architectonic articulations - the stanzaic structure of genuinely procedural forms / Gilles Deleuze / Projective Theory of Technology / Thinking as an Algebraic Mechanist

architectonic articulation – the stanzaic structure of genuinely procedural shapes

Most architects working with CAAD today are, at least from the perspective of their daily practice, well familiar with what constitutes the main topos in Deleuzes’ and Guattaris’ text „Geology of Morals (Who Does the Earth Think it is)“ [1], namely the assumed primacy of code to form. However, the dynamics of concretion which is proposed in that same text, in terms of stratification by double-articulation, is much less received let alone integrated into digital computer practice. I would like to discuss the key concepts accounting for this dynamics in relation to digital procedures applied in CAAD, especially operations involving generic procedures (algorithms), agent and swarm systems, iterative subdivision processes and articulations of generative shape grammars, and thus make a suggestion of how they might contribute to digital architecture and a respective architectonics.

We are familiar with such code-based recursive procedural frameworks mainly from the analysis of natural process and organic structures. What is extraordinary about the examples I would like to discuss in my paper is that they are instead directly interested in a genuinely synthetic treatment within the (formally-algebraic) symbolics of code. As unswerving as they are provocative, these computed solids make reference to the foundational discourse of the architectural order of columns, in which systems of dealing with issues of articulation and junction have been negotiated from Antiquity through to the architecture of the early 20th century. Situating themselves fully within an operational paradigm characteristic for the digital, the colums of Michael Hansmeyer do not seek to propose a modified new order, but rather are interested in something like the orderability, the ability to arrange particular orders out of all potential ways of doing so. They bear witness to an architectonic dimension that could be understood as figurative, by means of which the entire field of sophistic dialectics now makes itself available for formal, architectural expression. This gets into reach not as an alternative approach to digital (formalistic) design, construction and fabrication, but amazingly thanks to working by numerical code.

The structures that can hence be articulated embody a somewhat stanzaic form. In that sense, they point to inherent limitations within the currently highly popular subscription in architectural theory to the programmatics of an Object-Oriented Ontology, or a kind of materialist realism which almost completely seeks to render the problematics of the symbolic format involved in computation as transparent and irrelevant, as proposed by Manuel deLanda[2]. While forms, in principle, constrain and delineated the openness of spatiality, the works I would like to discuss surprisingly manage to express and incorporate openings, landscape-like differentiatedness out of the immanence of formal articulation. They bear witness to a formal dimensionality, which can – not by subsumption but in associative relation to language studies as we know it since Antiquity, especially poetics, rhetoric’s and topics, be called figurative. Out of this figurative dimension, the rich stocks of articulation by rhythm, alliteration and assonances, of weightings by proximity and repetition, of suggestive assimilation and soft compartmentalization, now offers itself for architectonic, formal expression. The interest in the theoretical perspective of architectonic articulations aims at opening up the somewhat Delphic articulations-with-calculated-forms to a discursive criticality regarding the (aesthetic) articulability of computed solids, shapes, or any other rendering in order to provide space for critique, and with that, for cultivatable sophistication.

[1] In: A Thousand Plateaus, transl. by Brian Massumi, Minnesota University Press 1987, p. 39-74.

[2] Cf. his reading of „The Geology of Morals“ by Deleuze and Guattari: Manuel deLanda, „The Geology of Morals, a Neo-Materialist Interpretation“,; and more comprehensively: Manuel deLanda, Philosophy & Simulation: The Emergence of Synthetic Reason, Continuum Press 2011.

cf. my post on Michael Hansmeyer’s Columns:


© Michael Hansmeyer 2011,
cf. my post on Benjamin Dillenburger’s Structures:
© Benjamin Dillenburger 2011,

2 thoughts on “architectonic articulation – the stanzaic structure of genuinely procedural shapes

  1. Pingback: Neo-baroque Articulation of Columns: Modules, Solids, Units | monas oikos nomos

  2. Pingback: Shape Grammars beyond their analytical application | monas oikos nomos

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