. We build buildings but, we build buildings by making, drawings. Of buildings. We. Made drawings not. Buildings, we, make drawings clean. Drawings. We, give them to the builders and the builders. They will. Make, the, buildings we design we. Do not make, the. Designers, do not build and the, builders, they. Are not allowed to design or, to, change our, design the. Kind of drawings, we give to the builders, are, called blueprints, because. Once upon a time they, were blue and. They were printed now, were no longer blue and, when a longer printed, but, we still call them blueprints. And it is thanks to blueprints. To these kind of drawings, but our profession, is not a craft, it's. A liberal art an, intellectual, activity, we, do not climb on scaffoldings. We. Did not toil in with no or in berea nor in the heat of the summer we work in clean offices, with heating. Ventilation, and air conditioning and. We are most of the time even better paid, than the, actual workers, who make the actual buildings, happen, but we advantage, of being. A notational. Art we, built by notations. By making, drawings draw, which eventually, become, buildings but we do not actually make, the building's this is the advantage. The. Disadvantage. Is that if you think of a way a building happened, we can only build, that of which we can make a drawing, if. We cannot draw it they. The, builders, cannot, build it we are at the mercy of a notational, tools we, have at our disposal to. Notate a building, if we, cannot draw it they, cannot, be of it now some geometrical, shapes. Come. On. Like. This, one are, very easy to notate at some shoebox. You, make eight. Points, is enough. To notate it or three points and three vectors, that's. A very very easy drawing to. Make so. That. Way, notation, is easy but, think but you want to build the, potato. Now. Since. I was cooking. Last night I can. Actually show you oops. This. Is what. I have in mind. Awesome. British. Potato. If. You want to build the potato by notations. Plants. Elevation, and sections, think, of how many drawings, you, have to make each. One of this point, no. One of these not one of these points is aligned so. You have to make a huge number of sections, in plants elevation, etc, etcetera because. Each point has to be notated individually. And separately millions.

And Million of point, which. Will take millions, and millions of drawings. Which. Will take a huge, amount, of time, which. Is possible. But. Is not very practical because. It takes too long so. To. Build a shoebox it. Only take eight points, to build the potato, you must be make. Thousands. And thousands of drawings each slice, each. Section. Being, different, with different points, notated, then measuring X Y Z in three, dimensions. Switches, takes. A heck of a lot of time is, one reason why potatoes. Were, very seldom, built in, the history of architecture. Until. Computers. Came because. This kind of repetitive, boring. Operations. Notating. Each point, X Y Z three measurements if you have to notate four million points for us it takes a lot of time a computer's, does it in the blink of an eye so as of the early 90s, when, computer-aided, design became, to be affordable, we would expect, that. Architects. Start. Building, potatoes, like crazy. Because, there have been for centuries a, pent-up, demand for potatoes, which, was never fulfilled because. Potatoes, were impossible, to draw and build, we. Have easy to make I could make this potato in clay with, my own hands, that's easy but, if I want to make plants elevation and section to scale to, give a blueprint, to the builders to build the potato that, takes a long time but, was impossible, until 20, years ago not. Impossible, but impractical it's. Possible, so you would expect but as of the early 90s, or mid-90s to see potatoes everywhere. And. If, you. Google. You. Know what it means right. Digital. Architecture or computational, architecture, or parametric architecture, you will find a mosaic. Of this kind of stuff and. They. Are, potato. Esque. But. They are not real potatoes. Because. We, are round and, smooth. But. We are streamlined. And technological. And clean, and. Almost. Mathematical a. Potato. Is rough. And. Disorderly. These. Are not potatoes, they, are something, else and. As. Of the early 90s, well this is closer. To a potato but, still. Not don't, ask me which kind of a building this is because it ain't one but. It's. Still not a potato because it is too smooth and too precise you can understand, that there is mathematics, in that which, isn't in, this in. The mid-90s. A colleague, of mine came, out with, a suitable. Catchy term, they, decide to call this new kind of digital. Shapes. Blobs. Taking. The inspiration from, this science. Fiction movie from the 50s and, so, for a while this, potato, asked, digital. Staff were called blobs, today. We are called. Oops. Parametric. Or parametric, design, but, in truth and, that's the way I often tell the story to my students, if, we look at the actual timeline.

