De Materia

Project Details

Student/s: Elli Athanasiou

Date: August 15, 2016

Philosophy and architectural practice present parallel evolution through time, although it is impossible to draw absolute similarities. Transcendentalism based on ancient essentialist theories, which suppose a profound distinction between form and matter taking for granted the superiority of immaterial Idea on physically perishable Object, gives way, through successive disputes, to Relativist philosophies redefining Body’s importance and generally Man’s contribution to physical world’s perception and man-made formation. Thus Transcendentalism mainly attributed to theocratic hierarchized societies gives way to Hylocentricism tightly connected to post-humanistic political ecologies, where material production strictly depends on human and non-human agents’ collaboration.
Digital Architecture thriving since the first decades of 21st century, characterized by failing economic models and humanistic crises, draws data from horizontalized social models redefining not only designer’s status, by composing a hybrid profile based on autographic qualities of craftsman’s practice and allographic tools of modernist architect-coordinator, but also hylomorphic linear relation of the two terms, form and matter. This transition is attained through morphogenetic dynamics of technologically available heterogeneous material. As a result, New Materialism gives birth to a novel era, characterized by material vitalism, prescribing a correspondence between a holistic method of world’s perception and the agile manipulation of material opulence, taking distance from merely outlining current architectural practice.

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