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Adaptive Landscapes
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Design can be adaptive, demonstrating a potential for change, as the conditions and context within...

This bibliography includes the reading material that was influential for the development of my...

My thesis begins with several opposing concepts: the ideal and the empirical; order and disorder;...

Modular Systems
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In the early 1930s, American type designer William Addison Dwiggins began working on a ‘roman’...

Phonetic alphabets came from the necessity for clear communication over radio lines, and are...

Self-Organizing Networks
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Warchalking exposes wireless Internet networks through hand-inscribed chalkmarks in urban...

A series of postcards is lasercut with haikus, written by the participants of an online forum, in...

In Rimbaud’s ‘ville’ of ‘Les Illuminations’, flows are structural, and steady-states are ephemeral....

Swarms, consisting of independent agents, exhibit spontaneous expansive and contractive macro...

Programme & Mutable Form
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I am interested in exploring program and mutable form within the urban environment, both as an...

Markets are becoming global, while transitory population segments are growing. Cities are becoming...

A process book summarizes my early thesis direction involving computation. Formed around the text...

Computation & Complexity
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This piece appears as a 16-page section in Multi-Purpose, a book produced by the graphic design MFA...

The similarity between language and landscapes is expressed through ‘linguistic’ mark-making within...

The Club of Rome’s famous 1975 article predicted, based on a computer simulation, that the world...

Globalization may encourage the homogenization of cultures, by accelerated processes of selection...

The statement “You Can’t Fall in Love with a Growth Curve” originated as a piece of graffiti, the...

Entropia is a typeface that responds to sound. Entropia can be set to various states of...

Urban Artifacts
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“New York Places & Pleasures” by Kate Simon, published in 1959, is considered among the best...

Ten of the most familiar utopian city grids—from humanistic plans, based on proportions of the...

My proposal for a new railing along the pedestrian and bicycle walkway of the Williamsburg Bridge...

According to Aldo Rossi, urban artifacts are stable moments in the constantly shifting composition...

The site of the MTA Hudson Yards is located at the Hudson River terminus of the 34th Street...

1/ Intricacy

2/ Instant Design

3/ Implicit Change

4/ Modernist Dystopias

5/ Designing Design

Adaptive Landscapes Design can be adaptive, demonstrating a potential for change, as the conditions and context within which it operates change. Change may be seen literally or metaphorically. Change in the literal sense is inherent in reactive and dynamic media. It relies on the separation of form from content, the former a product of the latter. Change in a metaphoric sense is implied or intrinsic. It may be causally contained within static form, or evoke the expectation of variance. Adaptive landscapes remain constantly in fluctuation, changing according to our changing values as a society.

I have always searched for order, in an attempt to classify, structure and make sense of an increasingly complex world. Logic and rationale are the driving forces in my work, from the abstraction of natural forms to invoking systems and networks. While my method is primarily conceptual, trial and error remains an important part of the process, satisfying my need to create in order to understand. As a designer, the dichotomy I face is a drive to create, to layer, and yet at the same time to organize, simplify and understand. I have been exploring computation as one technique by which to satisfy both.
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Intricacy Computation leads to intricacy. I am intrigued by the idea of creating complexity through reduction. As I have found through an approach based on subtraction, attempting to reduce an already simple form, whether or not by computational means, results in complexity—while the outcome is increasingly determined with every design choice, the combinatorial possibilities become progressively more complex. Thus, a programmatic design process, separating the conceptual from the execution state, involuntarily leads to a loss of control after the conception. A loss of control, however, does not equal a lack of intent. Instead, it refers to the absence of the human hand in matters of production, a factor which has long become a reality. Rather than allowing our actions to be mediated by the proprietary tools common to our industry, we may create our own.
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Instant Design An integral characteristic of adaptive design involving computation is a verifiable process. Being preconceived, the process is also transparent and replicable, lacking the ambiguity of more traditional methods of design. Of course, the choices of visualization are no less subjective, and in no way compromise the vision of the designer. As a method for information visualization, computation allows the recognition of patterns from the characteristics of a dataset. As a method for form-making, it has the potential to produce results which are both unexpected and beautiful in their intricacy. Adaptive design stems from a decentralized process, in which the creative challenge to the designer is not in creating finished products but rather open systems that can sustain themselves. This is apparent in the fields of software and web design, in which the designer anticipates future content and design changes, often from someone other than himself.
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Implicit Change Metaphorically, adaptability means anticipating the possibility of change. Scalability and flexibility are central, allowing for translation into any form of design. Flexibility is the notion that any particular design can act as a container for similar information; scalability is the notion that a design can expand or contract, adapting to larger or smaller volumes while maintaining its integrity. In actuality, my approach aims at a kind of open-endedness, toward the impression that no piece is ever finished, but forever in a state of becoming.
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Modernist Dystopias For the last century, Modernism has unquestionably been the predominant worldview. In design, the Modernist movement advocated a return to a universal geometry and the utilization of the industrial modes of mass production, such as the assembly line. Through automation, companies were able to supply regions, entire nations, and eventually export to other countries, preparing the world for globalization. As a result of this pursuit of efficiency and economies of scale, many would say, cultures are becoming increasingly homogeneous. By promoting a one-fits-all solution, Modernism actually promotes an idealism of types, the only legitimate types being those that conform to global standards.

If this is our current situation, it is still far removed from the aims Le Corbusier puts forth in his ‘Modulor’: “To standardize, which is to run the risk of arbitrary choice, and the reverse of that risk: a wonderful freeing of the methods of economic production. More: to avoid the deadly error of making short cuts to standardization, of standardizing by mutual concessions. The promise, guaranteed by experience, always to offer harmony, variety, elegance, instead of banality, monotony and lack of grace.” While the premise behind the Modulor is acceptable—artistic progression within set limitations—it was nevertheless founded on a single individual’s point of view, though it attempted to appear universal. Furthermore, progress within design and the arts is itself a dubious concept. Instead of the ‘mutual concession’ Corbusier mentions, however, design can be based on contextual data. It is through context that we may begin to address the problems of our age.

Frederick Taylor’s vision of maximized human productivity has been realized in a dystopia. How far productivity can continue to increase is questionable. Yet, in order to stay competitive in a global market, our economy-driven society is compelled to continue inventing. Instead of cheap and fast production, a re-orientation towards creating value through customization seems inevitable.
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Designing Design Collaboration and contextual data may stand at the center of an adaptive design practice. At the most fundamental level, the objects we design could carry an intrinsic anticipation of change, captured either in the process of conception, or the subsequent personalization and adaptation throughout the course of their lifecycles. Furthermore, as most designers, I am searching for added value in the things we create and consume—something more than the object stripped to its fundamentals, an assertion of humanity and purpose.

Ours is an information-oriented society—we believe in facts and the quantitative, the objective; the results of science, mathematics and computation; we are skeptical of the subjective, the qualitative, the intuitive and the supernatural; those things unfamiliar and those which go unexplained. Yet, innately, there is a tension between the physical entity of information, in whichever form it presents itself, and what we believe—or, what we are led to believe—it represents. It is this controversy which I intend to explore, subverting expectations and questioning the object or objective. It is through misreading, faltering and the anxiety caused by confusion or incomprehension that we may perhaps look behind the scenes at what is actually taking place.

Ours is a stratified society. The promise of modernity was the ideal, the utopia. It is now again the situation which inspires us, the reality of the human condition, and the promise that technology, having first been demonized, then idealized, can now finally become simply a tool for understanding and constructing our roles in the world.
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