How These things came to happen these. Are not potatoes, these, are not blobs these, are, fish. Because. It all started, with this big. Fish. Which. You may have seen if, you go to Barcelona on, the, beach above. The beach not in the water but over. The beach was this huge, metal. Fish. Floating. In, mid-air, this. Was built by the stir architect, Frank Gehry and, this. Was the, first time Frank, Gehry used software. For computer-aided design for, which eventually, it became famous, aster, architect, which he is now but. Which wasn't them and how. Is it but, to build a fish, Frank. Gehry at the time already, well-known architect. Decided. That he should use computer, aided design and which kind of software, did. He think issued, he would need well. Think of it, this. Problem was to. Model. The. String. Line curve, of, the. Shape of a skin, of a fish and this, argument was why. Is the fish so streamlined, and smooth, because. It moves in. Water the. Way a boat moves. In water and a boat the hull of a boat has. The same. Streamlined. Lines. For. A long time this is a 17th. Century drawing. Shipbuilders. Have. Had the technique, to. Make this curvy. Pieces. Of food at the, point of contact between the hull of the boat and the, water imagine. The frame of the boat in timber, is given, its structural, and. Then you have to nail this slat. Of timber. To the frame, of the boat and they have to be smooth, because that's the point of contact, of the water with a boat when the boat moves, in water where, is friction, or drag and, if, this lot of timber isn't, smooth the, boat will start to rock and it will slow, down and, this, timber. Curvy. Lots. Of. Well. They. Have a name in English, since, the 17th, century they, are called splines. Like. A line but sp before sp splines. In, the, dictionary, you find this word in use as of the 17th, century technical. Term used, by craftsmen, who were building the hull of boats. By. Curving he. Forties, and all skills, and each, one he did in a different way this, lot, of Timbers so that they would connect, a given, number of fixed points. In the smoothest, continuous. Way. Now, the line, of the stream the. Line where the hull of the boat touches. The stream of the incoming. Water the. Line of the stream is. Called the stream. Line so.

Sooner. Because the early sixties when, they made the famous demonstration. In front of the CEO of Renault. They. Took a signature. On a banknote. Wherever. Is you know the signature of the head, cashier of the bank difference do. The full. Of circles, and they. Showed that we are translated. That random. Curvy. Doodle, into. Formulas. And they. Fed these formulas, into a plotter the. Plotter made the drawing, of these signatures, at a different, scale and then at another scale and then at another scale because the point is a. Mathematical. Notation has. No scale so it was the same at every scale and, was, a fantastic. And persuading, demonstration. When. The CEO of Renault has to pee busy that was the top engineer, at Reno said. Good, fantastic. Great. Work how, long did it take your, team to translate, that doodle, into, mathematics, two. Years and. How. Long would it take to, notate the whole body of a car using, the same mathematics. 22. Years well. Then that's not very practical but I said no it isn't if you do it by hand but one day computers. Will come and then why we do very very fast do we have these computers, no. When. We have these computers, now, we're going to buy any computer as. Any any, companion, any computer, in France no perhaps, the Americans do but we don't so. They well friend shoot yourself but what I presume the CEO too, busy publishes, pure mathematics, no, practical use publish. It in some wacky mathematical. Journals and good luck which. Way did they. Publish it. 1966. But. Only, a few years later computers, did come and so these mathematics. Would was then open, source as we would say it had been published scholarly, journal, anyone, could use it and everyone. Started, using it by crazy Renault they. Built their own software, a computer a design called uni surf in. France an aircraft, maker that's, so developed. Its own CATIA, software. In, America, McDonnell, Douglas General, Motors and burying. Started, to use it very, improved. Upon, it significantly. They generalize, the mathematical, notation, into, something called NURBS.

Should See them as fish, with, fish fish. Fish some, of them were never built some. Of them were built this looks like a Photoshop but this is a real building this. Is a real building - this looks like a real building but it was never built and never will be etc etcetera, fish, fish. Design now, problem. Is if you go to my school over. There one, mile in that direction or, to a handful, of our school, which, are the from. Avantgarde. Of design. Innovation and. You look at what our students, are my colleagues, have been doing for the last five, or six, years and this, is a selection, of what they do they. Do not look like fish, at all, the. Style is completely different is what I call in my book by second digital style is disjointed, disconnect, a broken fragmentary. Continuity. Has been replaced by discreteness, it is not smooth it is rough and, I. Was. Trying to explain to my students. Well this is what. One of my colleagues has done and since, I tell the story with, metaphors. Or analogues, the potato, the. Fish I was. Looking for another animal, to describe, this and they. Thought it would be a shape. Problem. Is with my accent, and. Many. Of my students also speak English as a foreign language if, I say sheep no more no one will ever understand, if I mean the boat or the, animal. So. I had to find something. Easier. So I decided to call it a dog, looks. Like a dog a little bit but it, was teaching in America, during before and. American. Students are demanding more than our. British, students. And so. When one of the students came to me after class the professor Kapp which kind of dog do you have in mind. And. Students. Produce this this. Vignette. But. Not all dogs look like bad. Chairs. If this is a modernist. Dog. Which. Is streamlined. As if. It were a fish, you. Know everything, in this picture is three - a modernist, picture, and you, will see the fish itself so, now the dogs looked like a fish and, the fish looked like a ballistic, missile and. Because. The modernism. Is was all about streamlining, and, everything is streamlined even the dog the fish is normally streamlined by nature the, dog shouldn't be but it was made now this is the dog I had in mind. This. Is a postmodern. Dog which is an idea of complexity. And you know discreteness, the messiness, with, the screen but I would imagine that in normal life this dog is actually quite dirty but. So. This. Is what, is going on so the question is since, evidently. Computer-aided, design is driven by the tools technical, tools we are using and, that by the performance. Of the machines we are using why, is it but the style of computer-aided design has shifted from fish making to dog making was. The software, of the 90s, more fishing, or is, the software today more, inclined. To being dog. Or as. You probably know, Computers. Still do today what they did 20 years ago or even 30 years ago or 10 years ago but, we. Are much faster and more, powerful and cheaper, for. The last 5 or 10 years we got so, used to be swell of data but, we even invented, a new definition, to define this, new data, rich environment we. Call it big data to. Define this notion but for a long time that was supposed to be rare and expensive now, subacute isn't cheap it's. A big you know upheaval. Of the anthropological condition. Of humankind, from, the beginning of time still 10 years ago we always needed more data than we had for. Last few years it is as we always had more. Data than we need so we, call this big data or we, have a. Number. Of. Other. Of. Terms. To, define the same machine.

Good Solutions, without. Knowing. Why. They work. So. In, in a nutshell, it. Is. Already evident, that artificial, intelligence, in veces artificial, intelligence with to some extent it is it, works we, can already use it to. Solve. Problems, we couldn't solve in any other way, but. It, works in a way which, is different, from the, way we would work it already shows a logic, at play which, is different from the logic of our mind which is probably a good reason to call it artificial, because. Our organic, intelligence, would not solve problem that way where, artificial intelligence. Of a machine, can already solve problems in a different way, which, in many cases is, the only way to solve crop problems of a given complexity. So, yes, it works but, it was in a way which we may find well, which is different. From the way we think which, is probably one, reason why we should call this intelligence. Artificial. Because, the organic, logic. Of our mind doesn't work that way think of what we did not do in, the case of a function we cannot calculate four, million points, one by one the, Machine does and, the Machine does it in the case of structural design we, cannot run four. Million. Trials, in, a sequence, because it would take forever what machine does it in 20 minutes so try on an error which, is a very stupid strategy for humans is a very good strategy for the machine. If. I look for a formula, to put all these into a tag, line I don't have to look very far because you people have already found it. 14. Years ago when. You launch Gmail, with, this title, search don't sort because if you think of what I just told you what we do we, humans we sort we. Take data and we organize, them and structure, them to make them smaller and more functional and more understandable, that's the way our mind, and traditional, Science and Mathematics always, worked a computers. Can search so fast but this sorting, is often. Unnecessary. Because. By, the speed, of the processing, of the simple, sorting, process, sequential.

Through The alphabet or through syntax, the. Tools but used to communicate. Feedback, on the kind of message you can you. Know transmit, this, feedback. Loop is inevitable, in every human expression, in the case of architecture, if you compare it with painting, the. Technical. Bottleneck, is more. Determinant, of course, a painter, is at, the mercy of the kind of canvas is using and the, technology, of the colors is putting on the canvas but, you can think that that technological, the. Limitation. Is not much. If you compare it with the technical implication. Of building a big building and we are particularly. At the mercy of tools of quantification, because, we have to measure a building before it was built and, that was always the case in Greek and Roman in classical architecture, not so much for costing, or estimate which is important, today but for proportion. Which for men was a matter of vital importance, and evidently, if you look at Roman. Or Greek architecture. You. Can glean. From the, way the buildings are built the kind of tools. Of quantification, be, used to make it happen which was not number based because, the Greek and the Roman didn't, have good numbers and they didn't trust numbers, it was all based on geometry, what, we, would solve by using you, know. Hindu-arabic. Numbers, which evidence reveal didn't have the numbers they had were crap and so they couldn't use, them to calculate anything, but their geometry was. First-class we. Still use it so, all, that, quantification. Was achieved through Euclidean. Geometry tools. Whereas. The arithmetical number, based tools. We used today didn't. Yet exist, you. Know the Greeks always, mistrusted. Numbers, we prefer geometry. The rule and the compass, the, typical. Tool, of Amazings, the, quantification, the, proportional. Harmony. Of those buildings, derived, from that use of geometry, which is why neoclassical. Architecture, as of the 17th, century 18th century which is number based and not geometrically, determine from a distance it looks the same but, if you look at it with the eye of a expert. You can tell but it's no longer Euclid.

It, Is numbers, both. Numbers were you know pure arithmetics. The. Story have told you is how. Quantification. Shifted, from algebra, to, calculus, because. This is what busy. And the French teams did in a sense that was the culmination of, the dreams of Western mathematics, because with. The. Cart Leibniz, in Newton we, could not eight conics. You. Know parabola, cyberbullies. Etc, etc with. Busy it was in a sense the. Culmination. Of the dream of mathematicians, of all time you can notate using. A mathematical script. Everything. A cloud, in the sky a flowering, the field any, shape, and form in nature can be scripted as a mathematical. Notation of course. They didn't need to notate a cloud or a flower with internal take the body of a car and, it was complicated, but with computers, became easy. Which is why when computers, became available first, thing we did we didn't use them to make potatoes, we use them to make fish because that's mathematic, and there is no mathematic, in the potato we call this free, form because, there is no mathematic, embedded, in it and in, a sense the dog the. Last part of my story is closer, to the potato than the fish so in a sense we are getting back to a potato but with, a delay of 20 40 years, but. We fed the feedback loop to go back to your question, at every, point in time the, kind of architectural. Shapes and form you see if you, look at it as an historian of science you, can read, in. The. Physical, shape the, tools of quantification, which were essential. To make it happen, that. Doesn't mean that I can do but for every period I can only do it for you know some little, passages. In it but. That's that's the game. Thank. You for interesting. Historical, introduction, have. A follow-up, question to the previous one. Could, you please Fitz, work, of Gaudi. To these, fishes. Dogs, and, straight. Lines. Story. Could. You do what. I. Couldn't. Hear please. Put. The. Work of Gaudi, into, this work of Gaudi Antoni gaudí yes yes into this scheme of fishes. And dogs well Gaudi. Was, a very important. Reference, at the beginning, of the digital, turn in the nineties because, Gaudi. Who. Is not, a dog and not a fish it doesn't belong to any historical. Parameters. Because it was a one-off, it was an isolated genius. Who due to a remarkable. Set of circumstance. Was allowed in Barcelona, to, make something happen which is a miracle, which should, in, theory never existed, he wanted to reenact. The, way of building of medieval. Master, builders so, it was building, without. Notations. In. The Middle Ages architectural. Blueprints did not exist craftsmen's. There, was no separation between the designer and the builders the master, builders, we're. Conceiving. And making, at the same time on-site on, the fly and in. 1891. 1910. Antoni, gaudí in industrial, Barcelona wanted, to revive due, to his ideology to, his faith to his inspiration, wanted, to divide the medieval, way of building he, didn't want to revive a style, wanted. Really to revive a social, organization of, a medieval building site so. I wanted to revive a way of building where is no designer, separated. From the Builder the Builder is a master. Builder who, decides, everyday, what is going to build in. An industrial, world you cannot build that way but. In Barcelona, at that time we, found, illuminated. Sponsor, who decided that he should build the me Cathedral, but way to, be superior glory, of God which, he did and the, building is still going on because of medieval, cathedral, since it has no design.

2018-03-26 16:46

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